43 CFR 3420.1-4 - General requirements for land use planning.
(a) The Secretary may not hold a lease sale under this part unless the lands containing the coal deposits are included in a comprehensive land use plan or land use analysis. The land use plan or land use analysis will be conducted with public notice and opportunity for participation at the points specified in § 1610.2(f) of this title. The sale must be compatible with, and subject to, any relevant stipulations, guidelines, and standards set out in that plan or analysis.
(2) The Department of Agriculture or any other Federal agency with surface management authority over lands subject to leasing shall prepare comprehensive land use plans or land use analyses for lands it administers.
(3) The Secretary may lease in any area where it is found either that there is no Federal interest in the surface or that the coal deposits in an area are insufficient to justify the costs of a Federal land use plan upon completion of a land use analysis in accordance with this section and 43 CFR part 1600.
(c) In an area of Federal lands not covered by a completed comprehensive land use plan or scheduled for comprehensive land use planning, a member of the public may request the appropriate Bureau of Land Management State Office to prepare a land use analysis for coal related uses of the land as provided for in this group.
(d) A comprehensive land use plan or land use analysis shall contain an estimate of the amount of coal recoverable by either surface or underground mining operations or both.
(e) The major land use planning decision concerning the coal resource shall be the identification of areas acceptable for further consideration for leasing which shall be identified by the screening procedures listed below:
(1) Only those areas that have development potential may be identified as acceptable for further consideration for leasing. The Bureau of Land Management shall estimate coal development potential for the surface management agency. Coal companies, State and local governments and the general public are encouraged to submit information to the Bureau of Land Management at any time in connection with such development potential determinations. Coal companies, State and local governments and members of the general public may also submit nonconfidential coal geology and economic data during the inventory phase of planning to the surface management agency conducting the land use planning. Where such information is determined to indicate development potential for an area, the area may be included in the land use planning for evaluation for coal leasing.
(2) The Bureau of Land Management or the surface managing agency conducting the land use planning shall, using the unsuitability criteria and procedures set out in subpart 3461 of this title, review Federal lands to assess where there are areas unsuitable for all or certain stipulated methods of mining. The unsuitability assessment shall be consistent with any decision of the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to designate lands unsuitable or to terminate a designation in response to a petition.
(3) Multiple land use decisions shall be made which may eliminate additional coal deposits from further consideration for leasing to protect other resource values and land uses that are locally, regionally or nationally important or unique and that are not included in the unsuitability criteria discussed in paragraph (e) of this section. Such values and uses include, but are not limited to, those identified in section 522(a)(3) of the Surface Mining Reclamation and Control Act of 1977 and as defined in 30 CFR 762.5. In making these multiple use decisions, the Bureau of Land Management or the surface management agency conducting the land use planning shall place particular emphasis on protecting the following: Air and water quality; wetlands, riparian areas and sole-source aquifers; the Federal lands which, if leased, would adversely impact units of the National Park System, the National Wildlife Refuge System, the National System of Trails, and the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.
(i) While preparing a comprehensive land use plan or land use analysis, the Bureau of Land Management shall consult with all surface owners who meet the criteria in paragraphs (gg) (1) and (2) of § 3400.0-5 of this title, and whose lands overlie coal deposits, to determine preference for or against mining by other than underground mining techniques.
(ii) For the purposes of this paragraph, any surface owner who has previously granted written consent to any party to mine by other than underground mining techniques shall be deemed to have expressed a preference in favor of mining. Where a significant number of surface owners in an area have expressed a preference against mining those deposits by other than underground mining techniques, that area shall be considered acceptable for further consideration only for development by underground mining techniques. In addition, the area may be considered acceptable for further consideration for leasing for development by other than underground techniques if there are no acceptable alternative areas available to meet the regional leasing level.
(iii) An area eliminated from further consideration by this subsection may be considered acceptable for further consideration for leasing for mining by other than underground mining techniques if:
(A) The number of surface owners who have expressed their preference against mining by other than underground techniques is reduced below a significant number because such surface owners have given written consent for such mining or have transferred ownership to unqualified surface owners; and
(B) The land use plan is amended accordingly.
(f) In its review of cumulative impacts of coal development, the regional coal team shall consider any threshold analysis performed during land-use planning as required by § 1610.4-4 of this title and shall apply this analysis, where appropriate, to the region as a whole.