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June 23, 2010
In Reply Refer To:
3420 (320) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2010-155
Expires: 09/30/2011
To:                All Field Office Officials 
From:            Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management 
Subject:        ReportingStandards for Coal Lease Application Milestones  

Program Area:  Coal Management Program.

Purpose:  Reporting Coal Lease Application Milestone scheduling and progress.

Policy/Action: Each State Office (SO) or Field Office (FO) must provide the Washington Office (WO) Solid Mineral Division timely, accurate, and complete data regarding lease by application processing milestones. These milestones document the scheduling and progress in processing coal lease applications. All dates concerning the status of coal lease application milestones must be reported by the day, month, and calendar year. Any reported dates not using that format will be returned for clarification. 

For Each date reported, note whether the date is projected by (P) or actual (A) next to the dated reported. No sales date will be reported until published in the Federal Register (FR).

Coal Lease Application Milestones that must be reported include:

  • Coal Lease Application Received

The date (day, month, calendar year) the application was received (Action Code 124); 

  • BLM NEPA Analysis Initiated

The projected or actual date (day, month, calendar year) that the Federal Register (FR) notice is published announcing the scoping meeting for an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or the scoping date for the Environmental Assessment (EA); 

  • BLM NEPA Analysis Draft Completed
The projected or actual Federal Register publication date (day, month, calendar year) of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Notice of Availability for a draft EIS or FR Fair Market Value Notice of Hearing and availability for an EA;
  • NEPA Analysis Approved by the BLM
The projected or actual date (day, month, calendar year) the BLM approved the decision record (DR), or Record of Decision;
The date (day, month, calendar year) Surface Owner Consent was requested by lease applicant.
The date (day, month, calendar year) Surface Owner Consent was received by lease applicant.
  • Surface Management Agency (SMA) Lease Consent Requested
The projected or actual date (day, month, calendar year) the SMA consent to lease was requested by the BLM;
  • Surface Management Agency (SMA) Lease Consent Received
The projected or actual date (day, month, calendar year) the SMA provides consent to lease;
  • Sale Date
The date (day, month, calendar year) the lease sale or reoffer is scheduled or the actual date that a lease sale was completed; and 
  • Completion Date,
The projected or actual date (day, month, calendar year) when a lease is issued (Action Code 237), the date the application was withdrawn (Action Code 130), or the date the application was rejected by the BLM (Action Code 125).

Each SO or FO must immediately report changes in these Milestones in the Pending Coal Use Authorization Spreadsheet (Attachment 1) by email to the WO, Division Chief, Division of Solid Minerals. Reasons for changed milestone dates must be footnoted in the spreadsheet.  In addition, these same changes must also be documented in a quarterly status report to the WO,  Division Chief, Division of Solid Minerals which must reaffirm both the changes and the reasons for the changes.

Exploration license milestones and changes should be reported quarterly in the Pending Coal Use Authorization Spreadsheet (Attachment 1) using the same format.

Timeframe:  This IM is effective immediately.

Budget Impact:  Minimal.

Background:  Accurate immediate reporting of an expanded set of coal lease sale milestones has become critical because the large revenues from Powder River Basin coal lease sales directly impact the Federal Budget in significant ways.

Since the bonus bids for coal lease sales have significantly increased over the years, interest in future coal lease sales from the Department of the Interior (DOI), the Office on Management and Budget (OMB), and the Congress have proportionally increased. WO-320 frequently completes projections of receipts from the Federal coal management program including royalty, rents, and bonus bid receipts for the President’s annual budget effort, and requests from Department of the Interior (DOI), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Congress. 

As a result of the large differences between lease sales revenue projections from the sales schedule and actual revenues, the House Appropriations Committee became sufficiently concerned to have their investigative staff perform an extensive investigation into the Coal Program. The investigation found that the program was well managed but that BLM should seek means of improving coal lease sale revenue forecasts. Accurate and timely sale scheduling is the key to solving this problem and the reason for this Instruction Memorandum.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected:  This IM transmits policy that will be incorporated into BLM Handbook H-3420-1 during the next revision.

Coordination:  Preparation of this IM was provided by the WO-320 Coal Management Program staff.

Contact:  If you have any questions concerning the content of this IM, please contact me at 202-208-4201, or your staff may contact either John Lewis, Mining Engineer, WO-320 at 202-912-7117 or  John_A_Lewis@blm.gov or Bill Lesage, Mining Engineer, WO-320 at 202- 912-7116 or Bill_Lesage@blm.gov .

Signed by:                                                                   Authenticated by:
Mitchell Leverette                                                        Robert M. Williams
Acting, Assistant Director                                            Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Minerals and Realty Management
1 Attachment

Last updated: 07-13-2010