Haiwee Geothermal Development Update
In January 2020 the BLM released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for a project that will expand the Haiwee Geothermal Leasing Area to 22,805 acres, almost triple in size. With this growth, BLM will change the management provisions of National Conservation Lands and Areas of Critical Environmental Concern to allow for geothermal energy production, infringing on Mojave ground squirrel populations, sacred tribal sites, desert tortoise land and more. Part of the leasing area is proposed to expand into a Development Focus Area (DFA) which was established by the DRECP. Friends of the Inyo is pushing back against the rollback conservation protections while showing support for the project only within the established Development Focus Area.
A coalition of environmental groups submitted comments on the Draft Final EIS in November. You can read these comments by clicking here. Due to a number of deficiencies in the Final EIS, we are protesting this project to the BLM Director. We will continue to update our members as we hear BLMs decision on this project. This project serves as a warning shot for the changes we will likely see to the DRECP in the coming months. While there is not an opportunity to comment on this Haiwee Geothermal project at this stage, there will ample opportunity to make your voice heard when the DRECP amendments are released. Stay alert.