Cooperating and Coordinating

 Department
of Interior – Bureau of
Land Management
– Forest Service
– Council on Environmental
NEPA – National Environmental Policy Act
FLPMA – Federal Land Policy Management Act
NFMA – National Forest Management Act
Conservation Movement – end of the
19th Century
 Establishment of the Public Lands
Environmental Movement – Post
World War II
 1960’s- 1970’s : Largest number of environmental
laws passed in US History
1860’s – National Concern over Western
Public Lands – Trans-Continental Railroad
and the Homestead Acts.
During the 1800’s one half of the Nation
would be transferred into private ownership.
In all, about 1.1 billion acres were transferred
1976, Federal Land Policy Management Act
◦ Statement of policy to retain remaining lands in
Federal ownership
Realization that natural resources are finite
 Post
World War II
 Increase in Industrialization
 Rapid increase in population
 Rapid demand for goods and
services produced from natural
Cuyahoga River Fires
The Santa Barbara oil spill occurred in January
and February 1969 in the Santa Barbara
Channel near the city of Santa Barbara in
Southern California. It was the largest oil spill
in United States Waters at the time, and now
ranks third after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon
and 1989 Exxon Valdez spills. It remains the
largest oil spill to have occurred in the waters
off California.
Multiple Use Sustained Yield Act
National Environmental Policy Act
Clean Air Act
Clean Water Act
Endangered Species Act
Wild and Scenic Rivers Act
Wilderness Act
Federal Land Policy Management Act
National Forest Management Act
National Forest Management Act
◦ Forest Plans
National Environmental Policy Act
• Forest Planning
• Project planning
Became Law in 1976
◦ Guiding law on how national forests will be
◦ Requires Every National Forest and Grassland to
develop and maintain a Land Management Plan.
Forest Service is operating a new Planning Rule
finalized in 2012. All existing Forest Plans were
developed under the original 1982 Planning Rule.
Forest Plans set priorities for management,
allocate resources, and make
recommendations for special areas.
They are on a 15-year revision cycle.
Counties must have an active role in their
development and revisions.
New requirements for Forest Service to
Cooperate and Coordinate with Counties
 Forest
Service officials must:
• Notify State and County officials of
planning actions early in the process.
• Where appropriate, invite States and
Counties to be Cooperating Agencies.
• Include officials on interdisciplinary teams.
• Consult with tribal governments
Forest Service has significantly
increased requirements and direction
for Coordinating with Counties.
 The new planning rule recognizes the
desire by counties to have goals and
objectives in their local plans
Coordinating Forest Service planning efforts
with the planning efforts of State, Counties,
and other Federal agencies.
For Forest Planning efforts, review land use
policies of Federal, State, local, and tribal
governments for:
◦ Consideration of local objectives
◦ Compatibility of these plans and policies
◦ Opportunities for the Forest Plan to address
impacts identified
◦ Opportunities to resolve or reduce conflicts
Forest Service direction to managers has been
strengthened to include State and local
governments as cooperating agencies for
Requirements for Coordination are similar to
those for Forest Plan development and
NEPA Documentation Overview
Notice of Intent
Draft Environmental Impact Statement
Final Environmental Impact Statement
Record of Decision
Supplemental Environmental Impact
The early and open process to determine
scope of issues and identify the significant
issues related to a proposed action.
◦ Invite affected Federal, State, and local agencies,
affected Indian Tribes, and other interested parties
to participate
◦ Determine the scope of the analysis and the
significant issues
◦ Allocate responsibilities among all government
◦ Develop the structure and process
The Role for local governments and
Federally designated Tribes
Cooperating agencies were involved in
approximately 49% of Environmental Impact
Statements and approximately 6% of
environmental assessments during fiscal
years 2006-2011.
Lack of capacity or resources (i.e., training,
time, personnel) continues to be a major
Lack of another agency with expertise to
engage with a specific environmental review.
Agencies choosing to participate on an
informal basis rather than through a formal
cooperating agency status designation.
In the case of an action with effects primarily of local concern the
notice may include:
Notice to State and area wide clearinghouses . . .
Notice to Indian tribes when effects may occur on reservations.
Following the affected State's public notice procedures for
comparable actions.
Publication in local newspapers (in papers of general circulation
rather than legal papers).
Notice to potentially interested community organizations including
small business associations.
Publication in newsletters that may be expected to reach potentially
interested persons.
Direct mailing to owners and occupants of nearby or affected
Posting of notice on and off site in the area where the action is to be
Provides a list of proposed projects
Describes the type of action by National Forest
Describes the timing
Provides the responsible person to contact
Web-based information:
Special Expertise
Expertise needed to help the lead agency
meet a statutory responsibility
Expertise developed to carry out an agency
Related program expertise or experience
Expertise regarding the proposed actions’
relationship to the objectives of a region, or
Becoming a cooperating agency requires a
significant amount of time, resources,
technical expertise, and funding.
Local governments in other states caution
against applying to become a cooperating
agency on every possible EIS
Participate in the NEPA process at the earliest
Participate in “Scoping”
Develop information and prepare
environmental analyses
Provide staff support
Normally use its own funds
An MOU is not required under NEPA – Options
include an exchange of letters
Is the local government entering into a
binding legal agreement?
Use MOU (or other document) because
personnel and priorities change. Address:
◦ Roles and responsibilities
◦ Expectations (timeliness; quality)
Establish a mechanism for addressing
intergovernmental issues- a “seat at the table”
that does not diminish or enhance authority.
Receive relevant information early in the
analytical process
Apply available technical expertise and staff
Avoid duplication with other federal, State, tribal,
and local procedures
Foster intra and intergovernmental trust.
Establish a relationship that improves overall
working environments.
Full disclosure can be frustrating – FOIA and Sunshine laws
Expectations are not always clearly outlined in the MOU
Not always a clear understanding of NEPA and agency
planning processes and local, State, and Tribal planning
Effectiveness – involving the right people from the very
beginning will save time and money in the end – dealing
with changes in personnel
Some local governments have been rejected several times
before they were finally accepted as a cooperating agency
on a project. Do not give up. AGENCIES MUST REPORT TO
Although the Council on Environmental
Quality (CEQ) regulations require scoping
only for environmental impact statement (EIS)
preparation, the Forest Service has broadened
the concept to apply to all proposed actions.
Scoping includes refining the proposed
action, determining the responsible official
and lead and cooperating agencies,
identifying preliminary issues, and identifying
interested and affected persons
Whenever invited Federal, State, Tribal and
local agencies elect not to become
cooperating agencies, they should still be
considered for inclusion in interdisciplinary
teams engaged in the NEPA process and on
distribution lists for review and comment on
NEPA documents.
To better integrate environmental impact
statements into State or local planning processes,
statements shall discuss any inconsistency of a
proposed action with any approved State or local
plan and laws (whether or not federally
Where an inconsistency exists, the statement
should describe the extent to which the agency
would reconcile its proposed action with the plan
or law
Any environmental document in compliance with
NEPA may be combined with any other agency
document to reduce duplication and paperwork.
Randy Phillips, USDA Forest Service
◦ Liaison to the National Association of Counties
◦ [email protected]
◦ 703.887.3239

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