BLM annual update of mineral cost recovery fee schedule takes effect

Stock image, St. George News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Bureau of Land Management has issued a final rule, which went into effect Thursday, that implements the required annual adjustment to the fee schedule for mineral cost recovery projects. While most fees are unaffected, there are some increases ranging from $5 to $40.

Specifically, this final rule updates the fees charged to recover costs incurred in processing certain documents associated with oil, gas, coal and solid mineral activities on public lands. Consistent with updates to the fee schedules in prior years, this final rule increases the fee schedule based on inflation.

The BLM is authorized to charge cost recovery fees under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and the 2005 Cost Recovery Rule. This year’s adjustment represents the ninth annual update since the BLM first implemented a cost recovery fee schedule for certain oil and gas activities under the Cost Recovery Rule.

The fee schedule is adjusted annually based on the change in the Implicit Price Deflator for Gross Domestic Product, or IPD-GDP, from the 4th Quarter of one calendar year to the 4th Quarter of the following calendar year. The IPD-GDP is published annually by the Department of Commerce.

Due to the small increase in the IPD-GDP over that period and basic principles of rounding, 34 fees will stay the same, while 14 fees will increase. Twelve of the fee increases will amount to $5, and the remaining increases will be $15 and $40.

The largest increase will be added to the fee for adjudicating more than 10 mineral patent claims, which will rise from $3,035 to $3,075. The fee for adjudicating 10 or fewer mineral patent claims will increase by $15, from $1,520 to $1,535.

The BLM has undertaken these annual fee adjustments in response to recommendations made in a report issued by the Department of the Interior’s Office of Inspector General in 1988, which found that the BLM needed to do more to recover its document-processing costs. The fees are based on a common mathematical formula used by businesses nationwide to adjust their expenses.

This fee update rule is based on the change in the IPD-GDP from the 4th Quarter of 2013 to the 4th Quarter of 2014, which reflects the rate of inflation over four calendar quarters.

For further information contact: Steven Wells, chief, Division of Fluid Minerals, 202-912-7143; Mitchell Leverette, chief, Division of Solid Minerals, 202-912-7113; or Mark Purdy, Regulatory Affairs, 202-912-7635. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may leave a message for these individuals with the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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