U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 02/07/2006
Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-083
To: State Directors
Subject: Implementation of Section 368 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPA) DD: 02/10/2006
Program Areas: EPA Implementation, Rights-of-Way Management and Land Use Planning and NEPA Review.
Issue: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) provides Bureau of Land Management (BLM) State Directors:
(1) An explanation of the Interagency West-wide Energy Corridor Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS);
(2) Status of the PEIS progress made to date;
(3) Planned interagency strategy to prepare the PEIS;
(4) Anticipated future role for the affected State Offices (SO) and Field Offices (FO);
(5) Subsequent workload impacts the PEIS may have on affected SO and FO; and
(6) Direction for mandatory attendance by SO/FO personnel at a series of multi-agency joint workshops for identifying draft alternative energy corridor routes.
Background: The EPA directs the Secretaries of the Interior, the Department of Energy (DOE), the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Defense (DOD) to consult with each other and designate, under their respective authorities, energy corridors on Federal land in the 11 Western States. These corridors must be incorporated in the appropriate land use plans and must, at a minimum, specify the centerline, width, and compatible uses of the corridor. Finally, this must be completed not later than August 7, 2007.
This timeframe dictates that we design and carry out an expedited strategy to accomplish this task. An Interagency Corridor Planning Team (team), led by DOE with BLM as co-lead and the Forest Service (FS) and DOD as Cooperating Agencies, has initiated the preparation of the PEIS. Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne) has been selected as the principal contractor to prepare the PEIS for the Federal agencies. This PEIS will be used to subsequently amend BLM and FS land use plans. The amended plans will designate energy corridors on specific public and National Forest System lands without further administrative action(s) at the SO or FO.
Public scoping for the PEIS was completed in late November. Hundreds of comments and corridor proposals were received during that process. Since the completion of scoping, the team has been developing the methodology and draft alternative corridors identification criteria (see Attachment). When finalized, the draft alternative corridors identification criteria will be applied in identifying alternatives analyzed in the Draft PEIS. The criteria associated with public land resources were developed jointly by the BLM and FS. A copy of the criteria is attached for your information. During the week of January 23, 2006, the Project Managers for the BLM, FS, and DOE met with Argonne and developed the first generation of draft alternative corridor routes.
Policy/Action: One of the most difficult challenges to completing a project of this scope and complexity is to effectively involve and coordinate internally within BLM. To date, program leads and group managers in the Washington Office (WO) have been involved in the development of the draft criteria and in the review and development of the PEIS strategy. The team is also forming cultural and wildlife working groups. These working groups will develop strategies to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and the Endangered Species Act, respectively. The team and the working groups will be consulting with relevant SO and FO wildlife and cultural program leads to assist the team in these two areas.
The most immediate critical task in the PEIS project is to have SO and FO review, comment, and propose changes to the draft corridors. The team proposes to accomplish this through a series of joint workshops that we will conduct with the FS. Each of the workshops will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the following locations which were selected to combine BLM States and FS Regions, where practical:
February 14 - Riverside, CA
February 15 - Sacramento, CA
February 16 - Portland, OR
February 17 - Missoula, MT
February 21 - Salt Lake City, UT (to begin at 10:00 a.m.)
February 22 - Albuquerque, NM
February 23 - Cheyenne, WY
February 24 - Denver, CO
The exact meeting locations will be provided once they are determined. At these workshops Argonne staff will present background information and lead a discussion of the methodology that was applied to identify the draft corridors. The BLM and FS project managers will conduct the workshops. Maps of the draft corridors will be available at the workshops. If possible, digital copies of the draft corridors will be provided before the workshops. The draft corridor maps are not public documents. If distributed before the workshops, extreme care must be given to ensure the map information stays within BLM. Each potentially affected SO and FO shall send at least one individual from their unit to the workshop. This person must be very knowledgeable of the affected area, and empowered to propose alternative corridor routes, as appropriate. It is critical to the success of these workshops that the appropriate staff and/or management personnel attend. At the discretion of the State Directors additional staffandmanagers can be sent to the workshops if they can contribute to the process. The potentially affected FOs will be notified once the initial draft corridors are identified.
Once the internal workshops are completed and the second generation of alternative corridors is created, we will invite review from each of the western Governors and their staffs. The Governors will be invited to suggest modifications, eliminations, and additions to the second generation draft corridors. The analysis of the second generation draft corridors by Argonne will begin after the Governor’s review and comment. The team would like to extend these invitations through the offices of the SD and Regional Foresters. A draft of the invitation letters to the Governors will be provided to you through the BLM External Affairs Office.
There will be many other opportunities for you to review and participate in this process. To facilitate this, we are asking that you identify a Project Coordinator who will represent your state’s involvement in all aspects of this project. Please provide the name of the Project Coordinator for your state to the BLM Project Manager, Scott Powers, by February 10, 2006. Scott is responsible for the day-to-day management of the project and is supported and backed up by Ron Montagna, the Chief of the Right-of-Way staff in WO-350.
We greatly appreciate the assistance we have received to date from the BLM SO external affairs and planning staffs. The team has kept them up-to-date through periodic conference calls and intends to rely on their continued involvement.
Argonne is currently developing the data layers and data sets for the analysis of the alternatives. Additional data may be necessary once the alternatives are developed. We anticipate that there will be data calls to the SO to provide this additional information.
The draft PEIS for the implementation of Section 368 is scheduled for September or October 2006. This project is a very high priority within the Department and it will be necessary to diligently work to stay on schedule. The team has developed a process that will allow successful completion of the PEIS while minimizing the workload impacts to the SO and FO. The BLM WO will ensure that all SD’s are kept abreast of the status of this project through Executive Leadership Team conference calls. Scott will do the same with your Project Coordinator. Please do not hesitate to contact Ron or Scott if you have any questions.
Budget Impact: Completing the PEIS will have a Bureauwide budget impact. SO and FO personnel engaged in the PEIS will code time to the benefiting activity, 1430. All personnel involved in the PEIS shall use Project Code EPAI. No additional 1430 funding is available to support this PEIS effort. The amount of SO and FO support required is undetermined at this time.
Manual/Handbook Sections Impacted: None.
Coordination/Contacts: This IM was developed by the WO Lands and Realty Group WO-350 in coordination with the BLM’s Energy Implementation Team, and Planning, Assessment, & Community Support Group, WO-210 the Interagency Corridor Planning Team, and the Office of the Solicitor, Division of Land and Water Resources, Branch of Public Lands.
For any questions regarding this IM or the PEIS contact either: Scott Powers, at firstname.lastname@example.org or via office phone at 406-896-5319 or Ron Montagna, at email@example.com or via phone at 202-452-7782.