Here’s more from Wyden:
The reason for this legislation is to allow the rapid expansion of already identified geothermal resources without the additional delays of competitive leasing and without opening up those adjacent properties to speculative bidders who have no interest in actually developing the resource, only in extracting as much money as they can from the existing geothermal developer.
The bill is not a give away at taxpayer expense. The bill limits the amount of adjacent Federal land that can be leased to 640 acres. This lease on Federal land must be acquired at fair-market value. The bill also requires the lease holder to pay the higher annual rental rate associated with competitive leases even though this new parcel is not being competitively leased. Again, the purpose of this higher rental rate is to ensure that taxpayers will get the revenue due to them from the use of their public lands.