For Immediate Release
July 30, 2018
Contact: Anthony Roeber (509) 624-1158

National Mining Group Applauds Sec. Zinke on End to “Compensatory Mitigation” Policy

In a sharp departure from the previous Administration, the Bureau of Land Management said it will no longer seek off-site compensatory mitigation from those whose operations impact natural resources on federal land.

The new policy, spelled out in a BLM memo declares that “except where the law specifically requires, the BLM must not require compensatory mitigation from public land users.”

“While the BLM, under limited circumstances, will consider voluntary proposals for compensatory mitigation, the BLM will not accept any monetary payment to mitigate the impacts of a proposed action,” the memo states.

Compensatory mitigation refers to activities, monetary payments or in-kind contributions to conduct off-site actions that are intended to offset adverse impacts of a proposed action on federal land. Even with the change, BLM officials retain their obligation to avoid authorizing any activity that causes unnecessary or undue degradation of federal lands.

The policy shift means BLM won’t impose mandatory compensatory mitigation into its “official actions, authorizations to use the public lands, and any associated environmental review documents, including, but not limited to, permits, rights-of-ways, environmental impact statements, environmental assessments, and resource management plans,” according to the memo.

“To ensure compensatory mitigation is voluntary,” the memo adds, “the BLM must not explicitly or implicitly suggest that project approval is contingent upon proposing a ‘voluntary’ compensatory mitigation component, or that doing so would reverse or avoid an adverse finding.”

AEMA has long advocated for this position and applauds Secretary Zinke and his administration for taking this long overdue position.