43 CFR § 3170.6 - Variances.

§ 3170.6 Variances.

(a) Any party subject to a requirement of a regulation in this part may request a variance from that requirement.

(1) A request for a variance must include the following:

(i) Identification of the specific requirement from which the variance is requested;

(ii) Identification of the length of time for which the variance is requested, if applicable;

(iii) An explanation of the need for the variance;

(iv) A detailed description of the proposed alternative means of compliance;

(v) A showing that the proposed alternative means of compliance will produce a result that meets or exceeds the objectives of the applicable requirement for which the variance is requested; and

(vi) The FMP number(s) for which the variance is requested, if applicable.

(2) A request for a variance must be submitted as a separate document from any plans or applications. A request for a variance that is submitted as part of a master development plan, application for permit to drill, right-of-way application, or application for approval of other types of operations, rather than submitted separately, will not be considered. Approval of a plan or application that contains a request for a variance does not constitute approval of the variance. A separate request for a variance may be submitted simultaneously with a plan or application. For plans or applications that are contingent upon the approval of the variance request, the BLM encourages the simultaneous submission of the variance request and the plan or application.

(3) The party requesting the variance must file the request and any supporting documents using WIS. If electronic filing is not possible or practical, the operator may submit a request for variance on the Form 3160-5, Sundry Notices and Reports on Wells (Sundry Notice) to the BLM Field Office having jurisdiction over the lands described in the application.

(4) The AO, after considering all relevant factors, may approve the variance, or approve it with COAs, only if the AO determines that:

(i) The proposed alternative means of compliance meets or exceeds the objectives of the applicable requirement(s) of the regulation;

(ii) Approving the variance will not adversely affect royalty income and production accountability; and

(iii) Issuing the variance is consistent with maximum ultimate economic recovery, as defined in 43 CFR 3160.0-5.

(5) The decision whether to grant or deny the variance request is entirely within the BLM's discretion.

(6) A variance from the requirements of a regulation in this part does not constitute a variance from provisions of other regulations, including Onshore Oil and Gas Orders.

(b) The BLM reserves the right to rescind a variance or modify any COA of a variance due to changes in Federal law, technology, regulation, BLM policy, field operations, noncompliance, or other reasons. The BLM will provide a written justification if it rescinds a variance or modifies a COA.