BLM reverses position on "compensatory mitigation"

On 24 July, 2018, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) instructed its personnel that the agency lacks authority to require monetary payments and other forms of compensatory mitigation as a condition of obtaining authorization for the use of public lands. This new direction, which is set forth in an instructional memorandum, reverses the prior administration's determination that the BLM had the authority under the Federal Land Management and Policy Act (FLPMA) to require offsite compensatory mitigation for entry onto public lands for energy development and other projects. The BLM's new instruction manual responds to Executive Order 13783, "Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth," (28 March, 2017); Secretary's Order (SO) 3349, "American Energy Independence" (29 March, 2017); and Secretary's Order 3360, "Rescinding Authorities Inconsistent" with Secretary's Order 3349, "American Energy Independence." SO 3360 rescinded BLM Manual Section 1794 – Mitigation (22 December, 2016) and BLM Mitigation Handbook H-1794-1 (22 December, 2016), and directed the BLM to provide new policy guidance on compensatory mitigation.

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