Crater Lake drilling stirs controversy
July 28, 1984
CRATER LAKE, Ore. (AP) – A revised environmental impact assessment due next month could lead to round-the-clock drilling next to Crater Lake National Park in a search for geothermal energy – water heated by the roots of the volcano that created the lake.
But park officials are concerned that exploratory drilling within a mile of the park’s boundary could affect the nation’s deepest lake and disturb the 500,000 people who come to the quiet park each year.
“In 1,000 years, Crater Lake will be one of the true benchmarks of untouched land. We have a responsibility to protect that,” said Park Superintendent Robert E. Benton.
“We are not an island in the middle of an ocean. Things that go on around us have an effect on us,” added Jon Jarvis, resource management specialist at the park. “Thus far we haven’t seen the kind of research into this proposal to allow us to say there will or will not be an impact on Crater Lake ‘
Next summer, California Energy Co. plans to send a drill rig into the Winema National Forest, next to the park, where the company holds leases covering 100,000 acres.
It wants to drill between four and 20 holes 4,000-feet deep in a search for water heated by remnants of the volcanic activity that shaped the Cascade Mountains over the past 50 million years.
Efforts by other companies to develop geothermal resources outside Yellowstone and Lassen Volcanic national parks have been quashed because of concerns they could harm the parks’ geysers, hot springs and other natural attractions, he said.
Crater Lake was formed 6,845 years ago when Mount Mazama erupted, shooting volcanic ash as far away as British Columbia. After the volcano had ejected all of its molten rock it collapsed and water gradually filled the hole.
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