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Rule

Minerals Management: Adjustment of Cost Recovery Fees

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

This final rule updates the fees set forth in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) mineral resources regulations for the processing of certain minerals program-related actions. It also adjusts certain filing fees for minerals-related documents. These updated fees include those for actions such as lease renewals and mineral patent adjudications.

DATES:

This final rule is effective November 6, 2019.

ADDRESSES:

You may send inquiries or suggestions to Director (630), Bureau of Land Management, 2134LM, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20240; Attention: RIN 1004-AE70.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Lorenzo Trimble, Acting Chief, Division of Fluid Minerals, 202-912-7342, ltrimble@blm.gov; Alfred Elser, Acting Chief, Division of Solid Minerals, 202-912-7114, aelser@blm.gov; or Chandra Little, Regulatory Affairs, 202-912-7403, cclittle@blm.gov. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may leave a message for these individuals with the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background

The BLM has specific authority to charge fees for processing applications and other documents relating to public lands under section 304 of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA), 43 U.S.C. 1734. In 2005, the BLM published a final cost recovery rule (70 FR 58854) that established new fees or revised fees and service charges for processing documents related to its minerals programs (“2005 Cost Recovery Rule”). In addition, the 2005 Cost Recovery Rule also established the method the BLM would use to adjust those fees and service charges on an annual basis.

At 43 CFR 3000.12(a), the regulations provide that the BLM will annually adjust fees established in subchapter C (43 CFR parts 3000-3900) according to changes in the Implicit Price Deflator for Gross Domestic Product (IPD-GDP), which is published quarterly by the U.S. Department of Commerce. See also 43 CFR 3000.10. This final rule updates those fees and service charges consistent with that direction. The fee adjustments in this rule are based on the mathematical formula set forth in the 2005 Cost Recovery Rule. The public had an opportunity to comment on that adjustment procedure as part of the 2005 rulemaking. Accordingly, the Department of the Interior for good cause finds under 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and (d)(3) that notice and public comment procedures are unnecessary and that the fee adjustments in this rule may be effective less than 30 days after publication. See 43 CFR 3000.10(c).

II. Discussion of Final Rule

As set forth in the 2005 Cost Recovery Rule, the fee updates are based on the change in the IPD-GDP. The BLM's minerals program publishes the updated cost recovery fees, which become effective on October 1, the start of the fiscal year (FY).

This rule updates the cost recovery fees established by the cost recovery fee rule published on September 28, 2018 (83 FR 48957), effective October 1, 2018. This rule updates the cost recovery fees used in Fiscal Year 2019 for Fiscal Year 2020. The update adjusts the 2019 fees based on the change in the IPD-GDP from the 4th Quarter of 2017 to the 4th Quarter of 2018.

Under this 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. The largest increase, $75, will be applied to the fee for adjudicating a mineral patent application containing more than 10 claims, which will increase from $3,215 to $3,290. The fee for adjudicating a patent application containing 10 or fewer claims will increase by $40, from $1,605 to $1,645. It is important to note that the “real” values of the fees are not actually increasing, since real values account for the effect of inflation. In real terms, the values of the fees are simply being adjusted to account for the changes in the prices of goods and services produced in the United States.

The calculations that resulted in the new fees are included in the table below:Start Printed Page 59731

Fixed cost recovery feesExisting fee 1 (FY 2019)Existing value 2IPD-GDP increase 3New value 4New fee 5 (FY 2020)
Oil & Gas (parts 3100, 3110, 3120, 3130, 3150):
Noncompetitive lease application$425$427.283$9.998$437.281$435
Competitive lease application165165.8193.880169.699170
Assignment and transfer of record title or operating rights9595.6562.23897.894100
Overriding royalty transfer, payment out of production1512.7520.29813.05015
Name change, corporate merger or transfer to heir/devisee225223.1975.222228.419230
Lease consolidation470471.90911.042482.951485
Lease renewal or exchange425427.2839.998437.281435
Lease reinstatement, Class I8582.8931.93984.83285
Leasing under right-of-way425427.2839.998437.281435
Geophysical exploration permit application—Alaska 62525.0001.71226.71225
Renewal of exploration permit—Alaska 62525.0001.71226.71225
Geothermal (part 3200):
Noncompetitive lease application425427.2839.998437.281435
Competitive lease application165165.8193.880169.699170
Assignment and transfer of record title or operating right9595.6562.23897.894100
Name change, corporate merger or transfer to heir/devisee225223.1975.222228.419230
Lease consolidation470471.90911.042482.951485
Lease reinstatement8582.8931.93984.83285
Nomination of lands120119.3832.793122.176120
Plus per acre nomination fee0.120.1190.0020.1210.12
Site license application6563.7711.49265.26365
Assignment or transfer of site license6563.7711.49265.26365
Coal (parts 3400, 3470):
License to mine application1512.7520.29813.05015
Exploration license application350350.7498.207358.956360
Lease or lease interest transfer7070.1631.64171.80470
Leasing of Solid Minerals Other Than Coal and Oil Shale (parts 3500, 3580):
Applications other than those listed below4038.2670.89539.16240
Prospecting permit amendment7070.1631.64171.80470
Extension of prospecting permit115114.7892.686117.475115
Lease modification or fringe acreage lease3031.8960.74632.64235
Lease renewal550548.45412.833561.287560
Assignment, sublease, or transfer of operating rights3031.8970.74632.64335
Transfer of overriding royalty3031.8970.74632.64335
Use permit3031.8970.74632.64335
Shasta and Trinity hardrock mineral lease3031.8970.74632.64335
Renewal of existing sand and gravel lease in Nevada3031.8970.74632.64335
Multiple Use; Mining (Group 3700):
Notice of protest of placer mining operations1512.7520.29813.05015
Mining Law Administration (parts 3800, 3810, 3830, 3850, 3860, 3870):
Application to open lands to location1512.7520.29813.05015
Notice of Location2019.1220.44719.56920
Amendment of location1512.7520.29813.05015
Transfer of mining claim/site1512.7520.29813.05015
Recording an annual FLPMA filing1512.7520.29813.05015
Deferment of assessment work115114.7892.686117.475115
Recording a notice of intent to locate mining claims on Stockraising Homestead Act lands3031.8970.74632.64335
Mineral Patent adjudication (more than ten claims)3,2153,214.18175.2113,289.3923,290
(ten or fewer claims)1,6051,607.07437.6051,644.6791,645
Adverse claim115114.7892.686117.475115
Protest7070.1631.64171.80470
Oil Shale Management (parts 3900, 3910, 3930):
Exploration License Application335336.4227.872344.294345
Assignment or sublease of record title or overriding royalty7068.4311.60170.03270
Source for Implicit Price Deflator for Gross Domestic Product data: U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Economic Analysis; Table 1.1.9. Implicit Price Def Product (accessed on August 13, 2019) web link: https://apps.bea.gov/​iTable/​iTable.cfm?​reqid=​19&​step=​2%20-%20reqid=​19&​step=​3&​isuri=​1&​1921=​survey&​1903=​13.

III. How Fees Are Adjusted

The BLM took the base values (or “existing values”) upon which it Start Printed Page 59732derived the FY 2019 cost recovery fees (or “existing fees”) and multiplied it by the percent change in the IPD-GDP (2.34 percent for this update) to generate the “IPD-GDP increases” (in dollars). The BLM then added the “IPD-GDP increases” to the “existing values” to generate the “new values.” The BLM then calculated the “new fees” by rounding the “new values” to the closest multiple of $5 for fees equal to or greater than $1, or to the nearest cent for fees under $1. The “new fees” are the updated cost recovery fees for FY 2020.

IV. Procedural Matters

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Order 12866)

This document is not a significant rule, and the Office of Management and Budget has not reviewed this rule under Executive Order 12866.

The BLM has determined that the rule will not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. It will not adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities. The changes in this rule are much smaller than those in the 2005 final rule, which did not approach the threshold in Executive Order 12866. For instructions on how to view a copy of the analysis prepared in conjunction with the 2005 final rule, please contact one of the persons listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above.

This rule will not create inconsistencies or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency. This rule does not change the relationships of the onshore minerals programs with other agencies' actions. These relationships are included in agreements and memoranda of understanding that will not change with this rule.

In addition, this final rule does not materially affect the budgetary impact of entitlements, grants, or loan programs, or the rights and obligations of their recipients. This rule applies an inflationary adjustment factor to existing user fees for processing certain actions associated with the onshore minerals programs.

Finally, this rule will not raise novel legal or policy issues. As explained above, this rule simply implements an annual process to account for inflation that was adopted by and explained in the 2005 Cost Recovery Rule.

Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs (E.O. 13771)

This action is not an E.O. 13771 regulatory action because it is not significant under E.O. 12866.

The Regulatory Flexibility Act

This final rule will not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). As a result, a Regulatory Flexibility Analysis is not required. The Small Business Administration defines small entities as individual, limited partnerships, or small companies considered to be at arm's length from the control of any parent companies if they meet the following size requirements as established for each North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code:

  • Iron ore mining (NAICS code 212210): 750 or fewer employees
  • Gold ore mining (NAICS code 212221): 1,500 or fewer employees
  • Silver ore mining (NAICS code 212222): 250 or fewer employees
  • Uranium-Radium-Vanadium ore mining (NAICS code 212291): 250 or fewer employees
  • All Other Metal ore mining (NAICS code 212299): 750 or fewer employees
  • Bituminous Coal and Lignite Surface Mining (NAICS code 212111): 1,250 or fewer employees
  • Bituminous Coal Underground Mining (NAICS code 212112): 1,500 or fewer employees
  • Crude Petroleum Extraction (NAICS code 211120): 1,250 or fewer employees
  • Natural Gas Extraction (NAICS code 211130): 1,250 or fewer employees
  • All Other Non-Metallic Mineral Mining (NAICS code 212399): 500 or fewer employees

The SBA would consider many, if not most, of the operators with whom the BLM works in the onshore minerals programs to be small entities. The BLM notes that this final rule does not affect service industries, for which the SBA has a different definition of “small entity.”

The final rule may affect a large number of small entities because 24 fees for activities on public lands will be increased. The adjustments result in no increase in the fees for processing 24 actions relating to the BLM's minerals programs. The highest adjustment, in dollar terms, is for adjudications of mineral patent applications involving more than 10 mining claims; that fee will increase by $75. It is important to note that the “real” values of the fees are not actually increasing, since real values account for the effect of inflation. In real terms, the values of the fees are simply being adjusted to account for the changes in the prices of goods and services produced in the United States. Accordingly, the BLM has concluded that the economic effect of the rule's changes will not be significant, even for small entities.

For the 2005 Cost Recovery Rule, the BLM completed a Regulatory Flexibility Act threshold analysis, which is available for public review in the administrative record for that rule. For instructions on how to view a copy of that analysis, please contact one of the persons listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section above. The analysis for the 2005 rule concluded that the fees would not have a significant economic effect on a substantial number of small entities. The fee increases implemented in this rule are substantially smaller than those provided for in the 2005 rule.

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

This final rule is not a “major rule” as defined at 5 U.S.C. 804(2). The final rule will not have an annual effect on the economy greater than $100 million; it will not result in major cost or price increases for consumers, industries, government agencies, or regions; and it will not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required.

Executive Order 13132, Federalism

This final rule will not have a substantial direct effect on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. In accordance with Executive Order 13132, the BLM therefore finds that the final rule does not have federalism implications, and a federalism assessment is not required.Start Printed Page 59733

The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

This rule does not contain information collection requirements that require a control number from the Office of Management and Budget in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501-3521). After the effective date of this rule, the new fees may affect the non-hour burdens associated with the following control numbers:

Oil and Gas

(1) 1004-0034 which expires June 30, 2021;

(2) 1004-0137 which expired October 31, 2021

(3) 1004-0162 which expires October 31, 2021;

(4) 1004-0185 which expires December 31, 2021;

Geothermal

(5) 1004-0132 which expires February 29, 2020;

Coal

(6) 1004-0073 which expires January 31, 2020;

Mining Claims

(7) 1004-0025 which expires February 28, 2022;

(8) 1004-0114 which expires January 31, 2020; and

Leasing of Solid Minerals Other Than Oil Shale

(9) 1004-0121 which expires August 31, 2019.[7]

Takings Implication Assessment (Executive Order 12630)

As required by Executive Order 12630, the BLM has determined that this rule will not cause a taking of private property. No private property rights will be affected by a rule that merely updates fees. The BLM therefore certifies that this final rule does not represent a governmental action capable of interference with constitutionally protected property rights.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

In accordance with Executive Order 12988, the BLM finds that this final rule will not unduly burden the judicial system and meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of the Executive Order.

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)

The BLM has determined that this final rule qualifies as a routine financial transaction and a regulation of an administrative, financial, legal, or procedural nature that is categorically excluded from environmental review under NEPA pursuant to 43 CFR 46.205 and 46.210(c) and (i). The final rule does not meet any of the 12 criteria for exceptions to categorical exclusions listed at 43 CFR 46.215. Therefore, neither an environmental assessment nor an environmental impact statement is required in connection with the rule (40 CFR 1508.4).

The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

The BLM has determined that this final rule is not significant under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq., because it will not result in State, local, private sector, or tribal government expenditures of $100 million or more in any one year, 2 U.S.C. 1532. This rule will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, the BLM is not required to prepare a statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act.

Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments (Executive Order 13175)

In accordance with Executive Order 13175, the BLM has determined that this final rule does not include policies that have tribal implications. Specifically, the rule would not have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes. Consequently, the BLM did not utilize the consultation process set forth in Section 5 of the Executive Order.

Information Quality Act

In developing this rule, the BLM did not conduct or use a study, experiment, or survey requiring peer review under the Information Quality Act (Pub. L. 106-554).

Effects on the Nation's Energy Supply (Executive Order 13211)

In accordance with Executive Order 13211, the BLM has determined that this final rule is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the supply, distribution, or use of energy. It merely adjusts certain administrative cost recovery fees to account for inflation.

Author

The principal author of this rule is Chandra Little of the Division of Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Land Management.

Start List of Subjects

List of Subjects in 43 CFR Part 3000

  • Public lands—mineral resources
  • Reporting and recordkeeping requirements
End List of Subjects

For reasons stated in the preamble, the Bureau of Land Management amends 43 CFR part 3000 as follows:

Start Part

PART 3000—MINERALS MANAGEMENT: GENERAL

End Part Start Amendment Part

1. The authority citation for part 3000 continues to read as follows:

End Amendment Part Start Authority

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 3101 et seq.; 30 U.S.C. 181 et seq., 301-306, 351-359, and 601 et seq.; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 40 U.S.C. 471 et seq.; 42 U.S.C. 6508; 43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.; and Pub. L. 97-35, 95 Stat. 357.

End Authority

Subpart 3000—General

Start Amendment Part

2. Amend § 3000.12 by revising paragraph (a) to read as follows:

End Amendment Part
What is the fee schedule for fixed fees?

(a) The table in this section shows the fixed fees that must be paid to the BLM for the services listed for FY 2020. These fees are nonrefundable and must be included with documents filed under this chapter. Fees will be adjusted annually according to the change in the Implicit Price Deflator for Gross Domestic Product (IPD-GDP) by way of publication of a final rule in the Federal Register and will subsequently be posted on the BLM website (http://www.blm.gov) before October 1 each year. Revised fees are effective each year on October 1.

Start Printed Page 59734

Table 1 to Paragraph (a)—FY 2020 Processing and Filing Fee Table

Document/actionFY 2020 fee
Oil & Gas (parts 3100, 3110, 3120, 3130, 3150):
Noncompetitive lease application$435
Competitive lease application170
Assignment and transfer of record title or operating rights100
Overriding royalty transfer, payment out of production15
Name change, corporate merger or transfer to heir/devisee230
Lease consolidation485
Lease renewal or exchange435
Lease reinstatement, Class I85
Leasing under right-of-way435
Geophysical exploration permit application—Alaska25
Renewal of exploration permit—Alaska25
Geothermal (part 3200):
Noncompetitive lease application435
Competitive lease application170
Assignment and transfer of record title or operating rights100
Name change, corporate merger or transfer to heir/devisee230
Lease consolidation485
Lease reinstatement85
Nomination of lands120
plus per acre nomination fee0.12
Site license application65
Assignment or transfer of site license65
Coal (parts 3400, 3470):
License to mine application15
Exploration license application360
Lease or lease interest transfer70
Leasing of Solid Minerals Other Than Coal and Oil Shale (parts 3500, 3580):
Applications other than those listed below40
Prospecting permit application amendment70
Extension of prospecting permit115
Lease modification or fringe acreage lease35
Lease renewal560
Assignment, sublease, or transfer of operating rights35
Transfer of overriding royalty35
Use permit35
Shasta and Trinity hardrock mineral lease35
Renewal of existing sand and gravel lease in Nevada35
Public Law 359; Mining in Powersite Withdrawals: General (part 3730):
Notice of protest of placer mining operations15
Mining Law Administration (parts 3800, 3810, 3830, 3850, 3860, 3870):
Application to open lands to location15
Notice of location 120
Amendment of location15
Transfer of mining claim/site15
Recording an annual FLPMA filing15
Deferment of assessment work115
Recording a notice of intent to locate mining claims on Stockraising Homestead Act lands35
Mineral patent adjudication* 3,290 ** 1,645
Adverse claim115
Protest70
Oil Shale Management (parts 3900, 3910, 3930):
Exploration license application345
Application for assignment or sublease of record title or overriding royalty70
1 To record a mining claim or site location, this processing fee along with the initial maintenance fee and the one-time location fee required by statute (43 CFR part 3833) must be paid.
* (More than 10 claims.)
** (10 or fewer claims.)
* * * * *
Start Signature

Casey Hammond,

Acting Assistant Secretary, Land and Minerals Management.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

Footnotes

1.  The Existing Fee was established by the 2018 (FY 2019) cost recovery fee update rule published September 28, 2018 (83 FR 48957), effective October 1, 2018.

2.  The Existing Value is the figure from the New Value column in the previous year's rule.

3.  From 4th Quarter 2017 (108.713) to 4th Quarter 2018 (111.256), the IPD-GDP increased by 2.34 percent. The value in the IPD-GDP Increase column is 2.34 percent of the Existing Value. Two exceptions are noted in footnote 6.

4.  The sum of the Existing Value and the IPD-GDP Increase is the New Value.

5.  The New Fee for FY 2020 is the New Value rounded to the nearest $5 for values equal to or greater than $1 or rounded to the nearest penny for values under $1.

6.  In previous updates to the BLM's cost recovery fees, the BLM did not increase the fees for “Geophysical exploration permit application—Alaska” or “Renewal of exploration permit—Alaska” based on a provision in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 which prohibited fee increases “related to processing drilling-related permit applications and use authorizations.” See, e.g., 83 FR 48957, 48959 (Sept. 28, 2018) (citing Pub. L. 109-58). However, that provision was repealed by legislation in 2014 and replaced with a narrower restriction on fee increases that does not apply to these permits. Public Law 113-291. From 4th Quarter 2014 (104.123) to 4th Quarter 2018 (111.256), the IPD-GDP increased by 6.85 percent. The change in IDP-GDP was not large enough to increase the new fee above $25 for this update. In future years, the BLM will update this fee based upon a 1-year change in IDP-GDP, as it does for the other fees.

Back to Citation

7.  A renewal request for control number 1004-0121 was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget on July 24, 2019.

Back to Citation

[FR Doc. 2019-24116 Filed 11-5-19; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4310-84-P