BLM Proposal May Limit Transparency, Public Input On Its NEPA Actions

February 27, 2008

The Bureau of Land Management has proposed changing its rules for complying with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) - one of the cornerstones of federal environmental law. Some environmental groups fear the change would reduce the transparency of decisions BLM makes about the 260 million acres of public land it administers and reduce public input.

The proposal was published in the Federal Register on January 2, 2008. The deadline for comments is March 3, 2008.

A statement from the American Lands Alliance said that the proposal would reduce the amount of information Interior agencies need to consider when making environmental decisions. ALA also said the proposal "limits public involvement and states that involvement should be provided as the agency determines 'practicable' and on a 'case by case' basis."

The Interior Department, however, said the intent of the proposal was "to promote greater transparency in the NEPA process for the public and enhance cooperative conservation."