Agency Information Collection Activities: Suspensions Pending Appeal and Bonding

Published date18 September 2023
Record Number2023-20090
Citation88 FR 63973
CourtInterior Department,Natural Resources Revenue Office
SectionNotices
Federal Register, Volume 88 Issue 179 (Monday, September 18, 2023)
[Federal Register Volume 88, Number 179 (Monday, September 18, 2023)]
                [Notices]
                [Pages 63973-63975]
                From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
                [FR Doc No: 2023-20090]
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                DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
                Office of Natural Resources Revenue
                [Docket No. ONRR-2011-0008; DS63644000 DRT000000.CH7000 234D1113RT; OMB
                Control Number 1012-0006]
                Agency Information Collection Activities: Suspensions Pending
                Appeal and Bonding
                AGENCY: Office of Natural Resources Revenue, Interior.
                ACTION: Notice of information collection; request for comment.
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                SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
                (``PRA''), the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (``ONRR'') is
                proposing to revise a currently approved information collection to
                expand its scope to include the mineral estate underlying Osage County,
                Oklahoma (``Osage Mineral Estate'').
                DATES: Submit written comments on or before November 17, 2023.
                ADDRESSES: All comment submissions must (1) reference ``OMB Control
                Number 1012-0006'' in the subject line; (2) be sent to ONRR before the
                close of the comment period listed under DATES; and (3) be sent using
                the following method:
                 Electronically via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: Please visit
                https://www.regulations.gov. In the Search Box, enter the Docket ID
                Number for this ICR renewal (``ONRR-2011-0008'') and click ``search''
                to view the publications associated with the docket folder. Locate the
                document with an open comment period and click the ``Comment Now!''
                button. Follow the prompts to submit your comment prior to the close of
                the comment period.
                 Docket: To access the docket folder to view the ICR Federal
                Register publications, go to https://www.regulations.gov and search
                ``ONRR-2011-0008'' to view renewal notices recently published in the
                Federal Register, publications associated with prior renewals, and
                applicable public comments received for this ICR. ONRR will make the
                comments submitted in response to this notice available for public
                viewing at https://www.regulations.gov.
                 OMB ICR Data: OMB also maintains information on ICR renewals and
                approvals. You may access this information at https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRASearch. Please use the following instructions: Under the
                ``OMB Control Number'' heading enter ``1012-0006'' and click the
                ``Search'' button located at the bottom of the page. To view the ICR
                renewal or OMB approval status, click on the latest entry (based on the
                most recent date). On the ``View ICR--OIRA Conclusion'' page, check the
                box next to ``All'' to display all available ICR information provided
                by OMB.
                FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: To request additional information
                about this ICR, please contact Kimberly Werner, Financial Services,
                ONRR, by telephone at (303) 231-3801 or email to
                [email protected]. Individuals in the United States who are
                deaf, deafblind, hard of hearing, or have a speech disability may dial
                711 (TTY, TDD, or TeleBraille) to access telecommunications relay
                services. Individuals outside the United States should use the relay
                services offered within their country to make international calls to
                the point-of-contact in the United States.
                SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Through this revision, ONRR seeks authority
                to collect information related to the paperwork requirements under 30
                CFR part 1243 and the Bureau of Indian Affairs' (``BIA'') proposed
                regulations at 25 CFR part 226, subpart O to post a surety or bond, or
                demonstrate financial solvency. ONRR uses forms ONRR-4435, ONRR-4436,
                and ONRR-4437 as part of these information collection requirements.
                 Pursuant to the PRA, 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq., and 5 CFR 1320.5, all
                information collections, as defined in 5 CFR 1320.3, require approval
                by OMB. ONRR 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.
                 As part of ONRR's continuing effort to reduce paperwork and
                respondent burdens, ONRR is inviting the public and other Federal
                agencies to comment on new, proposed, revised, and continuing
                collections of information in accordance with the PRA and 5 CFR
                1320.8(d)(1). This helps ONRR to assess the impact of its information
                collection requirements and minimize the public's reporting burden. It
                also helps the public understand ONRR's information collection
                requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format.
                 ONRR is especially interested in public comments addressing the
                following:
                 (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the
                proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether
                the information will have practical utility;
                 (2) The accuracy of ONRR's estimate of the burden for this
                collection of information, including the validity of the methodology
                and assumptions used;
                 (3) Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the
                information to be collected; and
                 (4) How might the agency minimize the burden of the collection of
                information on those who are to respond, including through the use of
                appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological
                collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g.,
                permitting electronic submission of response.
                 Comments that you submit in response to this notice are a matter of
                public record. ONRR will include or summarize each comment in its
                request to OMB to approve this ICR. Before including your address,
                phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information
                in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--
                including your personal identifying information--may be made publicly
                available at any time. While you can ask ONRR in your comment to
                withhold your personal identifying information from public review, ONRR
                cannot guarantee that it will be able to do so.
                 Abstract: (a) General Information: The Federal Oil and Gas Royalty
                Management Act of 1982 (``FOGRMA'') directs the Secretary of the
                Interior (``Secretary'') to ``establish a comprehensive inspection,
                collection and fiscal and production accounting and auditing system to
                provide the capability to accurately determine oil and gas royalties,
                interest, fines, penalties, fees, deposits, and other payments owed,
                and to collect and account for such amounts in a timely manner.'' 30
                U.S.C. 1711. ONRR
                [[Page 63974]]
                performs these and other mineral revenue management responsibilities
                for the Secretary. See U.S. Department of the Interior Departmental
                Manual, 112 DM 34.1 (Sept. 9, 2020). FOGRMA and ONRR's regulations at
                30 CFR Chapter XII do not apply to the Osage Mineral Estate.
                 The Osage Mineral Estate is held in trust by the United States for
                the benefit of the Osage Nation. See Osage Allotment Act of June 28,
                1906, Pub. L. 59-321, 3, 34 Stat. 539, as amended. BIA's regulations at
                25 CFR part 226 contain requirements specific to the Osage Mineral
                Estate, and, historically, BIA has performed compliance activities
                related to those requirements. In conjunction with this ICR, BIA has
                published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on January 13, 2023
                (88 FR 2430) that would require a lessee of the Osage Mineral Estate to
                submit to ONRR certain forms already authorized in this ICR for Federal
                and non-Osage Indian lands. Accordingly, this ICR revision adds
                information collections specific to oil and gas royalty and production
                reporting for the Osage Mineral Estate.
                 For Federal lands only, Section 4(l), ``Stay of Payment Obligation
                Pending Review,'' of the Federal Oil and Gas Royalty Simplification and
                Fairness Act of 1996 (``RSFA'') requires ONRR to evaluate any person,
                ordered by the Secretary or a delegated State to pay any obligation
                (other than an assessment) subject to RSFA, to determine whether that
                person is entitled to a stay of the order without bond or other surety
                instrument, pending an administrative or judicial proceeding, based on
                the financial solvency of that person.
                 Regulations under 30 CFR part 1243 and proposed regulations under
                25 CFR part 226, subpart O, govern the suspension of orders or
                decisions pending administrative appeal for Federal and Indian leases.
                For Federal leases, these regulations allow an appellant to submit
                information demonstrating financial solvency in lieu of providing a
                surety. For appellants who are not financially solvent or for appeals
                involving Indian leases, ONRR requires appellants to post a surety
                instrument to secure the financial interest of the public and Indian
                lessors during the entire administrative or judicial appeal process.
                 BIA has published a proposed rule in the Federal Register on
                January 13, 2023 (88 FR 2430) that would require lessees of the Osage
                Mineral Estate to submit the forms authorized by this ICR to ONRR.
                Accordingly, this ICR revision adds information collections specific to
                posting an ONRR-specified surety instrument under 30 CFR part 1243
                subpart B within the time period that ONRR prescribes to secure the
                financial interest of the Osage Mineral Estate.
                 This ICR remains unchanged in its application and effect as to all
                leases previously subject to the information collections described
                below, which includes all Federal leases onshore and offshore and all
                Indian leases held in trust by the United States, except for the Osage
                Mineral Estate.
                 If ONRR determines that a lessee did not properly report, pay, or
                both, it may issue orders, notices of noncompliance, and civil penalty
                notices to compel corrective reporting, payment, or both. Lessees have
                a right to appeal ONRR's determinations.
                 (b) Information Collections: Regulations under 30 CFR part 1243 and
                proposed regulations under 25 CFR part 226, subpart O, govern the
                submission of appropriate surety instruments to suspend compliance with
                an order or decision, and to stay the accrual of civil penalties (if
                the Office of Hearings and Appeals grants a lessee's petition to stay
                accrual of civil penalties) pending administrative appeal for Federal
                and Indian leases. For Federal oil and gas leases, under 30 U.S.C.
                1724(l) and its implementing regulations under 30 CFR part 1243, an
                appellant requesting a suspension without providing a surety must
                submit information to demonstrate financial solvency. This ICR covers
                the burden hours associated with submitting financial statements and
                surety instruments required to stay an ONRR order, decision, or accrual
                of civil penalties as follows:
                 (1) Stay of Payment Pending Appeal: Title 30 CFR 1243.1 states that
                lessees or recipients of ONRR orders may suspend compliance with an
                order if they appeal under 30 CFR part 1290. Pending appeal, ONRR may
                suspend the payment requirement if the appellant submits a formal
                agreement of payment in the case of default, such as a bond or other
                surety. For Federal oil and gas leases, the appellant may alternatively
                demonstrate financial solvency. If the Office of Hearings and Appeals
                grants a recipient of a notice of noncompliance or civil penalty
                notice's request to stay the accrual of civil penalties under 30 CFR
                1241.55(b)(2) and 1241.63(b)(2), recipient must post a bond or other
                surety. For Federal oil and gas leases, the appellant may alternatively
                demonstrate financial solvency.
                 ONRR accepts the following surety types:
                 (i) Form ONRR-4435, Administrative Appeal Bond;
                 (ii) Form ONRR-4436, Letter of Credit;
                 (iii) Form ONRR-4437, Assignment of Certificate of Deposit;
                 (iv) Self-bonding (Federal leases only); and
                 (v) U.S. Treasury Securities.
                 When an appellant selects one of the surety types and puts it in
                place, the appellant must maintain the surety until the appeal's
                resolution. If the appeal is decided in favor of the appellant, ONRR
                will return the surety to the appellant. If the appeal is decided in
                favor of ONRR, then ONRR will take action to collect the total amount
                due or draw down on the surety. ONRR will draw down on a surety if the
                appellant fails to comply with requirements relating to the amount due,
                timeframe, or surety submission or resubmission. Whenever ONRR draws
                down on a surety, it reduces the total amount due, which is defined as
                the unpaid principal plus the interest accrued to the projected receipt
                date of the surety payment. Appellants may refer to the Surety
                Instrument Posting Instructions, available on our website at http://www.onrr.gov/compliance/appeals.htm.
                 (2) Forms and Other Surety Types:
                 A. Form ONRR-4435, Administrative Appeal Bond: An appellant may
                file form ONRR-4435, Administrative Appeal Bond, which ONRR uses to
                secure the financial interests of the public and Indian lessors during
                the entire administrative and judicial appeal processes. Under 30 CFR
                1243.4 and proposed regulations at 25 CFR 226.179, an appellant is
                required to submit its contact and surety amount information on the
                bond to obtain the benefit of suspension of an obligation to comply
                with an order. The bond must be issued by a qualified surety company
                that the U.S. Department of the Treasury approves (see Department of
                the Treasury Circular No. 570, revised periodically in the Federal
                Register). ONRR's Director, or the delegated bond-approving officer,
                maintains the bonds in a secure facility. After an appeal's conclusion,
                ONRR may release and return the bond to the appellant or collect
                payment on the bond. If collection is necessary for a remaining
                balance, ONRR will issue a demand for payment to the surety company
                with a notice to the appellant. ONRR will also include all interest
                accrued on the affected receivable.
                 B. Form ONRR-4436, Letter of Credit: An appellant may choose to
                file form ONRR-4436, Letter of Credit, with no modifications.
                Requirements under 30 CFR 1243.4 and proposed regulations at 25 CFR
                226.179 continue to apply. ONRR's Director, or the delegated bond-
                approving officer, maintains the Letter of Credit (``LOC'') in a secure
                facility.
                [[Page 63975]]
                The appellant is responsible for verifying that the bank provides a
                current Fitch rating to ONRR. After the appeal's resolution, ONRR may
                release and return the LOC to the appellant or collect payment on the
                LOC. If collection is necessary for a remaining balance, ONRR will
                issue a demand for payment that includes the principal amount plus the
                interest assessed on the receivable, to the bank with a notice to the
                appellant.
                 C. Form ONRR-4437, Assignment of Certificate of Deposit: An
                appellant may choose to secure a debt by requesting to use a
                Certificate of Deposit (``CD'') from a bank with the required minimum
                rating and submitting form ONRR-4437, Assignment of Certificate of
                Deposit. Requirements under 30 CFR 1243.4 and proposed regulations at
                25 CFR 226.179 continue to apply. The appellant must file the request
                with ONRR prior to the invoice due date. ONRR will accept a book-entry
                CD that explicitly assigns the CD to ONRR's Director. If collection of
                the CD is necessary for an unpaid balance, ONRR will return unused CD
                funds to the appellant after total settlement of the appealed issues,
                including applicable interest charges.
                 D. Self-bonding (Federal leases only, not applicable to Indian or
                the Osage Mineral Estate leases): For Federal oil and gas leases,
                regulations under 30 CFR 1243.201 provide that no surety instrument is
                required when a person representing the appellant periodically
                demonstrates, to the satisfaction of ONRR, that the guarantor or
                appellant is financially solvent or otherwise able to pay the
                obligation. The appellant must submit a written request to ``self-
                bond'' every time a new appeal is filed. To evaluate the financial
                solvency and exemption from requirements of appellants to maintain a
                surety related to an appeal, ONRR requires appellants to submit a
                consolidated balance sheet, subject to annual audit. In some cases,
                ONRR also requires copies of the most recent tax returns (up to three
                years) filed by the appellant.
                 In addition, an appellant must annually submit financial
                statements, subject to audit, to support its net worth. ONRR uses the
                consolidated balance sheet or business information supplied to evaluate
                the financial solvency of a lessee, designee, or payor seeking a stay
                of payment obligation pending review. If the appellant does not have a
                consolidated balance sheet documenting its net worth, or if it does not
                meet the $300 million net worth requirement, ONRR will select a
                business information or credit reporting service to provide information
                concerning the appellant's financial solvency. ONRR charges the
                appellant a $50 fee each time it reviews data from a business
                information or credit reporting service. The fee covers ONRR's cost to
                determine an appellant's financial solvency.
                 E. U.S. Treasury Securities: An appellant may choose to secure its
                debts by requesting to use a U.S. Treasury Security (``TS''). The
                appellant must file the letter of request with ONRR prior to the
                invoice due date. The TS must be a U.S. Treasury note or bond with
                maturity equal to or greater than one year. The TS must equal 120
                percent of the appealed amount plus 1 year of estimated interest
                (necessary to protect ONRR against interest rate fluctuations). ONRR
                only accepts book-entry TS.
                 Title of Collections: Suspensions Pending Appeal and Bonding.
                 OMB Control Number: 1012-0006.
                 Form Numbers: ONRR-4435, ONRR-4436, and ONRR-4437.
                 Type of Review: Revision to a currently approved collection.
                 Respondents/Affected Public: Businesses.
                 Total Estimated Number of Annual Respondents: 107 appellants.
                 Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 107.
                 Estimated Completion Time per Response: The time per response is
                120 mins. The average completion time is calculated by first
                multiplying the estimated annual burden hours (214 burden hours) by 60
                to obtain the total annual burden minutes. Then the total annual burden
                minutes (12,840) is divided by the estimated annual responses (107).
                 Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 214 hours.
                 Respondent's Obligation: Mandatory.
                 Frequency of Collection: Annually and on occasion.
                 Total Estimated Annual Non-Hour Burden Cost: ONRR identified no
                ``non-
                 hour cost'' burden associated with this collection of information.
                 Estimated Annual Reporting and Recordkeeping ``Non-hour'' Cost
                Burden: There are no additional recordkeeping costs associated with
                this information collection. However, ONRR estimates 5 appellants per
                year will pay a $50 fee to obtain credit data from a business
                information or credit reporting service, which is a total ``non-hour''
                cost burden of $250 per year (5 appellants per year x $50 = $250).
                 An agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required
                to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a
                currently valid OMB control number.
                 The authority for this action is the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.).
                Howard Cantor,
                Director, Office of Natural Resources Revenue.
                [FR Doc. 2023-20090 Filed 9-15-23; 8:45 am]
                BILLING CODE 4335-30-P
                

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