This EA evaluates whether law, policy or regulation prohibits or sets limits on geothermal development across an approximate 81,820 acre analysis area surrounding Mt. Baker. The decision will determine the suitability for potential geothermal leases, with stipulations. While this decision, considered a “consent to lease” action, will have no ground disturbances, the EA identifies an initial set of prohibitions, or “stipulations”, for protecting resources should geothermal development actually occur.
The project involves the Forest Service consenting to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to conduct geothermal lease sales for those National Forest System (NFS) lands analyzed in the EA and determined to be suitable for leasing. Stipulations developed in the EA would be incorporated into any lease that the BLM may offer to the public. A decision to consent to lease these lands will not authorize or allow any surface disturbing activities. Any post-leasing exploration or development would be subject to further environmental analysis, including mitigation measures to protect National Forest resources.
A copy of the EA is available on the Forest’s website: www.fs.usda.gov/goto/mbs/projects under the project title, Mt. Baker Ranger District Geothermal Consent to Lease Project. There is a 30-day public comment period beginning February 4, 2015.
Specific written comments on this EA may be submitted by e-mail, letter, office visit, or fax. Written comments may be mailed or delivered in person to: Erin Uloth, District Ranger, Mt. Baker Ranger District, 810 State Route 20, Sedro-Woolley, WA 98274. Office hours for those submitting hand-delivered written comments are: 8 am – 4:30 pm on non-holiday weekdays. Comments may also be faxed to (360) 856-1934. Electronic comments should be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org.