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December 19, 2006
In Reply Refer To:
1610 (210) P
Ref. IM No. 2005-237
Information Bulletin No. 2007-029
To:                   WO Division Chiefs, State and Field Office Officials
From:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:            Comments Requested: Revision of the Desk Guide to Cooperating Agency Relationships                        DD: 01/19/2007
Program Areas: Land Use Planning, National Environmental Policy Act
Purpose: The Division of Planning and Science Policy (WO-210) intends to revise the Desk Guide to Cooperating Agency Relationships (Desk Guide) to reflect changes in Department of the Interior policy and lessons learned over the first eighteen months of the Director’s Cooperating Agency Initiative. The original version of the Desk Guide was distributed in May 2005. This Information Bulletin (IB) requests comments and suggestions to guide the revision. 
Policy/Action: Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managers and staff at state offices, field offices, centers, and the Washington Office are requested to provide suggestions and comments on the following:
  • What are lessons learned from the first eighteen months of implementing BLM’s new regulations and policy regarding cooperating agencies (CAs)?
  • How has this new policy changed your way of doing business?
  • What are some of the best practices and practical insights that have fostered successful CA relationships? 
  • What are some specific CA relationships that can be highlighted (name of county or state entity, name of project, some of the factors that made the relationship successful)?
  • What issues or challenges are raised by extending the CA requirement to include all Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)-level projects?
  • What issues or challenges are raised by extending the CA requirement to multi-state programmatic EISs—for example regarding energy corridor designation or oil shale development?
  • What are some of the benefits to be gained by extending the CA requirement to include all EIS-level projects and multi-state programmatic EISs?
  • What topics should be added, clarified, or deleted in the revised Desk Guide? (Please specify page or section where applicable.)
An optional comment form is attached for use in responding to these questions. State offices are requested to consolidate responses from field office and state office management and staff before submitting comments to the Washington Office. Comments received, including lessons learned, may be quoted anonymously in the revised Desk Guide. In identifying challenges in implementing the CA policy, where feasible please describe successful strategies for overcoming them. 
Timeframe: Please submit all comments by COBJanuary 19, 2007,to Rob Winthrop, email Robert_Winthrop@blm.gov.
Budget Impact: Minimal.
Background: In 2005 the BLM modified its planning regulations (43 CFR 1600 et seq.) to require that eligible tribal, state, and local governments and other federal agencies be invited to serve as CAs in the revision of BLM’s resource management plans / EISs. This went beyond the requirements of the Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations (40 CFR 1501.6 and 1508.5), which leave the offer of CA relationships to the discretion of the lead federal agency. The revised BLM regulations also provided greater detail regarding the activities in which CAs can participate through the planning process. 
In May 2005 WO-210 distributed the Desk Guide to Cooperating Agency Relationships to all State and Field Offices to provide policy and guidance in implementing these new requirements (see IM 2005-237). The Desk Guide and related documents are available on BLM’s Cooperating Agency web page: www.blm.gov/planning/cadg
Since the Desk Guide was issued, the Department of the Interior amended the Department Manual (at 516 DM 2.5) to establish requirements regarding CAs. The Department Manual went beyond the changes in BLM’s regulations by expanding the requirement to invite eligible government entities to include all EISs, whether prepared for projects, plans, or policies. 
Directives Affected: None.
Coordination: This IB has been coordinated with Public Affairs (WO-610) and Intergovernmental Affairs (WO 640). 
Contact:  Rob Winthrop, Senior Social Scientist, Division of Planning and Science Policy (WO-210): email Robert_Winthrop@blm.gov; phone 202-785-6580.
Signed by:                                                                   
Authenticated by:
Bud Cribley                                                                 
Barbara J. Brown
Acting Deputy Assistant Director                                 
Division of IRM Governance
Renewable Resources and Planning
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Last updated: 10-21-2009