This Policy is Inactive

Guidance on Compiling a Decision File/Administrative Record

Instruction Memorandum
United States Department of the Interior
Arizona State Office
One North Central Avenue, Suite 800
Phoenix, Arizona  85004-4427
December 29, 2009
In Reply Refer To:
1220/1601/1791 (9300/9540) P
Instruction Memorandum No. AZ-2010-002
Expires:  When Superseded or Canceled     EXPIRED
To:                  Field Offices
From:              State Director
Subject:           Guidance on Compiling a Decision File/Administrative Record
Purpose:  This Instruction Memorandum (IM) provides guidance on maintaining official files relating to actions that require an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in Arizona offices of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Policy/Action:  At the onset of any action that will result in an EIS, an official BLM Decision File/Administrative Record shall be created following the basic format shown in the attached File Plan (Attachment 1).  Customized File Plans should be created to blend existing filing requirements for specific actions (such as realty actions) that have file procedures established by existing policy with the EIS-related records generated to supplement the base action.  Not all types of actions will require all Sub-Sections listed, just as some types of actions may require additional Sub-Sections that are not listed.  The attached File Plan is a basic guide to follow when creating a File Plan for the specific process being undertaken.
It is crucial that the Decision File/Administrative Record file be maintained and kept current throughout the entire EIS process.  Records should be placed in the file as soon as they are created or obtained in order to document the steps taken and the rationale used to arrive at a final decision.  A properly maintained Decision File will automatically become the Administrative Record and provide the basis to defend the BLM decision in any subsequent appeals or litigation actions.
Attachment 2 shows how to label the files and gives instructions for placing records within each file folder.  Attachment 3 is Arizona Form AZ-1220-11 – Decision File/Administrative Record Document Index, to use in listing the documents contained within each file folder.
Timeframe:  This policy is effective immediately.
Background:  Consistency among Arizona Field Offices is required when compiling records relating to an EIS process and the resulting decision to ensure that the decision records seamlessly flow into an Administrative Record when required for litigation.  The pending decision process relating to an EIS for the proposed mineral withdrawal action in the Arizona Strip District and Kaibab National Forest recently brought attention to this need.  A review of the BLM Manual Handbooks H-1601-1 – Land Use Planning Handbook and H-1790-1 – National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) revealed the necessity for more specific guidance for Decision Files/Administrative Records created within BLM Arizona.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected:  BLM Manual H-1601-1 and H-1791-1 Handbooks.
Coordination:  This IM was coordinated with the State Records Administrator/Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)/Privacy Specialist, the State Litigation Coordinator, the State Planning Program Lead, and the Project Manager for the proposed mineral withdrawal action referenced above.
Contact:  For questions related to Records and File Plans, contact Toni Klimek, State Records Administrator, at 602-417-9364; for questions related to Litigation, contact Linda Garrison, State Litigation Coordinator, at 602-417-9542.

Signed by:

Helen M. Hankins
FOR  James G. Kenna
State Director

Authenticated by:

Margaret Walker
Division Staff Assistant

3 Attachments:
1 - BLM Arizona File Plan, Official Records for Actions Requiring an EIS (3 pp)
2 - Decision File/Administrative Record Labeling and Filing Instructions (2 pp)
3 - Form AZ-1220-11 — Decision File/Administrative Record Document Index (1 p)