U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
|Federal Advisory Committee Act Guide|
What is FACA?
Now, any time a Federal agency intends to establish, control, or manage a group that gives advice as a group and has at least one member who is not a Federal, Tribal, State, or local government employee, the agency must comply with FACA and the related administrative guidelines developed by the General Services Administration (GSA). For the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), additional requirements for administering advisory committees are found at 43 CFR § 1784.
How Does FACA Apply to BLM’s ADR-Based Collaborative Activity?
Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)-based collaborative community working groups are often set up by Federal, Tribal, State, and local government agencies, communities, and private entities as a way of bringing communities together to address common problems; work through conflicts; and develop forward-thinking strategies for medium- to long-term multiple use management, protection, and development. These multiparty and place-based groups utilize ADR strategies such as consensus-building, collaborative problem-solving, interest-based negotiating, mediating or facilitating, and joint fact-finding to seek common ground and to identify or elicit shared goals. Objectives of the groups include sharing knowledge, developing a common understanding of issues that need to be addressed, and achieving mutual gains. ADR-based collaborative community working groups also employ innovative forms of public participation to prevent conflict and promote cooperative solutions in which the public has a degree of ownership.
These groups are a relatively new development in agency efforts, and were clearly not contemplated or anticipated when FACA was signed into law. Depending on the nature of a particular group and the circumstances of its creation, FACA may govern its activities. Our working groups can nonetheless be designed and used in ways so as not to qualify as advisory committees under FACA. In designing and creating ADR-based collaborative community working groups, it is important to understand when a group may qualify as an advisory committee, because in instances where the group qualifies as an advisory committee, the BLM will need to comply with certain statutory and regulatory requirements, such as certification and notification under FACA.
How Will This Guidebook Help BLM Field Offices?
Those with less familiarity with FACA may wish to refer to the “How FACA Works” section of this guidebook for background information before continuing on to the next section.
|Last updated: 10-20-2009|
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