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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Federal Plant Commissioning Process (7-FD-b)

Commercial operations from a Federal lease, a Federal unit, or a utilization facility must have a commercial use permit (CUP) approved by BLM before commencing operations (43 CFR 3274.10). A permit may be obtained even if the applicant cannot demonstrate the ability to operate within standards. However, BLM may limit the applicant's activities for a set period of time until the applicant can demonstrate compliance (43 CFR 3274.13).

Plant Commissioning Process Process

7-FD-b.1 - Sundry Notice Form to Commission Plant (Form 3260-003) and Required Documentation

To obtain a Commercial Use Permit, a number of documents are needed.

Project Documentation Submittals for Commercial Use Permit (CUP)
Provide the following information, per 43 CFR 3274.11:

  1. A signed sundry form requesting approval of a commercial use permit.
  2. The design specifications, and the inspection and calibration schedule of production, injection, and royalty meters.
  3. A schematic diagram of the utilization site or individual well, showing the location of each production and royalty meter. If the sales point is located off the utilization site, give us a generalized schematic diagram of the electrical transmission or pipeline system, including meter locations.
  4. A copy of the sales contract for the sale and/or utilization of geothermal resources;
  5. A description and analysis of reservoir, production, and injection characteristics, including the flow rates, temperatures, and pressures of each production and injection well;
  6. A schematic diagram of each production and injection well showing the wellhead configuration, including meters.
  7. A schematic flow diagram of the utilization facility, including interconnections with other facilities, if applicable.
  8. A description of the utilization process in sufficient detail to enable BLM to determine whether the resource will be utilized in a manner consistent with law and regulations;

7-FD-b.2 to 7-FD-b.4 - Review Application Material

The CUP will be reviewed for technical adequacy, conformity with utilization plan and mitigation measures (43 CFR 3261.20). If BLM needs additional information, it will submit the request in writing and will suspend review until the additional information is submitted. If another Federal agency manages the surface, BLM will consult with the managing agency.

BLM will notify the applicant whether the permit was approved, with or without conditions of approval, or denied.

If the application is not complete it will be returned to the developer for revision.

A complete application will be reviewed and the Commercial Use Permit prepared.

7-FD-b.5 - Commercial Use Permit (CUP) Issued

The Commercial Use Permit is signed by the authorized office and mailed to the developer.

7-FD-b.6 - Operate Plant

The facility operator's obligations per 43 CFR 3275.11 include:

  1. Keep the facility in proper operating condition at all times
    • Train personnel to perform emergency functions
    • Operational practices allowing for proper emergency response and
    • Properly maintain equipment
  2. Sound Engineering Principles
  3. Prevent waste of geothermal and other resources
  4. Comply with operational orders, notices to lessees, lease terms, plans and permits, conditions of approval, verbal orders from BLM that will be confirmed in writing and any other BLM instructions. (See 43 CFR 3200.4)

Environmental and safety requirements per 43 CFR 3275.12 include operating in a manner that protects the quality of surface and subsurface waters, air, and other natural resources. Wildlife, soil, vegetation and natural history are considered natural resources.

Operators must also protect the quality of cultural, scenic and recreational resources. Other land uses should be accommodated and noise minimized. Operators must also affirmatively prevent unnecessary degradation of the land, damage to property and injury. Any equipment not in use should be stored. Continual monitoring should be conducted in order to identify and address local environmental resources. Upon BLM request, the operator should submit a contingency plan with procedures to protect health, safety, property and the environment.

Reclamation of any distrubed surface to the standards prescribed by BLM is required when the land is no longer needed for facility construction or operation.

For more operating, measuring, and monitoring requirements, see 43 CFR 3275.

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