Bureau of Reclamation - Use Authorization (3-FD-e)
Infrastructure projects, such as transportation, telecommunications, utilities, and pipelines are typical uses which require a BOR Use Authorization. 43 C.F.R. § 429.3(e).
BOR regulates use authorizations for projects on BOR lands pursuant to 43 C.F.R. §§ 429.1-429.37.
The developer of a hydropower project may need to obtain a Use Authorization from the BOR to construct transmission lines, access roads, or other project facilities on any BOR lands that are not contained within the FERC license boundary identified for that particular project.
Bureau of Reclamation Lease of Power Privilege:
Note: A developer seeking to construct a hydropower project on a BOR dam authorized for Federal hydropower development or any BOR conduit must obtain a Lease of Power Privilege from the BOR.
Bureau of Reclamation - Use Authorization Process
3-FD-e.1 – Contact Local Reclamation Office to Discuss Proposed Use
The developer should contact the local Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) office to discuss the developer’s proposed use before filing an application to use BOR lands. This discussion will help expedite the application process. 43 C.F.R. § 429.9.
Contact information for the BOR regional offices is available at the BOR’s official web site.
3-FD-e.2 – Application for Use Authorization
To apply for a Use Authorization for the placement, construction, and use of energy, transportation or water, or telecommunications systems or facilities on BOR land, the developer must submit the following items to the BOR office with jurisdiction over the land, facility, or water body associated with the developer’s request:
- A completed SF 299 Application Form; and
- A non-refundable $100 application fee.
3-FD-e.3 to 3-FD-e.5 – Review Application Materials for Completeness
Once received, the BOR reviews the developer’s application materials for completeness. If BOR determines that the developer’s application materials are complete, BOR will provide notice of the complete application to the developer, in writing, within 30 calendar days of receipt. If the application is incomplete or BOR needs additional information to evaluate the developer’s proposed use, BOR may request additional information. 43 C.F.R. § 429.13(a).
3-FD-e.6 – Conduct Initial Review of Application
BOR conducts an initial review of the developer’s application to determine whether the requested use is appropriate for consideration and not likely to interfere with BOR project purposes or operations. 43 C.F.R. § 429.16.
BOR considers the following criteria when reviewing an application:
- Compatibility with authorized project purposes, project operations, safety, and security;
- Environmental compliance;
- Compatibility with public interests;
- Conflicts with federal policies and initiatives;
- Public health and safety;
- Availability of other reasonable alternatives; and
- Best interests of the United States. 43 C.F.R. § 429.14.
3-FD-e.7 – Does the Application Pass Initial Review?
BOR may accept or reject the proposed use within a reasonable time. The processing time depends on the complexity of the requested use, issues associated with the requested use, and the need for additional information from the developer. 43 C.F.R. § 429.13(b).
3-FD-e.8 – Provide Notice of Denial
If the BOR does not accept the developer’s proposed use, BOR will notify the developer of the basis for denial, in writing. 43 C.F.R. § 429.13(c).
3-FD-e.9 – Provide Notice that Application is Appropriate for Further Review and Estimate of Administrative Costs
Following the initial review, BOR notifies the developer of whether the application appears to be appropriate for further processing. At that time, BOR also provides the developer with an initial estimate of administrative costs required in order for BOR to continue processing of the application. 43 C.F.R. § 429.18(a).
3-FD-e.10 – Pay Estimated Administrative Costs
The developer must pay the initial estimated administrative costs to BOR before further review of the application will take place. If the developer does not pay the estimated administrative costs within 90 days, BOR may close the file. If the developer wishes to proceed, the developer must submit a new application and $100 non-refundable application fee. 43 C.F.R. § 429.18(b).
If the initial estimate of administrative costs is found to be insufficient, BOR will notify the developer in writing of the additional amount needed for BOR to continue processing the developer’s application. 43 C.F.R. § 429.19. If the initial estimate of administrative costs exceeds actual costs, BOR will issue the developer a refund of the excess amount. 43 C.F.R. § 429.21.
3-FD-e.11 to 3-FD-e.12 – Does BOR Accept the Proposed Use?
If the BOR does not accept the developer’s proposed use, BOR will provide notice to the developer, in writing. 43 C.F.R. § 429.13(c).
3-FD-e.13 – Use Authorization Permit Offer and Use Fee
If the BOR accepts the developer’s proposed use, BOR provides the developer with an offer of use authorization, which will include a required use fee. The developer must pay the use fee before the Use Authorization will become effective. 43 C.F.R. § 429.24.
3-FD-e.14 – Return Use Authorization and Pay Use Fee
The developer has 90 days to accept and return the Use Authorization and required fees. If the developer does not return the Use Authorization and pay required fees, BOR will consider the offer rejected and the file will be closed. 42 C.F.R. § 429.25.
3-FD-e.15 – Final Use Authorization
Each Use Authorization will contain the following:
- An adequate description of the land, facilities, or water bodies where the use will occur;
- A description of the specific use being authorized together with applicable restrictions or conditions that must be adhered to;
- The conditions under which the Use Authorization may be renewed, terminated, amended, assigned or transferred, and/or have the use fee adjusted; and
- Primary points of contact and other terms and conditions. 43 C.F.R. § 429.27.
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