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BLM Issues New Rule for Right-of-Way Processing

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a final rule in last Friday's Federal Register that revises the process the BLM will use in issuing right-of-way grants and calculating cost-recovery fees for the use of public lands for pipelines, roads, transmission lines and communications sites.

The new rule allows for automatic readjustment of the cost-recovery fees to account for cost increases that have taken place since the previous regulations became effective in August 1987.

The new policies modernize and streamline the BLM's right-of-way (ROW) program, which each year receives petitions from thousands of individuals and companies to obtain a right-of-way across public lands.

"This rule protects the interests of American taxpayers, who have a right to expect that our agency will recover a fair share of processing and monitoring costs through fees, which for this program, have not changed in 17 years," said BLM Director Kathleen Clarke.

Under the final rule, fee levels will change each year to reflect changes in the cost of living.

The rule also:

The rule affects Federal agencies, State and local governments, and individuals and groups that have or are interested in obtaining a right-of-way across BLM-managed lands. Currently, the BLM oversees 89,000 right-of-way grants across the country. The rule and related materials may be viewed online at

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