BLM Lease Sales


BLM’s Eastern States Office, on March 26, 2024, held a lease sale comprising three parcels of split-estate lands (i.e., federal minerals under private surface) in Mississippi (one parcel in Smith County, and two in Greene County). This was Eastern States’ second lease sale since the imposition of a “pause” on new leasing under President Biden’s executive order of January 27, 2021 (see the Recent Developments page of this website). The lands that were offered in the first-quarter 2024 sale had all been deferred from consideration for Eastern States’ previous sale in June 2023. In the March 2024 sale, the Smith County tract went for the minimum bid of $10/acre, with no bids received for the Greene County tracts.

In its preceding sale, on June 29, 2023 (its first sale since the leasing “pause”), the Eastern States Office offered four split-estate tracts: one parcel in Kalamazoo County, Michigan; and two parcels in Caddo Parish and one in Bossier Parish, Louisiana. High bids were received, in the second-quarter 2023 sale, of $3501/acre for the parcel in Bossier Parish, and $2001/acre and $251/acre for the Caddo Parish tracts, in Louisiana; while the Michigan parcel went for $14/acre (slightly above the newly-increased $10/acre minimum).

Prior to that, the Eastern States Office had initially considered tracts in three areas for a second-quarter 2022 sale: split-estate lands in Covington County, Alabama; lands in the DeSoto National Forest in Wayne and Jones Counties, Mississippi; and lands in the Homochitto National Forest in Franklin County, Mississippi.  Following the conclusion of the scoping period for these parcels, however, BLM published an environmental assessment in October 2021 only for the split-estate lands in Alabama, while cancelling further consideration of any of the National Forest lands in Mississippi “due to ongoing discussion between the two agencies [BLM and the Forest Service] regarding air quality analysis as required under NEPA.” (There still has been no report of progress in the “ongoing discussion” between BLM and the Forest Service.) And in April 2022, BLM’s Eastern States Office issued a decision not to offer the remaining Alabama tract at that time, stating, as a principal justification, that those lands were not sufficiently near to existing development.