If these initial administrative remedies fail, a further appeal may be taken to IBLA, a quasi-judicial body of administrative law judges within the Department of Interior. (Although in oil and gas cases, appeal to IBLA is not necessary and a party may be able to proceed directly to federal court.) Appeals to IBLA are often complex, and will almost always be defended by attorneys within the Dept. of Interior’s Solicitor’s Office. For these reasons, we highly recommend that any appeal to IBLA be done with the utmost care, and with the advice and participation of counsel experienced in public lands law. Remember: an IBLA decision brought by group A in state B can effect oil and gas decisions affecting group C in state D. For this reason, be careful of what, and in what manner, you take a further appeal to BLA. The regulatory provisions for appealing to IBLA are provided below:
The notice of appeal must be filed within 30 days of date of service of the adverse State Director decision. 43 C.F.R. § 4.411(a). The appellant then has 30 additional days to file a written brief in support. 43 C.F.R. § 4.412(a).
A stay of the State Director’s approval of a decision maybe brought pursuant 43 C.F.R. § 3165.4(c), utilizing traditional temporary restraining order standards. Note that the traditional automatic stay requirements of 43 C.F.R.§ 4.21(a)(1-2) do not apply.
Important: If warranted, a stay should be requested pursuant to 43 C.F.R. § 4.21, as IBLA is then required to decide the stay request within 45 days. 43 C.F.R. § 4.21(b); otherwise, there is no time limit for IBLA to reach a decision.
These are only some of the appeal provisions; before any IBLA appeal is pursued, a party must familiarize herself with all the provisions contained within 43 C.F.R. §§ 4.400 – 4.439 and 43 C.F.R. §§ 4.1 – 4.31.Link to 43 C.F.R.