PPLCC Members Continue to Engage DOI Leadership, Identify Opportunities for Collaboration
June 13, 2022
Re: Follow-Up Memo from April 14, 2022 Meeting of People, Public Lands, and Climate Collaborative and Department of Interior Leaders
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Garriott, Director Ready Alonso, Deputy Director Decker, Advisor Villa, and Advisor Landa,
Thank you all so much for attending and/or helping to organize the April 14 discussion between Department of Interior (DOI) leaders and members of the People, Public Lands, and Climate Collaborative. We appreciate your continued interest in building a relationship with the Collaborative, your reflections on the themes of our 2021 memo on inclusive stakeholder engagement in practice, and your updates on Tribal engagement efforts. The memo below summarizes some of the key themes and recommendations raised in our conversation with you, and proposes next steps.
Themes and Areas for Further Work
PPLCC members appreciate DOI’s work to prioritize public engagement, invest in landscape protection, consider possibilities for Tribal co-management, and focus on language justice and accessibility. In the meeting, we discussed areas for further improvement and/or collaboration with the PPLCC:
- Connecting the local and the federal: Members observed that while DOI staff in DC are focusing on equity and stakeholder engagement, it is not always clear how that translates at the local level–the staff that PPLCC members more often engage with. Members suggested:
- Increase stakeholder engagement at the local level, especially for BLM offices. DOI should identify offices that are doing a great job with stakeholder engagement to identify lessons/best practices that can be exported elsewhere.
- Staff local offices with people from the region and/or who are representative of the local population.
- Improve and clarify the processes for engaging with the public before making decisions on leasing, Resource Management Plans, etc.
- Emissions on public lands: Members expressed concern about continued oil and gas development on public lands. They suggested:
- Develop a plan for a net-zero future for BLM/DOI overall.
- Provide more information on whether the Defense Production Act could reopen closed mines in the Southwest.
- Interagency coordination and collaboration: Especially since public lands management and Justice40 goals cut across several agencies, PPLCC members encouraged additional interagency collaboration. Members were interested in more information on:
- How equity is being centered in public lands policies;
- How the Administration is engaging on federal legislation related to public lands; and
- How funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law is being connected with the goals of America the Beautiful, in particular how smaller organizations, counties, cities, and states are being supported in accessing funds from America the Beautiful Challenge grant program.
- Engaging underrepresented leadership: As DOI leadership is already doing with the PPLCC, members encouraged the agency to prioritize connection with frontline and underrepresented leadership and NGOs, not just the organizations that have always held power and held relationships with federal leaders.
- Co-management and land back: Members are interested in more information on the Land Buy-Back Program.
- Land planning and designation: Members also recommended some specific approaches to land designation and planning:
- Clarify how Resource Management Plan development is being tracked (i.e., how can members find out what processes are starting or restarting, what stage they are in, and how stakeholders can be involved?).
- Chart a course under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act to ensure conservation is prioritized in ongoing and future planning, including using existing authorities like the establishment of Wilderness Study Areas.
- Shared principles for smart siting for renewable energy: The Collaborative will be working on guiding principles for renewable energy development on public lands and would be interested in discussing them with DOI in the future.
Proposed Next Steps
The PPLCC suggests that we continue to communicate quarterly about DOI’s general stakeholder engagement efforts, as well as the specific topic areas above. In particular, the PPLCC invites DOI leadership to attend its monthly meeting on July 14 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. Eastern, and quarterly thereafter on October 13, January 12, and April 13 (all at 1:30 p.m. Eastern). As needed, the Collaborative would also be interested in dialogue sessions or workshops outside our usual meeting times that offer more opportunity to address specific topics and/or could involve a larger network outside PPLCC members.
Please feel free to reach out to individual Collaborative members (contacts listed below) or to the Collaborative’s lead facilitator, Mallory Huggins, at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to contact the Collaborative as a whole.
Members of the People, Public Lands, and Climate Collaborative