Kim sponsors bill to hasten clean energy production in U.S.

Legislation introduced on Feb. 20 by U.S. Rep. Young Kim (R-CA) would streamline geothermal energy infrastructure development and production to expedite clean energy production in the United States.

The Harnessing Energy at Thermal Sources (HEATS) Act, H.R. 7409, which Rep. Kim sponsored alongside lead original cosponsor U.S. Rep. John Duarte (R-CA), would amend the Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 to waive the requirement for a federal drilling permit for certain activities, which then would be exempt from the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, according to the text of the bill.

“Energy security is national security. Deploying U.S. energy innovation promotes U.S. energy independence, expands our energy portfolio, lowers costs for Americans, reduces emissions, and secures supply chains,” said Rep. Young Kim. “The HEATS Act helps us achieve these goals and is a common-sense way to accelerate renewable geothermal energy production and deployment which is a win for our economy, national security, and environment.”

While H.R. 7409 would clarify that geothermal operators do not need a federal drilling permit for wells that are on state and private lands where the subsurface geothermal estate is less than 50 percent federal, they would still be subject to state permitting regulations, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Kim’s staff.

ClearPath Action endorsed H.R. 7409, which has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee.

“The current permitting process has stifled development of innovative geothermal projects that offer 24/7 baseload clean energy,” said Rich Powell, CEO at ClearPath Action. The reforms contained in Rep. Kim’s bill “… are badly needed to unlock investment in these promising technologies to get steel in the ground.”