WASHINGTON—The Bureau of Land Management is pleased to announce that the charters for 21 Resource Advisory Councils (RAC) have been renewed, and BLM RACs will be scheduling and holding meetings in the coming months.
The BLM currently maintains 37 chartered, citizen-based committees across the American West that serve as important sounding boards for BLM initiatives, regulatory proposals and policy changes. These councils assist in the development of committee recommendations that address public land management issues. There are 30 statewide and regional RACs; five advisory committees affiliated with specific sites; and the National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board and the North Slope Science Initiative Science Technical Advisory Panel.
“Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is committed to restoring trust in the Department’s decision-making and that begins with institutionalizing state and local input and ongoing collaboration—especially in communities surrounding public lands,” said BLM Deputy Director Brian Steed. “The BLM’s 37 advisory councils are essential to the Secretary’s collaborative approach to public land management at the local level.”
Each 10- to 15- member council is comprised of diverse representatives from the local community and has a charter that outlines membership and how the group will operate. These charters expire every two years and it is common practice to refine them if needed during the renewal process. The renewed charters clarifies the ethics responsibilities of the members from previous charters directing committee members not to participate in deliberations or votes pertaining to issues in which a member has direct financial interest.
As a land-management agency with a multiple-use mission, the BLM seeks out and values diverse input from citizens who care about the stewardship of America’s public lands. Each of the 37 RACs has vacant positions for members with an interest or expertise in energy and mineral development, ranching, outdoor recreation, conservation, state and local government, tribal and cultural resources or and academia. The BLM will be seeking nominations for these open positions in the near future.
In May 2017, the Secretary of the Interior initiated a review of all advisory councils and boards department-wide, including the BLM’s RACs. Council activities and meetings were temporarily halted during the review, which looked at each RAC’s charter, charge, composition and compliance with the 1972 Federal Advisory Committee Act, which ensures that advice provided by various advisory committees is objective and accessible to the public.