Exploration Pre-Application (NV Only) (4-FD-b)
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the State of Nevada, Division of Minerals in 2006. The purpose of the MOU is to "provide coordination for oil and gas and geothermal...operations and inspections, by eliminating duplication of effort and maximizing human and fiscal resources."The developer can select to use the Exploration Pre-Application Process to assure that a complete Notice of Intent to Conduct Geothermal Resource Exploration Operations (Form 3200-009) (NOI) is submitted to the surface management agency for processing and approval. This process is intended to streamline the process to avoid delays that may result from an incomplete application.
Exploration Pre-Application (NV Only) Process
4-FD-b.1 - Description of the Proposed Action and a Map of the Proposed Location
To obtain approval of exploration operations on BLM-managed lands, the application must:
- 1. Include a complete and signed Notice of Intent to Conduct Geothermal Resource Exploration Operations (Form 3200-009) - describing the lands you wish to explore;
- 2. For operations other than drilling temperature gradient wells: describe exploration plans and procedures, including the approximate starting and ending dates for each phase of operations;
- 3. For drilling temperature gradient wells: describe drilling and completion procedures, and include, for each well or for several proposed wells in an area of geologic and environmental similarity:
- A detailed description of the equipment, materials, and procedures that will be used;
- The depth of each well;
- The casing and cementing program;
- The circulation media (mud, air, foam, etc.);
- A description of the logs that will be run;
- A description and diagram of the blowout prevention equipment that will be used during each phase of drilling;
- The expected depth and thickness of fresh water zones;
- Anticipated lost circulation zones;
- Anticipated temperature gradient in the area;
- Well site layout and design;
- Existing and planned access roads or ancillary facilities; and
- The source of drill pad and road building material and water supply.
- 4. Show evidence of bond coverage (see §3251.15);
- 5. Estimate how much surface disturbance the exploration may cause;
- 6. Describe the proposed measures that will be taken to protect the environment and other resources;
- 7. Describe methods to reclaim the surface; and
- 8. Include all other information BLM may require.
4-FD-b.2 - Review Pre-Application Materials for Completeness
The Bureau of Land Management will review the NOI to make sure it is complete and signed (43 CFR 3251.12). It will also be reviewed for compliance with any applicable operational orders, notices to lessees, lease terms and stipulations, approved plans and permits, conditions of approval, verbal orders from BLM that will be confirmed in writing and any other applicable laws and regulations.
If the BLM has leased the subsurface from another federal agency, then the BLM must consult with the federal surface management agency before approving any NOI.
If BLM requires additional information, BLM will suspend processing the NOI until the additional information is received.
After review, BLM will notify the applicant whether or not additional information is required. Otherwise, BLM will notify the applicant that the NOI is either denied or approved. At the time of approval, the applicant will be notified of any conditions of approval.
4-FD-b.3 - Notify Applicant of Completeness Within 14 Days
BLM will notify the developer of determination that application is complete within 14 days of receipt of such application.
4-FD-b.4 - Is the Pre-Application Complete?
If the pre-application is not complete, the developer will have the opportunity to correct any deficiencies and/or provide any necessary additional information.
4-FD-b.5 - Are the Lands Open to Geothermal Development
BLM consults the Land Use Management Plan and with the local field office to determine if lands are available for geothermal exploration, and development. It should be noted, however that Federal lands may be available for leasing even though the surface may not be occupied. Federally managed lands may not be open to geothermal development for a number of reasons, including:
- A land use plan is being revised and use authorizations may be deferred pending the record of decision.
- Activity is not compatible with existing land use plan.
- Lands are closed to leasing.
- Lands are not under federal management.
If the lands are closed for surface occupancy and/or leasing, BLM will notify the applicant why lands are not available for geothermal leasing and development.
4-FD-b.6 - Is there an Active Geothermal Lease
If there is no geothermal lease, forward pre-application material to appropriate surface management agency for their review and determination whether the lands are available for exploration.
4-FD-b.7 - Review Pre-Application Material
After BLM has determined that the application is complete, the Surface Management Agency (e.g. USFS) will review the application material and make recommendations for resource and environmental protection and mitigation.
4-FD-b.8 - Hold Pre-Application Coordination Meeting
Pre-application meeting required to discuss the proposed exploration activity and identify specific information or environmental surveys that will be required.
4-FD-b.9 - Conduct On-Site Evaluation
After the pre-application meeting an on-site evaluation is required to evaluate site specific conditions and identify additional surveys and conditions of approval for developer to compete Notice of Intent (NOI) application. For a description of specific environmental issues arising in geothermal projects, see the Geothermal Energy Association's Guide to Geothermal Energy and the Environment.
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- BLM Geothermal Forms
- Notice of Intent to Conduct Geothermal Resource Exploration Operations (Form 3200-009)
- BLM Geothermal Guidance Document
- BLM's Geocommunicator Webpage
- BLM's Recommended Project Submittals for NOIs, Operations and Drilling Plans
- BLM's Geothermal Operational Order
- BLM/FS MOU for Leasing and Permitting - WO300-2006-08
- BLM/NevadaDOM MOU for Coordination of OGG Permitting and Inspection - 2006 NDOM MOU