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BLM extends comment period on oil, gas rules

Golden Valley News of Beach, North Dakota

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says it is extending the public comment period on its Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to seek public comment on potential updates to BLM rules governing oil and gas royalty rates;' rental payments, lease sale minimum bids, civil penalty caps and financial assurances.

Notice of the two-week extension, which extends the comment period deadline to June 19, 2015, was published in the Federal Register on June 3, 2015.

Modernizing the BLM's royalty rate structures can provide greater flexibility, especially given the dramatic growth of oil development on public and tribal lands, where production has increased in each of the past six years, and combined production was up 81 percent in 2014 versus 2008, the BLM says. Poten tial changes to BLM's regulations would also respond to concerns expressed by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Interior's Office of Inspector General, and others that the BLM's existing rules lack flexibility and could be causing the United States to forgo significant revenue to the detriment of taxpayers.

The GAO has repeatedly concluded that the BLM's regulations do not provide a reasonable assurance that the public is getting appropriate fair share of the revenue from these resources. The BLM's current rules lack the flexibility to offer new competitive leases at higher royalty rates.



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Original Publication Date: June 4, 2015



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