FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
To: Service Directorate
From: Director /sgd/ Jamie Rappaport Clark
of Non-Federal Agencies to be Cooperating Agencies in
Implementing the Procedural Requirements of the National Environmental Policy
Act (ED 99/1)
On July 28, 1999, the Council on Environmental Quality issued guidance to all Federal agencies encouraging more active solicitation of State, tribal, and local governments as cooperating agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR 1508.5) (copy attached).
We encourage all Fish and Wildlife Service offices that prepare environmental documents for Service actions to actively solicit the participation of other governmental entities when such entities have jurisdiction by law or special expertise and otherwise meet the requirements under 40 CFR 1501.6. The CEQ guidance outlines the benefits to the agency and clarifies that cooperating agency status neither enlarges nor diminishes the decision making authority of either the Federal agency or non-Federal entities.
In response to the CEQ guidance and in response to inquiries from Regional and field offices on cooperating agency status, we are incorporating additional guidance on cooperating agency status in the revised Service NEPA guidance (550 FW 1-2), scheduled to be published in the FederalRegister this fall. These changes have also been incorporated into the Service NEPA training course.
You are encouraged to implement this guidance immediately when complying
with NEPA for Service actions. If you have any questions regarding cooperating
agency status, please contact Gary Frazer, Assistant Director for Ecological
Services, or Dr. Benjamin N. Tuggle, Chief, Division of Habitat Conservation,