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Montana/Dakotas State Office
Release Date: 05/19/14
Contacts: Kristen Lenhardt, 406-896-5228    

BLM Seeks Public Input on Parcels Nominated for Oil and Gas Lease

BILLINGS, MT – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Montana/Dakotas is seeking public comment on its impact analysis for offering several parcels for oil and gas lease in Montana. The Environmental Assessments (EA) for the Billings, Butte, Dillon, Lewistown and Miles City Field Offices are now available for a 30-day public comment period, ending June 20, 2014.

The EAs considered the potential effects of competitively leasing nearly 32,000 acres of federal minerals that were nominated by members of the public for an oil and gas lease sale tentatively scheduled for October 21, 2014. However, the final acreage amount offered during the October lease sale is yet to be determined until after the public review process since some parcels are recommended for deferral.

Leasing and developing federal minerals is a four-stage process, beginning with planning and leasing, then permitting, followed by drilling and production, and finally, reclamation of the developed area. The BLM is currently in the planning and leasing stage for these particular parcels. Actual permitting, development and production activities for federal minerals that have been leased are separate decisions, which require further impact analysis and an opportunity for the public to provide input. For more information on the federal oil and gas process, please visit:

Some of these parcels are split estate, which means that the subsurface is federal estate, and the surface is either in private or state ownership. Split estate is common in the leasing process and the BLM encourages private landowners to be aware if they or someone else owns the mineral rights beneath the surface property. More information on split estate can be found at:

The EAs, along with maps of the parcels that have been nominated for lease, are available on the BLM Montana/Dakotas website:  Written comments must be postmarked by June 20, 2014, to be considered.  For information on how to submit comments, please see the dear reader letters at:  

Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment -- including your personal identifying information -- may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public review your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Upon review and consideration of public comments, the EAs will be updated as needed. Prior to issuing any leases, the Decision Record will be finalized and posted for public review on the BLM Montana/Dakotas website.

If you have any questions, or would like more information about the updated EAs or upcoming oil and gas lease sale, please contact us at (406) 896-5013.

For the latest BLM news and updates visit us on the web at, on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter@BLM_MTDKs and @BLM_MTDK_Fire.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Montana/Dakotas State Office   5001 Southgate Drive      Billings, MT 59101  

Last updated: 05-19-2014