PHASE III: Permitting
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Environmental REVIEW and PERMITTING

Onshore Oil and Gas Order Number 1
Surface Operating Standards and Guildlines for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development




 The National Environmental Policy Act (1969)







The Energy Policy Act of 2005



A complete APD includes all necessary information about proposed wells and associated ROWs, roads, pipelines, and production facilities.The leaseholder or an operator hired by the leaseholder files an application for permit to drill (APD) and a surface use plan of operations.



APD Review in BLM Field Offices

Operations expected to have significant impacts are analyzed with an environmental impact statement (EIS).  Activity not expected to have significant impact may be analyzed with an environmental assessment (EA).

                       downhole                          surface
                      geological                  archaeological
                     engineering                        realty
wildlife, air/soil/water, vegetation 

NEPA documentation
depending on significance of impact
Army Corps of Engrs., SHPO

review as appropriate

In seven BLM Field Offices, innovative procedures for coordinating inter-agency APD review are being implemented.
The Pilot Project to Improve Federal Permit Coordination is established in Section 365 of the 2005 Energy Policy Act.

The BLM approves, approves with modifications, denies, or defers action on the application.

The BLM cannot approve an APD until the requirements of certain laws and regulations have been met – including NEPA, the National Historic Preservation Act, and the Endangered Species Act.

An approved APD is valid for two years or until the lease expires, whichever occurs first.  

Market conditions and other factors determine when wells will be drilled. 

The leased parcel remains undisturbed.No surface disturbance may begin on the lease without permits.


The onsite inspection team will include a BLM/surface management agency representative, the operator, and agency resource specialists. When the surface is privately owned, BLM invites the surface owner to participate.An onsite inspection begins the APD review.


The onsite inspection helps the BLM identify concerns and potential environmental impacts that may require conditions of approval (COAs) and/or best management practices (BMPs). 

The parcel surface remains undisturbed during the APD review. 

 A map showing stipulations developed in a Resource Management Plan

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Last updated: 10-20-2009