Bureau of Land Management Provides Relief for Right-Of-Way Holders due to Extraordinary Circumstances
Pursuant to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) right-of-way regulations (43 CFR Parts 2800 and 2880), rents and fees for authorizations on public land are due each year on January 1, with a 15-day grace period before late fees can be assessed for non-payment. This year, however, the BLM understands that right-of-way grant holders may be facing hardship as a result of late notice of the 2021 rents and fees, and the unprecedented conditions caused by the COVID pandemic. Thus, for payments due on January 1, 2021, the BLM is exercising its discretion not to assess late fees for an additional 30 days.
On November 10, 2020, the BLM released the 5-year update to rental zones, as required by the BLM right-of-way regulations, to reflect the updated land value census published by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Statistics Service. Unfortunately, an internal delay in implementing the required update triggered a subsequent delay by local BLM offices distributing the 2021 Bills for Collection for linear, solar and wind energy rights-of-way.
Due to the agency’s delay in sending bills, the BLM hereby will not assess late fees for 30 days beyond the grace period provided by 43 CFR § 2806.13(a). Thus, the BLM will not begin charging late fees for unpaid linear, solar, and wind energy right-of-way payments until February 15, 2021.
If a right-of-way holder wishes to file an appeal regarding right-of-way payments, it must do so in accordance with the regulations at 43 CFR Part 4.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in the 11 Western states and Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals.