August 21, 2009
In Reply Refer To:
1790 (220/400) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2009-199
Expires:  09/30/2010

To:                   All Field Officials

From:               Director

Subject:            Categorical Exclusions for Fuels Reduction, Vegetation Management, and Grazing Permit Issuance

Program Area: Fuels Management, Range Administration, Vegetation Management, Planning



Purpose: Discontinue use of the Categorical Exclusions (CE) for fuels reduction, certain vegetation management activities, and grazing permit issuance.

Policy/Action: All Bureau of Land management (BLM) offices are to immediately and permanently discontinue issuing any new decisions that rely on the 2003 Fuels Reduction CE, 516 Departmental Manual (DM) 2, Appendix 1.12, 43 C.F.R. § 46.210(k); the 2007 Vegetation Management CE, 516 DM 11.9D(10) (note:  this CE is listed under the Rangeland Management program area); or the 2007 Grazing Permit Issuance CE, 516 DM 11.9D(11).  These three CEs are set forth in Attachment 1.  

Timeframe: This IM is effective immediately. 

Budget Impact: 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).

Background: Discontinuance of use ofthe three CEs is one part of a Stipulated Settlement Agreement (Agreement) worked out by the BLM and the Western Watersheds Project (WWP) to settle WWP v. Lane, No. 07-cv-394-BLW, a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho. On July 27, 2009, the District Court for the District of Idaho approved and adopted the Agreement and granted a Joint Motion for Dismissal in WWP v. Lane.

Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: This Instruction Memorandum directs the BLM to discontinue using the three CEs set forth  in the DOI Manual at 516 DM 2, Appendix 1.12 (see also 43 C.F.R. 46.210(k)); 516 DM 11.9D(10); and 516 DM 11.9D(11). These three CEs are also set forth in the BLM NEPA Handbook H-1790-1 at Appendices 3 and 4. The Manual, Handbook, and regulation are not being changed by this Instruction Memorandum, but the BLM is directed to discontinue use of the three CEs.

Coordination:  Planning, Rangeland Resources, Fire and Aviation, Forestry, and DOI Solicitors

Contact:  If you have any questions regarding these matters, please contact Doug Powell (WO 220) at (202) 912-7209, Peg Sorensen (WO 210) at (202) 912-7283, or Howard Hedrick (FA-600) at (208) 387-5153.
Signed by:                                                        Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson                                           Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                             Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
1 Attachment