Bureau of Land Management –

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is the administrative agency created by Congress to steward the approximately 245 million acres of public surface land and mineral-resource holdings.  BLM owns no land; its core purpose in administrative government is to manage resources so as to encourage public availability, promote balanced land utilization, create mineral access opportunities, and ultimately fulfill the NEPA Congressional Mandate: 

to maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony, and fulfill the social, economic, and other requirements of present and future generations of Americans.”

The statutes governing BLM decisions are the Multiple Use/Sustained Yield Act of 1960 (MUSYA) and the the Federal Land Management and Policy Act (FLPMA).  In FLPMA, Congress specifically and unambiguously requires BLM to coordinate its land-use activities with local governments in such a way as to maximize productivity of public lands.

FLPMA mandates require BLM to keep apprised of and reconcile differences between its proposals and adopted county natural resource plans, attempting  consistency whenever differences exist.  It is important to understand that the Congressional ‘consistency’ mandate implicitly subordinates BLM land-use planning to state and local natural-resource plans and efforts — and this includes revision of resource management plans (RMPs) such a those proposed by BLM on July 26, 2014 in its notice of intent for Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

In Kansas, BLM manages substantial subsurface mineral and water holdings — resources that often occur in split-estate ownership from the surface land above.  In the context of increasing environmental regulations, conservation easements, mitigation for endangered species or planned oil and gas production activities, the concept and potential impacts from split-estate ownership should be monitored closely by county officials, private property owners, and oil and gas production companies alike.

A resource management plan (RMP) informs decisions about public mineral resources such as oil and gas extraction, coal mining, or helium production. The RMP is of crucial interest to state and local governments, as extraction and mining permits — or denial of them —  affects employment, commerce, the tax base, and potentially the customs and culture of the region.  Less obvious but perhaps more important, is that RMP policies often drive state environmental policies and regulatory decisions, and they can affect surrounding properties through imposition of buffer zones, corridors and other impediments to development, industry or other human activities.

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