Meeting on effects of geothermal energy development near Valles Caldera set for Albuquerque

July 27, 2016 GMT

Santa Fe National Forest has announced the scheduling of an additional public meeting on a draft Environmental Impact Statement related to the potential impact of geothermal energy development on forest land surrounding Valles Caldera National Preserve.

The meeting is scheduled from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, at the JCC of Greater Albuquerque, 5520 Wyoming Blvd. in Albuquerque, according to a news release.

SFNF held three public meetings earlier this month in Santa Fe, Jemez Springs and El Rito to discuss the proposal and the analysis of effects. Environmental groups have been calling for an additional meeting in Albuquerque since many people who enjoy recreational activities in the area under study ? including hunting, fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing and horseback riding ? come from the Albuquerque area.


In addition, SFNF announced it was extending the formal comment period on the environmental analysis to Oct. 28.

The meetings were scheduled after the U.S. Geographical Survey identified approximately 195,000 acres within the boundaries of the forest as having “significant geothermal potential,” according to the release.

One company is on record as having notified the Bureau of Land Management of its interest in leasing approximately 46,000 acres of forest land for geothermal exploration and development.

A decision as to whether to allow geothermal exploration and development in the area ? and if so under what conditions ? will ultimately be made by the forest supervisor and is expected sometime next year.