UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
http://www.blm.gov
 
December 14, 2006
 
In Reply Refer To:
1610 (210) P
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 12/14/2006
Instruction Memorandum No. 2007-025
Expires: 09/30/2008
 
To:                   WO Officials, State Directors, and Center Directors
                        Attn: Deputy State Directors, State Office Planning and Environmental Coordinators
 
From:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
 
Subject:           Request for Compilation of Data for Cooperating Agency Report Regarding Environmental Impact Statements (EISs) and Environmental Assessments (EAs) DD: 12/15/2006                                                                                        
 
Program Area: Environmental Compliance – Cooperating Agency (CA) procedures.
 
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to inform State and Center Directors, and Field Office Managers, about the Fiscal Year 2006 Data Call for the Cooperating Agency Report to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and to request that the data be submitted to WO-210 by December 15, 2006. 
 
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 National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) analyses are to report to the CEQ once each Fiscal Year (FY). The report to the CEQ is due three months after the close of the FY, 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 (for example: 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, an EIS is started when the Notice of Intent (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.
 
Time Frame: Effective upon issuance. The due date is December 15, 2006. The BLM must provide a consolidated report to the Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance (OEPC) by December 16, 2006, which must report to CEQ by January 2, 2007.
 
Budget Impact: For some offices this IM may result in additional workload estimated at less than one work day.
 
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. 
 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
 
Coordination:  N/A
 
Contact: If you have any questions concerning this memorandum, please contact Peg Sorensen, Senior NEPA Analyst at (202) 452-0364 or Charles Carroll, Senior Planning and NEPA Analyst at (202) 452-5151.
Signed by:                                                                   
Authenticated by:
Laura Ceperley                                                            
Robert M. Williams
Acting, Assistant Director                                            
Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
 
 
3 Attachments