RAPID/Roadmap/3-FD-c

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RAPID

Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Federal Right-of-Way Access (3-FD-c)

This flow chart is intended to apply to lands on which a lease has not been awarded. A right-of-way is not required on lands that have already been leased.

Rights-of-way are typically used for activities such as:

  • Transmission
  • Roads
  • Access
Right-of-ways are essentially special use permits.


Right-of-Way Access Process

3-FD-c.1 - Contact BLM, USFS, and/or USDOT to Initiate Process

Contact the federal agency with authority over the land in question to initiate the right-of-way (ROW) process.


Primary Agency Contact

For projects that involve more than one federal agency, the agencies involved will designate a lead agency immediately following the pre-application meeting and before an application is filed. One of the most important responsibilities of the lead agency is to serve as the primary contact for the applicant. Applicants should work directly with the lead agency.

(Although concerned with telecommunications, the NTIA Website offers guidance on ROWs over federal land)


3-FD-c.2 - Pre-Application Checklist (BLM Guide)

See Pre-Application Checklist


3-FD-c.3 - Pre-Application Meeting (Recommended)

Before filing an application for a grant of ROW, the BLM recommends the developer make an appointment for a pre-application meeting with the appropriate personnel in the local BLM field office. (BLM Applying for Grants)

See BLM ROWs Program Contacts Page


The pre-application meeting provides the opportunity for you to fully discuss and describe your proposal in detail and provides an opportunity for BLM to fully explain the processing requirements. If possible, you should review the application form (SF-299) before the pre-application meeting. You can fill it out before or during the pre-application meeting with the BLM. Be sure to bring any information that may be useful during this session, such as a map of your project area (Item 8 of the application). You may already have a survey or another adequate map that will satisfy this requirement and provide additional information for processing your application.

The pre-application meeting will also cover fees, safety, work schedules, and other items. This meeting has the potential to save both you and the BLM time and expense.

See Obtaining a Right-of-Way on Public Lands


3-FD-c.4 - Does the ROW Conform with Land Use Plan?

The application will be evaluated to ensure the proposed use will conform with any preexisting land use plans. If there will be a conflict, the developer may need to try to amend the land use plan in order to proceed or consider another location.


3-FD-c.5 - Amend Land Use Plan

Land Use Plan Amendment Process:
1-FD-b


3-FD-c.6 - Has NEPA Been Completed for the ROW?

An undertaking on federally managed land will require environmental analysis under NEPA.

See A Citizen's Guide to the NEPA for guidance on when NEPA applies.


3-FD-c.7 - Complete NEPA Process

Bureau of Land Management- NEPA Process:
9-FD-a


3-FD-c.8 - Application for Transportation and Utility Systems with Facilities on Federal Land (Form SF-299)

Use Form SF-299 to apply.


Excerpted from Obtaining a Right-of-Way on Public Lands:


COMPLETING THE APPLICATION

Directions for completing the application are included on page 3 of the form (Standard Form 299), however, the following instructions may also assist you. Incomplete information is often the reason application processing periods are unnecessarily delayed.

The application form is considered complete when information has been provided for the following items:

Required: Items 1, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 19, signature, and date.

Required if applicable: Items 2, 6, 11, 20 and “Supplemental” page 4, if a business entity.

Optional: Items 9 and 14 through 18.

Detailed Instructions:

Item 6 — Citizenship: This applies only to oil and gas pipelines, which are authorized under the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA); wherein applicants must be citizens of the United States. Citizenship is required of all partners in a partnership. Aliens may own or control stock in corporations if the laws of their countries do not deny similar privileges to citizens of the United States.

Item 7 — Project Description: This section requires you to provide details about the project you are applying for. Be as specific as possible in describing the project, its location, and dimensions. Include the legal description of the affected public land. You may need to attach separate sheets as the space in this block is limited and we recommend you review the list of items found under the heading of “ROW – Plan of Development Outline” that follows. Detailed lists and examples of PODs for particular types of projects (roads, power lines, wind energy, etc.) are also available on the PreApplication website . This POD outline should help you thoroughly describe your project from the initial construction phase through termination and rehabilitation of the public land. You should also describe any temporary or short-term use areas needed (See the section on Temporary Use Permits or Short-term ROW for more information).

Item 8 — Map: Attach a map (BLM intermediate scale map, 1:100,000; U.S. Geological Survey quadrangle; aerial photo; or equivalent) showing the approximate location of the proposed ROW on public land and existing improvements adjacent to the proposal. Only improvements that may directly affect the proposal need to be shown on the map. Include the township, range, section, and a north arrow.

Item 9 — State or local government approval: It is not mandatory to submit documentation of other approvals at the time you submit your application. However, the authorized officer may require other agency approvals prior to or during the application processing.

Item 10 — Nonreturnable application fee: The fees are discussed in the COSTS section below. No fees are required at the time you file your application with BLM. BLM will determine the appropriate Processing Category fee once you have submitted your complete application and will notify you of the fee in writing.

Item 12 — Statement of technical and financial capability: If you have no doubts about your capability to complete the project, write in "[I am/We are] technically and financially capable of completing the project described in this application." The BLM Authorized Officer may require you to post a performance bond or to hire a registered/licensed engineer, depending upon the scope and complexity of your project.

Item 13 — Describe reasonable alternatives: Complete parts a. through c. to help BLM understand alternatives that could be considered in the analysis of this project.

Items 14 through 18--It is generally not necessary to complete these items. However, if you have information or have conducted studies that address these items, the information should be submitted to accelerate the processing of the application.

Item 19 — Hazardous Materials: It is mandatory to provide information related to the use or transportation of any hazardous materials. Do not write “N/A” in this block but you may state “None”.

Signature and Date blocks—The application must be signed and dated. If you are allowing an Authorized Agent to act on your behalf, and you want them to sign the application or authorization on your behalf, please complete Item 2. on the application and include evidence of permission allowing the other person to act as your Authorized Agent.

Supplemental (page 4 of application)—This information is needed for all business entities. For all applications filed under the FLPMA, check the appropriate boxes and if the information has been previously submitted with another BLM ROW application or grant, provide the name of the office and file identification numbers. For all applications filed under the MLA, complete only Section I - f. and g. and Section II – e. or Section III – d., as these pertain only to oil and gas pipelines authorized under the MLA.

An application consists of a completed application form (Standard Form 299) and map. When you have all the required information, bring or mail the application to the appropriate BLM office.


COSTS

There are three different fees or charges involved for processing ROWs. These three fees are adjusted annually based on inflation indices:

Processing Fee – Applicants are required to reimburse the United States in advance for the cost of processing an application. The fees are based on the amount of time BLM estimates it will take to process your application and issue a decision to grant or deny the application. BLM will determine the appropriate Processing Category fee, once you have submitted your complete application, and will notify you in writing of this fee. You must submit the appropriate payment before BLM will begin processing your application.

There are six Processing Fee Categories. Categories 1 through 4 are one-time, nonrefundable fees based on the number of federal work hours involved to process an application. The Processing Fee Schedule is available at BLM offices. Category 5 is for Master Agreements which are negotiated with a single applicant for processing and monitoring multiple applications covering facilities within a specific geographic area. Any application that requires more than 50 hours to process is a Category 6 which requires the applicant to reimburse BLM for the full costs of processing your application.

Monitoring Fee – A Monitoring fee is charged to reimburse the BLM for monitoring the construction, operation, maintenance, and termination of the project, including protection and rehabilitation of the public lands involved. BLM categorizes this fee based on the estimated number of work hours necessary to monitor your grant. Monitoring fees in Categories 1 through 4 are one-time, non-refundable fees. Category 5, for Master Agreements, and Category 6, involving more than 50 hours of monitoring, are the same as described above. BLM will determine the appropriate Monitoring Category fee and will notify you in writing of this fee. You must pay the monitoring fee before BLM issues you a grant.

Rent - The third charge is the annual rent. The Linear Rent Schedule is adjusted annually based on changes to the Implicit Price Deflator Index (an inflation index), The Communication Uses Rental Schedule is adjusted annually based on changes to the Consumer Price Index, All Urban Consumers (CPI-U). The rent for linear and communication site ROWs on public land is established via two separate administrative schedules (see Linear Schedule or Communication Uses Schedule. These schedules are based on land values in the project area and, in some cases, the rent is established by an appraisal. BLM will notify you of the initial rent amount due. You must pay rent for the initial rent period before BLM issues you a grant.

No processing fee, monitoring fee, or rent is required for:

  • State or local agencies or instrumentalities thereof (except municipal utilities and cooperatives whose principal source of revenue is customer charges) where the land will be used for governmental proposes and the land resources will continue to serve the public interest.
  • Road use agreements or reciprocal road agreements.

Other exemptions, waivers, or reductions in the processing and monitoring fees and/or rent may apply and can be explained by BLM officials during the pre-application meeting.


BONDS

BLM may require you to post a cash or surety bond.


3-FD-c.9 - Did You Participate in a Pre-Application Meeting?

Although not directly concerned with ROWs for electrical transmission, according to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, participation in a pre-application meeting (or lack thereof) can determine how long the initial application review takes.


3-FD-c.10 - Review Application Material for Completeness

For applicants that have participated in a pre-application meeting, the agency(ies) will review the initial application (the SF-299) and notify the applicant within 30 calendar days whether the application is “complete” and ready for formal review, or whether additional information must be submitted.

See NTIA Website


3-FD-c.11 - Review Application Material for Completeness

For applicants that have not arranged or participated in a pre-application meeting, the agency(ies) will review the application and notify the applicant within 60 days as to whether the application is complete.

See NTIA Website


3-FD-c.12 - Is the Application Complete?

Once the application is complete, the review process can continue.


3-FD-c.13 - Is This a Small Simple ROW or a Large Complex ROW?

3-FD-c.14 - Process Application

For small, uncomplicated projects, agency[ies] will strive to grant or deny a request for a right-of-way within 60 days of receiving a completed application.

See NTIA Website


If your proposed use is in conformance with the BLM plans and there are no apparent conflicts, BLM will determine the Processing Fee Category based on the number of federal work hours expected to process the application.

ROW applications are generally processed in the order they are received. A thorough, complete application can move ahead of a deficient, problem-riddled application. ROW applications often compete against other land use applications and other priority workloads. For this reason, applicants may have to wait for extended periods of time for the BLM specialist to complete required inventories or to consult with other agencies. Other points to consider are weather and season of the year. Application processing may come to a standstill while waiting for inventory work or studies to be completed. For example, if you filed an application late in the fall and the BLM archaeologist already had other workloads committed for that year, the archaeologist may not be able to complete the field work prior to snowfall and the application may be delayed until the next summer. If specific resource issues are identified on the proposed project area it can prolong the processing time.

See Obtaining a Right-of-Way on Public Lands


3-FD-c.15 - Notify Applicant of Processed Application

Once [the agency] has completed the necessary reviews, inventories and reports, you will be notified in writing if the ROW will be granted or denied.

See Obtaining a Right-of-Way on Public Lands


3-FD-c.16 - Establish Processing Schedule

For larger, complex projects, the agency(ies), in consultation with the applicant and other affected parties, will establish a schedule of processing time frames and notify the applicant of that schedule within 60 days after the application is deemed complete.

See NTIA Website


3-FD-c.17 - Process Application

If your proposed use is in conformance with the BLM plans and there are no apparent conflicts, BLM will determine the Processing Fee Category based on the number of federal work hours expected to process the application.

ROW applications are generally processed in the order they are received. A thorough, complete application can move ahead of a deficient, problem-riddled application. ROW applications often compete against other land use applications and other priority workloads. For this reason, applicants may have to wait for extended periods of time for the BLM specialist to complete required inventories or to consult with other agencies. Other points to consider are weather and season of the year. Application processing may come to a standstill while waiting for inventory work or studies to be completed. For example, if you filed an application late in the fall and the BLM archaeologist already had other workloads committed for that year, the archaeologist may not be able to complete the field work prior to snowfall and the application may be delayed until the next summer. If specific resource issues are identified on the proposed project area it can prolong the processing time.

See Obtaining a Right-of-Way on Public Lands


3-FD-c.18 - Notify Applicant of Processed Application

Once [the agency] has completed the necessary reviews, inventories and reports, you will be notified in writing if the ROW will be granted or denied.

See Obtaining a Right-of-Way on Public Lands


3-FD-c.19 - Issued Right of Way

If the ROW will be granted, BLM will request you to review and sign the ROW Grant and to pay the rent and monitoring fee (See COSTS section). Once all the necessary fees have been received and you have signed and returned the ROW Grant, the BLM Authorized Officer will sign and return a copy of the completed ROW Grant to you.

The BLM will inspect and monitor your project for compliance with the terms and conditions of the grant. In addition, the BLM reserves the right of access onto the public lands covered by the ROW grant and, with reasonable notice to the holder, the right of access and entry to any facility constructed in connection with the project.

See Obtaining a Right-of-Way on Public Lands




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