Standardized Approach and Data Needs for Streamlining Effort for Rights-of-Way Held by Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison for Electrical Transmission and Distribution

CA IM-2022-003
Instruction Memorandum

November 19, 2021

In Reply Refer to:
2800 (CA-930) P

EMS TRANSMISSION 11/30/2021

Instruction Memorandum No. 2022-003
Expires:   9/30/2024

To:          All CA District and Field Managers
               Attention:  Field Office Realty Specialists

From:     State Director

Subject:   Standardized Approach and Data Needs for Streamlining Effort for Rights-of-Way
                Held by Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison for Electrical
                Transmission and Distribution

Program Area: Lands and Realty

Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) provides the Field and District Offices direction for implementing the Master Operations and Maintenance Consolidation (MOMAC) Project process for Right-of-Way (ROW) consolidation and reconciliation.

The goal of this IM is to set the groundwork for realty specialists as the Project expands to all BLM California Field Offices. The process in this guidance is for all facilities owned and controlled, whether authorized or not, by Pacific Gas and Electric and Southern California Edison (Utilities) for electrical transmission and distribution facilities on public land.

Policy/Action: There are three sections to this IM providing guidance and direction at the Pre-application (SF299) phase, the Post-application (SF299) phase, and Potential Issues with Implementation.                

  1. Pre-Application Identification and Initial Reconciliation of Authorizations.

In this phase the Field Office/District Realty Specialist should identify the following:

    1. Determine the total number of ROWs for each utility by reviewing the LR2000 reports provided by MOMAC. The realty specialist should also expect to compare and reconcile this information with the standard data submitted by the Utilities. 
    2. Identify how many transmission and distribution grant authorizations (electricity only) each utility has within the field office. Use LR2000 reports provided by MOMAC or verified by MOMAC.
    3. Request an initial report (grant authorization counts and GIS data if available) from Utilities. This information will also be provided with the SF299 but should be made available in order to begin reconciliation with field office data.
    4. Consult with CASO to develop a Cost Recovery Estimate and establish Cost Recovery Logs.
    5. Identify if there are any other Field Office/State or Agency shared authorizations that will need to be resolved. 
  1. Post-Application (SF299).  

 The Utilities will submit a single SF299 per field office requesting renewal, amendment, and correction for existing grants and for all unauthorized facilities associated with electrical transmission and distribution.

The MOMAC Team is designed to support the field offices throughout the state in the larger processes of data reconciliation, resources support, GIS and geodatabase management and communication. While there may not be a need for this support in your field office, if you have not done so, at this time please contact the MOMAC Project Manager to let the team know that the SF299 for each or either utility has been received.

(MOMAC Project Manager: Melissa Bleier, MBleier@blm.gov).

The Utilities are responsible for providing the following Standard Data for all facilities with the application: 

  1. The utility will submit a single SF299 requesting the renewal and consolidation (if applicable) of their current, expired, and expiring grants. Working with the utility companies, MOMAC has established the following set of standardized data to be included with each application. The Utilities will provide this data with their applications. For consolidation purposes BLM will issue two grants, one for transmission and one for distribution from the single SF299 application. 
  1. Report of all existing ROW grants and unauthorized facilities. This report provided by the utility will be submitted with the SF299 and includes all expired, expiring, and unauthorized facilities. The ROW grants should be identified by their Utility ID number and name as well as the corresponding BLM identifier.

See the attached Bakersfield data spreadsheet for an example and template of standard data management. 

  1. Providing all grant data for reconciliation including: 
    1. In the SF299 the Utilities will include a map with all facilities; a legal land description, length and width; as well as a geodatabase, KMZ or shapefile for all existing expired, expiring, and unauthorized facilities. The GIS data will also include access routes that the Utilities would like to include in their grants.  
    1. Type and voltage 
    1. Access identified via geodatabase. The Utilities will identify the access routes that they would like to include in their ROW grants. This includes existing or desired BLM roads that the Utilities have identified as part of their operations. The data should be provided in a format that is compatible with the ground transportation linear feature (GTLF). Any questions regarding GIS requests or submissions should be directed to the MOMAC Team’s GIS Specialist (Leigh Federici, LFederici@blm.gov) and will be coordinated with the field office/District or CASO GIS specialist as needed. 

There are two types of access routes that will identified. 

      1. “Multi-User Roads” These are BLM roads used by the public, other parties, and by the Utilities for access to their ROWs. The Utilities will identify which of these roads they would like to include in their grants in order to establish maintenance responsibilities. These are the existing BLM roads identified for utility maintenance responsibility.  
      1. “Single User Roads” These are roads which branch off from BLM navigation roads and are only used by the Utilities for ROW access. Some are not yet within the boundaries of their existing grants but may be incorporated into the footprint at the conclusion of the Project.
    1. Appurtenances 
    1. Utility line name and ID number 
    1. BLM grant serial number 
    1. 3rd party holders (if known) 

This information, especially the land rights and access elements, will most likely need reconciling, and this is an expected part of the overall process of the MOMAC effort. The same data, as applicable, will be provided for all current, expired, expiring and unauthorized facilities. For specific realty and land rights questions,

please contact the MOMAC Realty Specialist. (Christina Castellon, CCastellon@BLM.GOV). 

  1. Once the application(s) with Standard Data has been duly filed, field offices will initiate cost recovery with guidance from CASO. 
    1. Apply LR2000 Guidance; Once received serialize the application(s) with a new serial number, no suffixes are to be created.
    2. Contact CASO for cost recovery estimate review before requesting any funds.
    3. Contact MOMAC for Field Office Tracker and other administrative elements. 
    4. Begin data reconciliation of land rights, access, and facilities. 
  1. When cost recovery is deposited work should begin with the Utilities and with the support of the MOMAC team as needed, to review any land rights discrepancies. Goals of processing at this stage are to reconcile all information including but not limited to: correct and verify the grant data, address any known, unauthorized and third-party facilities, note possibilities for consolidation, and identify existing or desired access routes used for maintenance.

Reconciliation is the verification for accuracy and will lay the groundwork for the Project in each field office.  These initial steps to reconcile the data is the focus of this guidance. The MOMAC team will continue to support the Field as needed through later application processing and steps such as actual renewal and consolidation, NEPA decisions and implementation of the Operation and

Maintenance (O&M) Plan and all actions necessary to accomplish this Project.

    1. NEPA
      1. Categorical Exclusion (CX) - Most renewals, consolidations and authorization of unauthorized facilities should be able to be captured under a CX.
      2. Identify special studies required (T&E species, cultural inventories, etc.) 
      3. Refer to the Cultural Resources Management Plan (CRMP) for cultural resources approach
      4. Any other considerations reach out to MOMAC for support. 
    1. Funding: Rent determination for Transmission ROW/Distribution ROW will be calculated according to regulation.
    2. Bonding: More information on Bonding to follow. 
    3. Points of Contact Identification. Make sure that you have identified each point of contact.
        1. Realty Specialist
        2. Utility Land Agent
        3. Field Office Interdisciplinary Team/Specialist support for MOMAC initialization
        4. MOMAC Contacts: Initial outreach, Project Manager Melissa Bleier MBleier@BLM.GOV
        1. Other Agencies as appropriate 
  1. For expired grants, rent is collected under the authority of the Administrative Procedure Act of 1946 annually if a timely and sufficient application is filed and the agency has not made a final determination to renew.  That authority applies when the Utilities submit the SF299 and Standard Data to the field office. 
  1. All previously submitted applications from the Utilities should continue to be processed until the Project SF299 is filed.  By regulation, ROW applications are subject to customer service standards.   It is at the discretion of the Authorized Officer (typically the Field Manager) to include authorizations into the Project.  If and when authorizations are to be included or consolidated into the Project, the realty specialist will work with the Utilities and MOMAC for determining which facilities are part of the Project. 

       III.     Potential Issues with implementation.

  1. If Standard Data provided does not meet the needs of the Field Office:  The Standard Data set has been developed by the Utilities and MOMAC team to sufficiently capture the necessary information for this stage of the Project.  For Field Offices that require further information when processing applications, identify those needs to address in the future.  The Standard Data reconciliation is the initial step for the Project. It is recommended that the Field Offices coordinate with MOMAC for any additional field office specific data requests to ensure consistency with the Project.

 

  1. Uncertainty with grants already issued or in the process of being issued: For grants that are issued or in the process of being issued it is recommended that the grants be reconciled, if being included in the Project or otherwise. The Utilities have expressed an interest in working with each Field Office to compile and correct all realty data associated with existing grants. The BLM should pursue this interest.  

If a Field Office has interest in consolidating their utility grants, this should be captured in reconciliation. If a Field Office does not plan to consolidate utility grants, reconciliation should be used to confirm and correct existing grants as needed.

  1. Grants in non-compliance 

The submittal of the SF299 and Standard Data and reconciliation process for inclusion in the Project should address any non-compliance (such as deficient or non-timely applications).  After reconciliation, non-compliance can be lifted.

Continue to process compliance issues unless it is clearly determined by the Authorized Officer the authorization is part of the Project.

  1. How to address atypical situations where this guidance does not apply: 

Atypical situations are expected.  It is recommended that any atypical situation be coordinated with the State Office Division of Natural Resources and the MOMAC team. 

A draft field office schedule is provided with this document for planning purposes. It is expected that there will be variances within each field office.  It is anticipated that the MOMAC pilot effort based in the Bakersfield field office will be completed by July 2022. Utilities will begin submitting field office specific SF299s by January 2022. 

Timeframe: Effective Immediately

Budget Impact: None

Background: On January 9, 2020, BLM California, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), and Southern California Edison (SCE) entered into an agreement to initiate a pilot project to streamline standard ROW processes through possible consolidation of authorizations and implementing a standardized O&M plan.  The MOMAC team is funded by the Utilities to meet this purpose, initially in the Bakersfield Field Office, and then throughout BLM California Field Offices with Utility-held ROWs.

The MOMAC Project (Project) is a collaborative effort by PG&E, SCE, and the BLM to streamline and bring consistency to two main areas of the ROW program: processing and administration (through consolidation where possible), and implementation of a standard O&M plan.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected:  None.

Coordination: This IM was coordinated with the Utilities, the MOMAC team and MOMAC Steering Committee, the State Director, and the Division of Natural Resources.

Contact: If you have any questions, please contact Erik Pignata, Realty Specialist, Division of

Natural Resources, 916-978-4655, email epignata@blm.gov; or Melissa Bleier, MOMAC Project Manager, 661-308-5096, email mbleier@blm.gov

 

Signed by:                                         Authenticated by:
Karen E. Mouritsen                           Larry Weitzel
State Director                                    GIS/Mgmt. Branch, CA-946

Attachments: 

1. Template Letter to Utilities
2. MOMAC Roll Out Schedule
3. Bakersfield Data spreadsheet.

Office

United States Department of the Interior
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
California State Office

Fiscal Year

2022