Geothermal Environmental Impact Assessment

Environmental and Economic Impact Assessment of
Geothermal Leasing in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
ECO/370 Environmental Economics
10 April 2012
Daniel Rowe

Environmental and Economic Impact Assessment - Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
This paper will evaluate the environmental and economic impacts of the proposal to allow leasing of public lands within the state of Washington as outlined in chapter 17 of the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Geothermal Leasing in the Western United States.   The paper will identify the stakeholders and the local communities that will feel the greatest effects of the environmental and economic impacts caused by the geothermal energy proposals.   In addition, the cataloging of the predicted consequences stemming from the purposed actions will address the severity and significance of the environmental and economic impacts.  
The process of geothermal development follows a series of steps, which includes either a comprehensive or site-specific environmental impact assessment (United States Department of the Interior: Bureau of Land Management & United States Department of Agriculture: United States Forest Service, 2008).   These steps start with (a) exploration of the purposed area; (b) applying and procuring a lease; (c) drilling, developing, harnessing, and producing energy; and (d) when production become unprofitable the site is abandoned and reclamation begins (BLM & USFS, 2008).   Before the Bureau of Land Management approves a lease and drilling start, scientists and administers must conduct an impact assessment (BLM & USFS, 2008).   The impact assessment addresses the environmental effects created by the purposed action in three distinct areas, consisting of 9,450.2 acres of land within the southeastern foothills found in the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, located in Whatcom County, Washington (BLM & USFS, 2008).  
In this area, the Bureau of Land...