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December 22, 2009
In Reply Refer To:
1610 (WO-210) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2010-041
Expires: 09/30/2011
To:                   Washington Office and Field Office Officials
From:               Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject:           Revision of A Desk Guide to Cooperating Agency Relationships
                                                                                                                                DD: 01/11/2010
Program Areas: Land Use Planning, National Environmental Policy Act 

Purpose. This Instruction Memorandum (IM) requests comments on a revision of guidance on working with cooperating agencies, originally released in 2005. 

Policy/Action. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managers and staff at state offices, field offices, centers, and the Washington Office are requested to provide comments on the appropriateness, relevance, and clarity of the attached guidance. 

Timeframe.  Please submit all comments by 01/11/2010, to Rob Winthrop, Division of Decision Support, Planning, and NEPA, email: robert_winthrop@blm.gov; and Cynthia Moses-Nedd, Interior Office of External and Intergovernmental Affairs, email: cynthia_moses-nedd@ios.doi.gov. 

Budget Impact: None.

Background. A Desk Guide to Cooperating Agency Relationships, first issued in 2005, provides BLM’s policy and guidance regarding how we work with other federal agencies and tribal, state, and local government partners as cooperating agencies in preparing plans and environmental impact statements. In 2005 the BLM pioneered a more proactive and inclusive approach to other units of government through the cooperating agency relationship in revising resource management plans. This policy, reflected in changes to BLM’s planning regulations (43 CFR 1600 et seq.), was subsequently applied by the Department of the Interior (DOI) to all environmental impact statements (EISs) prepared by its agencies. 
New Material in this Revision. The second edition reflects the expanded scope of the cooperating agency policy implemented by the Interior Department, includes lessons learned since the first edition was issued, and responds to suggestions from State and Field Offices for additional content. While changes have been made throughout the document, the most substantial are these:
  • Section 2 (inviting participation): added language on DOI requirements when a cooperating agency invitation or request for such status is refused (p. 11).
  • Section 2 (plan implementation): added language on project-level EISs and environmental assessments (p. 16). 
  • Section 3, A.4 (criteria for eligibility): added language to explain that claimed expertise must be demonstrated and relevant to the decisions under consideration (pp. 20-21). 
  • Section 3, A.5 (informal alternatives): this section is new (pp. 21-22). 
  • Section 3, C.1 (projects): this section is new (pp. 26-27).
  • Section 3, C.2 (coordination and consistency): added language to clarify BLM's responsibilities under the consistency requirement of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, and link the cooperating agency relationship with coordination (pp. 27-29). 
  • Section 3, C.4 (Federal Advisory Committee Act compliance): revised language regarding the role of contractors in representing cooperating agencies (pp. 30-31). 
  • Section 4 (Memoranda of Understanding [MOUs]): modified this section to make it consistent with the new model Cooperating Agency MOU issued under IB 2009-106, and deleted some redundant language (pp. 33-35). 
The attached draft has been prepared as a Word document; text boxes suggest the approximate placement of quotes and photos. The final version will use a layout and printing similar to the first edition. As in the first edition, excerpts from statutes and regulations appear in blue. 
Coordination:  The revised edition of the Guide has been prepared jointly by the Division of Decision Support, Planning, and NEPA (WO-210) and the Directorate of Communications (WO-600).

Contact:  Marci Todd, Division Chief, Division of Decision Support, Planning, and NEPA, 202-912-7292; Rob Winthrop, Senior Social Scientist, 202-912-7287; and Cynthia Moses-Nedd, National Program Liaison, 202-912-7446.

Signed by:                                                                   Authenticated by:
Bud C. Cribley                                                              Paulette Sanford
Deputy Assistant Director                                            Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning
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Last updated: 01-06-2010