Burning Man sues Biden administration over geothermal project

A bagpipe player and a belly dancer on stilts take part in the “Burning Man” festival, across a stretch of the Black Rock Desert in Nevada.

Mike Nelson | AFP | beautiful pictures

Organizers of the Burning Man arts and cultural festival and several environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) over its approval of a geothermal exploration project in northwestern Nevada.

The lawsuit, filed in Nevada federal court on Monday, alleges that BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act and other laws in 2022 by failing to adequately assess its environmental impacts. Ormat developer exploration plan.

The lawsuit alleges that the agency conducted a limited environmental assessment, taking into account only the project’s impacts on Gerlach. The town only has a population of about 100, but serves as the gateway to the festival, which attracts 70,000 people each year.

Burning Man, which owns or operates more than 4,000 acres in the area, argues that BLM’s approval for Ormat to develop 19 geothermal exploration wells and build 2.8 miles of road overlooked much of the harm. potential for the environment.

The festival argues that geothermal development will eventually deplete the natural hot springs adjacent to the project site in a desert area “otherwise there wouldn’t be much water.”

The Biden administration last year announced a goal to expand the use of geothermal energy – renewable energy that comes from water heated inside the Earth – to support the country’s transition away from fossil fuels. warming the planet. The Department of Energy says it plans to cap the cost of geothermal energy systems by 90% by 2035.

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