DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2012-0214-EA

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2012-0214-EA
EA at Silver Peak Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Exploration

Silver Peak Area Geothermal Exploration Project EA for Drilling and Well Testing for Geothermal/Exploration

Proposed Action

Rockwood Lithium Inc (Rockwood), formerly doing business as Chemetall Foote Corporation, is proposing to construct, operate, and maintain the Silver Peak Area Geothermal Exploration Project (Project) within Esmeralda County, Nevada (see Figure 1) to determine subsurface temperatures, confirm the existence of geothermal resources, and confirm the existence of a commercial geothermal reservoir at the proposed well sites within federal geothermal lease NVN-87008.


Data Completion Notes

5/21/2014: Application date added from SRP. MB

Data entry complete 8/27/13. Serial register page could perhaps be deleted - not sure how it relates.

Documents

Serial Register Page:


Other Documents:





 

Resource Analysis

Resource Not
Present
Present,
Not
Affected
Present,
Potentially
Affected
Not
Indicated
Comment Applicant
Proposed
Mitigation
Agency
Imposed
Mitigation
Air Quality
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The primary pollutant of concern during construction activities would be particulates in the form of fugitive dust, which would be generated during earth-moving activities and travel on unpaved roads during construction and drilling activities.

 
CloseConstruction Activity:

Based on implementation of environmental protection measures specified by Rockwood, water would be applied to the ground during the construction and utilization of the drill pads and access roads as necessary to control dust and speed limits of 25 mph would be observed on all unpaved roads in the project area in order to minimize dust (see Section 2.1.8). These measures would minimize fugitive dust emissions during construction and drilling activities.

Operations:

Small quantities of naturally occurring non-condensable gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), nitrogen (N2), and methane (CH4), would be emitted to the air during geothermal well testing. Each well would be equipped with controls and alarms for detecting and warning of hazardous gas emissions (such as H2S) from deep geothermal fluids. A hazardous gas contingency plan is provided in Appendix A, subpart C of the Operations Plan. These measures are required by the BLM for geothermal well drilling (43 CFR 3262.11).
Areas of Critical Environmental Concern
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The proposed Project is not located in or near any ACECs.

   
Cultural Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseRockwood employees, contractors, and suppliers would be reminded that all cultural resources are protected and if uncovered shall be left in place and reported to the Rockwood representative and/or their supervisor. If cultural resource (historic or prehistoric site or object) are discovered by Rockwood, or any person working on their behalf, on public or Federal land it shall be immediately reported to the Tonopah Field Office at (775) 482-7800.
CloseAs a condition of the GDP, cultural issues would be covered during daily safety briefings. BLM would review the content of the daily briefings to ensure that the protection of cultural resources is discussed. An evaluation of the discovery would be made by the Authorized Officer to determine appropriate actions to prevent the loss of significant cultural or scientific values.
Environmental Justice
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

While there are minority and low-income populations in the vicinity, the proposed Project would not have a disproportionally adverse impact on these groups.

   
Fisheries Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

There is no fish habitat in the project area

   
Floodplains
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

According to the FIRM, FEMA classifies the project area as unmapped (FEMA 2012). No river floodplains exist on the site; therefore no adverse impacts would occur to river floodplains

   
Range Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

There are no forested areas or grazing allotments in the project area.

   
Invasive, Nonnative Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseThe selected drill sites are located within an existing evaporation pond on land that is already heavily disturbed and covered with saline sediments. Invasive, noxious, and non-native species are currently not present and their growth is not expected. Rockwood would perform a noxious weed monitoring program of the project area during the course of the project including the reclamation period to ensure the continued absence of any noxious weed species. All reclamation equipment would be cleaned prior to use to reduce the potential for introduction of noxious weeds or other undesirable non-native species.
 
Migratory Birds
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

No direct effects to migratory birds are anticipated given the nature of the project area and the lack of existing habitat.

   
Native American Concerns
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe has not expressed any concerns about this Project.

 
CloseAs a condition of the GDP, cultural issues would be covered during daily safety briefings. BLM would review the content of the daily briefings to ensure that the protection of cultural resources is discussed. Cultural and Archaeological resources are protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (16 USC 470ii) and FLPMA (43 USC 1701). If any traditional cultural properties or artifacts are identified before or during exploration activities, a protective “buffer zone” may be acceptable, where physical avoidance is an issue, and if doing so satisfies the needs of the BLM, the proponent, and affected Tribe. The size of any “buffer zone” would be determined through coordination and communication between all participating entities.
Prime or Unique Farmlands
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The proposed Project is not located in or near any prime or unique farmlands.

   
Threatened and Endangered Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

There would be no impacts to threatened or endangered species, as they are not known to exist within the project area.

   
Wastes Hazardous or Solid
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

Diesel fuel, lubricants, hydraulic fluids and drilling chemicals (drilling mud, caustic soda, barite, etc.) needed for the Project would be transported to the drill site on trucks and stored on pallets or in tanks, drums, or buckets, subject to applicable federal and state regulations.

CloseThe proposed Project includes a hazardous material spill and disposal contingency plan that describes the methods for cleanup and abatement of any petroleum hydrocarbon or other hazardous material spill. These contingency plans are also attached to the GDP and are required as conditions of approval. Further, the Project is located within an existing bermed evaporation pond, so in the event of a materials spill, it is unlikely that any spilled materials would overtop the berm and result in offsite impacts.
CloseThe proposed Project would comply with BLM requirements to ensure that any geothermal fluid encountered during the drilling does not flow uncontrolled to the surface. These include the use of blow-out prevention equipment during drilling and the installation of well casing cemented into the ground. Each well would be equipped with appropriately designed and installed blow-out prevention equipment, as required by the BLM (43 CFR 3261.13 & 3262.10). Specifications of blow-out prevention equipment and action plans are required as a condition of approval for the BLM Geothermal Drilling Permit for each well.
Wetlands and Riparian Zones
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

Because the existing playa within the project area is considered non-jurisdictional and the project area is located within a closed drainage basin, no impacts would occur to wetland resources protected under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act.

   
Wilderness
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The proposed Project is not located in or near any Wilderness areas or Wilderness Study Areas.

   
Wild and Scenic Rivers
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The proposed Project is not located in or near any wild and scenic rivers.

   
Geology and Minerals
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

 
CloseUnder the proposed Project, only 5.6 acres of land is proposed to be disturbed. As such, there is little potential for any conflict between the Proposed Action and any future locatable mineral claim activity that may be proposed on these same lands during the same period. Neither party (the geothermal lessee nor potential future mineral claimants) may proceed with operations on Silver Peak Area Geothermal Exploration Project Page 36 leased or claimed public lands without notice to the BLM. The potential for any cumulative effects is low.
Soils
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The project area is heavily disturbed and no negative effects are expected to occur.

   
Vegetation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

Due to the lack of vegetation in the proposed area of disturbance no negative effects are expected to occur.

   
Special Status Species
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The closest special status species to the project area is the Eastwood milkweed, which is over 8 miles north.

   
Wildlife Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

No direct effects to wildlife resources are anticipated given the nature of the project area and the lack of existing habitat.

CloseNoise and other indirect effects associated with construction and drilling could keep some wildlife away from areas containing these activities. The indirect effects would be temporary and short-term, given the temporary nature of the proposed Project. No impacts are anticipated.
 
Recreation
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAs the Project would have no effect on recreation, the Project would not contribute to any cumulative impacts to recreational users.
 
Visual Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseThe proposed Project is considered temporary and reclamation and mitigation of the individual well sites are proposed. Despite these measures, the short-term modifications to the CESA by the proposed Project, along with the past, present, and reasonably foreseeable future projects would change the visual character of the valley by introducing modifications to form, line, color, and texture that could provide contrast in the landscape during the life of the Project. When considering the proposed mitigation measures, the existing visual setting, and the VRM Class IV designation and compliance, the proposed Project would not substantially add to the cumulative effects. To reduce the view of well head facilities from visibility corridors and private residences, facilities would not be placed in visually exposed locations (such as ridgelines and hilltops).
 
Economic Values
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseIn addition, Rockwood likely would rent some portion of the equipment and supplies required to drill and complete the wells (such as grading equipment, fuel and tools) from local suppliers. Aggregate would be purchased from Tonopah Sand and Gravel. This spending activity associated with the proposed Project construction and drilling would have a positive effect on local businesses in Esmeralda and Nye Counties.
 
Lands and Realty
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseAs the Project would have no effect on land use authorizations, the Project would not contribute to any cumulative impacts to land use authorizations. The valid, existing rights of the federal geothermal leases noted in Section 1.1 would be addressed when granting new approvals within the project area.
 
Wild Horse and Burro Management
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The project area is not located within a Herd Management Area.

   
Fire Resources
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

The Project is not located within town boundaries. The project area is also heavily heavily disturbed and covered with saline sediments and lacks vegetation.

   
Water Quality
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

CloseEach observation and full-sized well would be cased with steel casing cemented into the ground, which is designed to prevent contamination of any groundwater by the geothermal fluid and prevent the loss of any geothermal resource into other aquifers.

 Each observation and full-sized well would be drilled using non-toxic drilling mud to prevent loss of substantial drilling fluids into the rock.  Reserve pits would be constructed at each site for the containment and temporary storage of drilling mud, drill cuttings and storm water runoff from the constructed well pad. The well driller would maintain a minimum of two feet of freeboard at all times in the reserve pits.

 Any injection test conducted on the exploration wells would only inject produced geothermal fluid through the cased well back into the geothermal reservoir from which it originated, ensuring that there would be no affect on the quality of groundwater. Chemical analyses of the produced geothermal fluid would be conducted to characterize the geothermal fluids.