THOMPSON SUBMITS STATEMENT INTO THE OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL RECORD HONORING CALIFORNIA’S GEOTHERMAL INDUSTRY
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-5) submitted a statement into the official record of the United States House of Representatives commemorating Geothermal Awareness Month. The statement was submitted today, May 21st, to mark California’s Geothermal Awareness Day.
Thompson has repeatedly and successfully fought to protect geothermal royalties from harmful federal budget cuts. Geothermal revenue sharing was first started through the bipartisan Energy Policy Act of 2005. Congress decided that because of the high burdens geothermal production places on the counties where it is developed, the counties should share in the revenue. Counties use geothermal revenues to pay for governmental services, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, and conservation easements. Many of the counties receiving revenue from geothermal receipts are small, rural counties facing uncertain budget situations. The loss of such revenue for these counties could result in the elimination or reduction of essential services. Revenue sharing has also made counties vested partners in the continued development of geothermal energy – a clean, renewable, and domestic energy source that provides jobs in rural areas.
In Fiscal Year 2014, Lake County received more than $959,000 in geothermal royalties and Sonoma County received more than $1,315,000 in geothermal royalties.
The text of the statement is below.
May 21, 2015
Remarks of Representative Mike Thompson
Honoring California’s Geothermal Industry
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor California’s Geothermal Industry as we celebrate Geothermal Awareness Month. It is important to recognize the success of existing geothermal facilities in California and the great value in promoting the development of new geothermal power, one of California’s greatest natural resources.
“Geothermal energy is an excellent source of clean, renewable energy that supports thousands of jobs across our district and state. Not only does the production of geothermal energy boost our economy and reduce our dependence on foreign oil, it provides counties with important royalty payments which they use to pay for important priorities like public safety, road maintenance and law enforcement. Furthermore, geothermal energy is critical to California’s renewable and low carbon energy goals.
“Geothermal energy is locally produced and boosts rural economies through jobs, royalties, tax payments and more. While in development, a geothermal power project will employ hundreds of individuals during construction and post-construction, more than most other renewable technologies. I am proud to represent The Geysers, which lies beneath the surface of Lake and Sonoma Counties, employs 300 full-time employees at Calpine, fifty full-time employees at the Northern California Power Agency’s two Geysers power plants and more than 150 contractors. The Geysers is also the largest taxpayer in both Sonoma and Lake Counties.
“Geothermal power benefits communities across the state, while providing important environmental benefits. In the south, The Salton Sea Restoration and Renewable Energy Initiative, a plan to save an important source of water and minerals in the state, can add up to 1,700 megawatts of low-impact, cost-competitive geothermal energy to the State’s power grid. In the north, the Geysers maximizes the economic and environmental benefits of the resource, and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions to the equivalent of removing almost half a million cars from the road, meaning cleaner air for local towns and cities.
“Mr. Speaker, it is appropriate at this time that we recognize May 21, 2015 as Geothermal Awareness Day and honor California’s Geothermal Industry for ensuring that new and existing geothermal power is part of a diverse and sustainable energy mix now and in the future.”
Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Rep. Thompson is also a member of the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition and chairs the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus.
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