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Coal, Oil, Gas Leasing on Public, Native Lands: Comment Deadlines

December 19
14:14 2014

PublicLandsForSaleThe Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Utah Color Country District is seeking public comment on environmental assessments (EA) analyzing the BLM’s proposal to offer 14 parcels covering 15,062 acres in the Richfield and Cedar City Field Offices at the May 2015 oil and gas lease sale.  The EAs analyzed 23 parcels covering 25,874 acres.

The public review and comment period closes at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 23, 2015.

Additional information about the proposed parcels is included in the EAs, which are now available for public review and comment.  Electronic copies of the EAs can be found online at:  http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/energy/oil_and_gas/oil_and_gas_lease.html

Lawsuit Targets Environmental Impact of Federal Coal Leasing Program

On November 25, 2014,  a lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to require the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to prepare a programmatic environmental impact statement (PEIS) for the federal coal leasing program. The lawsuit was filed by Friends of the Earth and the Western Organization of Resource Councils (WORC), with the support of philanthropist Paul G. Allen and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.  Read the full press release.

Public Comment on Updated Oil, Gas, Coal Valuation

On December 19, 2014, the Department of Interior, BLM announced initial steps to strengthen federal energy valuation rules and expand guidance on federal coal program.  In their press release, they state that the current oil, gas and coal valuation regulations – originally put in place for natural gas and coal in the late 1980s – have not kept pace with the significant market changes that have occurred in the domestic natural gas and coal markets since that time. The existing federal oil valuation regulations are a decade old. A proposed draft regulation being released by ONRR today will update the regulations to help keep pace with modern technology and practices.

Coal produced on public lands is an important part of our domestic energy portfolio, but we have an obligation – and we are fully committed – to ensure that the American taxpayer receives a fair return for the production of domestic energy resources,” said Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor. “The initial steps we are taking are part of the larger effort to strengthen the management of coal production on public lands by providing greater certainty and predictability to the industry and helping to protect American taxpayers.  We look forward to receiving public comment on the draft proposal.” — Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor

The BLM has stated that they are sending updated guidance to the field that will help ensure a consistent and efficient coal lease sale process, increase clarity in determining fair market value and provide guidance on independent review of appraisal reports. The guidance will enable the Bureau to account for export potential through analysis of comparable sales and income.
Read the Complete Press Release

The Consolidated Federal Oil & Gas and Federal & Indian Coal Valuation Reform rule will be published in the Federal Register on January 6, 2015, which initiates a 60-day public comment period. The notice will be available on the web at:  www.regulations.gov. Comments can be made on-line, by mail, or by hand-carrying documents.

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