BLM's Cooperating Agency Initiative - BLM

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					BLM’s Cooperating Agency

          March 11-13, 2010
           Washington, D.C.
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
800 pounds
What’s involved?
      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
County, Utah
“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?
         Sharing knowledge

   Lead and cooperating
    agencies should have
    access to the same
    information regarding
    the affected
    environment and
    potential effects of a
    plan or project.
      Engaging communities
   Cooperators may be
    better positioned to
    engage communities
    and interest groups
    with competing
         Reconciling policies

   Cooperators and the
    BLM should identify
    and seek to reconcile
    inconsistent policies
    and priorities.
        Influencing outcomes
   Cooperators should
    participate in defining
    intended outcomes.
          Identifying impacts
   Cooperators should
    have a significant role
    in identifying current
    conditions, likely
    effects, and
What are the requirements?
   The cooperating agency
relationship is defined in the
  Council on Environmental
 Quality’s NEPA regulations
           Eligibility: who?

   State agencies
   Local governments
   Tribal governments
   Other federal agencies
           Eligibility: why?
“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
 program experience.
     -- 40 CFR 1508.26 (CEQ)
BLM regulations and Interior
 Department policy impose
  additional requirements
      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

                                    6 Estimate
             5 Formulate                                       7 Select the preferred
                                     effects of
             alternatives                                Alternative/ Issue draft RMP/DEIS

                                          9 Sign record
                         No Protest     of decision (ROD)                              Projects
                                       approving the RMP                           (Implement Plan)
8 Respond to comments,
     Issue proposed
   Initiate Governor’s
   Consistency Review                        9a Resolve protests,                    Monitor and
                                               modify RMP/EIS                       evaluate RMP
                                                  if needed
      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]

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