Title 43

SECTION 1610.2

1610.2 Public participation.

§ 1610.2 Public participation.

(a) The public shall be provided opportunities to meaningfully participate in and comment on the preparation of plans, amendments and related guidance and be given early notice of planning activities. Public involvement in the resource management planning process shall conform to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act and associated implementing regulations.

(b) The Director shall, early in each fiscal year, publish a planning schedule advising the public of the status of each plan in process of preparation or to be started during that fiscal year, the major action on each plan during that fiscal year and projected new planning starts for the 3 succeeding fiscal years. The notice shall call for public comments on projected new planning starts so that such comments can be considered in refining priorities for those years.

(c) When BLM starts to prepare, amend, or revise resource management plans, we will begin the process by publishing a notice in the Federal Register and appropriate local media, including newspapers of general circulation in the state and field office area. The Field Manager may also decide if it is appropriate to publish a notice in media in adjoining States. This notice may also constitute the scoping notice required by regulation for the National Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR 1501.7). This notice shall include the following:

(1) Description of the proposed planning action;

(2) Identification of the geographic area for which the plan is to be prepared;

(3) The general types of issues anticipated;

(4) The disciplines to be represented and used to prepare the plan;

(5) The kind and extent of public participation opportunities to be provided;

(6) The times, dates and locations scheduled or anticipated for any public meetings, hearings, conferences or other gatherings, as known at the time;

(7) The name, title, address and telephone number of the Bureau of Land Management official who may be contacted for further information; and

(8) The location and availability of documents relevant to the planning process.

(d) A list of individuals and groups known to be interested in or affected by a resource management plan shall be maintained by the Field Manager and those on the list shall be notified of public participation activities. Individuals or groups may ask to be placed on this list. Public participation activities conducted by the Bureau of Land Management shall be documented by a record or summary of the principal issues discussed and comments made.

The documentation together with a list of attendees shall be available to the public and open for 30 days to any participant who wishes to clarify the views he/she expressed.

(e) At least 15 days' public notice shall be given for public participation activities where the public is invited to attend. Any notice requesting written comments shall provide for at least 30 calendar days for response. Ninety days shall be provided for review of the draft plan and draft environmental impact statement. The 90-day period shall begin when the Environmental Protection Agency publishes a notice of the filing of the draft environmental impact statement in the Federal Register.

(f) Public notice and opportunity for participation in resource management plan preparation shall be appropriate to the areas and people involved and shall be provided at the following specific points in the planning process:

(1) General notice at the outset of the process inviting participation in the identification of issues (See §§ 1610.2(c) and 1610.4-1);

(2) Review of the proposed planning criteria (§§ 1610.4-2);

(3) Publication of the draft resource management plan and draft environmental impact statement (See § 1610.4-7);

(4) Publication of the proposed resource management plan and final environmental impact statement which triggers the opportunity for protest (See §§ 1610.4-8 and 1610.5-1(b)); and

(5) Public notice and comment on any significant change made to the plan as a result of action on a protest (See § 1610.5-1(b)).

(g) BLM will make copies of an approved resource management plan and amendments reasonably available for public review. Upon request, we will make single copies available to the public during the public participation process. After BLM approves a plan, amendment, or revision we may charge a fee for additional copies. We will also have copies available for public review at the:

(1) State Office that has jurisdiction over the lands,

(2) Field Office that prepared the plan; and

(3) District Office, if any, having jurisdiction over the Field Office that prepared the plan.

(h) Supporting documents to a resource management plan shall be available for public review at the office where the plan was prepared.

(i) Fees for reproducing requested documents beyond those used as part of the public participation activities and other than single copies of the printed plan amendment or revision may be charged according to the Department of the Interior schedule for Freedom of Information Act requests in 43 CFR part 2.

(j) When resource management plans involve areas of potential mining for coal by means other than underground mining, and the surface is privately owned, the Bureau of Land Management shall consult with all surface owners who meet the criteria in § 3400.0-5 of this title. Contact shall be made in accordance with subpart 3427 of this title and shall provide time to fully consider surface owner views. This contact may be made by mail or in person by the Field Manager or his/her appropriate representative. A period of at least 30 days from the time of contact shall be provided for surface owners to convey their preference to the Field Manager.

(k) If the plan involves potential for coal leasing, a public hearing shall be provided prior to the approval of the plan, if requested by any person having an interest which is, or may be, adversely affected by implementation of such plan. The hearing shall be conducted as prescribed in § 3420.1-5 of this title and may be combined with a regularly scheduled public meeting. The authorized officer conducting the hearing shall:

(1) Publish a notice of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation in the affected geographical area at least once a week for 2 consecutive weeks;

(2) Provide an opportunity for testimony by anyone who so desires; and

(3) Prepare a record of the proceedings of the hearing.

[48 FR 20368, May 5, 1983, as amended at 70 FR 14566, 14567, Mar. 23, 2005; 70 FR 29208, May 20, 2005; 81 FR 89661, Dec. 12, 2016; 82 FR 60555, Dec. 21, 2017]