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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities: Proposed Collection, Comment Request

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AGENCY:

Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR), Interior.

ACTION:

Notice of an extension of a currently approved information collection (OMB Control Number 1012-0006).

SUMMARY:

To comply with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA), the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) is inviting comments on the renewal of a collection of information that we will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and approval. This information collection request (ICR) was formerly approved under OMB Control Number 1010-0122. However, OMB approved a new series number and renumbered our ICRs after the Secretary of the Interior established ONRR (the former Minerals Revenue Management, a program under the Minerals Management Service) by Secretarial Order 3299, which was effective October 1, 2010. Also ONRR published a rule, effective October 1, 2010, transferring our regulations from chapter II to chapter XII in title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This ICR covers the paperwork requirements in the regulations under 30 CFR part 1243 (previously 30 CFR part 243).

DATES:

Submit written comments on or before July 5, 2011.

ADDRESSES:

You may submit comments on this ICR by any of the following methods. Please use “ICR 1012-0006” as an identifier in your comment.

  • Electronically go to http://www.regulations.gov. In the entry titled “Enter Keyword or ID,” enter ONRR-2011-0008 and then click search. Follow the instructions to submit public comments. The ONRR will post all comments.
  • Mail comments to Hyla Hurst, Regulatory Specialist, Office of Natural Resources Revenue, P.O. Box 25165, MS 61013C, Denver, Colorado 80225. Please reference ICR 1012-0006 in your comments.
  • Hand-carry comments or use an overnight courier service. Our courier address is Building 85, Room A-614, Denver Federal Center, West 6th Ave. and Kipling St., Denver, Colorado 80225. Please reference ICR 1012-0006 in your comments.
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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Hyla Hurst, telephone (303) 231-3495, or e-mail hyla.hurst@onrr.gov. You may also contact Hyla Hurst to obtain copies, at no cost, of (1) the ICR, (2) any associated forms, and (3) the regulations that require the subject collection of information.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Title: 30 CFR Part 1243—Suspensions Pending Appeal and Bonding—Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

OMB Control Number: 1012-0006.

Bureau Form Numbers: Forms ONRR-4435, ONRR-4436, and ONRR-4437.

Note:

These forms are still listed as Forms MMS-4435, MMS-4436, and MMS-4437 in the regulations. As ONRR completes the transition to the new organization, we will publish a rule updating our form numbers in the CFR.

Abstract: The Secretary of the Interior is responsible for mineral resource development on Federal and Indian lands and the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). The Secretary is required by various laws to manage mineral resource production from Federal and Indian lands and the OCS, collect the royalties and other mineral revenues due, and distribute the funds collected in accordance with applicable laws. The Secretary also has a trust responsibility to manage Indian lands and seek advice and information from Indian beneficiaries. The ONRR performs the minerals revenue management functions for the Secretary and assists the Secretary in carrying out the Department's trust responsibility for Indian lands. Public laws pertaining to mineral revenues are on our Web site at http://www.onrr.gov/​Laws_​R_​D/​PublicLawsAMR.htm.

If ONRR determines that a lessee has not properly reported or paid, we may issue an order to pay additional royalties, a Notice of Noncompliance, or a Civil Penalty Notice requiring correct reporting or payment. Lessees then have a right to appeal those ONRR actions.

Regulations at 30 CFR part 1243 govern the submission of appropriate surety instruments to suspend compliance with orders or decisions and to stay the accrual of civil penalties (if the Office of Hearings and Appeals grants a lessee's petition to stay accrual of civil penalties), pending administrative appeal for Federal and Indian leases. For Federal oil and gas Start Printed Page 25368leases, under 30 U.S.C. 1724(l) and its implementing regulations in 30 CFR part 1243, appellants who are requesting a suspension without providing a surety must submit information to demonstrate financial solvency. This ICR covers the burden hours associated with submitting financial statements or surety instruments required to stay an ONRR order, decision, or accrual of civil penalties.

Stay of Payment Pending Appeal

Title 30 CFR 1243.1 states that lessees or recipients of ONRR orders may suspend compliance with an order if they appeal in accordance with 30 CFR part 1290. Pending appeal, ONRR suspends the payment requirement if the appellant submits a formal agreement of payment in case of default, such as a bond or other surety, or, for Federal oil and gas leases, demonstrates financial solvency. If the Office of Hearings and Appeals grants a lessee's, or other recipient of a Notice of Noncompliance or Civil Penalty Notice, request to stay the accrual of civil penalties under 30 CFR 1241.55(b)(2) and 1241.63(b)(2), the lessee or other recipient must post a bond or other surety, or, for Federal oil and gas leases, demonstrate financial solvency.

The ONRR accepts the following surety types: Form ONRR-4435, Administrative Appeal Bond (formerly Form MMS-4435); Form ONRR-4436, Letter of Credit (formerly Form MMS-4436); Form ONRR-4437, Assignment of Certificate of Deposit (formerly Form MMS-4437); Self-bonding; and U.S. Treasury Securities.

When one of the surety types is selected and put in place, appellants must maintain the surety until completion of the appeal. If the appeal is decided in favor of the appellant, ONRR returns the surety to the appellant. If the appeal is decided in favor of ONRR, then we will take action to collect the total amount due or draw down on the surety. We draw down on a surety if the appellant fails to comply with requirements relating to amount due, timeframe, or surety submission or resubmission. Whenever ONRR must draw down on a surety, we must draw down the total amount due, which is defined as unpaid principal plus the interest accrued to the projected receipt date of the surety payment. Appellants may refer to the Surety Instrument Posting Instructions, which are on our Web site at http://www.onrr.gov/​FM/​Forms/​default.htm.

Forms and Other Surety Types

Form ONRR-4435, Administrative Appeal Bond

Appellants may file Form ONRR-4435, Administrative Appeal Bond, which ONRR uses to secure the financial interests of the public and Indian lessors during the entire administrative and judicial appeal process. Under 30 CFR 1243.4, appellants are required to submit their contact and surety amount information on the bond to obtain the benefit of suspension of an obligation to comply with an order. The bond must be issued by a qualified surety company that is approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury (see Department of the Treasury Circular No. 570, revised periodically in the Federal Register). The Director for ONRR or the delegated bond-approving officer maintains these bonds in a secure facility. After the appeal has concluded, ONRR may release and return the bond to the appellant or collect payment on the bond. If collection is necessary for a remaining balance, ONRR will issue a demand for payment to the surety company with a notice to the appellant. We will also include all interest accrued on the affected bill.

Form ONRR-4436, Letter of Credit

Appellants may choose to file Form ONRR-4436, Letter of Credit, with no modifications. Requirements at 30 CFR 1243.4 continue to apply. The Director or the delegated officer maintains the Letter of Credit (LOC) in a secure facility. The appellant is responsible for verifying that the bank provides a current Fitch rating to ONRR. After the appeal has been concluded, we may release and return the LOC to the appellant or collect payment on the LOC. If collection is necessary for a remaining balance, we will issue a demand for payment, which includes all interest assessed on the affected bill, to the bank with a notice to the appellant.

Form ONRR-4437, Assignment of Certificate of Deposit

Appellants may choose to secure a debt by requesting to use a Certificate of Deposit (CD) from their bank and submitting Form ONRR-4437, Assignment of Certificate of Deposit. Requirements at 30 CFR 1243.4 continue to apply. Appellants must file the request with ONRR prior to the invoice due date. We will accept a book-entry CD that explicitly assigns the CD to the Director. If collection of the CD is necessary for an unpaid balance, we will return unused CD funds to the appellant after total settlement of the appealed issues, including applicable interest charges.

Self-bonding

For Federal oil and gas leases, regulations at 30 CFR 1243.201 provide that no surety instrument is required when a person representing the appellant periodically demonstrates, to the satisfaction of ONRR, that the guarantor or appellant is financially solvent or otherwise able to pay the obligation. Appellants must submit a written request to “self-bond” every time a new appeal is filed. To evaluate the financial solvency and exemption from requirements of appellants to maintain a surety related to an appeal, ONRR requires appellants to submit a consolidated balance sheet, subject to annual audit. In some cases, we also require copies of the most recent tax returns (up to 3 years) filed by appellants.

In addition, appellants must annually submit financial statements, subject to annual audit, to support their net worth. The ONRR uses the consolidated balance sheet or business information supplied to evaluate the financial solvency of a lessee, designee, or payor seeking a stay of payment obligation pending review. If appellants do not have a consolidated balance sheet documenting their net worth or if they do not meet the $300 million net worth requirement, ONRR selects a business information or credit reporting service to provide information concerning an appellant's financial solvency. The ONRR charges the appellant a $50 fee each time we need to review data from a business information or credit reporting service. The fee covers our costs in determining an appellant's financial solvency.

U.S. Treasury Securities

Appellants may choose to secure their debts by requesting to use a U.S. Treasury Security (TS). Appellants must file the letter of request with ONRR prior to the invoice due date. The TS must be a U.S. Treasury note or bond with maturity equal to or greater than 1 year. The TS must equal 120 percent of the appealed amount plus 1 year of estimated interest (necessary to protect ONRR against interest rate fluctuations). The ONRR accepts only a book-entry TS.

Request to OMB

We are requesting OMB's approval to continue to collect this information. Not collecting this information would limit the Secretary's ability to discharge fiduciary duties and also may result in loss of royalty and other payments.Start Printed Page 25369

Proprietary information submitted to ONRR under this collection is protected, and no items of a sensitive nature are collected. A response is mandatory in order to suspend compliance with an order pending appeal.

Frequency: Annually and on occasion.

Estimated Number and Description of Respondents: 105 Federal or Indian appellants.

Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Hour” Burden: 105 hours.

The following chart shows the estimated annual burden hours by CFR section and paragraph. We have not included in our estimates certain requirements performed in the normal course of business and considered usual and customary.

Respondents' Estimated Annual Burden Hours

Citation 30 CFR part 1243Reporting and recordkeeping requirementHour burdenAverage number of annual responsesAnnual burden hours
1243.4(a)(1)How do I suspend compliance with an order? (a) If you timely appeal an order, and if that order or portion of that order: (1) Requires you to make a payment, and you want to suspend compliance with that order, you must post a bond or other surety instrument or demonstrate financial solvency * * *1 hour40 (surety instruments: Forms ONRR-4435, ONRR-4436, ONRR-4437, or TS)40
1243.6When must I or another person meet the bonding or financial solvency requirements under this part? If you must meet the bonding or financial solvency requirements under § 1243.4(a)(1), or if another person is meeting your bonding or financial solvency requirements, then either you or the other person must post a bond or other surety instrument or demonstrate financial solvency within 60 days after you receive the order or the Notice of OrderBurden hours covered under § 1243.4(a)(1).
1243.7(a)What must a person do when posting a bond or other surety instrument or demonstrating financial solvency on behalf of an appellant? If you assume an appellant's responsibility to post a bond or other surety instrument or demonstrate financial solvency * * * (a) Must notify ONRR in writing * * * that you are assuming the appellant's responsibility * * *Burden hours covered under § 1243.4(a)(1).
1243.8(a)(2) and (b)(2)When will ONRR suspend my obligation to comply with an order? (a) Federal leases. * * * (2) If the amount under appeal is $10,000 or more, ONRR will suspend your obligation to comply with that order if you:Burden hours covered under § 1243.4(a)(1).
(i) Submit an ONRR-specified surety instrument under subpart B of this part within a time period ONRR prescribes; or
(ii) Demonstrate financial solvency under subpart C
(b) Indian leases. * * * (2) If the amount under appeal is $1,000 or more, ONRR will suspend your obligation to comply with that order if you submit an ONRR-specified surety instrument under subpart B of this part within a time period ONRR prescribes
1243.101(b)How will ONRR determine the amount of my bond or other surety instrument? * * * (b) If your appeal is not decided within 1 year from the filing date, you must increase the surety amount to cover additional estimated interest for another 1-year period. You must continue to do this annually * * *Burden hours covered under § 1243.4(a)(1).
1243.200(a) and (b)How do I demonstrate financial solvency? (a) To demonstrate financial solvency under this part, you must submit an audited consolidated balance sheet, and, if requested by the ONRR bond-approving officer, up to 3 years of tax returns to the ONRR, * * * (b) You must submit an audited consolidated balance sheet annually, and, if requested, additional annual tax returns on the date ONRR first determined that you demonstrated financial solvency as long as you have active appeals, or whenever ONRR requests. * * *1 hour65 self-bonding submissions65
1243.201(c)(1), (c)(2)(i) and (c)(2)(ii) and (d)(2)How will ONRR determine if I am financially solvent? * * * (c) If your net worth, minus the amount we would require as surety under subpart B for all orders you have appealed is less than $300 million, you must submit * * *:Burden hours covered under §§ 1243.4(a)(1) and 1243.200(a) and (b).
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(1) A written request asking us to consult a business-information, or credit-reporting service or program to determine your financial solvency; and
(2) A nonrefundable $50 processing fee:
(i) You must pay the processing fee * * *;
(ii) You must submit the fee with your request * * * and then annually on the date we first determined that you demonstrated financial solvency, as long as you are not able to demonstrate financial solvency * * * and you have active appeals
(d)* * * (2) For us to consider you financially solvent, the business-information or credit-reporting service or program must demonstrate your degree of risk as low to moderate: * * *
1243.202(c)When will ONRR monitor my financial solvency? * * * (c) If our bond-approving officer determines that you are no longer financially solvent, you must post a bond or other ONRR-specified surety instrument under subpart BBurden hours covered under § 1243.4(a)(1).
Total Burden105105

Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping “Non-hour” Cost Burden: There are no additional recordkeeping costs associated with this information collection. However, ONRR estimates 5 appellants per year will pay a $50 fee to obtain credit data from a business information or credit reporting service, which is a total “non-hour” cost burden of $250 per year (5 appellants per year × $50 = $250).

Public Disclosure Statement: The PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) provides that an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.

Comments: Before submitting an ICR to OMB, PRA section 3506(c)(2)(A) requires each agency to “* * * provide 60-day notice in the Federal Register * * * and otherwise consult with members of the public and affected agencies concerning each proposed collection of information * * *.” Agencies must specifically solicit comments to: (a) Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the agency to perform its duties, including whether the information is useful; (b) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information; (c) enhance the quality, usefulness, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) minimize the burden on the respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology.

The PRA also requires agencies to estimate the total annual reporting “non-hour cost” burden to respondents or recordkeepers resulting from the collection of information. If you have costs to generate, maintain, and disclose this information, you should comment and provide your total capital and startup cost components or annual operation, maintenance, and purchase of service components. You should describe the methods you use to estimate major cost factors, including system and technology acquisition, expected useful life of capital equipment, discount rate(s), and the period over which you incur costs. Capital and startup costs include, among other items, computers and software you purchase to prepare for collecting information; monitoring, sampling, and testing equipment; and record storage facilities. Generally, your estimates should not include equipment or services purchased: (i) Before October 1, 1995; (ii) to comply with requirements not associated with the information collection; (iii) for reasons other than to provide information or keep records for the Government; or (iv) as part of customary and usual business or private practices.

We will summarize written responses to this notice and address them in our ICR submission for OMB approval, including appropriate adjustments to the estimated burden. We will provide a copy of the ICR to you without charge upon request. We also will post the ICR on our Web site at http://www.onrr.gov/​Laws_​R_​D/​FRNotices/​ICR0122.htm.

Public Comment Policy: We will post all comments, including names and addresses of respondents, at http://www.regulations.gov. Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, be advised that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold from public view your personal identifying information, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Information Collection Clearance Officer: Rachel Drucker (202) 208-3568.

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Dated: April 29, 2011.

Gregory J. Gould,

Director, Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

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[FR Doc. 2011-10905 Filed 5-3-11; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-MR-P