Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Congressman Garamendi Joins Bipartisan Fight for Geothermal Energy Revenue in Budget

February 24, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC - Last week, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), the former Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Interior Department, joined a bipartisan Congressional coalition urging lawmakers to preserve geothermal revenue sharing for local communities after the Administration decided to eliminate them in its proposed budget.

“On the scale of the U.S. budget, geothermal royalty payments are a drop in the bucket, but in communities like Lake County, they are incredibly important,” Congressman Garamendi said.
“This incentive helps sustain an important source of renewable energy, and revenues raised go directly toward local infrastructure, conservation, and safety priorities. We’ve been down this road before. Thanks to the leadership of Congressman Thompson and others in our bipartisan coalition, we’ll do everything in our power to make sure this subsidy is as reliable as the Geysers.”

In Fiscal Year 2014, Lake County received more than $959,000 in geothermal royalties, money that directly supports public infrastructure, safety, and conservation efforts. The Geysers, located in Lake and Sonoma counties, are home to the largest grouping of geothermal power plants in the world.

In a letter to President Obama, the lawmakers wrote:

“We are disappointed that geothermal royalty payments to counties were eliminated in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget request. We understand and support the need to propose a fiscally prudent budget, but repealing geothermal royalty payments to counties is a short sighted method that does little to address fiscal challenges. 

In a letter to Congress Members Ken Calvert and Betty McCollum, the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies, the lawmakers explained why geothermal subsidies must continue:

“In the bipartisan Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress decided that because of the high burdens geothermal production places on the counties where geothermal development is located, these counties should share in the revenue of the federal receipts. In turn, counties have used these revenues to pay for critical governmental services, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, and conservation easements. This revenue sharing has also made counties vested partners, and ultimately champions, in the continued development of geothermal energy—a clean, renewable, and domestic energy source that provides jobs in rural areas. Ending the geothermal revenue sharing plan will have a significant negative impact on our districts, while the overall effect on our nation’s fiscal well-being would be miniscule.”

The complete letters are available below. A PDF of the letter to the White House is available here. A PDF of the letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies is available here.

Letter to the Administration

February 17, 2014

The President

The White House

Washington, DC 20500

 

Dear Mr. President:

We are disappointed that geothermal royalty payments to counties were eliminated in the Fiscal Year 2016 budget request. We understand and support the need to propose a fiscally prudent budget, but repealing geothermal royalty payments to counties is a short sighted method that does little to address fiscal challenges. 

In the bipartisan Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress decided that, because of the high burdens geothermal production places on the counties where geothermal development is located, these counties should share in the revenue of the federal receipts.  In turn, counties have used these revenues to pay for critical governmental services, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, and conservation easements. This revenue sharing also has made counties vested partners, and ultimately champions, in the continued development of geothermal energy—a clean, renewable, and domestic energy source that provides well-paying jobs in rural areas.

Ending the geothermal revenue sharing plan will have a significant negative impact on our districts, while the overall effect on our nation’s fiscal well-being would be miniscule—$4 million in 2015 and $48 million over 10 years. Many of the counties that receive revenue from geothermal receipts are small, rural communities facing precarious budget situations. The loss of such revenue for these counties could result in the elimination or reduction of essential services. We strongly support geothermal revenue sharing with counties and we encourage you to consider it in future budget proposals.

We appreciate your attention to this issue and look forward to working with you to promote geothermal energy production and provide support for the surrounding communities.

Sincerely,

Mike Thompson

John Garamendi

Chris Stewart

Jared Huffman

Steve Pearce

Doug LaMalfa

Juan Vargas

Crescent Hardy

Paul Cook

Mark Amodei

 

Letter to the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies

February 17, 2015

 

The Honorable Ken Calvert

H-305, The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

 

The Honorable Betty McCollum

1016 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Chairman Calvert and Ranking Member McCollum:

As you begin consideration of fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget measures, we encourage you to again authorize geothermal royalty payments to counties. Unfortunately the President has eliminated these payments in his most recent budget proposal, cutting an important lifeline for local communities. We understand the need for fiscal prudence, but repealing geothermal royalty payments to counties is a short sighted method that does nearly nothing to solve our fiscal problems. 

In the bipartisan Energy Policy Act of 2005, Congress decided that because of the high burdens geothermal production places on the counties where geothermal development is located, these counties should share in the revenue of the federal receipts. In turn, counties have used these revenues to pay for critical governmental services, such as road maintenance, public safety and law enforcement, and conservation easements. This revenue sharing has also made counties vested partners, and ultimately champions, in the continued development of geothermal energy—a clean, renewable, and domestic energy source that provides jobs in rural areas.

Ending the geothermal revenue sharing plan will have a significant negative impact on our districts, while the overall effect on our nation’s fiscal well-being would be miniscule—$4 million in 2015 and $48 million over 10 years. Many of the counties that receive revenue from geothermal receipts are small, rural communities facing precarious budget situations. The loss of such revenue for these counties could result in the elimination or reduction of essential services.

We strongly support geothermal revenue sharing with counties and we encourage you to consider it in upcoming budget proposals.

We appreciate your attention to this issue and look forward to working with you to promote geothermal energy production and provide support for the surrounding communities.

Sincerely,

Mike Thompson

John Garamendi

Doug LaMalfa

Steve Pearce

Juan Vargas

Paul Cook

Jared Huffman

Crescent Hardy