New Energy for America
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages vast stretches of public lands that have the potential to make significant contributions to the Nation’s renewable energy portfolio. This gives the BLM a leading role in fulfilling the Administration’s goals for a new energy economy based on a rapid and responsible move to large-scale production of solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass energy. The BLM also manages Federal onshore oil, gas and coal operations that make significant contributions to the domestic energy supply as the Nation transitions to a clean energy future.
The BLM manages more Federal land than any other agency – about 245 million surface acres as well as 700 million sub-surface acres of mineral estate. As these lands are increasingly tapped to develop clean, renewable energy, the U.S. lessens its dependence on foreign oil and provides opportunities for creating new jobs to support local communities. Public lands also provide sites for new modern transmission facilities needed to deliver clean power to consumers.
Not all lands with energy potential are appropriate for development. The BLM reviews and approves permits and licenses from companies to explore, develop, and produce both renewable and non renewable energy on Federal lands. The BLM ensures that proposed projects meet all applicable environmental laws and regulations. The bureau works with local communities, the states, industry, and other federal agencies in this approval process and has set up four Renewable Energy Coordination Offices and five oil and gas Pilot Offices to facilitate reviews. In addition, The BLM participates in a Cabinet-level working group that is developing a coordinated federal permitting process for siting new transmission projects that would cross public, State and private lands.
Once projects are approved, the BLM is responsible for ensuring that developers and operators comply with use authorization requirements and regulations. Although the Bureau of Indian Affairs issues mineral leases on Indian lands, the BLM approves and supervises mineral operations on these lands.
Companies pay for development of public energy resources. Total royalty, rentals, and bonus payments vary from year to year. In fiscal year 2008, $5.5 billion was paid to Federal and State governments for Federal onshore energy leasing and production. For oil and gas, half of this money goes to the States and half goes to the U.S. Treasury. Distribution of revenue from renewable energy varies depending on the authority used.