Discontinued Use of Categorical Exclusions for Pinyon-Juniper Management
Discontinue use of the Categorical Exclusion (CX) for covered actions on up to 10,000 acres (contiguous or non-contiguous) within sagebrush and sagebrush-steppe plant communities to manage pinyon pine and juniper trees for the benefit of mule deer or sage-grouse habitats
(516 Departmental Manual (DM) 11.9J (1)); commonly referred to as the “Pinyon-Juniper Management CX”.
Taking into account the complexity of land management and other factors, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has determined that all Bureau offices are to immediately and indefinitely discontinue reliance on the 2020 Pinyon-Juniper CX, 516 DM 11.9J (1).
This IM is effective immediately and shall remain in effect unless superseded by law, regulation, or policy.
Additional costs will result from implementing this policy due to increased labor and time to prepare environmental documents to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The BLM updated its NEPA procedures adopting the 2020 Pinyon-Juniper Management CX into the 516 DM Chapter 11 via Federal Register notice published December 10, 2020. Having evaluated the BLM’s consideration and approval of proposed pinyon-juniper management actions since that time, the BLM now directs Bureau offices to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) or an environmental assessment (EA) to inform future agency approval of covered actions or to rely on other categorical exclusions that may be available to support decision-making regarding vegetation management on public lands.
This Permanent Instruction Memorandum (PIM) directs the BLM to discontinue using the 2020 Pinyon-Juniper Management CX set forth in the Department of the Interior (DOI) Manual at 516 DM 11.9J (1). The Manual is not being changed by this PIM, but the BLM is not to rely on this 2020 Pinyon-Juniper Management CX when making new decisions. The BLM may modify the manual in the future in compliance with applicable Council on Environmental Quality requirements.
NEPA, Forestry, Fire, Range, Wildlife and Office of the Solicitor