The BLM performs periodic inspections during construction and operations to ensure that the terms and conditions of the approved APD are being implemented.
Inspectors know the various natural resources in the area and the requirements of the permits approved for the operation.
Baseline conditions are identified during an initial inspection, prior to any surface disturbance.
Inspection during construction ensures that surface disturbance is within the limits established in the drilling permit.
Inspection during drilling ensures that the operation is safe and clean.
Operators are also expected to initiate their own inspection programs to identify non-compliance and take appropriate corrective action, rather than relying solely on Federal inspections to identify problems.
During production, the BLM inspects producing leases at least once every three years. (The Forest Service similarly inspects leases on lands where it manages the surface.) Potential health and safety issues, environmental concerns, potential conflicts with other resources, and compliance history help prioritize inspections.
Inspectors assess whether the operation is clean and safe; whether mitigation measures are effectively addressing resource impacts; and whether interim reclamation is being implemented appropriately. BLM inspectors are usually petroleum engineering technicians (PETs) or natural resource specialists (NRSs).
Inspectors inform operators of any violations of lease terms or of the approved APD.
Production inspections ensure that volumes are being accurately reported so that proper royalties can be collected.