ThinkGeoEnergy – Geothermal Energy News

New legislation in the U.S. to improve regulations on exploration approval

An amendment to the “Exploring for Geothermal Energy on Federal Lands Act” was passed by the U.S. Congress that aims to improve regulations that impede geothermal exploration by granting approval for less intrusive projects.

Posted on the website of Congressman Raul Labrador from Idaho, he reports that “the “Exploring for Geothermal Energy on Federal Lands Act” (H.R. 2171), sponsored by Congressman Raúl Labrador (ID-01), passed the U.S. House of Representatives today by a bipartisan vote of 244 to 176. It passed as an amendment to H.R. 3408, or the “Protecting Investment in Oil Shale the Next Generation of Environmental, Energy and Resource Security (PIONEERS) Act,” sponsored by Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05), which also passed by a vote of 237 to 187.

“My amendment establishes a common sense, streamlined policy for the development of clean geothermal resources that will create jobs and provide American families increased access to affordable energy,” Congressman Labrador said. “My home state of Idaho has a unique history of developing geothermal energy. I served in the Idaho Legislature, where our 100-year-old Statehouse is heated entirely with geothermal energy, as are many downtown Boise office buildings, both old and new. The annual operating costs for generating this abundant heat are essentially zero.”

The “Exploring for Geothermal Energy on Federal Lands Act” passed the House Committee on Natural Resources with bipartisan support in the summer of 2011. The legislation, if passed by the U.S. Senate and signed into law by President Obama, would include Congressman Labrador’s amendment that would:

Improve regulations that impede geothermal exploration by granting approval for projects that do not require the construction of new roads or the use of off-road motorized vehicles, ensuring minimal environmental damage.

Protect the environment by requiring the removal of any surface infrastructure during geothermal exploration, minimizing surface impact.

Set firm deadlines for permitting to occur, providing geothermal companies with certainty to make appropriate business decisions.

“I am pleased that my colleagues have chosen to support my amendment, which will ease regulatory burdens born by geothermal companies seeking to find new and innovative ways to harness America’s rich natural resources,” Congressman Labrador said. “Now more than ever, we should encourage private enterprise by removing regulatory obstacles that stall America’s economic growth and curtail our access to affordable energy.”

Source: Congressman Raul Labrador

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