BLM’s Cooperating Agency
BLM NATIONAL PLANNING WORKSHOP
March 11-13, 2010
Changes in the Cooperating
Agency Desk Guide, 2.0
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.
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).
Why be a cooperating
261 million acres
Lead agencies shall . . .
The lead agency shall . . . use the
environmental analysis and proposals of
cooperating agencies with “jurisdiction by
law” or “special expertise,” to the
maximum extent possible consistent
with its responsibility as lead agency.
-- 40 CFR 1501.6(a)(2) (CEQ)
“As a federal agency, BLM isn’t familiar
with how a county government operates.
We feed into the process the economic
needs of the county and the interests of
the people who live here.”
-- Art Kleinjan, County Commissioner,
Blaine County, Montana
“Keep cooperating agencies informed and
engaged. Don’t hide the BLM’s dirty
laundry – let the cooperating agencies see
how sausages (and RMPs) are made.”
-- Jake Rajala, Ely Field Office, BLM-
“We are inundated from all the
simultaneous planning that the BLM is
doing. They have made efforts to involve
us but our time and resources are
stretched to the limit.”
-- Evan Lowry, County Planner, San Juan
“While many agencies have staff that are
effective advocates for their mission, far
fewer staff have effective negotiating skills
for discovering mutual gains.”
-- Kirk Emerson, U.S. Institute for
Environmental Conflict Resolution
What are the aims?
Lead and cooperating
agencies should have
access to the same
potential effects of a
plan or project.
Cooperators may be
better positioned to
and interest groups
Cooperators and the
BLM should identify
and seek to reconcile
participate in defining
have a significant role
in identifying current
What are the requirements?
The cooperating agency
relationship is defined in the
Council on Environmental
Quality’s NEPA regulations
Other federal agencies
“Jurisdiction by law” means agency authority
to approve, veto, or finance all or part of the
-- 40 CFR 1508.15 (CEQ)
“Special expertise” means statutory
responsibility, agency mission, or related
-- 40 CFR 1508.26 (CEQ)
BLM regulations and Interior
Department policy impose
BLM’s cooperating agency
Requires field managers to offer cooperating
agency status to eligible agencies for all
resource management plans;
Mandates collaboration with cooperating
agencies at most stages of planning;
Provides the same eligibility to tribes, states,
local governments, and federal agencies.
Source: 43 CFR 1600 et seq.
DOI’s cooperating agency
Departmental policy now imposes similar
requirements regarding cooperating
agencies on all Interior agencies.
The requirement to offer cooperating
agency status applies to all
environmental impact statements.
Source: 516 DM 2.5
Cooperating Agency Roles
1 Conduct Scoping/ 2 Develop 3 Collect 4 Analyze the
Identify planning inventory management
Issues criteria data situation
5 Formulate 7 Select the preferred
alternatives Alternative/ Issue draft RMP/DEIS
9 Sign record
No Protest of decision (ROD) Projects
approving the RMP (Implement Plan)
8 Respond to comments,
Consistency Review 9a Resolve protests, Monitor and
modify RMP/EIS evaluate RMP
For further information
Cynthia Moses-Nedd, Liaison to the
National Association of Counties, BLM
Director’s Office: 202-452-5114;
Rob Winthrop, Senior Social Scientist,
Decision Support, Planning, and NEPA,
BLM Washington Office: 202-557-3587;
[coop agency New Mexico Assoc Counties 9-17-08.ppt]