Cover Image


View/Hide Left Panel

the historical earthquake data near the well are closely examined, along with any published fault maps in the area. Additional data regarding fault information, such as that available from three-dimensional (3D) seismic images or other geological information from the well operator may be requested if the well appears to be sited in a high-risk area.


The best practices protocols appropriately include an emphasis on establishing a public relations plan to inform the public as well as the appropriate regulatory agencies of the purpose of the proposed or existing project, the intended operations, and the expected impacts on the nearby communities and/or facilities. Public acceptance begins with an understanding of what is expected to transpire and what contingencies exist for dealing with the unexpected. Inherent in any public information and communication plan is the idea that a developer regularly meets with the local public to explain the schedule and activities of each upcoming stage of operations, as well as the results of the operations performed to date. During the committee’s information gathering session in The Geysers in Northern California and at the associated workshop in Berkeley, we had an opportunity to discuss the 50-year history of induced seismicity at The Geysers geothermal field and meet with the operators, regulatory authorities, researchers, and the local residents from Anderson Springs and Cobb, nearest to The Geysers operations, and subject to the effects of ground shaking due to induced seismicity (see Appendix B—meeting agenda). The discussions we had with these individuals provided some interesting lessons (Box 6.2) regarding the value and potential success of constructive public engagement, for all parties, when induced seismicity may be or becomes an issue in an energy development project. The committee found several very important points to consider regarding the value of successful public outreach, using this example from The Geysers:

1. Time. Public engagement, even if begun early in a project’s planning processes, is a process that occurs over a long time and not a goal in itself. As a process, public engagement requires dedicated and frequent communications among industry, the public, government officials, and researchers.

2. Information and education. Although the initial burden to supply information and to educate local residents lies with the operator and government authorities, residents, too, have a responsibility to become informed and to be constructive purveyors of data and information back to those responsible for operations to allow constructive dialogue to take place.

3. Managed expectations through transparency. Coupled to the sharing of information and education is the idea of managing expectations. Each group involved

The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement