Automation Effort Provides Public Portal To Initiate Leasing Process
WASHINGTON – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today launched its third initiative this year to modernize its oil and gas program by automating the way members of the public and industry nominate lands for possible oil and gas development.
With the new online service, expressions of interest (EOIs) may be entered electronically for BLM review and processing. EOIs reflect the desire on behalf of the public or industry to see specific lands made available for competitive oil and gas leasing. Lands included in EOIs are not necessarily available or suitable for oil and gas leasing but are in an early step in the process of determining which lands will be available for lease sales.
Use of the system is expected to shorten the time required to review and prepare lands for possible sale by standardizing processes within the BLM. Having the EOIs online also will increase transparency by allowing the public to track their submissions and the submissions of others.
Once nominated, BLM staff reviews the request to see if the lands and underlying minerals are under Federal ownership, if they are open to leasing under the land use plan for the region, and whether any environmental conflicts exist. If the lands are suitable, they may be proposed for an upcoming lease sale.
The launch of the EOI system is the third major automation achievement to improve efficiencies in the BLM oil and gas program this year. In July, the BLM announced that it was moving to a new online system for the submission of oil and gas drilling permits. In September, the BLM held its first online oil and gas lease sale under new authority from Congress.
The newest application is called the National Fluid Lease Sale System, and a video tutorial on how to use the public portal is available on the NFLSS website at https://nflss.blm.gov.
The BLM will add additional functions to the application to handle parcel management and sale day activities, and once fully implemented in 2017, the system will provide centralized management of leasing data.
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 Americas 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.