September 30, 2005
                                                                                      In Reply Refer To:
3432 (320) P

Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-004
Expires: 09/30/2007
To:              State Directors
From:          Assistant Director, Mineral, Realty, and Resource Protection
Subject:       Interim Guidance for Implementation of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 [P.L. 109-58] for Federal Coal Leasing 
PROGRAM AREA: Coal Management.
PURPOSE: Provide interim guidance for implementation of Section 432 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 [P.L. 109-58] which increases the limitation for lease modifications from 160 acres to 960 acres.
POLICY:  Until final regulations are completed to implement P.L. 109-58, BLM will administer a policy for lease modifications that is consistent with current regulations and P.L.109-58. Unless specifically noted in this memorandum, the regulations will continue to be implemented as currently written. The interim lease modification policy is as follows.
·        BLM must document in writing that each lease modification:
o       Will not displace other competitive commercial interests in the lands or deposits;
o       Does not include coal deposits that can be developed as a part of another potential or existing mining operation; and
o       Will be in the interest of the United States. The interest of the United States includes a tract configuration that provides for maximum economic recovery and fair market value for all federal coal deposits; this would include lands adjoining the lease modification tract.
·        The acreage in the application, when combined with the total acreage added by all modifications made after August 4, 1976, must not exceed 960 acres or the number of acres in the original lease, whichever is less [43 C.F.R. 3432.1(a)].
ACTIONS REQUIRED: Implement interim guidance for applications for a lease modification until final regulations are completed.
TIMEFRAME: Immediate.

BACKGROUND: Congress passed The Energy Policy Act of 2005 (the Act) (P.L.109-58) on August 8, 2005. Title 4, Subtitle D of the Act contains several amendments to the Mineral Leasing Act for federal coal leasing and federal coal lease management. This memorandum provides interim guidance to implement Section 432 of the Act. BLM is working diligently toward full implementation of this Act through regulations. The interim guidance contained in this memorandum is being implemented under the authorities provided by Section 438 of the Act.
COORDINATION: This policy was developed with the assistance of the BLM State Offices and the Department of the Interior Solicitor’s Office. 
CONTACT PERSON: Solid Minerals Group (WO-320), Ted Murphy, 202-452-0351, or William Radden-Lesage, 202-452-0360.
Signed by:                                                  
Authenticated by:
Tom P. Lonnie                                                      
Barbara J. Brown
Assistant Director                                       
Policy & Records Group, WO-560
Minerals, Realty and Resource Protection