1796 (923) P
EMAIL TRANSMISSION – 12/13/06
Instruction Memorandum No. MT-2007-014
To: Field Managers
Attn: Planning and Environmental Coordinators
From: Deputy State Director, Division of Resources
Subject: Request for Compilation of Data for Cooperating Agency (CA) Report Regarding Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) and Environmental Assessments (EAs)
Program Area: Environmental Compliance – CA Procedures
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to inform Field Managers and those specialists with oversight responsibilities for BLM Planning and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) documents about the FY 2007 Data Call for the CA Report to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), and to request that the data be submitted electronically to the Montana State Office by December 18, 2006.
This IM is a reissue of an annual data call that has been conducted since FY 2002. For future reports, we hope that data relevant to this data call can be pulled directly from planning and NEPA registers; however, due to inconsistencies in how offices are using the planning and NEPA registers, this cannot yet be done. We plan for these inconsistencies to be remedied in time for future responses. Guidance on remedying these issues will be provided under a separate memorandum.
Although WO has not yet finalized the memorandum that will formally relay this data call, our expectation is that the information will still be due to WO within the next 2 weeks.
Policy/Action: This IM reflects guidance issued by the CEQ’s Chairman on December 23, 2004, that changed the reporting mechanism for the CA Report. Federal agencies responsible for preparing NEPA analyses are to report to the CEQ once each fiscal year. The report to the CEQ is due 3 months after the close of the fiscal year; therefore, the FY 2006 report is due on January 2, 2007.
Data for EISs and EAs related to CAs should be provided using the appropriate table in Attachment 1. In addition, WO-210 is requesting summary figures for CXs, DNAs, EISs, and EAs to be provided in the table in Attachment 2.
For EISs with a Notice of Intent published between October 1, 2005, and September 30, 2006, the lead office will report: (1) the title of the EIS; (2) the names of the CAs for the EIS; (3) the names of agencies who declined an invitation to participate as a CA or who requested but failed to reach agreement on establishing CA status, and agencies whose CA status was ended, and the reason(s) CA status was not established or was ended; and (4) the current status of the EIS (Attachment 1).
Reports should include updates to previous reports on EISs. The reporting office will provide updated information (e.g.: new and/or terminated CAs; new EIS status) in subsequent FYs by submitting the previous EIS report with new information inserted and highlighted.
For EAs, the lead office will report: (1) the number of EAs completed between October 1, 2005, and September 30, 2006; (2) the number of those EAs which included participation of one or more CAs; and (3) the reasons agencies did not accept invitations or reach agreement to participate as CAs, or ended the CA status prior to completing the EA (Attachment 1).
The lead office is to provide information on EISs started during the FY 2006 reporting period, and on EAs completed during the FY 2006 reporting period. For purposes of this report, is started when the NOI is published in the Federal Register, and an EA is completed when a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) is completed or a NOI to prepare an EIS is published.
Each office should email completed attachments to Katie A Stevens at Katie_A_Stevens@blm.gov.
Time Frame: Effective upon issuance. The due date is December 18, 2006.
Background: The CEQ issued updated guidance on CA status in implementing NEPA in December 2004. The procedures, requirements, and reporting format are based on recommendations from Federal agencies to more accurately measure their progress in assuring CA status to Federal and non-Federal governmental bodies that qualify for such status. As part of that guidance and to measure “progress in addressing the issue of CA status,” the CEQ initiated annual data calls to Federal agencies covering both EISs and EAs during the reporting period (currently October 1-September 30).
A CA is any Federal, state, or local governmental agency or tribe that has either jurisdiction by law or special expertise regarding environmental impacts of a proposal or reasonable alternative for a major Federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment (see
40 CFR 1501.6 and 1508.5). Although this definition would appear to limit CA procedures to EIS-level actions, in its memorandum the CEQ extended the procedures for occasional use in the preparation of EAs. The CA status under the NEPA is not equivalent to other requirements calling for an agency to engage another governmental entity in a consultation or coordination process (e.g., Endangered Species Act-Section 7, National Historic Preservation Act-Section 106).
The attached document “Frequently Asked Questions and Answers” (Attachment 3) will provide information and clarification regarding the CEQ guidance and procedures.
Requested data (beyond the CEQ requirement) regarding all types of documents developed to comply with the NEPA should be provided using the table in Attachment 2. This information is necessary to supply the WO-210 with necessary information in order to respond to inquiries.
Budget Impact: For some offices this IM may result in additional workload estimated at less than one work day.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
Contact: If you have any questions concerning this memorandum, and to relay responses, please contact Katie Stevens, Planning and Environmental Coordinator, (406) 896-5246.
Signed by: Randy D. Heuscher, Acting
Authenticated by: Kathy Ray (922)