APCD director explains Ormat decision

APCD Director Ted Schade

APCD Director Ted Schade

Mammoth Community Water District officials issued a press release this week to say that Air Pollution Control District Director Ted Schade had moved ahead to certify the EIR on Ormat Geothermal’s expansion plans in the Mammoth area. In an email to both sides, Schade explains that he tried to get the geothermal people and water district to agree on a monitoring and mitigation plan. In his email Schade also said that he will not issue additional well permits to Ormat until a monitoring plan is in place.

Schade’s email to the water district, Ormat, BLM and the Forest Service details a year-long effort to urge Ormat and water officials to reach agreement on a monitoring plan for the proposed Casa Diablo 4 geothermal plant and well field.

In his email, Schade said his hopes for a monitoring plan agreement are futile. He said, “I do not believe Ormat and MCWD are anywhere near an agreement. This is very disappointing. I had hoped that my direction to the parties and my continued delay in certifying the EIR would act as leverage to bring the parties together. It seems that my lever was far too small to move the parties toward agreement.”

Schade also said he believes BLM is the agency that should oversee development of a monitoring plan. He also made it clear that while he has issued the permit for the new plant, he will not issue additional well permits until a monitoring plan is in place.

APCD Director Schade also said he is convinced that even if a monitoring plan is developed, the EIR will be litigated. Schade said the Water District manager assured him MCWD would not litigate the issue, but there are others who could.

Citizens and officials in the Mammoth Lakes community, nationally elected officials and others fear dangerous impacts on Mammoth’s water supply if there is not a monitoring plan in place for the new geothermal wells. Although Schade has said he will not issue well permits until a monitoring plan exists.

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Poncho
Poncho
7 years ago

Gas emission problems as a result of extraction from the wells.

Grover
Grover
7 years ago

Understood. At least there should be no way to get a well permit via AQPC without mitigating for gas emissions.

Concerned about water
Concerned about water
7 years ago
Reply to  Grover

I don’t know if you are aware the monitoring is underground and not air. This is about water Quality. Ok so the project will get built less new wells. How is that going to work. How is APCD going to stop a well. Does the APCD have any say on… Read more »

Durrell Coleman
Durrell Coleman
7 years ago

Absolutely!
District rules require Permits to Construct and Permits to Operate geothermal wells.

Concerned about water
Concerned about water
7 years ago

Durrell , Do you work for the APCD? I don’t see your name on the website. I also do not see where the district is responsible for wells. I thoroughly understand the issues of emissions of the plant as they do emit some Isobutane into the air. That would definitely… Read more »

Ted Schade
Ted Schade
7 years ago

The drilling and operation of geothermal wells are potential sources of air emissions, especially methane. As such they require permits to construct and operate. I have notified Ormat that I will not issue any more well permits until a monitoring plan is in place. This will allow the inevitable EIR… Read more »

Ken Warner
Ken Warner
7 years ago
Reply to  Ted Schade

Ted Schade: Insisting on a water monitoring plan for monitoring the extraction of water and possible cross contamination of the potable aquifer seems like a simple precaution. I can’t understand the resistance of Ormat to this idea.

Mammoth resident
Mammoth resident
7 years ago
Reply to  Ted Schade

Thank you Ted. However that still does not put many of us at ease. When have no guarantee that you will still be around when this comes back for a well permit Like others have said all this will do is probably cause MCWD to litigate and cost our town… Read more »

Mammoth resident
Mammoth resident
7 years ago
Reply to  Ted Schade

MCWD Wants deeper monitoring wells than Ormat. The deeper wells may offer information that Ormat would prefer not to be known. MCWD also wants a mitigation plan in the event that something goes wrong. The parties refuse to reach agreement as to what is necessary.