House Natural Resources Committee today passed by a vote of 26-17 Representative Labrador's Geothermal Energy on Federal Lands Act. The act, which now awaits House floor action, was the first-term Congressman's second bill introduced since being sworn into Congress in January and currently has 11 cosponsors.
"I am pleased that this necessary piece of legislation -- and one that is particularly good for the State of Idaho -- is gaining traction in the House," said Labrador.
The legislation removes federal barriers to geothermal energy exploration while limiting environmental impact. It will allow for more production of geothermal energy on federal lands -- of which Idaho has the second largest percentage in the Continental U.S.
"In Idaho, we have an abundance of geothermal energy potential that is unavailable due to bureaucratic impediments," continued Labrador. "Idaho has a unique history of developing geothermal energy. I served in the Idaho Legislature where our 100 year old Statehouse is heated with geothermal energy, as are many downtown Boise office buildings, old and new. The annual operating costs for generating this abundant heat are essentially zero. In fact, the first private house in America heated with geothermal energy is in downtown Boise. Our legacy of developing geothermal power continues at the Idaho National Laboratory to this day. We need to harness this clean, renewable, base load form of energy, which is readily available in several western states."