U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 05/15/2007
Instruction Memorandum No. 2007-118
To: All Field Officials
Subject: Oil and Gas Program Enforcement Policy and Procedures
Purpose: To update and clarify enforcement procedures to be used in the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) efforts to ensure compliance of Federal and Indian oil and gas operations.
Policy/Action: This policy applies to the BLM’s oil and gas operations. For policy and guidance regarding operations under tribal jurisdiction, refer to the appropriate Section 202 Cooperative Agreement (guidelines for these types of agreements are outlined in 43 CFR 3192) or Self-Determination/Self-Governance Contract (guidelines for these types of contracts are outlined in 25 CFR 900 or 1000). Enforcement actions that involve shutdown of operations, lease suspension or cancellation, suspension of operations, or attachment of a bond must be coordinated with the appropriate tribal jurisdiction.
Attachment 1 provides policy and procedures to be used when noncompliance is observed during the inspection of oil and gas operations to ensure consistent and uniform implementation. These procedures include proactive measures to reduce the number of violations and create standard documentation procedures of noncompliance actions. Attachment 2 provides instructions for using the letter format for Incidents of Noncompliance (INC) and Written Orders.
Timeframe: Effective upon issuance to Field Offices (FO).
Background: The BLM is responsible for the oversight of oil and gas operations on Federal and Indian (except Osage) lands. The Inspection and Enforcement (I&E) Program is critical to the protection of the environment, public health and safety, proper accounting of production, and to ensure oil and gas resources are developed in a manner that maximizes recovery while minimizing waste. Mishandling of production can result in significant underpayment of royalties. Additionally, environmental degradation from improperly managed oil and gas operations can be long lasting.
Inspections are conducted on oil and gas operations to ensure compliance with applicable statutes, regulations, Onshore Orders, Notices to Lessees (NTL), lease terms, approved permits, Conditions of Approval (COA), and Orders of the authorized officer (AO).
The BLM-certified inspectors have broad responsibilities and authority to conduct inspections and ensure compliance. Enforcement actions may include, but are not limited to, issuing INCs, Orders of the AO, imposing assessments or civil penalties, ordering shutdown of operations, and initiating the process for lease cancellation.
Budget Impact: Any additional costs are expected to be manageable under current budget allocations.
Manual/Handbook Section Affected: The Inspection and Enforcement Handbook will be updated to incorporate the guidelines outlined in this IM.
Coordination: This IM was coordinated with the Fluid Minerals Division (WO-310), and State Office (SO) and FO I&E Personnel.
Contact: Questions concerning this policy should be directed to William Gewecke at 202-452-0337. Questions concerning data entry procedures into the Automated Fluid Minerals Support System (AFMSS) should be directed to Carol Larson at 406-233-3655.