U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
 
Montana/Dakotas
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United States Department of the Interior
 
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Montana State Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, Montana 59101-4669
http://www.blm.gov/mt

November 18, 2010

1610 (MT923) P
 
 
EMAIL TRANSMISSION –11/19/10
Instruction Memorandum No. MT-2011-010
Expires: 9/30/2012
 
To:             Leadership Advisory Team
 
From:         State Director
 
Subject:     Request for Compilation of Data for 2010 Annual National Environmental Policy Act
                  (NEPA) Documentation Report                                                               DD: 12/03/2010
 
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, 2009 and September 30, 2010, 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.
 
·         Updates should be included for EISs noted in prior years. The reporting office will provide updated information (e.g., new and/or terminated CoAgs, new EIS statuses) in subsequent FYs by submitting the previous EIS reports with new information inserted and highlighted. The CEQ report for FY 2007 can be found on the SharePoint site at -- http://teamspace/sites/rmpnepadocs/default.aspx?RootFolder=%2fsites%2frmpnepadocs%2fPlanning%20and%20NEPA%2fWO&FolderCTID=&View=%7bE6308081%2dC178%2d4873%2d95C8%2d8434267807B9%7d
 
·         For EAs, the lead office will report the: (1) number of EAs completed between October 1, 2009, and September 30, 2010; (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 2010 reporting period, and on EAs completed during the FY 2010 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, 2009, and September 30, 2010. 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 December 3, 2010.
 
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
3
 
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
 
Coordination: N/A
 
Contact: If you have questions regarding these requests, please contact Jim Beaver at (406) 896-5023 or Kim Prill at (406) 896-5199.
 
Thank you for your assistance with this effort.
 
Signed by:                                                                                        Authenticated by:
Diane M. Friez                                                                                   Janie Fox
For Jamie E. Connell                                                                          Staff Assistant (MT920)
State Director
 
 
3 Attachments
 
 


 
Last updated: 06-28-2012