BLM Issues Internal Policy to Streamline Oil and Gas Permitting

BLM issued an instruction memorandum to its field offices updating its oil and gas leasing policies “to simplify and streamline the leasing process to alleviate unnecessary impediments and burdens, to expedite the offering of lands for lease, and to ensure quarterly oil and gas lease sales are consistently held in accordance with the Mineral Leasing Act.”

The memorandum eliminates the use of Master Leasing Plans (MLPs) — a planning approach introduced by the Obama Administration to manage oil and gas activity on sensitive landscapes, such as national parks, and avoid harmful impacts to sensitive resources.  The MLPs were used to identify and resolve conflicts with resource values such as watersheds and wildlife habitats through scientific assessment and stakeholder engagement.

The decision to eliminate the use of MLPs was based on a report issued by the Department of Interior last fall which outlined regulatory “burdens” to energy development (which included the MLPs). The report was prepared in order to comply with President Trump’s President Trump’s Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth.