Federal Mineral Leasing (Oil, Gas, and Solid Minerals)—Legal Instruments

The NPS Geologic Resources Division developed this article as part of a series to summarize laws, regulations, and policies that specifically apply to NPS minerals and geologic resources. The table below does not include laws of general application (e.g., Endangered Species Act, Clean Water Act, Wilderness Act, National Environmental Policy Act, or National Historic Preservation Act). Also, the table does include the NPS Organic Act when it serves as the main authority for protection of a particular resource or when other, more specific laws are not available. Information is current as of December 2023. Contact the NPS Geologic Resources Division for detailed guidance.

Federal Mineral Leasing (Oil, Gas, and Solid Minerals)

Resource-specific Laws

The Mineral Leasing Act, 30 USC § 181 et seq., and the Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands, 30 USC § 351 et seq.

do not authorize the BLM to lease federally owned minerals in NPS units.

Combined Hydrocarbon Leasing Act, 30 USC §181

allowed owners of oil and gas leases or placer oil claims in Special Tar Sand Areas (STSA) to convert those leases or claims to combined hydrocarbon leases, and allowed for competitive tar sands leasing. This act did not modify the general prohibition on leasing in park units but did allow for lease conversion in GLCA, which is the only park unit that contains a STSA.

Exceptions: Glen Canyon NRA (16 USC § 460dd et seq.), Lake Mead NRA (16 USC § 460n et seq.), and Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity NRA (16 USC § 460q et seq.)

authorizes the BLM to issue federal mineral leases in these units provided that the BLM obtains NPS consent. Such consent must be predicated on an NPS finding of no significant adverse effect on park resources and/or administration.

American Indian Lands Within NPS Boundaries

Under the Indian Allottee Leasing Act of 1909, 25 USC §396, and the Indian Leasing Act of 1938, 25 USC §396a, §398 and §399, and Indian Mineral Development Act of 1982, 25 USCS §§2101-2108, all minerals on American Indian trust lands within NPS units are subject to leasing.

Federal Coal Leasing Amendments Act of 1975, 30 USC § 201

prohibits coal leasing in National Park System units.

Resource-specific Regulations

36 CFR § 5.14

states prospecting, mining, and…leasing under the mineral leasing laws [is] prohibited in park areas except as authorized by law.

BLM regulations at 43 CFR Parts 3100, 3400, and 3500

govern Federal mineral leasing.

43 CFR Part 3160

governs onshore oil and gas operations, which are overseen by the BLM.

Regulations re: Native American Lands within NPS Units:

  • 25 CFR Part 211 governs leasing of tribal lands for mineral development.
  • 25 CFR Part 212 governs leasing of allotted lands for mineral development.
  • 25 CFR Part 216 governs surface exploration, mining, and reclamation of lands during mineral development.
  • 25 CFR Part 224 governs tribal energy resource agreements.
  • 25 CFR Part 225 governs mineral agreements for the development of Indian-owned minerals entered into pursuant to the Indian Mineral Development Act of 1982, Pub. L. No. 97-382, 96 Stat. 1938 (codified at 25 USC §§ 2101-2108).
  • 30 CFR §§ 1202.100-1202.101 governs royalties on oil produced from Indian leases.
  • 30 CFR §§ 1202.550-1202.558 governs royalties on gas production from Indian leases.
  • 30 CFR §§ 1206.50-1206.62 and §§ 1206.170-1206.176 governs product valuation for mineral resources produced from Indian oil and gas leases.
  • 30 CFR § 1206.450 governs the valuation coal from Indian Tribal and Allotted leases.
  • 43 CFR Part 3160 governs onshore oil and gas operations, which are overseen by the BLM.

2006 Management Policies

Section 8.7.2

states that all NPS units are closed to new federal mineral leasing except Glen Canyon, Lake Mead and Whiskeytown-Shasta-Trinity NRAs.

Related Links

Part of a series of articles titled Geology & Minerals—Resource Laws, Regulations, and Policies.

Last updated: January 2, 2024