U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
November 13, 2007
In Reply Refer To:
1610 (210) P
EMS TRANSMISSION 11/15/2007
Instruction Memorandum No. 2008-026
To: State Directors, Center Directors
Attn: Planning and Environmental Coordinators
From: Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject: Request for Compilation of Data for 2007 Annual NEPA Documentation Report DD: 12/03/2007
Program Area: National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Compliance
Purpose: The purpose of this Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to request your assistance in reporting State and Center efforts to comply with the NEPA and specifically to report, as required by the Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ), information regarding the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) efforts and participation with Cooperating Agencies (CA).
Policy/Action: Federal agencies responsible for preparing NEPA analyses are to report to the CEQ once each Fiscal Year (FY) the status of CA efforts. The reporting mechanisms for the 2007 CA report are described below to assist in completing the CEQ report.
Data for Environmental Impact Statements (EIS) and Environmental Assessments (EA) related to CAs should be provided using the appropriate table in Attachment 1. In addition to the data requested for the CEQ report, the Division of Planning and Science Policy (WO-210) also requests data on the variety of methods used to comply with the NEPA be recorded in the table found in Attachment 2.
Additional information regarding Attachment 1: For EISs with a Notice of Intent (NOI) published between October 1, 2006 and September 30, 2007, the lead office will report the: (1) title of the EIS; (2) names of the CAs for the EIS; (3) names of agencies who declined an invitation to participate as a CA or who requested but failed to reach agreement on establishing CA status, agencies whose CA status was ended, and the reason (s) CA status was not established or was ended; and (4) current status of the EIS.
Reports should include updates regarding EISs noted in prior years. The reporting office will provide updated information (e.g.; 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 the: (1) number of EAs completed between October 1, 2006 and September 30, 2007; (2) number of those EAs which included participation of one or more CAs; and (3) 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 initiated during the FY 2007 reporting period, and on EAs completed during the FY 2007 reporting period. For purposes of the CEQ report, an EIS is initiated when the 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.
Additional information useful in completing the table in Attachment 2: Please indicate quantities, for each method listed, used to document compliance with the NEPA. These numbers should reflect all documentation developed (not just completed) between October 1, 2006 and September 30, 2007. Offices are encouraged to provide comments, as needed, for clarification and to use the contact information below if you have questions.
Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately with a due date for compiled state tables to arrive at WO-210 by close of business, December 03, 2007.
Budget Impact: 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 the 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 qualifying 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 having either jurisdiction by law or special expertise regarding environmental impacts of a proposal, or reasonable alternative(s) 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).
Attachment 3, “Frequently Asked Questions and Answers” provides information and clarification regarding the CEQ guidance and procedures. This document comes from CEQ to assist in the data call.
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 valuable information and a means of conveying the BLM’s NEPA compliance efforts to internal and external audiences.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: none
Contact: If you have questions regarding these requests, please contact Peg Sorensen, Senior NEPA Analyst at (202) 452-0364, or Sandra Meyers, Branch Chief, Planning and NEPA at (202) 452-5151.
Thank you for your assistance with this effort.