DOI-BLM-OR-V040-2009-0059-EA

From Open Energy Information


NEPA Document Collection for: DOI-BLM-OR-V040-2009-0059-EA
EA at Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Area for Geothermal/Power Plant,

Department of Energy Loan Guarantee for U.S. Geothermal's Neal Hot Springs Geothermal Facility in Vale, Oregon for Geothermal/Power Plant

Proposed Action

DOE’s proposed action is to issue a loan guarantee to U.S Geothermal for construction and startup of the Neal Hot Springs Facility 22 MW geothermal electric power facility in Vale, Oregon. Vale is a rural area nearly 75 miles northwest of Boise, Idaho consisting largely of native range for livestock and dryland pasture. U.S Geothermal would employ an innovative geothermal electricity production process which demonstrates an increase in power conversion efficiency when compared to binary cycle systems currently available on the market. The proposed facility would use a non-toxic and non-flammable refrigerant in a closed-loop system with a gas scrubber to prevent the release of gas products to the atmosphere.


Data Completion Notes

Data entry complete 8/12; KERMIT: Need to add Public Health and Safety as a resource

Documents

FONSI:


 

Resource Analysis

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

The proposed action is located adjacent to an area that the BLM manages as a Class IV VRM area.

   
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.

There would be no effect on mineral resources from drilling, testing and energy production.

   
Induced Seismicity Impact
"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 Neal Hot Springs project is not expected to induce seismic events because the project is designed to balance geothermal reservoir pressures, not increase pressure or induce rock fracture.

   
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.

Injection well drilling, power plant construction, and pipeline construction associated with the proposed project would result in ground disturbance that would have limited impacts on soils.

CloseTopsoil would be salvaged in accordance with best management practices and impacted areas would be reclaimed.
 
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.

Three springs or seeps occur along the north side of the Bully Creek road with a combined surface area of less than 1 acre.

   
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.

as prepared a flood hazard map for Cottonwood Creek in the area of the proposed action. FEMA mapping indicates the 100 year floodplain to be located south of the proposed action. The proposed power plant and transmission line would not be located in or adjacent to the 100 year floodplain.

   
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.

A professional archaeologist conducted a literature search of known cultural resources and conducted a Class III inventory at the proposed site of the plant using pedestrian transects spaced less than 30 meters apart.

 
CloseThe proposed action would not adversely affect any known cultural, paleontological, or

archeological artifacts. If archeological or paleontological resources or artifacts are observed construction activity would cease and additional cultural evaluations must be conducted. Federal

mandates and objectives to protect and conserve cultural and paleontological resources would be supported.
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.

No concerns regarding the religious or cultural significance of the site were identified by the Tribes.

   
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.

The site does not provide vegetation or physical features that cause the site to be attractive to wildlife and the site does not provide core or critical habitat for wildlife or birds.

 
CloseIdaho Power would construct all transmission lines in accordance with state and federal fish and wildlife standards for protection of raptors.
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.

 

 
CloseThe Proposed Action would result in short term impacts to vegetation because of the road and drill pad construction on the three acre site however reclamation, weed control, and seeding would be 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.

Because the area currently supports noxious or invasive species, ground disturbance within the project area would not increase overall area for weed colonization, however the diversity of invasive species could increase and additional species could become established.

 
CloseDesign features included in the proposal call for washing vehicles before they first enter the area, revegetation and weed spraying. Controlled access, design features, and weed management activity provide measures to control the spread of invasive and noxious plant species.
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.

 

   
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.

Operation of the proposed power plant would require approximately 5 permanent additions to the current workforce with an annual payroll of an estimated $300,000.

   
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.

Environmental justice impacts occur if there is any disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects on minority or low-income populations. U.S. Geothermal has not identified any potential adverse impacts from the project. Therefore, no disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects would affect minority or low income populations in the project area.

   
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.

Indirect impacts would result from emissions and dust generated by vehicles traveling to the site.

 
CloseThe project would not be located within any non-attainment areas and would not exceed any

conformity requirements as dictated in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule “Determining Conformity of General Federal Actions to State or Federal Implementation Plans”

(40 CFR 93,Subpart B).
Noise
"NEPA_Resource_Analysis" is not in the list of possible values (Not Present, Present, Not Affected, Present, Potentially Affected, Not Indicated) for this property.

Project operation noise would be limited to noises generated by the power plant.

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

 

 
CloseUSG and its contractors would comply with all local, state, and federal regulations regarding the use, transport, storage, and disposal of hazardous materials and wastes. A spill control and prevention plan is also maintained to prevent adverse impacts to the environment from fuel, oils, and lubricants.

The Facility would not store or use hazardous or flammable materials, as a result the fire response and safety measures implemented for systems that do use hazardous and flammable

materials are unnecessary.
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.

Two sections of the river, above the Owyhee Reservoir, are designated by both the State of Oregon and the United States Congress as a Wild and Scenic River. The designated corridor located approximately 40 air miles southeast of the project.

   
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.

The project would have little potential for adversely affecting the quality of surface waters in the project area because all activities are located at least 400 feet north of Cottonwood Creek and land shapes minimize or prevent sediment from being transported to surface water. The project would have little potential to affect the deep geothermal aquifer because all geothermal water is required to be returned to the source aquifer and does not contact any processing equipment.