The Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is extending until June 19 the public comment period on its advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) for potential updates to rules governing oil and natural gas royalty rates, rental payments, lease sale minimum bids, civil penalty caps and financial assurances. A comment period was launched in April to consider allowing BLM to adjust royalty rates for drilling on public lands (see Daily GPI, April 17). Notice of the two-week extension is scheduled to be published Wednesday (June 3) in the Federal Register. Potential changes to BLM's regulations would respond to concerns expressed by the Government Accountability Office, Interior's Office of Inspector General and others that the existing rules lack flexibility and could be causing the United States to forgo significant revenue to the detriment of taxpayers. The ANPR also addresses the value of oil and gas resources by inviting comment on how the BLM might update its rules regarding the minimum acceptable bid that must be paid for leases in auctions and and the annual rental payments that are due after a lease is obtained.
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