Onshore Oil and Gas

Onshore Oil and Gas

BLM's Management of Public Protests to Its Lease Sales Needs Improvement : Report to the Chairman, Committee on Natural Resources, House of Representatives

Website or Online Data - 2010
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The development of oil and natural gas resources on federal lands contributes to domestic energy production but also results in concerns over potential impacts on those lands. Numerous public protests about oil and gas lease sales have been filed with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which manages these federal resources. GAO was asked to examine (1) the extent to which BLM maintains and makes publicly available information related to protests, (2) the extent to which parcels were protested and the nature of protests, and (3) the effects of protests on BLM's lease sale decisions and on oil and gas development activities. To address these questions, GAO examined laws, regulations, and guidance; BLM's agencywide lease record-keeping system; lease sale records for the 53 lease sales held in the four BLM state offices of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming during fiscal years 2007-2009; and protest data from a random sample of 12 of the 53 lease sales. GAO also interviewed BLM officials and industry and industry and protester groups. GAO recommends that BLM (1) revisit the way it tracks protest information and in so doing ensure that complete and consistent information is collected and made publicly available and (2) improve the transparency of leasing decisions and the timeliness of lease issuance. Interior concurred with GAO's recommendations.

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