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March 28, 2007
In Reply Refer To:
1703, 3720 (360) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2007- 096
Expires: 09/30/2008
To:                   State Directors
                        Attn: Abandoned Mine Land and Hazard Management and Resource Restoration Program Coordinators
From:              Assistant Director, Minerals, Realty, and Resource Protection
Subject:            Refinement of the Methodology to Identify Abandoned Mine Land Sites Near Populated Places and High Use Areas
Purpose: The purpose of this Instruction Memorandum (IM) is to refine the process for addressing Abandoned Mine Lands (AML)-related environmental and physical safety hazards located in close proximity to populated places (PPL) and high use areas on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) lands. This IM establishes the goals, steps, measures of progress, and reporting requirements for the refined process. The IM also clarifies the kinds of hazards and places that need to be included in analyses. The goals of this initiative are to identify a realistic and accurate number of AML-related safety hazards that must be addressed immediately because they are within a 1/4 mile of a PPL, and to allow future funding and mitigation activities to be prioritized accordingly. 
Policy/Action: In response to IM No. 2005-231, Identification of Hazardous Sites Near PPLs, more than 2,000 potential AML-related safety hazards were reported to be within 1 mile of a PPL. In order to most efficiently and effectively use available funding, the BLM must identify the most urgent AML-related safety hazard sites. This can be accomplished by re-evaluating the IM No. 2005-231 data to determine which AML-related safety hazards are within 1/4 mile of a PPL. Attachment 1 provides the detailed steps and timelines to accomplish the following phases:
  • Phase 1. Fiscal Year (FY) 2007: Analyze data by comparing against the AML Strategic Plan issued under IM 2006-145, Cooperative Conservation Based Strategic Plan for the Abandoned Mine Lands Program (or as updated).  
  • Phase 2. FY 2007: Re-prioritize AML-Related Safety Hazard Sites to 1/4 Mile from PPLs.
  • Phase 3. FY 2008: Field Validate Priority AML-Related Safety Hazard Sites.
  • Phase 4. FY 2009 through FY 2011: Prioritize, Fund, and Mitigate AML-Related Safety Hazards.
In conducting analyses and follow-up actions, the field should focus on identifying hazardous sites in close proximity to populated areas similar to Saginaw Hill. Saginaw Hill is an AML site with both safety and environmental hazards, and is located adjacent to an expanding urban area in greater Tucson, Arizona. 
Thus, to identify similar populated places, the field should use the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)’s Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) PPL data file that was provided in the prior round of this exercise. The term PPL is a USGS designation for a city, town or village, and the primary point of a PPL is the center of original place such as the city or town hall, main post office, or town square regardless of changes over time. State-specific files are available from the USGS on the web at: http://geonames.usgs.gov/domestic/download_data.htm.
Hazards identified in the March 15, 2005, OIG report relating to AMLs include areas contaminated with mining-related hazardous substances, physical safety hazards such as open mine adits and shafts, compromised fencing, lack of warning signs, and open roads and trails leading to the hazards.  
Timeframe: This IM is effective upon receipt. See attachment for specific due dates.
Budget Impact:   In FY 2007, State and Field Offices are to apply base funding toward the re-evaluation and improvement of historic inventory data. For FY 2008, offices are to continue to apply their base funding toward field validations. During FY 2009 through FY 2011, offices are to spend project funds to mitigate AML-related safety hazards.
Background: It has been the policy of the BLM to mitigate safety hazards stemming from abandoned mines and other safety hazards on the public lands, subject to available funding. On March 15, 2005, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued the Flash Report (No. C-IN-BLM-0013-2005) on Public Safety Issues at the Saginaw Hill Property. The Flash Report identified the need for the BLM to be more proactive in fulfilling this policy. 
On September 15, 2005, the BLM issued IM No. 2005-231, Identification of Hazardous Sites Near PPLs, as part of the response to the OIG. Each State Office received a list of potential hazards that were to be verified using a wide variety of sources including both qualitative and quantitative professional knowledge of the areas. During the spring and summer of 2006, State Offices implemented the guidance and provided data to the Division of Engineering and Environmental Services (WO-360) for further analysis. Each State submitted data that was appropriate for their respective economies, environments, and populations. On December 22, 2006, the BLM submitted a Corrective Action Plan to the OIG that set forth the initial steps to more proactively address these AML-related safety hazards. 
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
Coordination: This IM has been coordinated with State Office AML and Hazard Management and Resource Restoration Program Coordinators.
Contacts: For assistance with geospatial analysis of the original data collected, contact John Reitsma, Geographic Information Specialist, Land and Resources Project Office, on 303-236-1984. Questions concerning the policy and overall approach should be directed to the WO-360. Contact Leslie Torrence, AML Specialist, on 202-557-3579 or Miyoshi Stith, Hazard Management and Resources Restoration Program Lead, on 202-557-3578. 
Signed by:                                                                   
Authenticated by:
Bob Anderson                                                             
Robert M. Williams
Acting, Assistant Director                                            
Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Minerals, Realty and Resource Protection
1 Attachment

Last updated: 10-21-2009