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United States Department of the Interior
Montana State Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, Montana 59101-4669
June 29, 2006
In Reply To:  
2800, 2880, 3100
(922.WL) P
Instruction Memorandum No. MT-2006-063
Expires: 9/30/07
To:      Field Managers
From:    State Director
Subject: Template for Documenting Categorical Exclusions (CX) Based on Section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005
Program Area: Oil and Gas Operations; Lands and Realty (energy-related rights-of-way)   
Purpose: The purpose of this Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to provide a template (Attachment 1) for documenting the use of the statutory National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) CXs as granted in Section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 for oil and gas exploration and development. This IM supplements Washington Office (WO) IM No. 2005-247 (Attachment 2). This IM is being prepared in response to questions raised by the Field Offices.  
Policy/Action: Field Offices are directed to use the attached template to document the use of the statutory CXs that apply to oil and gas exploration and development that were established in Section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Specific instructions for each new CX are included in WO IM No. 2005-247. Additional explanation and guidance is provided in Attachment 3 including Questions and Answers regarding the use of the CXs.
Following are the five categories of CXs: 
  1. Individual surface disturbances of less than five (5) acres so long as the total surface disturbance on the lease is not greater than 150 acres and site-specific analysis in a document prepared pursuant to NEPA has been previously completed.

    2.  Drilling an oil and gas location or well pad at a site at which drilling has occurred within five (5) years prior to the date of spudding the well. 

  1. Drilling an oil or gas well within a developed field for which an approved land use plan or any environmental document prepared pursuant to NEPA analyzed drilling as a reasonably foreseeable activity, so long as such plan or document was approved within five (5) years prior to the date of spudding the well. 
  1. Placement of a pipeline in an approved right-of-way corridor, so long as the corridor was approved within five (5) years prior to the date of placement of the pipeline.
  2. Maintenance of minor activity, other than any construction or major renovation of a building or facility. 
Timeframe: Implement immediately.
Budget Impact: Implementation of this policy is expected to provide some savings in staff time and budget associated with approval of APDs and related realty actions.
Background: Section 390 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 established five new statutory NEPA CXs. This section of the Act took effect on the date of enactment, August 8, 2005. These exclusions are different in several respects from those historically used by the Bureau.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: NEPA Handbook H-1790-1.
Coordination: Coordination occurred among the Branch of Fluid Minerals, the Branch of Land Resources, the Branch of Planning and Biological Resources, and the affected Field Offices. A draft template was sent out for Field Office review and comment. No comments regarding the template were received.
Contact: Please direct any questions to Jim Albano at (406) 896-5111,
Will Lambert at (406) 896-5328, or Craig Haynes at (406) 896-5040.
Signed by: Sandra C. Berain, Acting
Authenticated by: Janie Fox (MT920)
3 Attachments
    2-WO IM 2005-247 (14 pp in its entirety)
    3-Q&As Related to CXs (7 pp)
Assistant Field Manager, Glasgow -1
Assistant Field Manager, Havre – 1

Last updated: 03-18-2013