(CN) – Heading a bipartisan group of representatives, Rep. Mike Thompson urged President Obama to preserve geothermal revenue sharing as he drafts the 2013 federal budget.
Thompson is a Democratic congressman representing Lake County, Calif., which received $800,000 last year in geothermal royalties. Lynn Woolsey, another member of the group, represents Sonoma County, which received $1.1 million.
The two counties meet at The Geysers steamfield, which encompassed 45 square miles and is mostly owned by Fortune 500 company, Calpine Corporation. The Geysers is the largest single renewable geothermal power resource in the world and could run a city the size of San Francisco, according to Calpine’s website.
Revenue sharing began as a result of the bipartisan Energy Policy Act of 2005 and accounts for “less than one half of one percent of the total federal deficit,” according to the Lake County News.
Counties share in the revenue because geothermal production costs counties for public safety, road maintenance, conservation easements and law enforcement, according to Thompson’s Feb. 2 letter. Without the money, the mostly rural counties running geothermal plants may not be able to keep up their infrastructure, according to the letter.