The Bureau of Land Management:
The Private Surface Owner:
Planning and Leasing
Planning and Leasing
Planning and Leasing
Must involve the public when preparing land use plans and amendments.
Is encouraged to participate in and comment on preparation of land use plans and amendments, particularly those parts of the plan where energy issues and mitigation are discussed.
Is encouraged to participate in and comment on the preparation of land use plans and amendments, particularly those parts of the plan where management of split estate, development of energy resources, and environmental protection measures are discussed.
Must notify the public when oil and gas lease sales have been scheduled. Permitting
The BLM manages 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate nationwide, including approximately 58 million acres where the surface is privately owned. In many cases, the surface rights and mineral rights were severed under the terms of the Nation’s homesteading laws. These and other Federal laws, regulations, and BLM policy directives, some noted below, give managers the authority and direction for administering the development of Federal oil and natural gas resources beneath privately owned surface. • • • • • • • •
Coal Lands Acts of 1909 and 1910 Agricultural Entry Act of 1914 Stock Raising Homestead Act of 1916 Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 and amendments Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 Onshore Oil and Gas Orders No. 1 and No. 7 BLM and Forest Service Oil and Gas Gold Book BLM Instruction Memorandums
Should coordinate and consult with the BLM (or other surface management agency) and the surface owner as early as possible.
Requires the lessee/operator to certify that a good faith effort has been made to negotiate a surface use agreement with the surface owner.
Is responsible for making a good faith effort to reach access arrangements with the surface owner prior to entry upon the lands for the purpose of surveying, staking, or conducting cultural or biological surveys.
Will invite the surface owner to participate in the pre-drilling onsite inspection/meeting, and seeks the surface owner’s input on development and reclamation issues.
Must participate in the onsite inspection the BLM schedules for the Notice of Staking or the Application for Permit to Drill.
During permit review, offers the surface owner the same level of resource protection provided on federally owned surface. Carefully considers the surface owner’s views and the effects on the surface owner’s uses of the land before determining mitigation requirements and approving operations. Must fulfill the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, the National Historic Preservation Act, the Endangered Species Act, the Clean Water Act, and other applicable laws regarding surface resources.
Bonding Performance Bond: Requires a bond from the lessee/operator to ensure compliance, including costs of plugging, reclamation, and restoration in accordance with 43 CFR 3104. The bond is held by the BLM for the benefit of the BLM.
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Surface Owner Damages Bond: If a good-faith effort by the lessee/ operator does not produce a surface use agreement with the surface owner, the BLM requires a separate bond from the lessee/operator for an amount sufficient (minimum $1,000) to protect the surface owner against reasonable and foreseeable loss or damages (such as loss or damages to crops or tangible improvements), or as otherwise required by the specific statutory authority under which the surface was patented and the terms of the lease.
In each phase, the BLM, the lessee/operator, and the private surface owner have rights, responsibilities, and opportunities. Parcels of land or mineral estate open for leasing under the terms of a BLM land use plan may be nominated for leasing by companies or members of the public. The BLM reviews every nomination to ensure that leasing the parcel would conform to the terms of the land use plan, which has been developed previously with broad public input. The initial term for a Federal oil and gas lease is 10 years, but production can extend this lease period. Successfully bidding on and acquiring the oil and gas lease gives the lessee or designated operator the right to enter and occupy as much of the surface as is reasonably required to explore, drill, and produce the oil and natural gas resources on the leasehold, subject to applicable Federal laws, regulations, lease stipulations, and permit requirements. The BLM works to encourage coordination and cooperation among all parties that have rights and responsibilities in split estate situations.
Encourages the lessee/operator to contact the surface owner as early as possible when operations are contemplated.
Under these laws, regulations, and procedures, the leasing and development of Federal oil and natural gas resources occur in four phases: Planning and Leasing Permitting Drilling and Production Surface Reclamation
May nominate parcels of eligible and available land for leasing and protest and/or comment on pending lease sales.
Must identify the surface owner and include the owner’s name, address, and telephone number, if known, in the Notice of Staking, Application for Permit to Drill, and Sundry Notices. Is encouraged to incorporate environmental Best Management Practices into the Application for Permit to Drill–Surface Use Plan. Must make a good faith effort to provide a copy of the Application for Permit to Drill–Surface Use Plan to the surface owner at the time the Plan is filed with the BLM. Must certify to the BLM that a copy of the Surface Use Plan of Operations was provided to the surface owner or that a good faith effort was made if unable to provide the document to the surface owner.
Permitting Provided the surface owner can be identified and contacted: Will be contacted by the lessee/operator prior to entry and staking to discuss access arrangements and begin discussions on the terms of a surface use agreement. Will be invited by the BLM to participate in onsite inspection/ meetings during the Notice of Staking and/or Application for Permit to Drill process. During permit review, is entitled to the same level of resource protection provided on federally owned surface. Is encouraged to respond to the BLM’s request for recommendations for addressing surface construction and reclamation issues on private surface.
Must make a good faith effort to notify the surface owner before entry and obtain a surface use agreement with the surface owner.
Will have views on protection standards and construction and operation issues carefully considered by the BLM as the BLM determines appropriate permit mitigation measures.
Must certify to the BLM that a good faith effort was made to notify the surface owner before entry and a surface use agreement was reached with the surface owner or a good faith effort to reach an agreement had failed.
Bonding Performance Bond: Must submit an adequate bond for the benefit of the BLM to ensure compliance, including costs of complete and timely plugging, reclamation, and restoration. Surface Owner Damages Bond: Must submit a separate Damages Bond (minimum $1,000) to the BLM for the benefit of the surface owner to cover loss or damages (such as loss or damages to crops or tangible improvements) if good faith efforts to obtain a surface use agreement fail. May appeal the BLM’s final decision on the amount of the Damages Bond to the Interior Board of Land Appeals.
Prior to approving the Application for Permit to Drill, advises the surface owner of the right to review the bond and to file an objection with the BLM of the sufficiency of a lessee/operator’s proposed Damages Bond.
Has the right to protest and/or comment on pending lease sales.
Drilling and Production
Surface Owner Damages Bond: Has the right to object to the sufficiency of the Surface Owner Damages Bond. Will have bond-sufficiency objections reviewed by the BLM in a timely manner. Has the right to appeal the BLM’s final bonding decision to the Interior Board of Land Appeals. Is entitled to seek compensation from the lessee/operator for loss or damages (such as loss or damages to crops or tangible improvements), and if not satisfied, can file a claim in court for payment by the BLM under the Damages Bond. May also be entitled to other legal remedies under State law. Drilling and Production
Reviews and determines the sufficiency of the Damages Bond, considering any objection of the surface owner to the bond amount.
Must make a good faith effort to provide a copy of the approved Application for Permit to Drill–Conditions of Approval to the surface owner, and for later operations, make a good faith effort to provide the surface owner a copy of any proposal involving new surface disturbance.
May approve the Application for Permit to Drill if the BLM determines the bond is sufficient.
Must certify to the BLM that a good faith effort was made to provide a copy of any proposal involving new surface disturbance to the private surface owner.
Advises the surface owner and lessee/operator of the right to appeal the BLM’s final bonding decision and forwards any appeals to the Interior Board of Land Appeals.
Must comply with the terms of the lease, the Application for Permit to Drill, and the Conditions of Approval. Must conduct operations to minimize adverse effects to surface and subsurface resources and prevent unnecessary surface disturbance.
Should notify the surface owner within 24 hours of any emergency situation that involves surface resources.
May provide views on reclamation to the BLM for careful consideration.
Drilling and Production Conducts compliance inspections, consults with surface owner as appropriate, and takes enforcement action when necessary to ensure permit compliance. Surface Reclamation Must carefully consider the surface owner’s views on reclamation requirements and seek concurrence that final reclamation is satisfactory.
Has the right to enter and occupy as much of the surface as is reasonably necessary to explore, drill, and remove the oil and natural gas resource on the leasehold, subject to obtaining the BLM’s approval of the drilling and surface use plans. Surface Reclamation Must provide a reclamation plan to the BLM when filing the Application for Permit to Drill, to change an existing plan, or prior to abandonment if a plan is not on file with the BLM. Must complete reclamation to the satisfaction of the BLM in consultation with the surface owner.
Is encouraged to report any environmental and surfacedisturbance-related concerns to the BLM. Can expect to have timely and appropriate inspection and enforcement action taken.
May concur that final reclamation is satisfactory or may recommend additional actions.