BLM, state agree to streamline geothermal process

Federal and Colorado agencies have reached an agreement to streamline geothermal development.

The deal is designed to improve cooperation and communication between the Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Department of Natural Resources when the BLM and Colorado State Land Board receive nominations for geothermal leases, and when any other DNR divisions seek to convey geothermal rights, the BLM said in a news release.

It also ensures those who obtain leases will be notified of any state and federal rules regarding considerations, such as water rights and protection of existing geothermal features.

Such considerations arose prior to last fall’s leasing by the BLM of an 800-acre geothermal parcel near Mount Princeton Hot Springs Resort outside Buena Vista. The winning bid at that lease auction was made by a subsidiary of Young Life, which owns a Christian youth camp on much of the same acreage and said it wanted to ensure that the camp and neighbors are protected from any geothermal development.

The lease sale was the first by the BLM in Colorado in 35 years, but the state ranks extremely high nationally in geothermal potential, the BLM said. The agency is evaluating geothermal leasing in at least two other field offices in southwestern Colorado. One proposal involves about 9,000 acres in southeastern Gunnison County.


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