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Oregon Noncompetitive Geothermal Lease (3-OR-e)

Noncompetitive geothermal leases are the default leasing option for exploring and drilling on state lands unless there is a high probability of geothermal resource development. Oregon's geothermal leasing regulations are located at OAR 141-075-0010 et seq.

A noncompetitive lease is also appropriate for nonexclusive leases of state-owned geothermal resource rights used for domestic purposes when the surface is not owned by the state. "Domestic use" means geothermal resources used for heating, cooling and electrical generation for the lessees dwelling, associated outbuildings and for other noncommercial purposes.

See OAR 141-0075-0080.

It is important to note that a geothermal resource lease is not necessary until a geothermal resource is discovered under an exploration permit. See OAR 141-075-0110.

State Exploration Process:
4-OR-a


Noncompetitive Geothermal Lease Process

3-OR-e.1 - Geothermal Resources Lease, advance rental & filing fee

A qualified applicant must submit a written application in triplicate. The application must be signed and accompanied with proof of authorization, filing fee and advance rental (one dollar per acre multiplied by the number of acres sought to be leased).

See OAR 141-075-0225 through OAR 141-075-0235.




3-OR-e.2 to 3-OR-e.3 - Review application materials for completeness

Once the application is received, it is time stamped. The application is reviewed for completeness. If the application is deemed incomplete, the applicant is notified with instructions for modification. If the application is resubmitted within 15 days, it will retain its original filing date and time. Otherwise the time of resubmission will serve as the new filing date.

See OAR 141-075-0240.




3-OR-e.4 - Application Supplements under OAR 141-075-0255

In order to keep the original filing date, the applicant must submit the following supplemental information within 120 days:

  • Geologist's preliminary survey report
  • Proposed monitoring program
  • Environmental impact report
  • Copy of the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries geothermal permit and a copy of all other pending applications and leases held by the applicant
  • Evidence of insurance
  • Corporate surety bond of not less than $10,000 conditioned upon compliance with all terms of the lease
  • Any additional insurance and/or bonding prior to issuance of a geothermal resources lease if the minimum amounts are deemed insufficient to protect public health, safety and welfare and insure restoration of the state-owned land covered by the lease application


See OAR 141-075-0255.




3-OR-e.5 - Is the application accepted under OAR 141-075-0260

If the application is not complete after 120 days, the application may be rejected with written explanation of the deficiencies. If the application is rejected, the Oregon Department of State Lands will give the next applicant priority over a reapplication of the rejected applicant.

See OAR 141-075-0260.




3-OR-e.6 - Notify affected agencies & forward environmental impact report

The Oregon Department of State Lands will forward the application and environmental impact report to all affected state agencies.

See OAR 141-075-0265.



3-OR-e.7 - Recommendation to DSL whether or not to issue lease

The affected agencies should respond within 60 days with a recommendation. The recommendation should include whether or not to grant the lease. If the agency recommends granting the lease, suggested terms and conditions should be included with the recommendation. When necessary, a conference between the applicant and agencies will be held.

See OAR 141-075-0265(3).




3-OR-e.8 - Pubic notice & hearing

The Oregon Department of State Lands notifies the public of their opportunity to participate in a hearing.


See OAR 141-075-0265(4).




3-OR-e.9 - DSL Decision whether or not to lease

Within 60 days of the hearing, the Oregon Department of State Lands will make its decision. If the application is refused, all payments tendered by the applicant, except the filing fee, is returned to the applicant. Details advising the applicant of the appeals process will be included with the written rejection.

If the DSL approves the application and the state agency controlling the surface rights concurs, the application will be forwarded to the State Land Board.

DSL may refuse to grant a lease for state-owned geothermal resource rights because of considerations of environmental quality or other public interest.

See OAR 141-075-0265(5)-(7).




3-OR-e.10 - Does the State Land Board approve the lease under OAR 141-075-0265

Criteria for approval is not included in the regulation. It appears the most important criteria is that the lease be in the best interests of Oregon.

See OAR 141-075-0265.




3-OR-e.11 - Geothermal Resources Lease

A geothermal lease form was adopted June 1, 1974. The terms within the form lease will be included along with any other terms required to protect the environment. Primary terms are for 10 years. The lease may be renewed for successive ten year periods up to a maximum of 50 years. Under OAR 141-075-0280, the lease should comply with the following environmental requirements:

  • Screen intake structures for cooling water
  • Use of surface water for cooling must comply with Oregon Department of Environmental Quality regulations
  • Ground water changes must comply with environmental requirements
  • All surface disturbance must be restored
  • Steam or "fog" from the project may not impact transportation routes
  • Heat or chemical discharges must be considered
  • If evaporation pans are used to recover by-products, the land upon which evaporation pans are established shall be restored to its optimum contour slope and shall be revegetated with tolerant plant species, and restored to optimum condition if subjected to leaks during the operation of evaporation pans
  • Subsistence could lead to suspension of the project
  • Noise and solid waste should be mitigated
  • Archaeologic survey is required before excavation or fill of the leased premises
  • No wells other than shallow prospect wells shall be drilled within 100 feet of the outer boundary of the leased premises or within 100 feet of a public road or highway in existence prior to the commencement of drilling

See OAR 141-075-0275.




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