UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20240
http://www.blm.gov
December 20, 2012
 
In Reply Refer To:
2800 (301) P
 
EMS TRANSMISSION 12/21/2012
Instruction Memorandum No. 2013-034   
Expires: 09/30/2014  
 
To:                  All Field Office Officials
 
From:              Assistant Director, Minerals and Realty Management
 
Subject:          Oversight and Implementation Plan – Renewable Energy Coordination Office
 
Program Area:  Right-of-Way Program – Solar and Wind Energy Policies.
 
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) implements the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Oversight and Implementation Plan (Plan) for the renewable energy program managed by the National Renewable Energy Coordination Office (RECO). The purpose of the Plan is to effectively respond to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) and Government Accountability Office (GAO) recommendations to the BLM  and to establish a program for effective implementation of solar and wind energy policies.
 
On June 12, 2012, the OIG made several recommendations in their final evaluation report “Bureau of Land Management’s Renewable Energy Program:  A Critical Point in Renewable Energy Development” (Report No. CR-EV-BLM-0004-2010). The objective of the evaluation was to assess the effectiveness of the BLM’s renewable energy program management. The OIG made recommendations to improve immediate and long-term project management and create greater integrity and accountability within the BLM’s renewable energy program. The GAO is completing an evaluation report on “Renewable Energy Project Permitting on Federal Lands” (Study No. 361373) which is also expected to provide recommendations on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the BLM’s renewable energy program policies and procedures.
 
Policy/Action: The National RECO will implement the recommendations from the OIG and GAO renewable energy program evaluations. Further, the National RECO will establish an Oversight and Implementation Plan (Plan) to ensure BLM field office compliance and understanding of renewable energy program policies and regulations. 
 
Attachment 1 identifies the implementation actions and measures to respond to recommendations of the OIG and GAO. Attachment 1 also identifies the methodologies and actions required to address the recommendations and the accountability measures. Updates to the Plan may be necessary as the BLM updates program policies or identifies new implementation issues from regularly scheduled coordination meetings with BLM field offices.
 
Timeframe: This policy is effective immediately. The Plan will track all GAO or OIG recommendations that are pending or additional recommendations issued on or after the issuance of this IM. The National RECO, in collaboration with the BLM field offices, will update the status of implementation actions at the end of each quarter and provide evidence of full implementation of the GAO and OIG recommendations within 30 days of completion.
 
Budget:  Implementation of this policy will have some budget impact on work associated with renewable energy application processing that is not covered by cost recovery fees under the right-of-way program. This IM will assist in effective management of the BLM’s renewable energy program and is anticipated to reduce overall workloads. The processing of solar and wind energy right-of-way applications is subject to the cost recovery provisions of the right-of-way regulations.
 
Background:  As part of an overall renewable energy program strategy, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (Public Law 109-58, August 8, 2005) encourages the development of renewable energy resources on the public lands, including solar and wind energy projects. Section 211 of the Energy Policy Act encourages the approval of at least 10,000 megawatts of non-hydropower renewable energy projects on the public lands by 2015. Secretarial Order 3285A1 established the development of environmentally responsible renewable energy as a priority of the Department of Interior. This IM helps ensure the accomplishment of these goals and provides for the most efficient and effective processing of solar and wind energy development right-of-way applications. 
 
The BLM will continue to develop its Plan to foster program efficiency and effectiveness, while maintaining a systematic practice across the BLM offices through good governance of the BLM’s program and policies. 
 
Manuals/Handbooks Affected:  The BLM will incorporate this interim policy into BLM Manual 2801, Right-of-Way Management, and Handbook H-2801-1 during the next revision. 

Coordination: The National RECO coordinated preparation of this IM with the state offices and RECO point-of-contacts.

Contact: If you have any questions concerning the content of this IM, please contact me, Michael D. Nedd at 202-208-4201 or Ray Brady, Manager, National Renewable Energy Coordination Office at 202-912-7312 or rbrady@blm.gov.

 
 
Signed by:                                                                    Authenticated by:
Michael Nedd                                                                Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                                         Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Minerals and Realty Management
 
 
1 Attachment