1610 (923) P
EMAIL TRANSMISSION – 10/21/2008
Instruction Memorandum No. MT-2009-007
To: Field Managers
From: State Director
Subject: Request for Compilation of Data for 2008 Annual National Environmental Policy Act
(NEPA) Documentation Report DD: 11/17/2008
Program Area: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance
Purpose: The purpose of this Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to convey the Washington Office’s (WO’s) annual data call regarding the preparation of the NEPA documents in Montana and the Dakotas (MT/Dakotas) and the participation of Cooperating Agencies (CoAg) in MT/Dakotas NEPA projects.
Policy/Action: Federal agencies responsible for preparing NEPA analyses are to report the status of CoAg efforts to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) once each Fiscal Year (FY).
Data for Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) and Environmental Assessments (EAs) related to CoAgs should be provided using the appropriate table in Attachment 1. In addition to the data requested for the CEQ report, the Division of Decision Support, Planning, and NEPA (WO-210) also requests data on the variety of methods used to comply with the NEPA be recorded in the table found in Attachment 2.
Please complete Attachment 1, considering the following:
. For each EIS with a Notice of Intent (NOI) published between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008, the lead office will report the:
1. title of the EIS;
2. names of the CoAgs for the EIS;
3. names of agencies who declined an invitation to participate as a CoAg, or who requested but failed to reach agreement on establishing CoAg status; agencies whose CoAg status was ended; and the reason(s) CoAg status was not established or was ended; and
4. current status of the EIS.
· For EAs, the lead office will report the: (1) number of EAs completed between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008; (2) number of those EAs which included the participation of one or more CoAgs; and (3) reasons agencies did not accept invitations or reach agreement to participate as CoAgs, or ended the CoAg status prior to completing EAs.
The lead office is to provide information on EISs initiated during the FY 2008 reporting period, and on EAs completed during the FY 2008 reporting period. For purposes of the CEQ report, an EIS is initiated 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.
Please also complete Attachment 2 by indicating:
· Quantities of Documentations of NEPA Adequacy (DNAs), Categorical Exclusions (CXs), EAs, EISs, and other NEPA compliance efforts completed (and ripe for decision) between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008. Offices are encouraged to provide comments, as needed, for clarification.
Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately; compiled tables will be submitted to the Montana State Office by November 17, 2008.
Budget Impact: This IM may result in an additional workload -- estimated at less than one workday.
Background: The CEQ issued updated guidance on CoAg status in implementing the 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 CoAg status to Federal and non-Federal governmental bodies qualifying for such status. As part of that guidance and to measure “progress in addressing the issue of CoAg 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 CoAg is any Federal, State, or local governmental agency, or Tribe having either jurisdiction by law or special expertise regarding environmental impacts of a proposal, or reasonable alternative(s) 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 CoAg procedures to EIS-level actions, in its memorandum, the CEQ extended the procedures for occasional use in the preparation of EAs. The CoAg 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).
Attachment 3, “Frequently Asked Questions and Answers” provides information and clarification regarding the CEQ guidance and procedures. This document comes from CEQ to assist in the data call.
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 valuable information and a means of conveying the BLM’s NEPA compliance efforts to internal and external audiences.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None
Contact: If you have questions regarding these requests, please contact Katie Stevens, Planning and Environmental Coordinator, at (406) 896-5246.
Thank you for your assistance with this effort.
Signed by: Gene R. Terland
Authenticated by: Melissa R. Dykes
Assistant Field Manager, Glasgow - 1
Assistant Field Manager, Havre - 1
SOMT - 1