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BLM - the riparian zone in the Canyon of the Deer Creek area of Escalante, Utah.  Photo by Craig Sorenson




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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How can I obtain BLM maps?

  • A map index and order form are available at any BLM State Office to assist you in your selection, or if you'd prefer we will mail you copies. At this time we cannot accept orders over the Internet but hope to in the future.

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How much do BLM maps cost?

  • All maps are $4 each, plus postage.

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What is the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)?

  • The Freedom of information Act (FOIA) was enacted in 1966, and it generally provides that any person has a right of access to Federal agency records. This right of access is enforceable in court except for those records that are protected from disclosure by the nine exemptions to the FOIA

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What information is available under the FOIA?

  • FOIA provides access to agency records generated by that agency (or releasable portions of those records) except those protected from release by nine specific exemptions. The following are the nine FOIA exemptions and the information they cover:
  1. Classified national defense and foreign relations information
  2. Internal agency personnel rules and practices
  3. Material prohibited from disclosure by another law
  4. Trade secrets and other confidential business information
  5. Certain inter-agency, or intra-agency communications
  6. Personnel, medical, and other files involving personal privacy
  7. Certain records compiled for law enforcement purposes
  8. Matters relating to the supervision of financial institutions
  9. Geological information on oil wells.

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How long will it take to answer my request?

  • Federal agencies are required to answer your request for information within 20-working days of receipt of your request at the office responsible for the records (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays). For FOIA request received by e-mail, the "receipt" date is considered the date the e-mail message is opened by the Bureau responsible for the information. Sometimes an agency may need more than 20-working days to find the records, examine them, possibly consult with other persons or agencies, and decide whether it will disclose the records requested. If so, the agency is required to inform you before the deadline. Agencies have the right to extend this period up to 10 more working days.

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How do I locate and file a mining claim?

  • Before you can locate a claim, you must determine if the lands are, in fact, open to location.  You can find this out at any BLM office. No claims can be staked in areas closed to mineral entry under certain acts, regulations, or public land orders. We refer to these as withdrawn lands. The BLM State Offices and Field Offices have appropriate land and mineral status maps and records for you to make this determination, and they are readily available for your inspection. On lands open to location, you may prospect and properly locate claims and sites.  If lands have already been claimed, you may want to find another location. Most State Offices maintain a record of these locations on microfiche. They are available by geographic index, serial number index, claim name index, and claimant's index. The district offices also have geographic and claimant indices for your use. If your parcel of land is open to location, the next step is staking the claim. Federal law specifies that claim boundaries must be distinctly and clearly marked to be readily identifiable. Individual state statues have more detailed requirements for marking boundaries. For specific state requirements contact the local BLM State Office.

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What documentation is required this year?

  • Recordation of mining claims--location certificates for claims and sites must be recorded with BOTH the county recorder's office as well as the BLM State Office. Briefly, the state's deadlines for locations are:
  1. LODE CLAIMS - 3 months to monument, claim, and record location certificate with the country;
  2. PLACER CLAIMS - 30 days to monument, claim, and record location certificate with the county.
  3. ALL CLAIMS AND SITES - 90 days form date of location to record claims with the BLM State Office.

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How can I participate in the Government’s oil and gas lease "lottery"?

  • The Simultaneous Oil and Gas leasing program, which some referred to as a "lottery," ended with the passage of the Reform Act of 1987. Now, the BLM's oil and gas leasing program is a competitive-based process. You or your representative must be present to bid. Any parcel that does not receive a bid at an oral auction is available on a first-come, first-served basis for two years following the day of the sale. However, all offers made for unsold parcels filed the day after the sale are considered simultaneously filed, and, where more than one filing is received on a parcel, a public drawing is held to select a winner. Some people may refer to this day-after process as a "lottery," as well. Please note that the BLM has received reports that some companies and individuals have misrepresented the BLM's oil and gas leasing program in their advertisements. We recommend that you be aware of the risks before making any investments.

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How much does a competitive oil and gas lease cost?

  • Bidding starts at $2 per acre or fraction. Annual rental at $1.50 per acre or fraction must be paid at the beginning of each lease year, unless oil or gas in paying quantities is produced on or for the benefit of the lease. High bidders must also pay a $75 administrative fee for each parcel they win.

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How valuable will my oil and gas lease be?

  • The Federal Government does not certify that the lands available for lease are prospectively valuable for oil or gas, or to the value of any lease that it issues. The marketplace determines the value, if any, of the lands placed for sale and leases issued.

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How can I get a lease on a first-come, first-served basis (a noncompetitive lease)?

  • You can file a noncompetitive lease offer with the BLM State Office that has jurisdiction over the state in which the lands are located. (See Directory.) The lands in your offer must have been through a competitive sale within the last two years or they will have to go through one before your offer can be accepted. You must submit a nonrefundable filing fee of $75 and the advanced first year's rental at $1.50 per acre or fraction for each offer your make. If the BLM rejects your offer, only the advanced rent will be refunded.

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How long is an oil and gas lease issued for?

  • The BLM issues oil and gas leases for a primary or initial term of 10 years. Annual rental must be paid on time for each of those years unless royalty on production becomes due. You do not have to pay both rental and royalty.

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Can I renew my oil and gas lease for an additional period of time beyond the primary term?

  • No. A lease will continue beyond its primary term only under certain conditions which include:
    • Drilling over the expiration date,
    • Production in paying quantities on or for the benefit of the lease,
    • Elimination from a cooperative or unit plan,
    • All interest in part of the lease sold to another party.

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I am not a citizen of the United States. Can I own a Federal oil and gas lease?

  • You may not hold any interest in a Federal oil and gas lease in your own name. You may hold interest only through stock ownership in a United States corporation.

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