U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 02/08/2006
Instruction Memorandum No. 2006-089
To: All State Directors except Eastern States and Alaska
Subject: Developing Strategy to Eliminate the Backlog of Unprocessed Grazing Permits by End of Fiscal Year 2009 DD: 03/31/2006
Program Area: Rangeland Management
Purpose: The purpose of this Memorandum is to reaffirm the Bureau’s commitment to eliminating the backlog of unprocessed grazing permits by the end of FY2009. I am continuing to communicate this commitment to Congress and the Office of Management and Budget, and provide them with a status report at the end of each fiscal year.
Policy/Action: Each State has prepared a report on its current permit processing schedule, including backlog of permits not yet fully processed, as defined in Washington Office Instruction Memorandum 2003-071, and permits scheduled to expire through Fiscal Year 2009. The report was used in the January 17-19, 2006, Rangeland Management Workshop to discuss workload and potential actions to meet the 2009 commitment.
By March 31, 2006, each State is to develop and provide to AD-200 a strategy for eliminating the backlog of permit renewals by the end of FY2009. Information and recommendations from the January 2006 Rangeland Management Workshop should be considered when developing your plans. Your strategy should include the workload information from your State report mentioned above, any obstacles or potential obstacles your State has identified, how you plan to overcome these obstacles, and any other work that will be forgone in order to meet the commitment.
Background: In 1999 and 2000, almost 7,200 of the 18,000 grazing permits administered by BLM expired. This coincided with a change in policy regarding NEPA analysis to document site specific grazing effects and initiating evaluation of the status of land health. As a result of the convergence of these major workloads, many grazing permits were not processed and issued in a timely manner. Congress provided administrative relief through annual appropriations language for several years. In 2000 and 2001, BLM developed a strategy to link these major tasks to improve the availability of fresh information for the NEPA documents associated with issuing grazing permits and to more effectively complete cumulative impact analysis. Congress then enacted language to provide relief through FY2009. Since 1999, BLM has been providing to Congress and OMB, annual progress reports on eliminating the backlog of expired and unprocessed grazing permits. While the Bureau has made significant progress up through 2003, the backlog has actually increased in the last 2 years rather than being reduced.
The Washington Office has used the recently completed program reviews in six States to assess the current processes, interpretation of policy, and concerns for meeting the 2009 target. During these reviews, field offices and States identified some obstacles that need to be addressed to meet the 2009 target. The findings of these reviews were presented and briefly discussed at a Rangeland Management Workshop held in January 2006.
Time Frame: Effective immediately.
Budget Impact: The use and distribution of available funds may be affected to various degrees from FY2006 through FY2009. No additional range program funding is anticipated.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None
Coordination: State Rangeland Management Specialists.
Contact: Bob Bolton, Senior Rangeland Management Specialist, WO 220 at (202) 452-7792; or Dick Mayberry, Rangeland Management Specialist, WO 220 at