Resource Advisory Council Members Roles & Responsibilities
The Resource Advisory Councils (RAC) were established by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (43 U.S.C.. 1701 et seq), as citizens’ advisory groups to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Council members represent various categories of interest within the geographic area covered by a particular RAC.
Members are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior to serve an initial 3-year term and may be re-appointed to serve a second 3-year term on the established staggered-term basis. As near as possible, one-third of the Council members are subject to appointment or reappointed each year. Each term varies by state. Please reference specific RAC charters for more detailed information.
Council members serve without salary, but are reimbursed for travel and per diem expenses at current rates for Government employees. Members also may serve on/represent the RAC on subcommittees to study and develop recommendations on selected issues for consideration by the full Council. The membership of any committee balanced in terms of points of view represented and functions performed.
A Council provides representative counsel and advice to the Designated Federal Officer regarding: (a) management of the public land resources within the geographic area covered by the RAC; (b) implementation of resource plans; (c) resolution of land use conflicts; and (d) assurance of public input into land use and management plan decisions. To be eligible for appointment to the Council, a person must be qualified through education, training, knowledge, or experience.
A Council's membership is balanced with respect to geographic consideration: members’ interest, points of view and place of residence; composition of the population of the area being served; Council functions to be performed; and the major issues relating to planning and management of the public lands within the area and the various major citizens’ interests concerning these issues.
A Council meets two-to-four times annually, or as needed to accomplish RAC business. Through coordination with Council members, the Designated Federal Officer schedules meetings to gather and analyze information, make field examinations, hear public comment and testimony, ascertain facts and develop recommendations to the Designated Federal Officer concerning the use, classification, retention, or disposal of the public lands, or any other aspect of public land planning and management in the public interest.
Council members, in addition to requirements contained in the charter and the appropriate Federal laws and regulations, are generally expected to do the following:
- Attend meetings and field trips that have been scheduled in advance and participate in public discussion of issues during the meeting.
- Provide advice to the Designated Federal Officer on an informal basis, regarding issues that arise between formal meetings.
- Maintain up-to-date knowledge of issues affecting the geographic area.
- Provide BLM officials with opinions and advice that represents the point-of-view of the category represented by the Council member, the member’s experience and knowledge about the issue, and his/her reflection on data presented to the Council by the public, BLM staff, or other sources.
- Provide feedback from the Council meetings and interaction with the BLM staff and managers to specific interest groups. Provide BLM with input and overview from interest groups. (Most Council members represent a particular group or point of view. Since members of a special interest group cannot always attend Council meetings, Council members are encouraged to articulate BLM positions on issues to these groups on BLM’s behalf even if the BLM view is different than that of the interest being represented by the Council member. Private or public groups need to know the BLM rationale for decisions or action. By the same token, BLM cannot attend all meetings of the public land user groups and utilize Council members as a conduit for two-way communications).
- Attend committee meetings as requested by the Council Chairman.