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--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on preserving and connecting California's Parks & Wildlife Corridors


Wednesday, September 5, 2007


Appeals Court Says Thumbs-Down on Power Plant at Medicine Lake


Medicine Lake Geothermal Development Stopped!

In a major victory for the Pit River Tribe and sacred sites, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has invalidated Calpine's 1998 lease extension at Medicine Lake. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service extension of Calpine's geothermal leases at Medicine Lake violated both the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPS). In early 1998, the BLM and USFS extended Calpine's leases for five years and then started an Environmental Impact Study (EIS), in violation of NEPA. The Court also found that after finally completing the EIS, the agencies had not included a "no action" alternative: "The agencies never took the requisite 'hard look' at whether Medicine Lake Highlands should be developed for energy at all." The Court ruled that BLM and USFS "violated their duties under NEPA and NHPA and their fiduciary duty to the Pit River Tribe by failing to complete an environmental impact statement before extending Calpine's leases in 1998. Hence, both the five year lease extensions and the subsequent forty-year extensions must be undone."

Download the pdf file Pit River Tribe v. USFS at

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