(a) Any person(s) qualified to hold a lease under the provisions of subpart and this subpart may obtain an exploration license to conduct core drilling and other exploration activities to collect geologic, environmental and other data concerning tar sand resources only on lands, the surface of which are under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, within or adjacent to a Special Tar Sand Area. The application for such a license shall be submitted to the proper BLM office having jurisdiction of the lands. No drilling for oil or gas will be allowed under an exploration license issued under this subpart. No specific form is required for an application for an exploration license.
(b) The application for an exploration license shall be subject to the following requirements:
(1) Each application shall contain the name and address of the applicant(s);
(2) Each application shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable filing fee of $250.00;
(3) Each application shall contain a description of the lands covered by the application according to section, township and range in accordance with the official survey;
(4) Each application shall include 3 copies of an exploration plan which complies with the requirements of 43 CFR 4392.1 (a); and
(5) An application shall cover no more than 5,760 acres, which shall be as compact as possible. The authorized officer may grant an exploration license covering more than 5,760 acres only if the application contains a justification for an exception to the normal limitation.
(c) The authorized officer may, if he/she determines it necessary to avoid impacts resulting from duplication of exploration activities, require applicants for exploration licenses to provide an opportunity for other parties to participate in exploration under the license on a pro rata cost sharing basis. If joint participation is determined necessary, it shall be conducted according to the following:
(1) Immediately upon the notification of a determination that parties shall be given an opportunity to participate in the exploration license, the applicant shall publish a “Notice of Invitation,” approved by the authorized officer, once every week for 2 consecutive weeks in at least 1 newspaper of general circulation in the area where the lands covered by the exploration license are situated. This notice shall contain an invitation to the public to participate in the exploration license on a pro rata cost sharing basis. Copies of the “Notice of Invitation” shall be filed with the authorized officer at the time of publication by the applicant for posting in the proper BLM office having jurisdiction over the lands covered by the application for at least 30 days prior to the issuance of the exploration license.
(2) Any person seeking to participate in the exploration program described in the Notice of Invitation shall notify the authorized officer and the applicant in writing of such intention within 30 days after posting in the proper BLM office having jurisdiction over the lands covered by the Notice of Invitation. The authorized officer may require modification of the original exploration plan to accommodate the legitimate exploration needs of the person(s) seeking to participate and to avoid the duplication of exploration activities in the same area, or that the person(s) should file a separate application for an exploration license.
(3) An application to conduct exploration which could have been conducted under an existing or recent exploration license issued under this paragraph may be rejected.
(d) The authorized officer may accept or reject an exploration license application. An exploration license shall become effective on the date specifed by the authorized officer as the date when exploration activities may begin. The exploration plan approved by the Bureau of Land Management shall be attached and made a part of each exploration license.
(e) An exploration license shall be subject to these terms and conditions:
(1) The license shall be for a term of not more than 2 years;
(2) The rental shall be $2 per acre per year payable in advance;
(3) The licensee shall provide a bond in an amount determined by the authorized officer, but not less than $5,000. The authorized officer may accept bonds furnished under subpart , if adequate. The period of liability under the bond shall be terminated only after the authorized officer determines that the terms and conditions of the license, the exploration plan and the regulations have been met;
(4) The licensee shall provide to the Bureau of Land Management upon request all required information obtained under the license. Any information provided shall be treated as confidential and proprietary, if appropriate, at the request of the licensee, and shall not be made public until the areas involved have been leased or only if the Bureau of Land Management determines that public access to the data will not damage the competitive position of the licensee.
(5) Operations conducted under a license shall not unreasonably interfere with or endanger any other lawful activity on the same lands, shall not damage any improvements on the lands, and shall not result in any substantial disturbance to the surface of the lands and their resources;
(6) The authorized officer shall include in each license requirements and stipulations to protect the environment and associated natural resources, and to ensure reclamation of the land disturbed by exploration operations;
(7) When unforeseen conditions are encountered that could result in an action prohibited by paragraph (e)(5) of this section, or when warranted by geologic or other physical conditions, the authorized officer may adjust the terms and conditions of the exploration license, may direct adjustment in the exploration plan;
(8) The licensee may submit a request for modification of the exploration plan to the authorized officer. Any modification shall be subject to the regulations in this section and the terms and conditions of the license. The authorized officer may approve the modification after any necessary adjustments to the terms and conditions of the license that are accepted in writing by the licensee; and
(9) The license shall be subject to termination or suspension as provided in § 2920.9-3 of this title.