U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
July 7, 2008
In Reply Refer To:
5900 (270) P
EMS TRANSMISSION 07/16/2008
Instruction Memorandum No. 2008-149
To: All Field Offices
From: Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject: Proper Format for the Submission of Forest Management Decision
Program Area: Timber Sale Program, Advertisement of Timber Sales, Forest Management Decisions
Purpose: The purpose of this Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to reissue the policy for the acceptable format by which the public may protest a Forest Management Decision under 43 CFR 5003.
Policy/Action: 43 CFR 5003.3 subsection (b) states “Protests shall be filed with the authorized officer and shall contain a written statement of reasons for protesting the decision.” Subsection (c) also states “Protests received more than 15 days after the publication of the notice of decision or the notice of sale are not timely filed and shall not be considered” (emphasis added). If the 15th day falls on a weekend or holiday, the protest will be accepted if received by the close of business of the following workday.
Under this regulation, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will only accept written protests that are delivered to (filed with) the physical address of the advertising BLM office.
If the BLM receives any electronic mail or facsimile correspondence referencing the decision within the 15-day protest period, such correspondence will be treated as “comments” and the authorized officer will respond as appropriate.
Offices are instructed to include language in an advertised timber sale or a decision governing or relating to forest management informing the public of the office address where protests may be sent. The attached modified sample advertisement should be used when preparing newspaper advertisements for forest management decisions.
The person or persons filing the protest solely bear the responsibility of meeting the 15-day timeframe. As with any other correspondence sent through the US Postal Service or any other commercial delivery service, the BLM makes no guarantee that a protest will be received in a timely manner. Protests may be hand-delivered to the office of the authorized officer at the address shown in the newspaper advertisement.
Timeframe: Upon Receipt.
Budget Impact: This policy is not expected to result in either additional cost or cost savings for the BLM.
Background: Existing policy was issued under IM No. 2004-129, which expired at the end of fiscal year 2005. This IM replace the existing policy and is consistent with the regulations.
BLM forestry regulations at 43 CFR §5003.2 Notice of Forest Management Decisions (http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2007/octqtr/43cfr5003.2.htm ) specifies that “(a) The authorized officer shall, when the public interest requires, specify when a decision governing or relating to forest management shall be implemented through the publication of a notice of decision in a newspaper of general circulation in the area where the lands affected by the decision are located, establishing the effective date of the decision.”
Subsection (b) goes on to state that “When a decision is made to conduct an advertised timber sale, the notice of such sale shall constitute the decision document.”
Section 5003.3 “Protests” sets the guidelines by which the public may protest a decision.
Subsection (b) states: “Protests shall be filed with the authorized officer and shall contain a written statement of reasons for protesting the decision.”
Subsection (c) states: “Protests received more than 15 days after the publication of the notice of decision or the notice of sale are not timely filed and shall not be considered”
Technology has brought many new ways for people to communicate. Faxes and electronic mail have advantages such as speed, ease of use, and cost savings for the sender. BLM policy requires that a business process analysis be conducted prior to adopting new internet technology procedures. Establishing an electronic receipt system for electronic or facsimile protests would require identification of business and user requirements, consideration of privacy issues, and addressing the need for a security system, among other things. Establishing such a system would require considerable investment and BLM management has not currently made a decision to do so.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: Timber Sale Procedures Handbook Chapter H-5430, Advertisement, Section III, A. Content of Advertisement, and Illustration 3 Pages 1-8.
Coordination: Division of Forests and Woodlands (WO270), Division of Decision Support, Planning and NEPA (WO210), Division of Rangeland Resources (WO220), the Oregon State Office, Branch of Forestry and the Regional Solicitors Office, Pacific Northwest Region.
Contact: For additional information contact Scott Lieurance, WO-270 Division Chief, at 202-452-0316 or Jon Menten, WO-270 O&C Forester at 202-452-5029.
Signed by: Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning