The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for coal leasing where the coal subsurface mineral estate is owned by the federal government. The surface estate of these lands could be managed by the BLM, the U. S. Forest Service, private land owners, or other Federal agencies. The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended, requires that all public lands available for coal leasing be offered competitively. Competitive leasing provides an opportunity for any interested party to competitively bid for a federal coal lease. BLM receives revenues on coal leasing through a bonus paid at the time BLM issues the lease, through annual rental payments of $3 per acre or fraction thereof, and by royalties paid on the value of the coal after it has been mined.
There is a rigorous land use planning process through which all public lands are reviewed for potential coal leasing. Requirements for the land use plan include multiple use, sustained yield,* protection of critical environmental areas,* application of specific unsuitability criteria,* and coordination with other government agencies. There are four land use screening steps unique to developing land use planning decisions for federal coal lands. These are:
· Identification of coal with potential for development
· Determination if the lands are unsuitable for coal development
· Consideration of multiple use conflicts
· Surface owner consultation
If you are interested in the exploration or leasing of coal, please refer to the Resource Management Plan and Record of Decision for the area in which you are interested.
*Sustained yield - the determination of the ongoing supply of a natural resource
*Critical environmental areas - sensitive environments such as endangered species habitats that require special management
*Unsuitability criteria - a required screening process to determine the availibilty of leasing coal on BLM managed lands
*CFR - Code of Federal Regulations