The Federal energy mix managed by BLM includes oil and gas, helium, coal, and increasingly, renewable sources of energy such as geothermal, wind, and biomass -- energy derived from plants. Because of this, the BLM’s role in implementing the Energy Policy Act of 2005 is critical. The Act aims to secure America’s energy future by promoting dependable, affordable, and environmentally sound energy production while reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil.
The BLM reviews and approves permits and licenses from companies to explore, develop, and produce oil and gas and geothermal resources on both Federal and Indian lands. BLM is also responsible for inspection and enforcement of oil, gas, and geothermal wells and other development operations to ensure that lessees and operators comply with the lease requirements and BLM's regulations. Although the Bureau of Indian Affairs issues leases on Indian lands, BLM handles the operational approvals and supervision of operations on these lands.
Companies operating under Federal lands must make royalty payments, rentals, bonus payments, and sometime, fines and penalties. The amount of revenue generated vary from year to year depending on a number of factors, including the current price of the commodity, exploration and development activities by the industry, and volumes of the commodity actually produced. This money goes to the United States Treasury and to the States where the resource was produced.
Oil and Gas
The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 gives the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) responsibility for oil and gas leasing on BLM, National Forest, and other Federal lands, as well as private lands where mineral rights have been retained by the Federal Government. For a list of recent competitive oil and gas lease sale notices, view the Oil and Gas page.
The Geothermal Steam Act of 1970 provides the Secretary of the Interior with the authority to lease public lands and other federal lands, including National Forest lands, for geothermal exploration and development in an environmentally sound manner. To read more about the Geothermal exploration and releated forms, visit the Geothermal page.
For over a decade, wind energy has been the fastest growing energy technology worldwide, achieving an annual growth rate of over 30 percent. In the United States, the current total installed capacity is approximately 19,500 MW of wind projects. According to the American Wind Energy Association, 1 megawatt (MW) of wind-generated power can supply electricity to approximately 240 to 300 households per year. Approximately 330 MW of this installed capacity is located on Federal lands in the western U.S. managed by BLM. Nationally, about 20 percent of installed wind energy capacity is on Federal lands.
Coastal areas and ridge lines within Oregon and Washington are rated as having from good to excellent potential for wind driven power generation. Notable areas with good to excellent potential include the Columbia River corridor and the Oregon coast.
To read more about the Wind Energy please visit the Wind Energy page.
The BLM has released a Wind Energy Development Challenges & Opportunities Map.
Authorities and Regulations
BLM has several primary authorities under which it leases federal coal:
- The Mineral Leasing Act of 1920, as amended
- The Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Land of 1947, as amended
- The Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976
Regulations that specifically cover the leasing of federal coal.
BLM's regulations for leasing federal coal are located in Title 43 of the Code of Federal Regulations, groups 3000 and 3400. The code is a publication that can be found in law libraries, most larger libraries, or government depository libraries and online from the Government Printing Office at www.access.gpo.gov. The CFR may also be found at any of the BLM offices.