USFS Proposes Regulations to Streamline Oil and Gas Permitting in National Forests

The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) in which it is seeking comment on how it should modify existing regulations to streamline and expedite the issuance of oil and gas permits on national forest lands. In particular, USFS is soliciting comment on the following topics:

  • Streamlining and reforming the process used by the USDA Forest Service to identify National Forest System lands that the Bureau of Land Management may offer for oil and gas leasing;
  • Updating regulatory provisions concerning lease stipulation waivers, exceptions and modifications;
  • Clarifying procedures for review and approval of surface use plans of operations;
  • Updating the language addressing the operator’s responsibility to protect natural resources and the environment;
  • Clarifying language regarding inspections and compliance; and
  • Addressing geophysical/seismic operations associated with minerals related matters in a manner that mirrors the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) regulations.