Facilitating Oil Industry Access to Federal Lands through Interagency Data Sharing Page: 3 of 25
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Much of the environmental and technical data useful to the oil and gas industry and regulatory
agencies is now contained in disparate state and federal databases. Delays in coordinating permit
approvals between federal and state agencies translate into increased operational costs and
stresses for the oil and gas industry. Making federal lease stipulation and area restriction data
available on state agency Web sites will streamline a potential lessors review of available leases,
encourage more active bidding on unleased federal lands, and give third-party operators inde-
pendent access to data who otherwise may not have access to lease restrictions and other envi-
As a requirement of the Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA), the Bureau of Land Manage-
ment (BLM) is in the process of inventorying oil and natural gas resources beneath onshore fed-
eral lands and the extent and nature of any stipulation, restrictions, or impediments to the devel-
opment of these resources.
The EPCA Phase 1 Inventory resulted in a collection of GIS coverage files organized according
to numerous lease stipulation reference codes. Meanwhile, state agencies also collect millions of
data elements concerning oil and gas operations. Much of the oil and gas data nationwide is
catalogued in the Ground Water Protection Council's (GWPC's) successfully completed Risk
Based Data Management System (RBDMS).
The GWPC and the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Montana are implementing a pi-
lot project where BLM lease stipulation data and RBDMS data will be displayed in a GIS format
on the Internet. This increased access to data will increase bid activity, help expedite permitting,
and encourage exploration on federal lands.
Linking environmental, lease stipulation and resource inventory assessment data and making a
GIS interface for the data available to industry and other agencies via the internet represents an
important step in the GWPC strategy for all oil and gas regulatory e-commerce. The next step
beyond mere data sharing for facilitating the permitting process is to make it possible for indus-
try to file those permit applications electronically. This process will involve the use of common
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Jehn, Paul & Grunewald, Ben. Facilitating Oil Industry Access to Federal Lands through Interagency Data Sharing, report, May 31, 2007; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc901053/m1/3/: accessed March 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.