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News Releases
BLM Postpones Enactment of Permit Processing Rule - 02/09/17

Requirement for Online Filing of Oil and Gas Permits will be Delayed for Additional Review

WASHINGTON -- The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is delaying for 60 days the effective date of a rule that will require online filing of permits for oil and gas drilling. The delay responds to a White House memorandum issued on January 20, 2017, instructing Federal agencies to temporarily postpone for 60 days any regulation that had published in the Federal Register, but has not taken effect. The BLM had announced this final rule in December, with an effective date of February 9, 2017.

The rule, which updates Onshore Order 1 -- Approval of Operations - is designed to improve the efficiency and transparency of the permitting process for oil and gas drilling. Onshore Order 1 previously stated that an operator must file an APD or any other required documents in the BLM Field Office having jurisdiction over the lands described in the application, but allowed for e-filing of such documents as an alternative. The revision to Onshore Order 1 makes e-filing the required method of submission, subject to limited exceptions. The BLM made this change to improve the efficiency and transparency of the Application for Permit to Drill (APD) and Notice of Staking (NOS) processes.

The 60-day delay will enable the Administration to review the rule.

Since the BLM began developing the new online permitting system in 2014, almost 500 operators representing 70 different companies have provided valuable feedback and taken part in training. To date, more than 500 permits have been reviewed and approved via the electronic permit processing system, and another 1,500 are currently being processed.

The shift toward online filing is part of an ongoing effort by the BLM to increase efficiency and transparency of the drilling permit review and approval process. This regulatory effort complements the BLM's recent upgrades to its permit processing system. The upgraded permit processing system includes increased automation, allows operators to receive real-time feedback on their permits, makes the process more transparent, and enhances the BLM's ability to manage workflow. The upgraded system was rolled out in late 2015 at certain offices and was fully implemented in 2016 within all offices. With the new system, the BLM expects it will be able to reduce overall APD processing times by as much as 50 percent.

More information about Onshore Order 1 and the rulemaking process can be found online. (Hyperlink is https://www.regulations.gov/docket?D=BLM-2016-0004)

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.
--BLM--

BLM to Host Open Houses on Proposed Withdrawal in Crucial Sage-Grouse Habitat - 02/08/17

WASHINGTON, DC -- The Bureau of Land Management today announced it will be holding eight public open houses throughout the West in February to gather input on the agency's proposal to withdraw a subset of lands that are sage-grouse strongholds from future mining claims. This is the next step in a process that started in September 2015 with the successful efforts of the BLM and its state and federal partners to prevent the Greater Sage-Grouse from being listed under the Endangered Species Act.

The draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) analyzes five alternatives, ranging from no action to the withdrawal of approximately 10 million acres of federal locatable minerals in certain areas that are particularly crucial to the Greater Sage-Grouse in six states: Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.

Neither the segregation, nor any subsequent withdrawal, would prohibit ongoing or future mining exploration or extraction operations on valid pre-existing claims.

To develop the proposal and its alternatives, the BLM held public meetings in November 2015 in the six states to gather information and comments about whether to withdraw these areas from the location of new mining claims for up to 20 years. The BLM also incorporated a mineral resource assessment prepared by the U.S. Geological Survey to help develop a reasonably foreseeable development scenario for the draft EIS.

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 30, 2016, and carries a 90-day public comment period that will end March 30, 2017. The scheduled open houses are as follows:

February 13 Great Northern Hotel
2 S 1st Street E
Malta, MT 59538 2 to 4 p.m.

February 14 BLM West Desert District Office
2370 S. Decker Lake Blvd
West Valley City, UT 84119 5 to 7 p.m.

February 15 BLM Rock Springs Field Office
280 Highway 191 North
Rock Springs, WY 82901 5 to 7 p.m.

February 16 Shilo Suites
780 Lindsay Blvd
Idaho Falls, ID 83402 5 to 7 p.m.

February 21 Nugget Casino Resort
1100 Nugget Ave.
Sparks, NV 89431 5 to 7 p.m.

February 22 BLM Lakeview District Office
1301 S G Street
Lakeview, OR 97630 5 to 7 p.m.

February 23 Elko Convention Center700 Moren Way
Elko, NV 89801 5 to 7 p.m.

February 24 Best Western Vista Inn
2645 W Airport Way
Boise, ID 83705 5 to 7 p.m.

This link takes you to a fact sheet, the draft EIS and Notice of Amended Proposed Withdrawal, and a map of the proposed withdrawals. You can comment by mailing written comments to Mark Mackiewicz, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) WO, C/O Price Field Office, 125 South 600 West, Price, Utah 84501 or by submitting electronically to: sagebrush_withdrawals@blm.gov.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

BLM Seeks Nominations for 2017 Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards Program - 02/07/17

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking nominations for the 2017 Reclamation and Sustainable Mineral Development Awards. These awards recognize those programs created to foster sustainable development, which encourages environmental health, social responsibility, and economic security.

"These awards represent some of the finest examples of responsible mineral resource development," said Michael Nedd, BLM Assistant Director for Energy, Minerals and Realty Management. "We are proud to recognize those companies or individuals who are helping to realize the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to succeed as well."

Awards are presented through one of five categories. These include the Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award, the Hardrock Mineral Community Outreach and Economic Security Award, the Hardrock Mineral Small Operator Award, the Hardrock Mineral Director's Award, and the "Fix a Shaft Today!" Award.

The Hardrock Mineral Environmental Award recognizes achievements demonstrating continuous or repeated efforts to successfully meet or exceed federal, state, or local reclamation requirements with minimal oversight.

The Hardrock Mineral Community Outreach and Economic Security Award recognizes the successful coordination of projects with local and regional stakeholders, including those projects that contribute to the quality of life or demonstrate concern for the long-term health of the local community.

The Hardrock Mineral Small Operator Award recognizes operators or organizations, with 15 employees or fewer, who have demonstrated continuous or repeated efforts to successfully meet or exceed federal, state, or local reclamation requirements with minimal oversight.

The Hardrock Mineral Director's Award is presented to a single operator, one whose dedication has resulted in the use of a new or innovative design or technique that allows or enhances successful operations in technically challenging conditions.

The "Fix a Shaft Today!" Award recognizes active participation in the FAST! Campaign, a partnership initiative aimed at eliminating unsafe abandoned mine land features including open mine shafts. Individuals, as well as organizations, are eligible for this award.
Nominations should be submitted to the BLM state office where the individual or organization is located (Attention: Solid Minerals). A brochure offering detailed information on the nomination and selecting process, as well as state contact information, is available here.

The deadline for submissions is April 28, 2017. Awards will be presented this Fall.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America's public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

BLM and Forest Service Announce 2017 Grazing Fee - 01/31/17

The Federal grazing fee for 2017 will be $1.87 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.87 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service. The 2016 public land grazing fee was $2.11.

An AUM or HM -- treated as equivalent measures for fee purposes -- is the use of public lands by one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month. The newly calculated grazing fee, determined by a congressional formula and effective on March 1, applies to nearly 18,000 grazing permits and leases administered by the BLM and nearly 6,500 permits administered by the Forest Service.

The formula used for calculating the grazing fee, which was established by Congress in the 1978 Public Rangelands Improvement Act, has continued under a presidential Executive Order issued in 1986. Under that order, the grazing fee cannot fall below $1.35 per AUM, and any increase or decrease cannot exceed 25 percent of the previous year's level.

The annually determined grazing fee is computed by using a 1966 base value of $1.23 per AUM/HM for livestock grazing on public lands in Western states. The figure is then calculated according to three factors -- current private grazing land lease rates, beef cattle prices, and the cost of livestock production. In effect, the fee rises, falls, or stays the same based on market conditions, with livestock operators paying more when conditions are better and less when conditions have declined.

The 2017 grazing fee of $1.87 per AUM/HM applies to 16 Western states on public lands administered by the BLM and the Forest Service. The states are Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. Permit holders and lessees may contact their local BLM or U.S. Forest Service office for additional information.

The BLM, an agency of the U.S. Department of the Interior, manages more land -- over 245 million surface acres -- than any other Federal agency. Most of this public land is located in 12 Western states, including Alaska.

The Forest Service, an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, manages approximately 193 million acres of Federal lands in 44 states, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

-- BLM --

Attached Media Files: 2017 Grazing Fee