Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard is focused on ensuring adequate bonding for lessees to protect trust land. Requiring a bond from companies engaged in oil and gas development is an effective way to ensure that they perform obligations to reclaim the land and remediate contamination. Part of the Commissioner’s effort is to review bonding adequacy levels statewide, and part of it is to review existing State Land Office (“SLO”) rules and internal policy regarding how the SLO accept bonds, audits current bonds, and ensures bonds are in place before authorizing discretionary actions.
Prior to Commissioner Garcia Richard’s administration, SLO internal practice had been to accept bond waivers as a matter of course. Bond waivers allow an entity that does not intend to develop an oil and gas lease to request to delay acquisition of a bond until the company develops the acreage. To best protect the trust, the Commissioner has authorized certain additional certifications and disclosures from a lessee prior to obtaining a waiver. Enhanced scrutiny of bond waivers will ensure that waivers are only considered if a company does not intend to develop, occupy, or use the land prior to assignment.
Contact Assistant Commissioner of Oil, Gas, and Minerals