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43 U.S. Code § 1344 - Outer Continental Shelf leasing program

(a) Schedule of proposed oil and gas lease salesThe Secretary, pursuant to procedures set forth in subsections (c) and (d) of this section, shall prepare and periodically revise, and maintain an oil and gas leasing program to implement the policies of this subchapter. The leasing program shall consist of a schedule of proposed lease sales indicating, as precisely as possible, the size, timing, and location of leasing activity which he determines will best meet national energy needs for the five-year period following its approval or reapproval. Such leasing program shall be prepared and maintained in a manner consistent with the following principles:
Management of the outer Continental Shelf shall be conducted in a manner which considers economic, social, and environmental values of the renewable and nonrenewable resources contained in the outer Continental Shelf, and the potential impact of oil and gas exploration on other resource values of the outer Continental Shelf and the marine, coastal, and human environments.
(2) Timing and location of exploration, development, and production of oil and gas among the oil- and gas-bearing physiographic regions of the outer Continental Shelf shall be based on a consideration of—
existing information concerning the geographical, geological, and ecological characteristics of such regions;
an equitable sharing of developmental benefits and environmental risks among the various regions;
the location of such regions with respect to, and the relative needs of, regional and national energy markets;
the location of such regions with respect to other uses of the sea and seabed, including fisheries, navigation, existing or proposed sealanes, potential sites of deepwater ports, and other anticipated uses of the resources and space of the outer Continental Shelf;
the interest of potential oil and gas producers in the development of oil and gas resources as indicated by exploration or nomination;
laws, goals, and policies of affected States which have been specifically identified by the Governors of such States as relevant matters for the Secretary’s consideration;
the relative environmental sensitivity and marine productivity of different areas of the outer Continental Shelf; and
relevant environmental and predictive information for different areas of the outer Continental Shelf.
The Secretary shall select the timing and location of leasing, to the maximum extent practicable, so as to obtain a proper balance between the potential for environmental damage, the potential for the discovery of oil and gas, and the potential for adverse impact on the coastal zone.
Leasing activities shall be conducted to assure receipt of fair market value for the lands leased and the rights conveyed by the Federal Government.
(b) Estimates of appropriations and staff required for management of leasing programThe leasing program shall include estimates of the appropriations and staff required to—
obtain resource information and any other information needed to prepare the leasing program required by this section;
analyze and interpret the exploratory data and any other information which may be compiled under the authority of this subchapter;
conduct environmental studies and prepare any environmental impact statement required in accordance with this subchapter and with section 4332(2)(C) of title 42; and
supervise operations conducted pursuant to each lease in the manner necessary to assure due diligence in the exploration and development of the lease area and compliance with the requirements of applicable law and regulations, and with the terms of the lease.
(c) Suggestions from Federal agencies and affected State and local governments; submission of proposed program to Governors of affected States and Congress; publication in Federal Register
During the preparation of any proposed leasing program under this section, the Secretary shall invite and consider suggestions for such program from any interested Federal agency, including the Attorney General, in consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, and from the Governor of any State which may become an affected State under such proposed program. The Secretary may also invite or consider any suggestions from the executive of any affected local government in such an affected State, which have been previously submitted to the Governor of such State, and from any other person.
After such preparation and at least sixty days prior to publication of a proposed leasing program in the Federal Register pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection, the Secretary shall submit a copy of such proposed program to the Governor of each affected State for review and comment. The Governor may solicit comments from those executives of local governments in his State which he, in his discretion, determines will be affected by the proposed program. If any comment by such Governor is received by the Secretary at least fifteen days prior to submission to the Congress pursuant to such paragraph (3) and includes a request for any modification of such proposed program, the Secretary shall reply in writing, granting or denying such request in whole or in part, or granting such request in such modified form as the Secretary considers appropriate, and stating his reasons therefor. All such correspondence between the Secretary and the Governor of any affected State, together with any additional information and data relating thereto, shall accompany such proposed program when it is submitted to the Congress.
Within nine months after September 18, 1978, the Secretary shall submit a proposed leasing program to the Congress, the Attorney General, and the Governors of affected States, and shall publish such proposed program in the Federal Register. Each Governor shall, upon request, submit a copy of the proposed leasing program to the executive of any local government affected by the proposed program.
(d) Comments by Attorney General on anticipated effect on competition; comments by State or local governments; submission of program to President and Congress; issuance of leases in accordance with program
Within ninety days after the date of publication of a proposed leasing program, the Attorney General may, after consultation with the Federal Trade Commission, submit comments on the anticipated effects of such proposed program upon competition. Any State, local government, or other person may submit comments and recommendations as to any aspect of such proposed program.
At least sixty days prior to approving a proposed leasing program, the Secretary shall submit it to the President and the Congress, together with any comments received. Such submission shall indicate why any specific recommendation of the Attorney General or a State or local government was not accepted.
After the leasing program has been approved by the Secretary, or after eighteen months following September 18, 1978, whichever first occurs, no lease shall be issued unless it is for an area included in the approved leasing program and unless it contains provisions consistent with the approved leasing program, except that leasing shall be permitted to continue until such program is approved and for so long thereafter as such program is under judicial or administrative review pursuant to the provisions of this subchapter.
(e) Review, revision, and reapproval of program

The Secretary shall review the leasing program approved under this section at least once each year. He may revise and reapprove such program, at any time, and such revision and reapproval, except in the case of a revision which is not significant, shall be in the same manner as originally developed.

(f) Procedural regulations for management of programThe Secretary shall, by regulation, establish procedures for—
receipt and consideration of nominations for any area to be offered for lease or to be excluded from leasing;
public notice of and participation in development of the leasing program;
review by State and local governments which may be impacted by the proposed leasing;
periodic consultation with State and local governments, oil and gas lessees and permittees, and representatives of other individuals or organizations engaged in activity in or on the outer Continental Shelf, including those involved in fish and shellfish recovery, and recreational activities; and
consideration of the coastal zone management program being developed or administered by an affected coastal State pursuant to section 1454 or section 1455 of title 16.
Such procedures shall be applicable to any significant revision or reapproval of the leasing program.
(g) Information from public and private sources; confidentiality of classified or privileged data

The Secretary may obtain from public sources, or purchase from private sources, any survey, data, report, or other information (including interpretations of such data, survey, report, or other information) which may be necessary to assist him in preparing any environmental impact statement and in making other evaluations required by this subchapter. Data of a classified nature provided to the Secretary under the provisions of this subsection shall remain confidential for such period of time as agreed to by the head of the department or agency from whom the information is requested. The Secretary shall maintain the confidentiality of all privileged or proprietary data or information for such period of time as is provided for in this subchapter, established by regulation, or agreed to by the parties.

(h) Information from all Federal departments and agencies; confidentiality of privileged or proprietary information

The heads of all Federal departments and agencies shall provide the Secretary with any nonpriviledged [1] or nonproprietary information he requests to assist him in preparing the leasing program and may provide the Secretary with any privileged or proprietary information he requests to assist him in preparing the leasing program. Privileged or proprietary information provided to the Secretary under the provisions of this subsection shall remain confidential for such period of time as agreed to by the head of the department or agency from whom the information is requested. In addition, the Secretary shall utilize the existing capabilities and resources of such Federal departments and agencies by appropriate agreement.

(i) Application

This section shall not apply to the scheduling of any lease sale in an area of the outer Continental Shelf that is adjacent to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, American Samoa, the United States Virgin Islands, or the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

(Aug. 7, 1953, ch. 345, § 18, as added Pub. L. 95–372, title II, § 208, Sept. 18, 1978, 92 Stat. 649; Pub. L. 117–169, title V, § 50251(b)(1)(B), Aug. 16, 2022, 136 Stat. 2055.)

[1]  So in original. Probably should be “nonprivileged”.
Editorial Notes

2022—Subsec. (i). Pub. L. 117–169 added subsec. (i).

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Transfer of Functions

Functions of Secretary of the Interior to promulgate regulations under this subchapter which relate to fostering of competition for Federal leases, implementation of alternative bidding systems authorized for award of Federal leases, establishment of diligence requirements for operations conducted on Federal leases, setting of rates for production of Federal leases, and specifying of procedures, terms, and conditions for acquisition and disposition of Federal royalty interests taken in kind, transferred to Secretary of Energy by section 7152(b) of Title 42, The Public Health and Welfare. Section 7152(b) of Title 42 was repealed by Pub. L. 97–100, title II, § 201, Dec. 23, 1981, 95 Stat. 1407, and functions of Secretary of Energy returned to Secretary of the Interior. See House Report No. 97–315, pp. 25, 26, Nov. 5, 1981.