Montana/Dakotas

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United States Department of the Interior
 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Montana State Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, Montana 59101-4669
http://www.blm.gov/mt

December 21, 2006

 
In Reply To: 
2200/3000 (924.6) P
 
 
EMAIL TRANSMISSION – 12/22/06
Instruction Memorandum No. MT-2007-016
Expires: 9/30/08
 
To:           All Montana/Dakotas Employees
 
From:       State Director   
 
Subject:    BLM Energy and Non-Energy Mineral Policy and the Withdrawal Program
 
Program Area: Lands and Realty Program, Minerals Management, Resource Management
 
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) implements the new BLM Energy and Non-Energy Mineral Policy (Mineral Policy) in the Montana/Dakotas land withdrawal program.
 
Policy/Action: The BLM Mineral Policy was developed in alignment with the new land withdrawal policy in the Departmental Manual Part 603, Land Withdrawal Program.  This IM incorporates the new Mineral Policy, transmitted by WO IM 2006-197, into the land withdrawal program within the Montana/Dakotas lands and realty program. The criteria for new withdrawal proposals and renewals must now meet the requirements and principles of the new Mineral Policy. A complete copy of that policy can be accessed using the following link: http://www.blm.gov/nhp/spotlight/mineral_policy.
 
However, the Mineral Policy does not apply to the following types of withdrawal applications:
 
     1. Withdrawal applications classified for national security reasons or are subject to the Military Lands Withdrawal Act of 1958 (Engel Act);
 
     2. Withdrawals directed by federal legislation or by the Secretary of the Interior;
 
     3. Withdrawals made to transfer custody and control of federal land from one agency to another.
 
Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately.
 
Budget Impact: None.
 
Background: Prior to the 2006 Mineral Policy, withdrawals were processed by the lands and realty staff in response to withdrawal recommendations from field office resource staff. The new policy encourages mineral development and requires stronger justifications for all new withdrawals. The 2006 Mineral Policy includes the following principles that affect the land withdrawal program (emphasis added to highlight changes):
        
     1. Public lands shall remain open and available for mineral exploration and development unless withdrawal or other administrative actions are clearly justified in the national interest.
 
     2. The BLM actively encourages development by private industry of public land mineral resources.
 
     3. The BLM land use planning and multiple-use management decisions will recognize that, with few exceptions, mineral exploration and development can occur concurrently or sequentially with other resource uses.
 
     4. Land use plans will reflect geological assessments and mineral potential on public lands.
 
     5. The BLM will apply these principles to the management of mineral resources and operations on Indian Trust lands.
 
In addition to the 2006 BLM Mineral Policy, the Department of the Interior Manual Part 603, effective August 1, 2005, includes new and stronger requirements for obtaining an administrative withdrawal. The WO will provide more oversight into the withdrawal program based on the new policies, and all withdrawal petitions shall be referred to the Assistant Secretary – Land and Minerals Management (AS-LM), before they can even be considered for approval.  Also, unless exclusive use of the land is required, lands shall be available for other public purposes to the fullest extent possible consistent with the purpose of the withdrawal. The DOI policy can be accessed through the following link:
 
 
At the end of every two fiscal years, BLM must report to the AS-LM concerning developments and trends in land withdrawal matters, including acreages, purposes, and agencies for which withdrawals are made. Recommendations for action by the Office of the Secretary for needed improvements in the land withdrawal program can also be submitted with the report. 
 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: The new policy adds requirements to all new withdrawal applications filed pursuant to 43 CFR 2310, except as described above. Attached is a summary of the requirements for new withdrawal applications.
 
Coordination: MT-924.
 
Contact: For questions regarding this IM, please contact Dee Baxter at (406) 896-5044.
 
 
Signed by: Gene R. Terland, State Director
 
 
Authenticated by: Kathy Iszler, Staff Assistant (924)
 
1 Attachment
    1-Withdrawal Application Requirements (4 pp in its entirety)
 
Distribution w/Attm.
Assistant Field Manager, Havre Field Station – 1
Assistant Field Manager, Glasgow Field Station – 1