Chaffee County is blessed with considereable geothermal resources. The geothermal activity has allowed for several commercial hot springs resorts and has also been the resource that has allowed for some commercial greenhouse businesses. There has recently been keen interest in harnessing some of the geothermal resources for the generation of electrical energy from the thermal energy of the hot water.
In this time of signifigant interest in alternative energy, geothermal is recieving great attention, as it should. At the same time, it is essential that ALL (or as many as possible) of the factors and consequences of harnessing this potential resource be examined. Moving too quickly often results in "unintended consequences". Our recommendation is thus to be cautious and proceed slowly, being certain to follow the advice of "first do no harm".
At this time the BLM has 800 acres along Chalk Creek (near Mount Princeton) scheduled to be put up for a competitive lease sale on February 11, 2010. In light of the comments above, CCFS feels that a one year halt in the proposed sale should be placed so that further information can be gathered concerning the ramifications of this sale.
A local group of Chaffee County citizens has recently launched the website www.chaffeecountygeothermal.com . According to the website they hope to: Give the people of Chaffee County a straightforward way to understand how the proposed geothermal energy development can both help and hurt us all. The website has a considerable amount of timely information.
On Thursday January 28 the U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced that it was removing the geothermal parcel near Mount Princeton. BLM representatives’ said that the parcel will undergo additional environmental review and analysis. The BLM said that it “… received several substantive comments in writing after our Jan. 14 public information meeting in Buena Vista that caused us to decide to further review the current stipulations on the parcel.”
Thanks go to the many concerned citizens and also to Senator Gail Schwartz. Senator Schwartz sent a letter to the BLM expressing her concerns about the lease.