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BLM increases some fees

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The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has announced increased fees, effective Oct. 1.

Oil and gas drilling permit fees

An annual inflation adjustment for oil and gas drilling fees is allowed by the U.S. Congress. The fee is increasing by $180, to $10,230.

The non-refundable processing fee is collected when an oil and gas operator submits a drilling permit (called an Application for Permit to Drill or APD), and is required whether or not a particular permit is subsequently approved.

This fee is a component of the funding for the BLM’s permitting program and enhances the agency’s ability to coordinate with other federal and state agencies in connection with oil and gas permitting, streamlining permit review processes and reducing permitting times. Fifteen percent of the fees are directly returned to the BLM field office that collected the fees to offset some of the costs of processing protests, leases and permits. The remaining 85% is used to support project offices that perform the majority of the permit processing and inspection work across the BLM. In Fiscal Year 2019, the BLM collected almost $51 million in APD fees.

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Mineral cost recovery fees

The Bureau of Land Management has issued a final rule, effective Oct. 1, which updates the cost recovery fees that the BLM charges for processing certain actions undertaken by its mineral programs, specifically oil, gas, coal and solid mineral activities on federal public lands.

The BLM is authorized to charge cost recovery fees by federal law and is able to adjust them annually for inflation.

Under the 2019 final rule, 24 fees will remain the same and 24 fees will increase. Of the 24 fees that are being increased by this rule, 13 will increase by $5 each, seven will increase by $10 each, two will increase by $15 each, and two will increase by more than $15 each.

The fees increasing by more than $15 are the fee for adjudicating a mineral patent application containing more than 10 claims, which will increase by $75, from $3,215 to $3,290, and the fee for adjudicating a patent application containing 10 or fewer claims, which will increase by $40, from $1,605 to $1,645.