What We Do
It is the mission of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sustain the health diversity and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Releases of hazardous substances can have a significant impact on the health, diversity, and productivity of the public lands as well as on the health and safety of the individuals who utilize and work on these lands. The public lands are authorized for a number of commercial uses, some of which have resulted in the past in the creation of hazardous waste sites. Over 60% of all hazardous waste sites account for almost half of these; airstrips and oil and has sites arising from commercial activities. In addition, illegal activates on public land, such as the dumping of hazardous waste, have resulted in releases of hazardous substances. Illegal activity (trespass dumping) is responsible for almost 40% of all hazardous waste sites discovered to date.
The Hazard Management and Resource Restoration (HMRR) Program commonly known as Hazardous Materials Management (HAZMAT) supports the Department's goals of Serving Communities and Resource Protection by protecting lives, resources and property, and improving the health of landscapes and watersheds. Key intermediate outcome measures for the DOI mission goals of Serve Communities and Resource Protection include: increasing the percent of BLM facilities rated in good safety health and environmental condition; the percent of physical and chemical hazards mitigated; and, the percent of known contaminated sites that have been remediated.
The HAZMAT Program protects public health and safety and the environment though:
Minimizing the environmental contamination on public lands.
Reducing and eliminating risk associated with physical and environmental hazards.
Correcting facility compliance problems in a timely fashion.
Environmental Management Systems:
Managing all environmental issues that may hinder the BLM's mission.
Coordinating the BLM's Greening effort.
Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration:
Restoring resources impacted by oil discharges and hazardous release.
A cross functional organization, the HAZMAT Program provides services to other inter Bureau programs, such as the Lands and Realty, through assessments done in support of the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) 120(h) requirements for disposal of federal lands and for support of innocent land owner defenses under CERCLA for land exchanges and acquisitions. Additionally, the HAZMAT provides services to support Abandoned Mine Lands, Safety, and Law Enforcement.
Since its inception, the HAZMAT has protected human health and safety by cleaning up hundreds of contaminated sites on BLM managed land.
In addition to HAZMAT Program traditional responsibilities, the HAZMAT Program has expanded its responsibilities by implementing new programs, such as the BLM Environmental Management System and enhancing its Greening program by promoting energy conservation.
Typical hazards and hazardous materials addressed by the HAZMAT Program include hazardous substance releases from abandoned mine facilities and landfills, illegal dumping of hazardous materials, unexploded ordnance, and physical safety hazards associated with abandoned structures, oil spills, wire burns, cast-away equipment and radioactive material.