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(1) Application for lease of a tract of state land may be made at any time during the year on a form provided by the department.

(a) Such application shall contain the information called for therein, including an adequate and sufficient description of the lands sought to be leased.

(b) Such application shall be accompanied by a non-refundable $10.00 application fee. Applications not accompanied by the application fee will not be considered.

(2) When sufficient applications have been received to warrant a sale, or at the director's discretion, a sale will be announced.

(a) Notice of sale will be given by publication in a trade journal of general circulation in the geothermal industry or in 2 newspapers of general circulation in Lewis and Clark County, Montana. Notice will be published each week for 4 weeks preceding the date of sale.

(b) The board will maintain a master mailing list of prospective geothermal resource lessees who request, in writing that their names be placed on such list; and concurrently with the publication of the notice of sale in the newspaper, the board shall mail to each addressee on the master mailing list a copy of the notice of sale. However, such mailing shall not be deemed a legal prerequisite to a valid sale. Furthermore, the board shall have no liability to any person who may be inadvertently omitted in the mailing of such additional notices.

(c) Geothermal lease by competitive bidding will be by sealed bid submitted to the department 40 days after announcement of the sale. Bids must be made on each tract separately.

(i) Lease will be awarded to the qualified bidder who submits a bid of the highest cash amount per acre above the minimum bid of $1.00 per acre for the first year's rental for the right to lease state-owned geothermal lands.

(ii) Each bidder must submit with his sealed bid, 1/5 of the amount of the bid in cash or by cashier's check, certified check or money order payable to the order of the department of natural resources and conservation. After completion of the lease offer, the amounts submitted by unsuccessful bidders will be returned. The successful applicant must submit to the department the remaining 4/5 of the amount bid within 30 days following receipt of notice of award.

(d) The board reserves the right to reject any and all bids on any tract offered for lease.

(3) If, at the lease sale, no bid is made on the tract for which an application was made, the applicant may negotiate with the board for lease. The board reserves the right to reject negotiations on any tract of land offered for lease.

(4) Each application shall constitute an undertaking to pay the required first year's rental plus a $25.00 fee for the issuance of the lease if at the lease sale the applicant is the successful bidder therefore, or at the lease sale no bid is made on the tract for which application was made and a lease is successfully negotiated with the applicant.

History: 77-4-103, MCA; NEW, Eff. 12/31/72; AMD, Eff. 3/7/75; TRANS, 1996 MAR p. 2384.

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