DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0016-EA

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: DOI-BLM-NV-C010-2010-0016-EA
EA at Patua Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Power Plant

EA for Airborne Electromagnetic Survey at Patua Geothermal Project for Geothermal/Well Field, Geothermal/Power Plant

Proposed Action

VPC is proposing to design, construct, and operate geothermal well pads and wells, geothermal fluid pipelines, transmission lines, and their associated access roads. These facilities would be connected to a new 60 MW net geothermal power generation facility, to be located on a privately owned section of land within the Unit. The elements of the proposed action include: (1) Reclamation-managed lands: (a) Construct approximately 6 miles of access roads to support well pads, pipeline, and transmission line construction and access (b) Construct four to six new well pads and drill one to five wells per pad (c) Construct approximately 3.7 miles of 120 kV transmission line segments (d) Construct approximately 1.1 to 2.2 miles of geothermal fluid pipelines (2) State of Nevada-managed lands: (a) Construct approximately 2.2 miles of new access roads (b) Construct approximately 2.2 miles of 120 kV transmission line segments (3) Private land: (a) Construct 6.75 miles of access roads (b) Construct one to three new well pads and drill one to five wells per pad (c) Drill additional wells on six existing pads (d) Construct a 60 MW net power plant (e) Construct approximately 0.5 miles of 120 kV transmission line segment (f) Construct up to approximately 6.75 miles of geothermal fluid pipelines


Data Completion Notes

8/2: Data entry completed 11/3/2013: Added date for POU/ROW Application

Documents

Serial Register Page:





FONSI:


 

<metadesc> : NEPA document related to geothermal resource areas </metadesc>

Resource Analysis

Resource Not
Present
Present,
Not
Affected
Present,
Potentially
Affected
Not
Indicated
Comment Applicant
Proposed
Mitigation
Agency
Imposed
Mitigation
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.

 

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  • Transmission lines would span wetlands to the extent feasible.
  • Dips or culverts would be installed for access roads so as not to impact flows.
  • Construction of the transmission line would occur in the dry season
  • Existing two-track roads would be used to the greatest extent feasible
  • BMPs to prevent release of fuels or other construction materials would be implemented, including VPC’s SWPPP and Spill Prevention, Control, and Countermeasure (SPCC) Plan, which would be prepared and submitted to the BLM and Reclamation prior to

construction.

  • When permanent new access roads must cross ephemeral washes, rolling dips would be installed. The rolling dips would be designed to accommodate flows from at least a 25-year storm event. Culverts may be used wherever rolling dips are not feasible
 
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.

 

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  • Roads would be constructed with culverts properly sized to convey at least a 25-year storm event.
  • Existing two-track would be used as access roads to the greatest extent feasible along the roads to minimize the amount of additional base material and construction necessary.
 
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.

 

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  • Reclamation of well pads and access roads would occur when it is determined that they would no longer be used for exploration, utilization, or any other purposes. During operations, interim reclamation would be conducted for the well pad areas no longer needed for operation or maintenance. All reclamation would be performed in accordance with the Gold Book (2007).
  • Reclamation would be performed in accordance with lease stipulations. Reclamation would include re-contouring of disturbed areas to blend in with the surrounding topography and use of appropriate methods to seed with a diverse perennial seed mix. The seed mix used to reclaim disturbed areas would be certified weed free. The seed mix would be developed by an experienced botanist in coordination with the BLM, Reclamation, and/or NDOW and would be based on seed availability and quality. Reseeding would not be undertaken in areas where soil conditions are inappropriate or where the adjacent undisturbed land surface has little or no vegetation, as determined in coordination with a qualified biologist. Native soil material and organic matter (topsoil) salvaged from the site preparation operations would be reused as a topdressing on berms and other areas requiring revegetation to the extent practical.
  • A qualified botanist would perform vegetation surveys in the blooming period prior to construction of the transmission line and access roads in T20N R25E, Section 10 for Nevada dune beardtongue (Penstemon arenarius) and Lahontan indigo bush (Psorothamnus kingii). If any individuals of these two plants are found they would be avoided or a replanting and restoration plan would be prepared and implemented.
 
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.

 

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  • The potential to increase the spread of invasive, non-native species would be minimized through the implementation of the Noxious Weed Abatement Plan, for project construction, operation, and decommissioning.
  • Noxious weed free staging areas would be selected for project construction.
  • Equipment contaminated with soils from areas with known noxious occurrences would be washed with power or high-pressure washers, cleaning off all mud, dirt, and plant parts, on tires and the undercarriage in a designated wash station before proceeding to weed-free areas. Wash water and soils would be contained.
  • Soils from washing stations and other known noxious weed infested areas would be disposed of at the nearest landfill or designated disposal area.
  • If noxious weed infested soil is used for fill material, it would be placed at depth as to not allow for germination of the seeds.
  • Ground disturbance and vegetation removal would be minimized to the extent possible and practical.
  • The entrances to the project site would be restricted to vehicles or other traffic that may transport weed seeds or plant material.
  • All workers would be required to inspect and clean their boots, clothing and tools to prevent weed seeds and/or plant parts from spreading to weed-free areas after working in noxious weed infested areas.
  • All equipment would be thoroughly cleaned when operating in weed-infested areas prior to mobilizing to another location.
  • Noxious weed infested areas would be avoided to the greatest extent feasible and top soil fill would not be salvaged from known noxious weed locations.
  • VPC would document and monitor the effectiveness of the control/treatment measures. The weed control program would be continued until such a time (for approximately 3 years) that the revegetation species are established and are self-maintaining. Weed management would continue through the life of the project. VPC would be responsible for ensuring that monitoring occurs. Monitoring would be performed by a qualified professional.
 
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.

 

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  • Vehicles would not travel off designated access roads or out of approved right-of-ways or easements.
  • Willows or roosting habitat would be avoided to the greatest extent feasible. If willows have to be removed, the vegetation would be inspected by a qualified biologist for bats and Nevada viceroy (Lemenitis archippus) just prior to removal. If a bat or viceroy is found, the habitat would not be removed until the bat or butterfly has left the area

Impacts to vegetation composition would be minimized through the implementation of reclamation of disturbed areas and long-term implementation of the Noxious Weed Abatement Plan (Appendix E).

 
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.

 

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  • The transmission line would be designed to minimize effects to migratory birds and waterfowl within the FWMA, including incorporation of appropriate spacing between lines to make it improbable that the wing span of a large migratory bird can connect two phases.
  • Anti-perch spikes would be installed on the top of cross-arms.
  • Anti-collision devices approved by NDOW would be used on the shield wires and phase conductors along the transmission line segments that are oriented north/northwest at the west end of the line, within the boundaries of the FWMA.
  • Habitat for migratory birds would be eliminated within areas of proposed disturbance prior to the nesting season. In the event this elimination measure is not implemented, if ground disturbing activities do take place during the migratory bird nesting season, migratory bird nest surveys would be conducted early in the nesting season by a qualified biologist acceptable to BLM/Reclamation and/or NDOW. The survey would be conducted to identify either breeding adult birds or nest sites within the specific areas to be disturbed. If active nests are present within these areas to be disturbed, VPC would coordinate with BLM/Reclamation and/or NDOW to develop appropriate protection measures for these sites, which may include avoidance, construction constraints, and/or the establishment of buffers.
  • To minimize impacts to migratory birds and other wildlife through habitat alteration well pads and roads would be recontoured and reseeded following completion of construction. Reseeding would not be undertaken in areas where soil conditions are inappropriate or where the adjacent undisturbed land surface has little or no vegetation, as determined in coordination with a qualified biologist.
  • Topsoil would be salvaged and reused whenever possible and in a timely manner.
  • During drilling, if the reserve pit contains oil-based contaminants (such as from runoff or drilling muds) the pits would be fitted with exclusion devises such as netting or floating balls, in accordance with lease stipulations.
 
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.

 

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  • If any construction or operations activities require disturbance beyond the existing survey boundaries, additional surveys would be completed and any resources found would be avoided or properly mitigated.
  • A thirty meter buffer would be placed around historic properties identified and an archaeological monitor would be on site during the construction of any areas within the 30 meter buffer.
  • If subsurface cultural resources are found during construction, all work in the vicinity of the resource would cease and the BLM, Reclamation, and/or NDOW environmental personnel would be notified immediately. The appropriate measures as requested by the BLM, Reclamation, NDOW, and/or SHPO to protect the resource would be implemented until it could be adequately evaluated by the permitted archaeologist, and the BLM, Reclamation, and/or NDOW archaeologist, if necessary
 
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.

 

 
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  • If human remains are identified during construction of any of the components of the proposed project, work within 300 feet of the discovery would be stopped and the remains would be protected from further exposure or damage. The coroner and Reclamation, NDOW, or SHPO (depending on land ownership) would be contacted. If the remains are determined to be Native American, the agencies would follow the procedures set forth in 43 CFR Part 10, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Regulations. Procedures for handling the discovery of human remains would follow Reclamation Manual Directives and Standards LND 07-01 (Inadvertent Discovery of Human Remains on Reclamation Lands) if remains are located on Reclamation-managed lands. If remains are found on private land, NRS 383 would be implemented with SHPO as the lead agency.
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.

 

CloseFill materials would be obtained from the permitted mine located east of Black Butte, in Section 24, T20N, R26E (assigned serial number N-86320) or purchased from commercial sources
 
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.

 

CloseErosion and loss of soil productivity would be minimized by implementing BMPs during construction of the project components. BMPs include covering exposed top soil, watering unpaved access roads, and limiting vehicle speeds on access roads to 10 to 30 mph.
  • Erosion control measures, including but not limited to silt fencing, diversion ditches, water bars, temporary mulching and seeding, and application of gravel or rip rap, would be installed where necessary immediately after completion of construction activities to avoid erosion and runoff. Only certified weed-free BMPs would be used.
  • Additional gravel would be laid down when ground conditions are wet enough to cause rutting or other noticeable surface deformation and severe compaction.
  • The NDEP Bureau of Air Pollution Control SAD permit documenting the BMPs to be used would be implemented for the project because the surface disturbed would be greater than 5 acres.
  • Vehicle travel on upaved roads would be limited to 30 mph.
  • Existing two-track access roads would be used along the transmission route to minimize the amount of new surface disturbance and potential for erosion during construction of the transmission line.
  • Any topsoil stockpiles will be located on previously disturbed areas, such as portions of well pads, and will be situated so that wind and water erosion of the piles are minimized and the reclamation potential of the soil is maintained. Other erosion control measures may include surface seeding and moisture conditioning.
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  • Any suitable topsoil will be stockpiled onsite for later use during restoration. Access roads would follow existing routes to the extent possible. In areas where new access roads must be constructed across slopes, erosion control measures would be installed as necessary, in accordance with Gold Book standards (BLM 2007a).
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.

 

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  • Containment berms would be constructed around all hazardous material or potentially hazardous material storage. Off-pad stormwater would be directed away from the well pads.
  • An emergency response plan would be implemented that includes contingencies for hazardous materials spills and disposals.
  • VPC would prepare and implement a hazardous material spill prevention plan to minimize impacts to the environment from hazardous materials.
  • Fueling and routine maintenance of equipment and vehicles would be performed off site or within designated areas with appropriate spill controls to minimize effects.
  • Drilling mud and fluid would be directed to reserve pits. At the conclusion of drilling and testing, the liquid portions of the containment basin contents would be evaporated, pumped back down the well, or removed and disposed of off-site in a facility authorized to receive such wastes. The remaining contents, typically consisting of nontoxic drilling mud and cuttings, would be tested as required by the Nevada Bureau of Water Quality Planning (BWQP). If non-toxic and as authorized by the BWQP, these materials would be spread and dried on the well site, mixed with soil and buried in the on-site reserve pit in conformance with the applicable requirements of the BWQP Reclamation, and the BLM. Testing results and location of buried waste would be provided to Reclamation and BLM.
  • A blow-out prevention plan and BOPE would be implemented.
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  • VPC would adhere to general geothermal lease stipulations for geothermal developers to address the potential impacts involved with transport, use, and disposal of hazardous materials, including the development and implementation of an emergency response plan.
  • VPC would comply with all local, state, and federal regulations regarding the use, transport, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes. Wastes considered hazardous by the State of Nevada would be transported and disposed of according to applicable federal, state, and local regulations.
  • Operation of the geothermal facilities would comply with all local, state, and federal regulations regarding the use, transport, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes and therefore minimize impacts to the environment
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.

 

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  • Dust emissions from venting steam would be reduced by injecting water into the blooie line.
  • Vehicle speeds would be minimized on exposed soils to 10 to 30 miles per hour (mph) to reduce fugitive dust generation from vehicle travel.
  • H2S emissions would be minimized through the use of properly weighted drilling mud which is expected to keep the well from flowing during drilling. Data collection devices would be installed and operated during all phases of drilling and testing. An H2S abatement plan would be developed and implemented during long-term flow-testing if it becomes apparent during drilling operations that H2S abatement is necessary to minimize potential nuisance odors. Measures to reduce H2S, if necessary, could include but are not limited to:

– Reducing the number of wells venting simultaneously, as applicable – Implementing additional wellhead abatement measures, such as caustic injection between the flash tank and the portable silencer – All drill rigs would be equipped with alarms to detect unsafe levels of NCGs.

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  • The SAD Air Quality Operating Permit (AP1629-2517), obtained for the project, stipulates that a plan for fugitive dust control must be implemented. The fugitive dust control plan would include dust suppression processes (e.g., watering access roads and well pads) to minimize localized increases in particulate matter concentrations.
  • Diesel generators over 37 kW (50 horse power) shall be diesel-fired units that are certified to meet the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Tier II Emission Standards and are equipped with an exhaust particulate filter system.
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.

 

   
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.

 

   
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.

 

   
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.

 

   
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.

 

   
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.

 

   
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.

 

   
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.

 

CloseConstruction of the transmission line would likely occur during the dry season (to minimize effects to the wetlands), when cattle grazing is not permitted (February 16th through July 31st). Vehicles would travel at low speeds to minimize potential for injury to cattle, were access to occur during the permitted grazing season and cattle were in the area.
 
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.

 

   
Social 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.

 

   
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.

 

 
CloseA special status butterfly species, the Nevada viceroy (Lemenitis archippus) could also occur in the area of the transmission line, within the willow habitat. Willow habitat would be avoided to the greatest extent feasible during construction. If willows have to be removed, the vegetation would be inspected by a qualified biologist for bats and Nevada viceroy just prior to removal. If bats or viceroy larvae are found, the willows would not be removed until the bat has left the area or the viceroy larvae have transformed or have been relocated
Water Quantity
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

 

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  • The reserve pit would be lined to prevent seepage of testing fluids into the underlying groundwater.
  • Containment berms would be constructed around all hazardous material or potentially hazardous material storage areas. Off-pad stormwater is directed away from the well pads.
  • BOPE would be maintained at the wellhead to allow well shutdown if an uncontrolled flow of fluid or gas occurs.
  • A cement and casing program for construction of any wells would be implemented to prevent water quality effects on groundwater during or after well installation. Borehole geophysics analyses (cement bond logs) would be conducted to document that wellcasing grouting activities provide an effective seal, isolating the geothermal aquifer from shallow alluvial aquifers.
  • No ground disturbance would be conducted within 650 feet of a canal or water feature on federal leased land prior to Reclamation’s consent.
  • VPC would obtain necessary permits for work in waters and/or groundwater discharge permits and would provide a Notice of Intent to NDEP prior to well pad construction.
  • A hydrologic evaluation program will be implemented, which will be site specific and its intensity will be commensurate with the level of development drilling.