BLM Staff conducting compliance check on oil and gas development in Colorado

Fluid Mineral Leases and Leasing Process (Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Rule)

Modernizing a world-class oil and gas leasing program

The BLM has modernized its management of oil and gas leasing on public lands with a final rule that minimizes resource conflicts between fossil fuel development and other resources on BLM-managed public lands and subsurface mineral estate. By focusing oil and gas leasing in areas with existing infrastructure and high oil and gas potential, these regulations help to protect critical wildlife habitat, cultural resources, and recreational values, while ensuring a fair return for American taxpayers.

The final rule represents the first comprehensive update to federal onshore oil and gas leasing regulations in nearly four decades. As a result of this badly needed modernization, the BLM will continue to meet America’s energy needs while leading the way in sustainable as the agency works to manage public lands in a balanced, responsible way.

This rule reinforces the BLM’s leadership role in energy development by:

  • ensuring responsible leasing and diligent development to minimize conflicts with other resources while ensuring the BLM can continue to manage public lands for multiple uses;
  • implementing key fiscal reforms, including updating royalty rates, rental rates, and minimum bids on BLM-managed public lands; and
  • modernizing bonding requirements for leasing, development, and production to ensure taxpayers do not bear the cost of orphaned wells on public lands.

Overall, this means the Bureau can focus oil and gas leasing in areas with existing infrastructure and high oil and gas potential. This alleviates development pressure on areas with sensitive wildlife habitat, cultural resources, high recreational usage, or other special resources and values.

With changes to royalties, rentals, and fees, the final rule ensures that the American public receives a fair return from authorized oil and gas activities on public lands. It also helps protect taxpayer interests by increasing bonding requirements for the first time in six decades so that taxpayers don’t bear the cost of orphaned and abandoned wells on public lands.

This rule also helps to ensure the protection and proper stewardship of public lands, including potential climate and other impacts associated with fossil fuel activities. As the Administration prioritizes a transition to a clean-energy economy, authorized oil and gas leasing remain a major part of the BLM's multiple-use and sustained yield mandate.

The rule is responsive to Congressional direction by codifying fiscal provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The rule also implements recommendations from the Department of the Interior’s Report on the Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Program.

The public comment period for the proposed rule ended on September 22, 2023. During the 60-day public comment period, the BLM received over 215,000 comments submitted by Federal, State, and local governments, local agencies, Tribal organizations, industry representatives, individuals, and other external stakeholders. The vast majority of submissions were form letters. Commenters also submitted roughly 1,000 unique letters. From all submissions, the BLM identified approximately 1,200 unique comments raising specific issues on the proposed rule.