New legislation to extend periods of geothermal exploration permits in Alaska

New legislation to extend periods of geothermal exploration permits in Alaska State Capitol Building, Juneau, Alaska (source: Jay Galving, commons.wikimedia)
Alexander Richter 24 Jan 2020

Under new legislation introduced in Alaska, it is aimed to expand exploration requirements from three to five years, helping companies with getting more time for research, permitting and necessary field work to locate a resource.

The Governor of the State of Alaska, U.S. Governor Mike Dunleavy has introduced four pieces of legislation aimed at making Alaska open for business by removing barriers to business and employment, as well as promoting responsible resource development.

This includes legislation aimed at removing obstacles for geothermal development in the State of Alaska.

“As Governor, I want to assure companies that Alaska is open for business by taking meaningful steps to lessen burdens on employers and encourage opportunities for our skilled workforce across the state. This means lowering burdensome regulations, modernizing outdated statutes, promoting government efficiencies, keeping our citizens safe, and maximizing the use of our abundant resources,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy. “These pieces of legislation introduced today are a step in the right direction, and I look forward to working with the Legislature to ensure a more prosperous Alaska.”

The following Open for Business legislation was transmitted to the Senate today:

  • SB 156 – Unemployment Insurance Contributions
  • SB 157 – Professional Licensing Reform
  • SB 160 – Timber Sales; Forest Land Use
  • SB 161 – Geothermal Resources

Bill on Geothermal Resources

This bill removes obstacles for exploration and development of Alaska’s geothermal resources by increasing time available for exploration from three years to five years, allowing explorers more time to conduct research, acquire permits, and perform necessary field work to locate a resource. Additionally, this proposal reclassifies the current permit system as a license system similar to that for oil and gas exploration and doubles the amount of acreage a company may have under lease from 51,200 to 100,000 acres.

“Everyone knows ‘Alaska has vast untapped resources,’ and it is long past time to turn that truism into action,” said Corri A. Feige, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources. “I strongly support the governor’s forest planning and geothermal bills to use the energy of the earth and the bounty of our forests to directly benefit Alaska’s people, economy and environment.”

These pieces of legislation are expected to be introduced in the Alaska House later this week.

Source: Official press release, Office of Governor of Alaska