BLM starts the competitive leasing process by posting a notice in the Eastern States BLM Office as well as in the appropriate Forest Service office, stating which parcels are being offered, the time and place of the auction, and any stipulations to be included in the leases. This notice must be posted at least 45 days before the auction is held. If such a notice is not posted for a parcel in accordance with the law, any lease issued on that parcel is invalid. BLM regulations require that competitive lease sales within each state be held at least quarterly – BLM Eastern States Office, which covers 31 states east of, or bordering the Mississippi River has generally held its lease sales in March, June, September, and December. These lease sale notices are also posted online. Make sure to consult these lease sale notices as early as possible because the deadline to file a letter of protest regarding those leases may be long before the lease sale notice itself. Each lease sale notice contains a section which sets forth the requirements for filing a protest, which includes the date by which the protest must be filed.
If a lease is not sold at the auction, a parcel continues to be available for lease for two years following the sale on a “non-competitive” basis. BLM may retract only those parcels whose leases have expired, been terminated, canceled, or relinquished, or that are not sold at auction or in the two-year period of non-competitive leasing following auction.