U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
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UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
 
September 25, 2007
 
In Reply Refer To:
3160 (310) P
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 10/05/2007
Information Bulletin No. 2007-119
 
To:                   All Field Officials
 
From:               Assistant Director, Minerals, Realty and Resource Protection
 
Subject:            Existing Surface Management Authority for Oil and Gas Leases
 
Program Area: Onshore Oil and Gas Operations.
 
In response to questions from field personnel concerning onshore oil and gas operations, this Information Bulletin (IB) identifies existing Bureau of Land Management (BLM) policy and legal authority for mitigating adverse environmental impacts on oil and gas leases issued prior to and following the enactment of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA).
 
The Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) has broad authority and discretion under the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA) to administer oil and gas leasing and lease operations. Since at least 1936, the granting clause of all oil and gas leases has expressly identified that lessees are subject to regulations and orders “now and hereafter promulgated” as put forward in the General Land Office Circular 1386 of May 7, 1936. This is well established in case law and existing policy in the BLM.
 
Subpart 3162 – Requirements for Operating Rights Owners and Operations, at 43 CFR 3162.1(a) states: “The operating rights owners or operator, as appropriate, shall comply with applicable laws and regulations; with lease terms, Onshore Oil and Gas Orders, NTL’s; and with other orders and instructions of the authorized officer. These include, but are not limited to…(and) which protects other natural resources and environmental quality…”
 
Oil and gas leases and their subsequent operations are principally managed under the authority of the MLA. This authority has been with the Secretary since the passage of the MLA in 1920 and did not materially change with the passage of the FLPMA. Consequently, in most cases, there is no distinction between the Secretary’s authority for conditioning permits with environmental protection measures either on pre-FLPMA or post-FLPMA leases (see Attachment 1).
This IB has been coordinated with the U.S. Department of the Interior, Office of the Solicitor.
 
For more information, please contact:   Tim Spisak, Division Chief, Division of Fluid Minerals (WO-310), at tim_spisak@blm.gov or 202-452-5061 and Jim Perry, Senior Natural Resource Specialist, Division of Fluid Minerals (WO-310), at jim_perry@blm.gov or 202-452-5063.
 
Signed by:                                                                   
Authenticated by:
Michael D. Nedd                                                         
Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                                        
Division of IRM Governance
Minerals, Realty and Resource Protection
 
 
1 Attachment
 

 
Last updated: 10-21-2009