U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 04/20/2006
Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-135
To: All Field Officials
From: Assistant Director, Minerals, Realty and Resource Protection
Subject: Reclamation Cost Estimates for Notices and Plans of Operations
Program Area: Mining Law Administration, Surface Management
Purpose: The purpose of this Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to provide policy guidance for the review and acceptance of reclamation cost estimates for Notices and Plans of Operations under the 43 CFR 3809, Surface Management Regulations.
Policy/Action: The operator must provide the responsible Field Office with an acceptable estimate of the reclamation costs for all proposed Notices and Plans of Operations. The operator’s estimate of the cost to reclaim the operations must meet the requirements of 43 CFR 3809.552(a) and 3809.554(a), and must be acceptable to BLM as required by 43 CFR 3809.554(b). When the Field Manager requires a trust fund or other funding mechanism under 43 CFR 3809.552(c) to guarantee post-mining obligations, the operator must also provide the Field Office with a cost estimate for the monitoring, construction, operation, maintenance, replacement and other activities for the required facilities, treatment or other needs documented in the Plan of Operations.
Based on a review of the reclamation cost estimate, the Field Manager must provide the operator with a written decision as to the amount of the required financial guarantee. Operations may not commence until the operator has received written notification that BLM accepted and obligated the operator’s financial guarantee, and the complete Notice is accepted or Plan of Operations approved by the Field Manager.
Specific policy and procedural guidance for reviewing and accepting an operator’s reclamation cost estimate are given in Attachment 1 - Guidelines for Reviewing Reclamation Cost Estimates attached hereto.
Time Frame: This IM is effective immediately and will be in effect unless formally modified.
Budget Impacts: There will be a budget impact, but there is no estimate at this time.
Background: The revised Surface Management Regulations became effective on January 20, 2001, with subsequent amendments that took effect through December 31, 2001. The final regulations require all Notices and Plans of Operations to post full-cost financial guarantees in an amount sufficient to allow BLM to contract with a third party to reclaim the operations according to 43 CFR 3809.552(a). The final regulations also require an operator to establish a trust fund or other funding mechanism available to the BLM to ensure the continuation of any long-term, post-reclamation treatment or maintenance requirements identified in the decision document for the operation.
Manual/Handbook Sections Impacted: Bureau Manual Section 3809 - This guidance will be included in the 3809 Surface Management Manual and Handbook that are now being prepared.
Coordination: The policies and procedures found in this IM were developed with input from the Office of the Solicitor, and BLM State and Field Offices.
Contact: If you have any questions concerning this IM, please contact T. Scott Murrellwright at 202-785-6568 or Paul McNutt at 775-861-6604.