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Celia Boddington, 202-452-5128
John Duletsky: 202-452-0337
Del Fortner: 805-391-6009

For Immediate Release: January 28, 1999


BLM Extends Comment Period on Proposed Oil and Gas Rule

The Bureau of Land Management announced today that it is extending for 60 days the public comment period on a proposed comprehensive oil and gas rule. The original 120-day comment period would have ended on April 5; with the 60-day extension, the comment period will now conclude on June 4.

"This extension will give the public more time to analyze and comment on this proposed rule," said BLM Acting Director Tom Fry. "We hope all interested parties will give us their input so we can take their views into account before writing a final rule."

During the 60-day extension, the BLM will hold public workshops on the proposed rule in Bakersfield, California; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Denver, Colorado; Billings, Montana; Washington, D.C.; and New Orleans, Louisiana. The dates and specific sites of the hearings will be announced later.

The proposed rule, published on December 3, 1998, is aimed at reducing overlap among current BLM oil and gas regulations, giving operators greater flexibility in meeting certain agency requirements, ensuring appropriate bond amounts to cover such costs as reclamation, and simplifying the classification of regulatory violations.

The complete text of the proposed rule is accessible on-line, together with a fact sheet.

Oil and gas produced from BLM-managed lands accounted for about 5.6 percent of America's oil production and nearly 11 percent of domestic gas production in 1997. The BLM, an agency of the Department of the Interior, has responsibility over virtually all aspects of on-shore leasing, exploration, development, and production of oil and gas on Federal lands. The agency also approves and supervises most oil and gas operations on American Indian lands.