The Forest Service manages access to, and development of, federal oil and natural gas resources on approximately one-third of the over 150 national forests and grasslands. The Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Reform Act of 1987 established the Forest Service authority to decide if lands reserved from the public domain under its jurisdiction could be leased for oil and gas, and gave the agency authority to regulate surface disturbing activities on leases issued under this act. The Mineral Leasing Act for Acquired Lands of 1947 established the Forest Service consent authority for leasing acquired NFS lands for oil and gas resources. The Forest Service manages oil and gas activity according to its regulations at 36 CFR 228 Subpart E.
The Forest Service participates with the DOI- Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in managing federal oil and gas resources on National Forest System (NFS) lands. More information on the BLMs oil and gas leasing process is available on the BLMs website.
The Forest Service and the BLM cooperate on approving drilling permits on federal oil and gas leases involving NFS lands. Procedures for submitting an Application for Permit to Drill along with the process the agencies follow to review them are in Onshore Order No. 1.
Other Links of Interest
Joint BLM and Forest Service Surface Operating Standards and Guidelines for Oil and Gas Exploration and Development, “The Gold Book".