U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
EMS TRANSMISSION 10/02/2008
Instruction Memorandum No. 2008-203
To: All Field Officials
From: Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management
Subject: Interim Right-of-Way Manuals
Program Area: Rights-of-Way Management
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) installs new Manuals, on an interim basis, for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Right-of-Way (ROW) program. New manual guidance has been necessitated by the promulgation of revised regulations in 2005 and new or pending rental regulations and procedures directed by Section 367 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct).
This IM also establishes the relationship of ROW policies and procedures set forth in future IMs and the Interim Manual Series (see Interim Manuals 2808 and 2888).
Providing Manuals on an interim basis will provide Field Offices (FOs) with policy direction and procedures until the regulations implementing Section 367 of the EPAct can be finalized and new permanent Manuals prepared and issued.
Policy/Action: Interim Manuals. This IM announces the availability of Interim ROW Manual Series 2800/2880 providing the BLM policy and procedures based on the revised regulations issued in 2005 (see 70 FR 20969 and 43 CFR 2800/2880). The policy and procedures set forth in these manuals are to be followed in the ROW program area. These manuals have been available to BLM personnel in draft form for over a year and have been extensively reviewed by FOs and State Offices (SOs) as well as the Washington Office. The following Interim Manuals are available for downloading at: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/regulations/Instruction_Memos_and_Bulletins/blm_manual.html
All FOs and SOs may download a file copy for their library or other reference. The information contained in 2800/2880 Interim Manual series supersedes BLM Manual 1323 should any conflicts or questions arise.
Instruction Memoranda. This Interim Manual series integrates subsequent IMs into the manual series (see Interim Manuals 2808 and 2888). With the exception of this IM and the five IMs listed below, all IMs issued prior to October 1, 2008 are terminated regarding ROW policy and procedures. Excepted IMs are:
o IM 2007-097, April 4, 2007, Solar Energy Development Policy (Interim Manual 2808.30);
o IM 2006-216, August 24, 2006, Right-of-Way Management, Wind Energy Land Use Plan Amendments, Wind Energy (Interim Manual 2808.20);
o IM 2005-006, October 20, 2004, Solar Energy Development Policy (Interim Manual 2808.30);
o IM 2004-188, June 3, 2004, Development Plan Amendments. (Interim Manual 2808.20); and
o IM 2003-020; Oct 16, 2002, Interim Wind Energy Policy. (Interim Manual 2808.20).
Previous Manuals. The following pages from the previous 2800/2880 Manual Series are to be removed from current manual guidance and replaced with the above Interim Manuals:
Timeframe: The policy and procedures set forth in this 2800/2880 Interim Manual Series are effective immediately.
Budget Impact: The positive impacts resulting from increased ROW processing and monitoring fees and other procedural guidance will more than offset any negative budget impacts of more intensive pre-application efforts and adherence to higher customer service standards.
Background: Existing policies and procedures for ROW cost recovery and rent were developed in the 1980s and have not materially changed since then. Cost recovery rates had been expected to be reviewed in detail and adjusted every 5 or 6 years. However, due to budget constraints and priority decisions, this was not done and the cost recovery rates became more and more out of line with current conditions. The need to review and update cost recovery procedures were the subject of reports by the Inspector General and the Government Accountability Office.
In the late 1990s, the BLM initiated a review of the actual cost of processing ROWs of differing levels of difficulty. Work was also initiated as to how to modify the program to keep up with the changing conditions – both in customer demands and the changing ability to handle information in the internet world. Proposed regulations were published in June 1999 (see 64 FR 32106) for which the comment period was extended as requested by the public. Final regulations were published April 22, 2005 (see 70 FR 20969).
A BLM team was established to recommend methods of orienting both employees and customers to the new regulations, provide training for those areas of major change, and develop new Manuals and Handbooks. This 2800/2880 Manual series is the result of that team effort. Initial drafts were reviewed by all SOs and some FOs during the summer of 2006. Draft manuals were posted on the BLM’s internal web site in late 2006 for review and comment by interested employees. Final draft manuals were posted to the BLM internal web site in June 2007 and SO/FOs were advised as to their location with direction to use the draft manuals for current policy and procedures.
The Energy Policy Act of 2005 included direction for the review and updating of the base land values that were used to establish rental rates for lineal rights-of-way. An Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and a Proposed Rule were published on April 27, 2006 (see 71 FR 24836) and December 11, 2007 (see 72 FR 72376), respectively. A Final Rule is expected to be published by September 2008, and while this may be considered a major action, it is not expected to have a significant effect on the 2800/2880 Interim Manual Series. Its most significant effect will be with the rental portion of the series in Interim Manuals 2806 and 2885.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: Existing Manuals in the 2800/2880 series are replaced in their entirety. Handbooks in the 2800/2880 series are currently under review and will be modified as appropriate.
Coordination: Extensive interaction with SOs and some FOs as well as review and consultation with the Washington Office Records Administration/Management has taken place. In addition, the Interim Manuals have been posted and are available for all BLM interested personnel to review.
Contact: Please direct any questions to the Washington Office, Division of Lands, Realty and Cadastral Survey, Attention Rick Stamm, at 202-452-5185; or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Signed by: Authenticated by:
Michael Nedd Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Minerals and Realty Management