Opportunity To Increase Oil and Gas Exploration and Lease Rental Income

RCED-83-77: Published: Apr 28, 1983. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the Department of the Interior's onshore oil and gas leasing system to determine whether Federal lands adjacent to wilderness or potential wilderness lands administrated by the Forest Service could be leased when such lands are included in noncompetitive, over-the-counter oil and gas lease applications.

GAO found that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has delayed issuing leases on over a million acres of leasable Federal lands in the seven States covered by the review, because the BLM State offices and Forest Service regional offices have not developed cooperative arrangements to process nonwilderness portions of lease applications that also include wilderness or potential wilderness lands. The delays result in reduced Federal acreage available for oil and gas exploration and development and potential losses of significant rental income.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should require the Director, BLM, to initiate and oversee actions to implement joint regulations or procedures with the Forest Service that would segregate the nonwilderness portions of over-the-counter lease applications and lease them to willing applicants where practicable. The Secretary of Agriculture should require the Chief of the Forest Service to work closely with the Director of BLM to implement these procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of Agriculture

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should require the Director, BLM, to initiate and oversee actions to implement joint regulations or procedures with the Forest Service that would segregate the nonwilderness portions of over-the-counter lease applications and lease them to willing applicants where practicable. The Secretary of Agriculture should require the Chief of the Forest Service to work closely with the Director of BLM to implement these procedures.

    Agency Affected: Department of the Interior

 

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