e-CFR banner

Home
gpo.gov
govinfo.gov

e-CFR Navigation Aids

Browse

Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity

 

Search History

Search Tips

Corrections

Latest Updates

User Info

FAQs

Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

 

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

e-CFR data is current as of November 14, 2019

Title 36Chapter IPart 9 → Subpart B


Title 36: Parks, Forests, and Public Property
PART 9—MINERALS MANAGEMENT


Subpart B—Non-Federal Oil and Gas Rights


Contents

Purpose and Scope

§9.30   What is the purpose and scope of this subpart?
§9.31   When does this subpart apply to me?
§9.32   What authorization do I need to conduct operations?
§9.33   If I am already operating under an NPS authorization, what do I need to do?

Definitions

§9.40   What do the terms used in this subpart mean?

Previously Exempt Operations

§9.50   Do I need an operations permit for my previously exempt operations?
§9.51   How do I apply for my operations permit?
§9.52   What will the NPS do with my application?
§9.53   May I continue to operate while the NPS reviews my application?

Temporary Access Permits

§9.60   When do I need a temporary access permit?
§9.61   How do I apply for a temporary access permit?
§9.62   When will the NPS grant a temporary access permit?
§9.63   How long will I have to conduct my reconnaissance surveys?

Accessing Oil and Gas Rights From a Surface Location Outside the System Unit Boundary

§9.70   Do I need an operations permit for accessing oil and gas rights from outside the System unit boundary?
§9.71   What information must I submit to the NPS?
§9.72   How will the NPS act on my submission?
§9.73   If I don't need an operations permit, are there still requirements that I must meet?

Operations Permit: Application Contents

§9.80   Who must apply for an operations permit?
§9.81   May I use previously submitted information?
§9.82   What must I include in my application?
§9.83   What information must be included in all applications?
§9.84   Existing conditions and proposed area of operations.
§9.85   Environmental conditions and mitigation actions.
§9.86   Spill control and emergency preparedness plan.
§9.87   What additional information must be included if I am proposing geophysical exploration?
§9.88   What additional information must be included if I am proposing drilling operations?
§9.89   What additional information must be included if I am proposing well stimulation operations, including hydraulic fracturing?
§9.90   What additional information must be included if I am proposing production operations?

Operations Permit: Application Review Process

§9.100   How will NPS process my application?
§9.101   How will the NPS conduct initial review?
§9.102   How will the NPS conduct formal review?
§9.103   What standards must be met to approve my operations permit?
§9.104   What final actions may the Regional Director take on my operations permit?
§9.105   What is the approval process for operations in Big Cypress National Preserve?

Operating Standards

§9.110   What are the purposes and functions of NPS operating standards?
§9.111   What general facility design and management standards must I meet?
§9.112   What hydrologic standards must I meet?
§9.113   What safety standards must I meet?
§9.114   What lighting and visual standards must I meet?
§9.115   What noise reduction standards must I meet?
§9.116   What reclamation and protection standards must I meet?
§9.117   What additional operating standards apply to geophysical operations?
§9.118   What additional operating standards apply to drilling, stimulation, and production operations?

General Terms and Conditions

§9.120   What terms and conditions apply to all operators?
§9.121   What monitoring and reporting is required for all operators?
§9.122   What additional reports must I submit if my operation includes hydraulic fracturing?

Access to Oil and Gas Rights

§9.130   May I cross Federal property to reach the boundary of my oil and gas right?
§9.131   Will the NPS charge me a fee for access?
§9.132   Will I be charged a fee for emergency access to my operations?

Financial Assurance

§9.140   Do I have to provide financial assurance to the NPS?
§9.141   How does the NPS establish the amount of financial assurance?
§9.142   Will the NPS adjust my financial assurance?
§9.143   When will the NPS release my financial assurance?
§9.144   Under what circumstances will the NPS retain my financial assurance?

Modification to an Operation

§9.150   How can an approved permit be modified?

Change of Operator

§9.160   What are my responsibilities if I transfer my operations?
§9.161   What must I do if operations are transferred to me?

Well Plugging

§9.170   When must I plug my well?
§9.171   Can I get an extension to the well plugging requirement?

Prohibitions and Penalties

§9.180   What acts are prohibited under this subpart?
§9.181   What enforcement actions can the NPS take?
§9.182   How do violations affect my ability to obtain a permit?

Reconsideration and Appeals

§9.190   Can I, as operator, request reconsideration of NPS decisions?
§9.191   How does the NPS process my request for reconsideration?
§9.192   Can I appeal the Regional Director's decision?
§9.193   Will filing a request for reconsideration or appeal stop the NPS from taking action under this subpart?
§9.194   What if the original decision was made by the Superintendent?

Public Participation

§9.200   How can the public participate in the approval process?

Information Collection

§9.210   Has the Office of Management and Budget approved the information collection requirements?

Authority: 16 U.S.C. 230a(a)(4), 459d-3, 460cc-2(i), 460ee(c)(4), 698c(b)(2), 698i(b)(2), and 698m-4; 18 U.S.C. 3571 and 3581; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 54 U.S.C. 100101, 100751, and 103104.

Source: 81 FR 77992, Nov. 4, 2016, unless otherwise noted.

Purpose and Scope

§9.30   What is the purpose and scope of this subpart?

(a) The purpose of this subpart is to ensure that operators exercising non-federal oil and gas rights within a System unit outside of Alaska use technologically feasible, least damaging methods to:

(1) Protect federally owned or administered lands, waters, or resources of System units;

(2) Protect NPS visitor uses or experiences, or visitor or employee health and safety; and

(3) Protect park resources and values under the statute commonly known as the NPS Organic Act;

(b) This subpart applies to all operators conducting non-federal oil or gas operations on lands or waters within System units outside of Alaska, regardless of the ownership or legislative jurisdiction status of those lands or waters.

(c) We do not intend for this subpart to result in a taking of a property interest. Application of this subpart is intended to reasonably regulate operations within System units that may affect federally owned or administered lands, waters, and resources, visitor uses and experiences, and visitor and employee health and safety.

§9.31   When does this subpart apply to me?

(a) This subpart applies to you if you are an operator who conducts or proposes to conduct non-federal oil or gas operations outside of Alaska.

(b) If you were operating outside of a System unit and your operation has been included within an existing System unit as a result of a change to the boundary, or included within a newly established System unit, you are subject to §§9.50 through 9.53.

(c) If you were operating under an exemption because your operation accessed oil and gas rights inside the System unit boundary from a surface location outside the boundary, and your surface location has been included within an existing System unit as a result of a change to the boundary, or included within a newly established System unit, you are subject to §§9.50 through 9.53.

§9.32   What authorization do I need to conduct operations?

(a) Except as provided in §§9.70 through 9.73, you must obtain a temporary access permit under §§9.60 through 9.63 or an operations permit under §§9.80 through 9.90 before conducting operations.

(b) You must demonstrate that you have the right to operate in order to conduct activities within a System unit.

§9.33   If I am already operating under an NPS authorization, what do I need to do?

(a) If you already have an NPS-approved plan of operations, you may continue to operate according to the terms and conditions of that approval, subject to the provisions of this subpart. For purposes of this subpart, we consider your approved plan of operations to be either a temporary access permit or operations permit.

(b) This section applies to you if we have granted you an exemption to the plan of operations requirement because your operation accesses oil and gas rights inside a System unit boundary from a surface location outside the boundary. You may continue to operate under the exemption provided that your operations comply with the general terms and conditions of §§9.120 through 9.122. You are also subject to the prohibitions and penalties in §§9.180 through 9.182.

Definitions

§9.40   What do the terms used in this subpart mean?

In addition to the definitions in 36 CFR 1.4, the following definitions apply to this subpart:

Area of operations means lands or waters within a System unit on which your operations are approved to be carried out, including roads or other areas where you are authorized to exercise the oil and gas rights.

Contaminating substance means any toxic or hazardous substance which is used in or results from the conduct of operations and is listed under the Clean Water Act at 40 CFR part 116, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act at 40 CFR part 261, or the Hazardous Materials Transportation Act at 49 CFR part 172. This includes, but is not limited to, explosives, radioactive materials, brine waters, formation waters, petroleum products, petroleum by-products, and chemical compounds used for drilling, production, processing, well testing, well completion, and well servicing.

Gas means any fluid, either combustible or noncombustible, which is produced in a natural state from the earth and which maintains a gaseous or rarefied state at ordinary temperature and pressure conditions.

Oil means any viscous combustible liquid hydrocarbon or solid hydrocarbon substance easily liquefiable on warming that occurs naturally in the earth, including drip gasoline or other natural condensates recovered from gas without resort to manufacturing process.

Operations means all existing and proposed functions, work, and activities in connection with the exercise of oil or gas rights not owned by the United States and located or occurring within a System unit outside of Alaska.

(1) Operations include, but are not limited to: Access by any means to or from an area of operations; construction; geological and geophysical exploration; drilling, well servicing, workover, or recompletion; production; gathering (including installation and maintenance of flowlines and gathering lines); storage, transport, or processing of petroleum products; earth moving; excavation; hauling; disposal; surveillance, inspection, monitoring, or maintenance of wells, facilities, and equipment; reclamation; road and pad building or improvement; shot hole and well plugging and abandonment, and reclamation; and all other activities incident to any of the foregoing.

(2) Operations do not include reconnaissance surveys as defined in this subpart or oil and gas pipelines that are located within the System unit under authority of a deeded or other right-of-way.

Operations permit means an NPS special use permit authorizing an operator to conduct operations in a System unit.

Operator means any person or entity, agent, assignee, designee, lessee, or representative thereof who is conducting operations or proposing to exercise non-federal oil and gas rights within the boundaries of a System unit outside of Alaska.

Owner means the person that holds title to non-federal oil or gas rights.

Previously exempt operations means those operations being conducted in a System unit without an approved permit from the NPS as of December 5, 2016, except operations for which the NPS had granted the operator an exemption to the plan of operations requirement before such date, because the operator accessed oil and gas rights inside the System unit from a surface location outside the System unit.

Reconnaissance survey means an inspection or survey conducted by qualified specialists for the purpose of preparing a permit application.

(1) A reconnaissance survey includes identification of the area of operations and collection of natural and cultural resource information within and adjacent to the proposed area of operations.

(2) Except for the minimal surface disturbance necessary to perform cultural resource surveys, natural resource surveys, and location surveys required under this subpart, surface disturbance activities are beyond the scope of a reconnaissance survey.

Right to operate means a deed, lease, memorandum of lease, designation of operator, assignment of right, or other documentation demonstrating that you hold a legal right to conduct the operations you are proposing within a System unit.

Technologically feasible, least damaging methods are those that we determine to be most protective of park resources and values while ensuring human health and safety, taking into consideration all relevant factors, including environmental, economic, and technological factors and the requirements of applicable law.

Temporary access permit means an NPS special use permit authorizing an operator to access the proposed area of operations to conduct reconnaissance surveys necessary to collect basic information necessary to prepare an operations permit application.

Third-party monitor means a qualified specialist who is not an employee, agent, or representative of the operator and who has the relevant expertise to monitor operations for compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and permit requirements.

Usable water means an aquifer or its portion that:

(1)(i) Supplies any public water system; or

(ii) Contains a sufficient quantity of ground water to supply a public water system and either:

(A) Currently supplies drinking water for human consumption; or

(B) Contains fewer than 10,000 mg/l total dissolved solids; and

(2) Is not an exempted aquifer under state law.

Waste means any material that is discarded. It includes, but is not limited to: drilling fluids and cuttings; produced fluids not under regulation as a contaminating substance; human waste; garbage; fuel drums; pipes; oil; contaminated soil; synthetic materials; man-made structures or equipment; or native and nonnative materials.

We and us mean the National Park Service.

You and I mean the operator, unless otherwise specified or indicated by the context.

Previously Exempt Operations

§9.50   Do I need an operations permit for my previously exempt operations?

Yes. You must obtain an NPS operations permit.

§9.51   How do I apply for my operations permit?

Within 90 days after December 5, 2016 or within 90 days after the effective date of a boundary change, or establishment of a new System unit, as applicable, you must submit the following to the Superintendent of the System unit in which you propose to continue to conduct operations:

(a) The names and contact information of the operator, the owner, and the individuals responsible for overall management, field supervision, and emergency response of the proposed operations;

(b) Documentation demonstrating that you hold a right, and the extent of such right, to operate within the System unit;

(c) A brief description of the current operations and any anticipated changes to the current operations;

(d) The American Petroleum Institute (API) well number or State well-identification permit number;

(e) Maps to scale that clearly delineate your current area of operations as of December 5, 2016 or the effective date of a boundary change, or establishment of a new System unit, as applicable, and that identify the area of surface disturbance and equipment layout within your proposed area of operations;

(f) The results of any reconnaissance surveys you have conducted to be used by the Superintendent to identify resource protection measures in your operations permit.

(g) A spill control and emergency preparedness plan as required by §9.86;

(h) Documentation of the current operating methods, surface equipment, downhole well construction and completion, materials produced or used, and monitoring methods;

(i) A description of how your proposed operation will meet each applicable operating standard at §§9.110 through 9.116 and 9.118; and

(j) A description of the procedures to be used and cost estimates for well plugging and surface reclamation.

§9.52   What will the NPS do with my application?

The NPS will review your application and take action under §§9.100 through 9.104.

§9.53   May I continue to operate while the NPS reviews my application?

During this interim period, you may continue to conduct operations subject to the following conditions:

(a) Continuation of operations is limited to those methods and the area of disturbance that existed on December 5, 2016 or the effective date of a boundary change, or establishment of a new System unit, as applicable.

(b) Your operation is subject to the general terms and conditions in §§9.120 through 9.122 and the prohibitions and penalties in §§9.180 through 9.182.

(c) Except in an emergency, we will not take any steps to directly regulate your operation before 90 days after December 5, 2016 or 90 days after the effective date of a boundary change, or establishment of a new System unit, as applicable.

Temporary Access Permits

§9.60   When do I need a temporary access permit?

(a) You must apply to the Regional Director for a temporary access permit to access your proposed area of operations that is on NPS administered lands or waters in order to conduct reconnaissance surveys. This permit will describe the means, routes, timing, and other terms and conditions of your access as determined by the Regional Director.

(b) A temporary access permit is subject to cost recovery under 54 U.S.C. 103104.

§9.61   How do I apply for a temporary access permit?

To apply for a temporary access permit, you must submit the following information to the Superintendent of the System unit in which you propose to conduct operations:

(a) Documentation demonstrating that you hold a right, and the extent of such right, to operate within the System unit;

(b) A map delineating the proposed reconnaissance survey areas in relation to the System unit boundary and the proposed area of operations at a minimum scale of 1:24,000, or a scale specified by the Superintendent as acceptable;

(c) A brief description of the intended operation so that we can determine the scope of the reconnaissance surveys needed;

(d) The name and contact information of the operator, employee, agent, or contractor responsible for overall management of the proposed reconnaissance surveys;

(e) The name, legal address, telephone number, and qualifications of all specialists responsible for conducting the reconnaissance surveys;

(f) A description of proposed means of access and routes proposed for conducting the reconnaissance surveys; and

(g) A description of the survey methods you intend to use to identify the natural and cultural resources.

§9.62   When will the NPS grant a temporary access permit?

If the Regional Director determines that your proposed reconnaissance surveys will not result in surface disturbance, except for minimal disturbance necessary to perform required surveys, the Regional Director will issue you a temporary access permit within 30 days after receipt of a complete application, unless the Regional Director notifies you that additional time is necessary to evaluate or process your application.

§9.63   How long will I have to conduct my reconnaissance surveys?

The duration of your temporary access permit will be stated in the permit, based upon the scope of the reconnaissance surveys needed. The Regional Director may, upon written request, extend the term of the temporary access permit.

Accessing Oil and Gas Rights From a Surface Location Outside the System Unit Boundary

§9.70   Do I need an operations permit for accessing oil and gas rights from outside the System unit boundary?

Your downhole operations inside a System unit are subject to these regulations. If you wish to access your oil and gas rights located inside a System unit from a surface location outside the unit, you must submit the information required by §9.71. We will evaluate this information and may request that you apply for an operations permit. We will require an operations permit for such operations only if we determine that downhole permit requirements are needed to protect against a significant threat of damage to:

(a) Federally owned or administered lands, waters, or resources within System units;

(b) NPS visitor uses or experiences; or

(c) Visitor or employee health or safety.

§9.71   What information must I submit to the NPS?

You must provide the information required by this section to the Superintendent of the System unit. You must provide all of the following.

(a) The names and contact information of:

(1) The operator;

(2) The owner; and

(3) The individuals responsible for overall management, field supervision, and emergency response of the proposed operations.

(b) Documentation demonstrating that you hold a right, and the extent of such right, to operate within the System unit.

(c) Maps and plats to scale showing the boundaries of each of the oil or gas rights that are relevant to your proposed operations within the System unit boundary.

(d) Maps and plats to scale showing all proposed surface uses (well site, access route, flowlines, production facilities) that occur outside the System unit.

(e) Information regarding downhole operations and conditions, including:

(1) Description, including depths, thicknesses, and properties of geologic horizons between the target zone and the base of the deepest aquifer;

(2) Drilling plan, including directional-drilling program, horizontal distance along the wellbore's path from well's surface location to the System unit boundary, depth at which wellbore crosses the boundary, and timeline for operations;

(3) Casing, cementing, and mud programs;

(4) Stimulation programs; and

(5) Well plugging and abandonment program.

(f) If you propose hydraulic fracturing, then you must also provide the information required by §9.89.

§9.72   How will the NPS act on my submission?

(a) Within 30 days after receiving your submission under §9.71, the Superintendent will notify you in writing that your information is complete, you need to submit more information, or we need more time to review your submission.

(b) After NPS receives your complete submission, and completes compliance with applicable federal laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Superintendent will notify you in writing within 30 days that either:

(1) No further action is required by the NPS and you are exempt from the operations permit requirement; or

(2) You must obtain an operations permit.

(c) If you need an operations permit, the information provided under §9.71 is your permit application and the NPS will review your application under §§9.100 through 9.104.

§9.73   If I don't need an operations permit, are there still requirements that I must meet?

If the NPS notifies you under §9.72 that you do not need an operations permit, your operations are still subject to the general terms and conditions in §§9.120 through 9.122, the prohibitions and penalties in §§9.180 through 9.182, and the requirements in this section.

(a) You must notify the NPS within 30 days if the methods or the environmental conditions of your downhole operations materially change.

(b) The Regional Director may notify you in writing that you are no longer exempt from the operations permit requirement after determining that downhole operational requirements are needed to protect against a significant threat of damage to any of the following:

(1) Federally owned or administered lands, waters, or resources of System units;

(2) NPS visitor uses or experiences; or

(3) Visitor or employee health or safety.

(c) Within 30 days after receiving this notification, you must file your operations permit application with the Superintendent.

Operations Permit: Application Contents

§9.80   Who must apply for an operations permit?

(a) Except as otherwise provided in §§9.70 through 9.73, an operator proposing to conduct operations within the boundary of a System unit must submit an application for an operations permit to the Superintendent.

(b) An operations permit is subject to cost recovery under 54 U.S.C. 103104.

§9.81   May I use previously submitted information?

(a) In satisfying the requirements of §§9.82 through 9.90, you do not need to resubmit information that is already on file with the NPS. Instead, you may reference the previously submitted information in your permit application.

(b) You may submit documents and materials containing the information required by §§9.82 through 9.90 that you submit to other Federal and State agencies. If you do this, you must clearly identify the information required by §§9.82 through 9.90.

§9.82   What must I include in my application?

(a) Your application for an operations permit must include all of the information required by §9.83 and, to the extent applicable, the information required by §§9.87 through 9.90, as well as any additional information that the Superintendent may require by written request.

(b) You may provide information for only the phase of operations you propose. Each permit application is only required to describe those activities for which you request approval. Approval of an operations permit covering one phase of operations does not assure future approval of, or the terms of future approval for, an operations permit covering a subsequent phase.

§9.83   What information must be included in all applications?

All applications must include the information required by this section.

All operations permit applications must include information on .  .  .and must include the following detailed information .  .  .
(a) Ownershipdocumentation demonstrating that you hold a right, and the extent of such right, to operate within the System unit.
(b) The owner/operatornames, addresses, and other contact information for:
(1) The operator;
(2) The owner;
(3) Any agents, assignees, designees, contractors, or other representatives of the operator including those responsible for overall management, field supervision, and emergency response of the proposed operations.
(c) Existing conditions and proposed area of operationsall the information required by §9.84.
(d) Reclamation plan(1) A description of the equipment and methods used to meet the operating standards for reclamation at §9.116; and
(2) A breakdown of the estimated costs that a third party would charge to complete reclamation as proposed in your reclamation plan.
(e) Use of water(1) The source (including documentation verifying a water right), quantity, access route, and transportation/conveyance method for all water to be used in access road and pad construction, well drilling, stimulation, and production; and
(2) Estimations of any anticipated waste water volumes generated and how they will be managed (i.e. handled, temporary stored, disposed, recycled, reused) throughout stages of the operation.
(f) Environmental conditions and mitigation actionsall the information required by §9.85.
(g) The spill control and emergency preparedness planall the information required by §9.86.

§9.84   Existing conditions and proposed area of operations.

(a) You must submit to-scale maps that clearly depict:

(1) The boundaries of your oil or gas rights in relation to your proposed operations and the relevant System unit boundary;

(2) The natural features, including, but not limited, to streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, seepage areas, springs, shallow water aquifers, topographic relief, and areas we have indicated to you as environmentally sensitive;

(3) The locations of existing roads, trails, railroad tracks, pads, and other disturbed areas; and

(4) The locations of existing structures that your operations could affect, including but not limited to: Buildings, pipelines, existing or permitted oil or gas wells, freshwater wells, underground and overhead electrical lines, and other utility lines.

(b) You must submit the following information about geologic conditions in their natural state and under the proposed operating conditions:

(1) Estimated depths and names of known zones of usable water, brine, hydrocarbon, geothermal, or other mineral-bearing zones based on the best available information;

(2) Potential hazards to persons and the environment such as known abnormal pressure zones, lost circulation zones, hydrogen sulfide gas, or karst formations; and

(3) Nature, extent, and depth (if known) of near-surface bedrock fracturing or jointing relative to proposed cemented surface casing-seat depth and any open annular interval proposed in the well design.

(c) You must submit the following information for any new surface disturbances or construction:

(1) Maps depicting the proposed area of operations, boundaries of new surface disturbances and proposed access routes;

(2) Maps depicting the proposed location of all support facilities, including those for transportation (e.g., vehicle parking areas, airstrips, helicopter pads), sanitation, occupation, staging areas, fuel dumps, refueling areas, loading docks, water supplies, and disposal facilities;

(3) The methods and diagrams, including cross-sections, of any proposed pad construction, road construction, cut-and-fill areas, and surface maintenance, including erosion control;

(4) The number and types of equipment and vehicles, including an estimate of vehicular trips, associated with each phase of your operation;

(5) An estimated time to complete each phase of the proposed operations, including any operational timing constraints;

(6) The type and extent of security measures proposed within your area of operations;

(7) The power sources and their transmission systems for the proposed operations; and

(8) The types and quantities of all solid and liquid waste generation and the proposed methods of storage, handling, and off-site disposal.

§9.85   Environmental conditions and mitigation actions.

You must submit the following information about environmental conditions and mitigation actions:

(a) Description of the natural and cultural resource conditions from your reconnaissance surveys or other sources collected for your proposed area of operations. The Superintendent may require, on a case by case basis, baseline field testing of soils and field or laboratory testing of surface, or near-surface, waters within your area of operations, as well as any groundwater resources that may reasonably may be impacted by your surface operations;

(b) Description of the steps you propose to take to mitigate any adverse environmental impacts on park resources and values, including but not limited to, the System unit's land features, land uses, fish and wildlife, vegetation, soils, surface and subsurface water resources, air quality, noise, lightscapes, viewsheds, cultural resources, and economic environment; and

(c) Discussion of:

(1) Any anticipated impacts that you cannot mitigate; and

(2) All alternative technologically feasible, least damaging methods of operations, their costs, and their environmental effects.

§9.86   Spill control and emergency preparedness plan.

You must submit the following information about your spill control and emergency preparedness plan. You may use a spill prevention control and countermeasure (SPCC) plan prepared under 40 CFR part 112 if the plan includes all of the information required by this section. You must submit:

(a) A list of names, addresses, and telephone numbers of persons that the Superintendent can contact in the event of a spill, fire, or accident, including the order in which the persons should be contacted;

(b) Your reporting procedures in the event of a spill, fire, or accident;

(c) Identification of contaminating or toxic substances expected to be used within your area of operations;

(d) Identification of abnormal pressure, temperature, toxic gases or substances, or other hazardous conditions expected to be encountered during operations;

(e) Measures (e.g., procedures, facility design, equipment) to minimize risks to human health and safety and the environment;

(f) Steps to prevent conditions creating fire hazards in the vicinity of well locations and lease tanks;

(g) List of equipment and methods for containment and cleanup of contaminating substances, including a list of the equipment to be maintained on site as well as a list of equipment to be available from local contractors;

(h) A storm water drainage plan and actions intended to mitigate storm water runoff;

(i) Safety data sheets for each material expected to be used or encountered during operations, including quantities expected to be maintained at your area of operations;

(j) A description of the emergency actions you will take in the event of accidents causing human injury; and

(k) Contingency plans for relevant conditions and emergencies other than spills, based on the particular geographic area, such as hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, or earthquakes.

§9.87   What additional information must be included if I am proposing geophysical exploration?

If you propose to conduct geophysical exploration, you must submit the following additional information:

(a) The number of crews and expected numbers of workers in each crew;

(b) Names and depths of geologic zones targeted for imaging;

(c) A description of the acquisition methods, including the procedures, specific equipment you will use, and energy sources (e.g., explosives or vibroseis trucks);

(d) The methods of access along each survey line for personnel, materials, and equipment;

(e) A list of all explosives, blasting equipment, chemicals, and fuels you will use in the proposed operations, including a description of proposed disposal methods, transportation methods, safety measures, and storage facilities; and

(f) A map showing the positions of each survey line including all source and receiver locations as determined by a locational survey, and including shotpoint offset distances from wells, buildings, other infrastructure, and areas the NPS has indicated to you as environmentally sensitive areas.

§9.88   What additional information must be included if I am proposing drilling operations?

If you are proposing to drill a well, you must submit the following additional information:

(a) Well-pad construction plans, including dimensions and cross sections of: cut and fill areas and excavations for ditches, sumps, and spill control equipment or structures, including lined areas;

(b) Drill-rig and equipment layout plans, including rig components, fuel tanks, testing equipment, support facilities, storage areas, and all other well-site equipment and facilities;

(c) The drilling program, including hole size for each section and the directional program, if applicable;

(d) Proposed drilling depth and the estimated depths and names of usable water, brine, hydrocarbon, geothermal, or other mineral-bearing zones;

(e) The type and characteristics of the proposed mud systems;

(f) The casing program, including the size, grade, weight, and setting depth of each string;

(g) The cementing program, including downhole location of any stage equipment, cement types, volumes, and additives to be used, and a description of pressure tests and cement verification techniques used that will be run to evaluate cement placement and integrity;

(h) The minimum specifications for pressure control equipment function, and pressure testing frequency, and the blowout preventer stack arrangement;

(i) The proposed logging, coring, and testing programs;

(j) The completion program, including completion type (open-hole, perforated, slotted liner, etc.), any proposed stimulation techniques, and procedures, including considerations for well control; and

(k) A description of the equipment, materials, and procedures for well plugging, including plug depths, plug types, and minimum mud weight.

§9.89   What additional information must be included if I am proposing well stimulation operations, including hydraulic fracturing?

If you are proposing well stimulation operations, including hydraulic fracturing, you must submit the following additional information:

(a) The geologic names, a geologic description, and the estimated depths (measured and true vertical) to the top and bottom of the target formation(s). The estimated minimum vertical distance between the top of the completion zone and the nearest usable water zone, and the measured depth of the proposed perforated or open-hole interval.

(b) The estimated depths (measured and true vertical) to the top and bottom of the confining zone(s). Include a map showing the location, orientation, and extent of any known or suspected faults or fractures within one-half mile (horizontal distance) of the wellbore trajectory that may transect the confining zone(s).

(c) A map showing all existing wellbore trajectories, regardless of type, within one-half mile (horizontal distance) of any portion of the wellbore into which hydraulic fracturing fluids are to be injected. The true vertical depth of each wellbore identified on the map must be indicated.

(d) Steps to be taken before well completions to verify mechanical integrity of all downhole tubulars and tools and cement quality, including pressure tests, monitoring of cement returns to surface, and cement evaluation logs (or other logs acceptable to the Superintendent) demonstrating that the occurrences of usable water zones have been isolated to protect them from contamination.

(e) A detailed description of the proposed well-stimulation design, including:

(1) The total proposed volume of stimulation fluid to be used; total proposed base fluid volume, description of proposed base fluid, and each additive in the proposed stimulation fluid, including the trade name, supplier, purpose, ingredients; Chemical Abstract Service Number (CAS); maximum ingredient concentration in additive (percent by mass); and maximum ingredient concentration in hydraulic fracturing fluid (percent by mass);

(2) Proposed proppant system if applicable;

(3) The anticipated surface treating pressure range;

(4) The maximum anticipated surface pressure that will be applied during the hydraulic fracturing process;

(5) The trajectory of the wellbore into which hydraulic fracturing fluids are to be injected and the estimated direction and length of the fractures that will be propagated and a notation indicating the true vertical depth of the top and bottom of the fractures; and

(6) Any microseismic monitoring planned or proposed in conjunction with well stimulation.

(f) The source and location of water supply, such as reused or recycled water, rivers, creeks, springs, lakes, ponds, and water supply wells, and the source and location of water supply, such as reused or recycled water, rivers, creeks, springs, lakes, ponds, and water supply wells.

(g) The storage, mixing, pumping, and control equipment needed to perform the stimulation.

(h) The following information concerning the handling of recovered fluids:

(1) The estimated volume of stimulation fluids to be recovered during flow back;

(2) The proposed methods of handling the recovered fluids including any onsite treatment for re-use of fluids in other stimulation activities; and

(3) The proposed disposal method of the recovered fluids, including, but not limited to, injection, hauling by truck, or transporting by pipeline.

§9.90   What additional information must be included if I am proposing production operations?

If you are proposing production operations, you must submit the following information:

(a) The dimensions with a to-scale layout of the wellpad, clearly identifying well locations, noting partial reclamation areas; gathering, separation, metering, and storage equipment; electrical lines; fences; spill control equipment or structures including lined areas, artificial lift equipment, tank batteries, treating and separating vessels, secondary or enhanced recovery facilities, water disposal facilities, gas compression and/or injection facilities; metering points; sales point (if on lease); tanker pick-up points; gas compressor, including size and type (if applicable); and any other well site equipment;

(b) The size, grade, weight, and setting depth of all casing and tubing strings; cementing history; type and size of packers and subsurface flow control devices; top and bottom depths of each completed interval; and method of completion;

(c) The well history, including completions, stimulations, servicing, and workovers;

(d) The minimum specifications for pressure-control equipment, function, and pressure-testing frequency;

(e) The methods and means to be used to transport produced oil and gas, including vehicular transport; flowline and gathering line construction; operation; pipe size; operating pressure; cathodic protection methods; surface equipment use; surface equipment location; maintenance procedures; maintenance schedules; pressure detection methods; and shutdown procedures;

(f) Road and wellpad maintenance plan, including equipment and materials to maintain the road surface and control erosion;

(g) Vegetation management plan on well sites, roads, pipeline corridors, and other disturbed surface areas, including control of exotic species;

(h) Storm water management plan on the well site;

(i) Produced water storage and disposal plan; and

(j) The procedures for well plugging, the depths and the types of plugs, and minimum mud weight.

Operations Permit: Application Review Process

§9.100   How will NPS process my application?

If you propose operations in System units, other than Big Cypress National Preserve, we will process your application in accordance with §§9.101 through 9.104. If you propose operations in Big Cypress National Preserve, we will process your application in accordance with §§9.103 and 9.105.

§9.101   How will the NPS conduct initial review?

(a) Within 30 days after receipt of your application, the Superintendent will notify you in writing that either:

(1) Your application is complete and the NPS will begin formal review;

(2) Your permit application does not meet the information requirements and additional information is required before the NPS will conduct formal review of your permit application; or

(3) More time is necessary to complete the review, in which case the NPS will provide you an estimate of the amount of additional time reasonably needed and an explanation for the delay.

(b) If you resubmit information requested by the NPS under this section and the Superintendent determines that you have met all applicable information requirements, the Superintendent will notify you within 30 days after receipt of the additional information that either:

(1) Your application is complete and the NPS will begin formal review; or

(2) More time is necessary to complete the review, in which case the NPS will provide you an estimate of the amount of additional time reasonably needed and an explanation for the delay.

§9.102   How will the NPS conduct formal review?

(a) The Superintendent will evaluate the potential impacts of your proposal on federally owned or administered lands, waters, or resources within System units, visitor uses and experiences, and visitor and employee health and safety. As part of this evaluation process, the NPS will comply with all applicable federal laws, including the National Environmental Policy Act. The Superintendent will then make a recommendation to the Regional Director regarding final action on your operations permit.

(b) As part of the evaluation process, the Superintendent may consult with other Federal, State, and local agencies.

§9.103   What standards must be met to approve my operations permit?

(a) The Regional Director will approve your operations permit if the NPS has determined that your operations:

(1) Will not violate the laws governing administration of units of the National Park System; and

(2) Will meet all applicable operating standards.

(b) Before approval of your operations permit, you must submit to the Superintendent:

(1) Financial assurance in the amount specified by the Regional Director and in accordance with the requirements of §§9.140 through 9.144;

(2) Proof of liability insurance with limits sufficient to cover injuries to persons or property caused by your operations; and

(3) An affidavit stating that the operations planned are in compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations.

§9.104   What final actions may the Regional Director take on my operations permit?

(a) The Regional Director will take final action within 30 days of completing all required legal compliance, including compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, unless:

(1) We and you agree that such final action will occur within a shorter or longer period of time; or

(2) We determine that an additional period of time is required to ensure that we have, in reviewing the permit application, complied with all applicable legal requirements.

(b) The Regional Director will notify you in writing that your operations permit is:

(1) Approved with the operating conditions contained therein; or

(2) Denied, and provide you justification for the denial. Any such denial must be consistent with §9.30(c).

§9.105   What is the approval process for operations in Big Cypress National Preserve?

(a) Within 30 days after the date of submission of your application, we will notify you whether the application contains all information reasonably necessary to allow us to consider the application and, if not, will request that you provide additional information. After receiving this notification, you must either supply any reasonably necessary additional information or must notify us that you believe that the application contains all reasonably necessary information and is therefore complete; whereupon we may:

(1) Within 30 days after receipt of the notice from the applicant, determine that the application does not contain all reasonably necessary additional information and, on that basis, deny the application; or

(2) Review the application and take final action within 60 days after the date that you provided notification to the NPS that your application is complete.

(b) The Regional Director will take final action within 90 days after the date you submitted your application unless:

(1) We and you agree that final action can occur within a shorter or longer period of time; or

(2) We determine that an additional period of time is required to ensure that we have, in reviewing the permit application, complied with other applicable laws, executive orders, and regulations.

Operating Standards

§9.110   What are the purposes and functions of NPS operating standards?

(a) You must comply with all operating standards in §§9.111 through 9.116, as well as with the standards in §§9.117 and 9.118, if applicable. The standards apply only to operations that occur within a System unit, including downhole activities, and do not apply to surface activities located outside a System unit. These operating standards are incorporated into the terms and conditions of your operations permit. Violation of these operating standards will subject you to the prohibitions and penalties provisions of §§9.180 through 9.182.

(b) NPS operating standards are applied to ensure protection of federally owned or administered lands, waters, and resources of System units, visitor uses and experiences, and visitor and employee health and safety. The operating standards give us and the operator flexibility to consider using alternative methods, equipment, materials design, and conduct of operations.

(c) In applying standards to a particular operation, you must use technologically feasible, least damaging methods to protect federally owned or administered lands, waters, and resources of System units, visitor uses and experiences, and visitor and employee health and safety.

§9.111   What general facility design and management standards must I meet?

(a) You must not conduct operations within 500 feet of surface water, including an intermittent or ephemeral watercourse, or wetland; within 500 feet of the mean high tide line; or within 500 feet of any structure or facility used by the NPS for interpretation, public recreation, or administration. The Superintendent may increase or decrease this distance consistent with the need to protect federally owned or administered lands, water, or resources of System units, visitor uses or experiences, or visitor or employee health and safety while ensuring that you have reasonable access to your non-Federal oil and gas rights. Measurements for purposes are by horizontal distance.

(b) You must design, construct, operate, and maintain access to your operational site to cause the minimum amount of surface disturbance needed to safely conduct operations and to avoid areas the NPS has indicated to you as sensitive resources.

(c) You must install and maintain secondary containment materials and structures for all equipment and facilities using or storing contaminating substances. The containment system must be sufficiently impervious to prevent discharge and must have sufficient storage capacity to contain, at a minimum, the largest potential spill incident.

(d) You must keep temporarily stored waste in the smallest feasible area, and confine in a manner appropriate to prevent escape as a result of percolation, rain, high water, or other causes. You must regularly remove waste from the System unit and dispose of it in a lawful manner. Nothing in this subpart affects the application of the regulations found at 36 CFR part 6.

(e) You must use engines that adhere to applicable Federal and State emission standards.

(f) You must construct, maintain, and use roads to minimize fugitive dust.

(g) You must use equipment and practices that minimize releases of air pollutants and hydrocarbons, and flaring of gas.

(h) You must conduct operation in a manner that does not create an unsafe environment for fish and wildlife by avoiding or minimizing exposure to physical and chemical hazards.

(i) You must conduct operations in a manner that avoids or minimizes impacts to sensitive wildlife, including timing and location of operations.

(j) You must control the invasion of exotic plant and animal species in your area of operations from the beginning through final reclamation.

§9.112   What hydrologic standards must I meet?

(a) You must maintain hydrologic connectivity between surface water and groundwater during all operations.

(b) You must not cause measurable degradation of surface water or groundwater.

(c) You must conduct operations in a manner that maintains natural channel and floodplain processes and functions.

§9.113   What safety standards must I meet?

(a) You must maintain your area of operations in a manner that avoids or minimizes the cause or spread of fires and does not intensify fires originating outside your operations area.

(b) You must maintain site security, structures, facilities, improvements, and equipment in a safe and professional manner in order to provide a safe environment for park resources, park visitors, and NPS employees, free from exposure to physical and chemical hazards.

§9.114   What lighting and visual standards must I meet?

(a) You must design, shield, and focus lighting to minimize the effects of spill light on the night sky or adjacent areas.

(b) You must reduce visual contrast in the landscape by selecting the area of operations, avoiding unnecessary disturbance, choosing appropriate colors for permanent facilities, and other means.

(c) You must use road and pad materials similar in composition to soils in surrounding profiles whenever feasible.

§9.115   What noise reduction standards must I meet?

You must prevent or minimize all noise that:

(a) Adversely affects the natural soundscape or other park resources or values, taking into account frequency, magnitude, or duration; or

(b) Exceeds levels that have been identified through monitoring as being acceptable to or appropriate for visitor uses at the sites being monitored.

§9.116   What reclamation and protection standards must I meet?

(a) You must promptly clean up and remove any released contaminating substances and provide documentation to the Superintendent that the substances were disposed of in accordance with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws.

(b) You must perform partial reclamation of areas no longer necessary to conduct operations. You must begin final reclamation as soon as possible but no later than 6 months after you complete your permitted operations unless the Regional Director authorizes a longer period in writing.

(c) You must protect all survey monuments, witness corners, reference monuments, and bearing trees against destruction, obliteration, or damage from operations. You are responsible for reestablishing, restoring, and referencing any monuments, corners, and bearing trees that are destroyed, obliterated, or damaged by your operations.

(d) You must complete reclamation by:

(1) Plugging all wells;

(2) Removing all above-ground structures, equipment, and roads and all other man-made material and debris resulting from operations;

(3) Removing or neutralizing any contaminating substances;

(4) Reestablishing native vegetative communities, or providing for conditions where ecological processes typical of the ecological zone (e.g., plant or wildlife succession) will reestablish themselves;

(5) Grading to reasonably conform the contours to preexisting elevations that are most appropriate to maximizing ecologic functional value;

(6) Restoring conditions to pre-disturbance hydrologic movement and functionality;

(7) Restoring natural systems using native soil material that is similar in character to the adjacent undisturbed soil profiles;

(8) Ensuring that reclaimed areas do not interfere with visitor use or with administration of the unit;

(9) Meeting conditions compatible with the management objectives of the park; and

(10) Ensuring proper and equitable apportionment of reclamation responsibilities by coordinating with us or with other operators who may be using a portion of your area of operations.

§9.117   What additional operating standards apply to geophysical operations?

If you conduct geophysical operations, you must do all of the following:

(a) Use surveying methods that minimize the need for vegetative trimming and removal;

(b) Locate source points using industry-accepted minimum safe-offset distances from pipelines, telephone lines, railroad tracks, roads, power lines, water wells, oil and gas wells, oil and gas-production facilities, and buildings;

(c) Use equipment and methods that, based upon the specific environment, will minimize impacts to federally owned or administered lands, waters, and resources of System units, visitor uses and experiences, and visitor and employee health and safety; and

(d) If you use shot holes, you must:

(1) Use biodegradable charges;

(2) Plug all shot holes to prevent a pathway for migration for fluids along any portion of the bore; and

(3) Leave the site in a clean and safe condition that will not impede surface reclamation or pose a hazard to human health and safety.

§9.118   What additional operating standards apply to drilling, stimulation, and production operations?

If you conduct drilling, stimulation, and production operations, you must meet all of the standards in this section.

(a) Drilling. (1) You must use containerized mud circulation systems for operations.

(2) You must not create earthen pits for any use. Earthen pits used solely for secondary containment on sites existing before December 5, 2016 may continue in use; however, the Superintendent may require such structures to be lined or removed depending on site-specific operational and environmental conditions.

(3) You must take all necessary precautions to keep your wells under control at all times, use only contractors or employees trained and competent to drill and operate the wells, and use only oil field equipment and practices generally used in the industry.

(4) You must design, implement, and maintain integrated casing, cementing, drilling fluid, completion, stimulation, and blowout prevention programs. These programs must be based upon sound engineering principles to prevent escape of fluids to the surface and to isolate and protect usable water zones throughout the life of the well, taking into account all relevant geologic and engineering factors.

(b) Stimulation operations including hydraulic fracturing. (1) You must not begin injection activities before you demonstrate the mechanical integrity of all surface and downhole tubulars and equipment to differential pressures equal to at least those calculated at the maximum anticipated treating pressure.

(2) You must continuously monitor and record the treating pressures and all annular pressures before, during, and after the treatment to ensure that treatment materials are directed to the intended zone.

(3) If mechanical integrity is lost during the treatment, you must immediately cease the operation and notify the Superintendent as soon as feasible, but no later than 24 hours after the incident. Within 15 days after the occurrence, you must submit to the Superintendent a report containing all details pertaining to the incident, including corrective actions taken.

(c) Production. (1) You must monitor producing conditions in order to maintain the mechanical integrity of both surface and subsurface equipment.

(2) You must maintain your well to prevent escape of fluids to the surface and to isolate and protect usable water zones throughout the life of the well, taking into account all relevant geologic and engineering factors.

(3) You must identify wells and related facilities by a sign, which must remain in place until the well is plugged and abandoned and the related facilities are closed. The sign must be of durable construction, and the lettering must be legible and large enough to be read under normal conditions at a distance of at least 50 feet. Each sign must show the name of the well, name of the operator, and the emergency contact phone number.

(4) You must remove all equipment and materials that are no longer needed for a particular phase of your operation.

(5) You must plug all wells to:

(i) Prevent a pathway of migration for fluids along any portion of the bore; and

(ii) Leave the surface in a clean and safe condition that will not impede surface reclamation or pose a hazard to human health and safety.

General Terms and Conditions

§9.120   What terms and conditions apply to all operators?

The following terms and conditions apply to all operators:

(a) The operator/permittee is responsible for ensuring that all of its employees and contractors and subcontractors comply fully with all of the requirements of this subpart;

(b) The operator/permittee may not use any surface water or groundwater owned or administered by the United States that has been diverted or withdrawn from a source located within the boundaries of a System unit unless the use has been approved in accordance with NPS policy;

(c) The operator/permittee must provide the NPS an affidavit, signed by an official who is authorized to legally bind the company, stating that proposed operations are in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations and that all information submitted to the NPS is true and correct;

(d) The operator/permittee must agree to indemnify and hold harmless the United States and its officers and employees from and against any and all liability of any kind whatsoever arising out of or resulting from the acts or omissions of the operator and its employees, agents, representatives, contractors, and subcontractors in the conduct of activities under the operations permit; and

(e) The operator/permittee must agree to take all reasonable precautions to avoid, minimize, rectify, or reduce the overall impacts of your proposed oil and gas activities to System units. You may be required to mitigate for impacts to NPS resources and lost uses. Mutually agreed-upon mitigation tools for this purpose may include providing or restoring alternative habitat and resources to offset those impacts by the operations.

§9.121   What monitoring and reporting is required for all operators?

(a) The NPS may access your area of operations at any time to monitor the potential effects of the operations and to ensure compliance with this subpart where applicable.

(b) The Regional Director may determine that third-party monitors are required when necessary to protect federally owned or administered lands, waters, or resources of System units, visitor uses or experiences, or visitor or employee health and safety.

(1) The Regional Director's determination will be based on the scope and complexity of the proposed operation and whether the park has the staff and technical ability to ensure compliance with the operations permit and any provision of this subpart.

(2) A third-party monitor will report directly to the NPS at intervals determined by the Superintendent, and you will be responsible for the cost of the third party monitor. We will make the information reported available to you upon your request.

(3) Third party monitors must disclose to the NPS any potential conflicts of interest that could preclude objectivity in monitoring an operator's compliance with the operations permit and any provision of this subpart.

(c) You must notify the Superintendent of any accidents involving serious personal injury or death and of any fires or spills on the site as soon as feasible, but no later than 24 hours after the accident occurs. You must submit a full written report on the accident to the Superintendent within 90 days after the accident occurs.

(d) You must notify the Superintendent as soon as feasible, but no later than 24 hours after the discovery of any cultural or scientific resource you encounter that might be altered or destroyed by your operation. You must cease operations if necessary and leave the discovered resource intact until the Superintendent provides you with instructions. The Superintendent will determine, within 10 working days after notification what action will be taken with respect to the discovery.

(e) Upon the Superintendent's request, you must submit reports or other information necessary to verify compliance with your permit or with any provision of this subpart. To fulfill this request, you may submit to the NPS reports that you have submitted to the State under State regulations, or that you have submitted to any other Federal agency.

§9.122   What additional reports must I submit if my operation includes hydraulic fracturing?

If your operations include hydraulic fracturing, you must provide the Superintendent with a report including all of the following details of the stimulation within 30 days after the completion of the last stage of hydraulic fracturing operations for each well:

(a) The true vertical depth of the well; total water volume used; a description of the base fluid and each additive in the hydraulic fracturing fluid, including the trade name, supplier, purpose, ingredients; Chemical Abstract Service Number (CAS); maximum ingredient concentration in additive (percent by mass); and maximum ingredient concentration in hydraulic fracturing fluid (percent by mass). This information may be submitted to the Superintendent through FracFocus or another existing database available to the public;

(b) The actual source(s) and location(s) of the water used in the hydraulic fracturing fluid;

(c) The maximum surface pressure and rate at the end of each stage of the hydraulic fracturing operation and the actual flush volume;

(d) The actual, estimated, or calculated fracture length, height and direction;

(e) The actual measured depth of perforations or the open-hole interval;

(f) The actual volume of stimulation fluids recovered during flow back, including a description of how the volumes were measured or calculated;

(g) The following information concerning the handling of fluids recovered, covering the period between the commencement of hydraulic fracturing and the implementation of the approved permit for the disposal of produced water under NPS requirements:

(1) The methods of handling the recovered fluids, including, but not limited to, transfer pipes and tankers, holding pond use, re-use for other stimulation activities, or injection; and

(2) The disposal method of the recovered fluids, including, but not limited to, the percent injected, the percent stored at an off-lease disposal facility, and the percent recycled; and

(h) Continuous monitoring records of annulus pressure at the bradenhead and other annular pressures that document pressures before, during, and after injection operations. You must submit a signed certification that wellbore integrity was maintained throughout the operation.

Access to Oil and Gas Rights

§9.130   May I cross Federal property to reach the boundary of my oil and gas right?

The Regional Director may grant you the privilege of access, subject to the provisions of any applicable law, on, across, or through federally owned or administered lands or waters in any System unit outside of Alaska to reach the boundary of your oil and gas right.

§9.131   Will the NPS charge me a fee for access?

(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, the Regional Director may charge you a fee if you use federally owned or administered lands or waters that are outside the scope of your oil and gas right.

(1) If you require the use of federally owned or administered lands or waters to access your operation, the Regional Director will charge you a fee based on the fair market value of such use.

(2) If access to your mineral right is on or across an existing park road, the Regional Director may charge you a fee according to a posted fee schedule.

(b) Fees under this section will not be charged for access within the scope of your oil and gas right or access to your mineral right that is otherwise provided for by law.

§9.132   Will I be charged a fee for emergency access to my operations?

The Regional Director will not charge a fee for access across federally owned or administered lands beyond the scope of your oil and gas right as necessary to respond to an emergency situation at your area of operations if the Regional Director determines that the circumstances require an immediate response to either:

(a) Prevent or to minimize injury to park resources; or

(b) Ensure public health and safety.

Financial Assurance

§9.140   Do I have to provide financial assurance to the NPS?

Yes. You must file financial assurance with us in a form acceptable to the Regional Director and payable upon demand. This financial assurance is in addition to any financial assurance required by any other regulatory authority.

§9.141   How does the NPS establish the amount of financial assurance?

We base the financial assurance amount upon the estimated cost for a third-party contractor to complete reclamation in accordance with this subpart. If the cost of reclamation exceeds the amount of your financial assurance, you remain liable for all costs of reclamation in excess of the financial assurance.

§9.142   Will the NPS adjust my financial assurance?

The Regional Director may require, or you may request, an adjustment to the financial assurance amount because of any circumstance that increases or decreases the estimated costs established under §9.141.

§9.143   When will the NPS release my financial assurance?

We will release your financial assurance within 30 days after the Regional Director:

(a) Determines that you have met all applicable reclamation operating standards and any additional reclamation requirements that may be included in your operations permit; or

(b) Accepts a new operator's financial assurance under §9.160(b) or (c).

§9.144   Under what circumstances will the NPS retain my financial assurance?

(a) We will retain all or part of your financial assurance if compliance with your reclamation responsibilities under the approved permit or any provisions of this subpart is incomplete.

(b) In addition, we may also:

(1) Prohibit you from removing all structures, equipment, or other materials from your area of operations;

(2) Require you to secure the operations site and take any necessary actions to protect federally owned or administered lands, waters, or resources of System units, visitor uses or experiences, or visitor or employee health and safety; and

(3) Suspend review of any permit applications you have submitted until the Regional Director determines that all violations of permit provisions or of any provision of this subpart are resolved.

(4) Seek recovery as provided in §9.141 for all costs of reclamation in excess of the posted financial assurance.

Modification to an Operation

§9.150   How can an approved permit be modified?

(a) You may request modification to a temporary access permit or operations permit by providing the Regional Director with written notice describing the modification and why you think it is needed.

(b) The Regional Director may propose to modify an approved temporary access or operations permit to address changed or unanticipated conditions within your area of operations. You will be notified in writing of the proposed modifications and the justifications therefore, and the time within which you must either notify the Regional Director that you accept the modifications to your permit or explain any concerns you may have

(c) The Regional Director will review requests made under paragraph (a) of this section or responses provided under paragraph (b) of this section applying the approval standards and timeframes at §9.62 or §9.104, respectively. You will be notified in writing of the Regional Director's decision and any revisions approved to the terms of the permit.

Change of Operator

§9.160   What are my responsibilities if I transfer my operations?

(a) You must notify the Superintendent in writing within 30 calendar days after the date the new owner acquires the rights to conduct operations. Your written notification must include:

(1) The names and contact information of the person or entity conveying the oil or gas right, and the names and contact information of the person or entity acquiring the oil or gas right;

(2) The effective date of transfer;

(3) The description of the rights, assets, and liabilities being transferred and those being reserved by the previous owner; and

(4) A written acknowledgement from the new owner that the contents of the notification are true and correct.

(b) Until you meet the requirements of this section and the Regional Director provides notice to you that the new operator has complied with §9.161(a) you remain responsible for compliance with your operations permit, and we will retain your financial assurance.

(c) If you were operating without an operations permit, you are subject to §§9.120 through 9.122 and §§9.180 through 9.182 until the new operator meets the requirements of this section and the Regional Director provides notice to you that the new operator has complied with §9.161(b) or (c), as applicable.

§9.161   What must I do if operations are transferred to me?

(a) If you acquire rights to conduct operations, you must provide to the Superintendent:

(1) Written acknowledgment that you adopt the previous operator's operations permit, and that you agree to conduct operations in accordance with all terms and conditions thereof, or that you adopt the previous operator's operations permit and are also requesting approval for modification of the previous operator's permit consistent with the procedures at §9.150;

(2) Financial assurance in the amount specified by the Regional Director and in accordance with the requirements of §§9.140 through 9.144;

(3) Proof of liability insurance with limits sufficient to cover injuries to persons or property caused by your operations; and

(4) An affidavit stating that your operations are in compliance with all applicable Federal, State, and local laws and regulations.

(b) If the previous operator was granted an exemption under §9.72, you must provide the Superintendent the following information within 30 calendar days after the date you acquire the rights to conduct operations:

(1) Right to operate documentation demonstrating that you are the successor in interest to the previous operator's right, and the extent of such right, to operate within the System unit; and

(2) The names and contact information of:

(i) The operator;

(ii) The owner; and

(iii) The individuals responsible for overall management, field supervision, and emergency response of the proposed operations.

(c) If the previous operator was operating without an operations permit, you will be considered a previously exempt operator and must obtain an operations permit. Within 90 days after acquiring the rights to conduct operations, you must submit the information at §9.51(a) through (j), and your operations permit application will be processed in accordance with §§9.52 and 9.53.

Well Plugging

§9.170   When must I plug my well?

Except as provided in §9.171, you must plug your well when any of the following occurs:

(a) Your drilling operations have ended and you have taken no further action to produce the well within 60 days;

(b) Your well, which has been completed for production operations, has no measureable production quantities for 12 consecutive months; or

(c) The period approved in your operations permit to maintain your well in shut-in status has expired.

§9.171   Can I get an extension to the well plugging requirement?

(a) You may apply for either a modification to your approved operations permit or, in the case of previously exempt operations, an operations permit to maintain your well in a shut-in status for up to 5 years. The application must include:

(1) An explanation of why the well is shut-in or temporarily abandoned and your future plans for utilization;

(2) Proof of the mechanical integrity of both surface and production casing demonstrating that no migration of fluid can be expected to occur; and

(3) A description of the manner in which your well, equipment, and area of operations will be maintained.

(b) Based on the information provided under this section, the Regional Director may approve your application to maintain your well in shut-in status for a period up to 5 years. You may apply for additional extensions by submitting a new application under paragraph (a) of this section.

Prohibitions and Penalties

§9.180   What acts are prohibited under this subpart?

The following are prohibited:

(a) Operating in violation of the terms or conditions of a temporary access permit, or an approved operations permit, or any provision of this subpart;

(b) Damaging federally owned or administered lands, waters, or resources of a System unit as a result of violation of the terms or conditions of a temporary access permit, an operations permit, or any provision of this subpart;

(c) Conducting operations or activities without a required permit;

(d) Failure to comply with any suspension or revocation order issued under this subpart; and

(e) Failure to comply with any applicable Federal law or regulation, or non-conflicting State law or regulation, pertaining to your oil and gas operation.

§9.181   What enforcement actions can the NPS take?

If you engage in a prohibited act described in §9.180:

(a) You may be subject to a fine or imprisonment, or both, in accordance with 36 CFR 1.3;

(b) The Superintendent may suspend your operations; or

(c) The Regional Director may revoke your approved temporary access permit or operations permit.

§9.182   How do violations affect my ability to obtain a permit?

Until you are in compliance with this subpart or the terms and conditions of an existing temporary access permit or operations permit, we will not consider any new permit requests to conduct operations within any System unit.

Reconsideration and Appeals

§9.190   Can I, as operator, request reconsideration of NPS decisions?

Yes. If you disagree with a decision of the Regional Director under this subpart, you may file with the Regional Director a written statement describing the alleged factual or legal errors in the original decision and requesting that the Regional Director reconsider the decision. You must file your request for reconsideration within 60 calendar days after your receipt of the Regional Director's decision. The NPS will dismiss as untimely any request for reconsideration received more than 60 days after your receipt of the original decision.

§9.191   How does the NPS process my request for reconsideration?

The Regional Director will review his or her original decision and, within 90 days after receipt of your appeal, provide you with a written statement reversing, affirming, or modifying that decision, unless the Regional Director notifies you that he or she needs additional time to review the original decision. When issued, that written statement constitutes the Regional Director's final decision on the matter.

§9.192   Can I appeal the Regional Director's decision?

(a) If the Regional Director affirms or modifies his or her original decision after you file a request for reconsideration, you may file an appeal with the NPS Director within 60 calendar days after your receipt of the Regional Director's decision under §9.191.

(b) Your appeal must include a statement of exceptions specifying your specific disagreements with the Regional Director's final decision. If you do not file your appeal within 60 calendar days, your appeal will be dismissed as untimely.

(c) If you timely file your statement of exceptions, the Regional Director will forward his or her decision and the record for the appeal to the NPS Director. The record will consist of all documents and materials considered by NPS that are related to the matter appealed. The Regional Director will maintain that record under separate cover and will certify that the decision was based on that record. The Regional Director will make a copy of the record available to you at your request.

(d) If, upon review, the NPS Director considers the record inadequate, the NPS Director may require additional documentation or information, or may remand the matter to the Regional Director with instructions for further action.

(e) Within 45 calendar days from the date the NPS Director receives your statement of exceptions, the Director will issue a written decision. If the Director requires more than 45 calendar days to reach a decision, the Director will notify you and specify the reasons for the delay. The Director's written decision will include:

(1) A statement of facts;

(2) A statement of conclusions; and

(3) An explanation of the basis for the decision.

(f) No NPS decision under these regulations that is subject to appeal to the Director, or the Regional Director pursuant to §9.194, will be considered final agency action subject to judicial review under 5 U.S.C. 704 unless the appropriate official has rendered a decision on the matter. That decision will constitute NPS's final agency action, and no further appeal will lie in the Department from that decision.

§9.193   Will filing a request for reconsideration or appeal stop the NPS from taking action under this subpart?

(a) Except as provided for in paragraph (b) of this section, during the reconsideration and appeal processes, the decision at issue will be stayed (suspended). The decision will not become effective until the appeals process is completed.

(b) If NPS suspends your operation due to an emergency within your area of operation that poses an immediate threat of injury to federally owned or administered lands or waters, or to public health and safety, you have a right to request reconsideration and appeal the decision under §§9.190 through 9.194, but the suspension will not be stayed until the threat is eliminated.

§9.194   What if the original decision was made by the Superintendent?

Where the Superintendent has the authority to make the original decision, requests for reconsideration and appeals may be filed in the manner provided by §§9.190 through 9.193, except that:

(a) The request for reconsideration will be filed with and decided by the Superintendent;

(b) The appeal will be filed with and decided by the Regional Director; and

(c) The Regional Director's decision will constitute the final agency action on the matter.

Public Participation

§9.200   How can the public participate in the approval process?

(a) Interested parties may view the publicly available documents at the Superintendent's office during normal business hours or by other means prescribed by the Superintendent. The availability for public inspection of information about the nature, location, character, or ownership of park resources will conform to all applicable law and implementing regulations, standards, and guidelines.

(b) The Superintendent will make available for public inspection any documents that an operator submits to the NPS under this subpart except those that you have identified as proprietary or confidential.

(c) For the information required in §§9.88, 9.89, and 9.122, the operator and the submitter of the information will be deemed to have waived any right to protect from public disclosure information submitted to the NPS. For information required under §§9.88, 9.89, and 9.122 that the owner of the information claims to be exempt from public disclosure and is withheld from the NPS, a corporate officer, managing partner, or sole proprietor of the operator must sign and the operator must submit to the Superintendent an affidavit that:

(1) Identifies the owner of the withheld information and provides the name, address and contact information for a corporate officer, managing partner, or sole proprietor of the owner of the information;

(2) Identifies the Federal statute or regulation that would prohibit the NPS from publicly disclosing the information if it were in the NPS's possession;

(3) Affirms that the operator has been provided the withheld information from the owner of the information and is maintaining records of the withheld information, or that the operator has access and will maintain access to the withheld information held by the owner of the information;

(4) Affirms that the information is not publicly available;

(5) Affirms that the information is not required to be publicly disclosed under any applicable local, State, tribal, or Federal law;

(6) Affirms that the owner of the information is in actual competition and identifies competitors or others that could use the withheld information to cause the owner of the information substantial competitive harm;

(7) Affirms that the release of the information would likely cause substantial competitive harm to the owner of the information and provides the factual basis for that affirmation; and

(8) Affirms that the information is not readily apparent through reverse engineering with publicly available information.

(d) If the operator relies upon information from third parties, such as the owner of the withheld information, to make the affirmations in paragraphs (c)(6) through (8) of this section, the operator must provide a written affidavit from the third party that sets forth the relied-upon information.

(e) The NPS may require any operator to submit to the NPS any withheld information, and any information relevant to a claim that withheld information is exempt from public disclosure.

(f) If the NPS determines that the information submitted under paragraph (e) of this section is not exempt from disclosure, the NPS will make the information available to the public after providing the operator and owner of the information with no fewer than 10 business days' notice of the NPS's determination.

(g) The operator must maintain records of the withheld information until the later of the NPS's release of the operator's financial assurance or 7 years after completion of hydraulic fracturing operations. Any subsequent operator will be responsible for maintaining access to records required by this paragraph during its operation of the well. The operator will be deemed to be maintaining the records if it can promptly provide the complete and accurate information to NPS, even if the information is in the custody of its owner.

(h) If any of the chemical identity information required in §9.122 is withheld, the operator must provide the generic chemical name in the submission required by §9.122. The generic chemical name must be only as nonspecific as is necessary to protect the confidential chemical identity, and should be the same as or no less descriptive than the generic chemical name provided to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Information Collection

§9.210   Has the Office of Management and Budget approved the information collection requirements?

(a) The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has reviewed and approved the information collection requirements in 36 CFR part 9, subpart B, and assigned OMB Control Number 1024-0274. We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. We use the information collected to:

(1) Evaluate proposed operations;

(2) Ensure that all necessary mitigation measures are employed to protect park resources and values; and

(3) Ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

(b) You may submit comments on any aspect of the information collection requirements to the Information Collection Clearance Officer, National Park Service, 12201 Sunrise Valley Drive, Room 2C114, Mail Stop 242, Reston, VA 20192.

Need assistance?