Air Resources

Air is the layer of gases or surrounding the Earth and comprises the atmosphere.  Critical to all forms of life, air resources are integral in maintaining healthy public lands and are managed according to federal, state, local, and tribal air quality regulations created under the Clean Air Act. 

The BLM analyzes environmental impacts of land uses on air resources and selects appropriate ways to minimize them. This approach allows the BLM to authorize multiple land uses on public lands while protecting air resources.

The BLM Air Resource Management Program developed goals outlined in a 5-year strategy to meet challenges posed by the increasing demand for resource development and recreational opportunities on public lands.

The goals of the Air Resources Program include: 

  • Reducing or limiting emissions of harmful pollutants to improve air quality.  This involves strengthening the BLM’s ability to address emerging issues, such as more strict regulatory standards for ozone and updated policy direction to reduce GHG emissions. 
  • Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of air quality analyses by enhancing already high standards of air quality expertise. 
  • Improving the availability of and access to air quality monitoring data. 
  • Building collaborative relationships with communities to reduce conflict and promote efforts to achieve and maintain good air quality.

The BLM prepared a 5-year strategy to continue to protect air resources while carrying out Federal Land Policy and Management Act’s (FLPMA) multiple-use mandate for managing public lands.  The strategy also offers opportunities for ongoing learning which helps develop the BLM’s air resource management activities.

How We Measure Success

The Clean Air Act (CAA) assigns primary regulatory responsibility for national air quality to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA established national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS) to protect public health, national goals to improve visibility, and regulations to reduce emissions from stationary and mobile sources. 

The BLM must ensure that BLM-authorized activities comply with the CAA and all applicable federal, state, tribal, and local air quality laws and regulations. The BLM’s air quality monitoring, modeling, and related activities are intended to inform and support the overall objective of limiting emissions.

Air Strategy

Cover of the BLM Air Strategy.

Download the 2015-2020 Air Resources Program Strategy.