Regulation Database – Department of Interior
Directives and Policies
Secretary Order 3398 (Revocation of Secretary’s Orders Inconsistent with Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis)
Secretary Order 3398, issued on April 16, 2021, implements the review of DOI's actions directed by Executive Order (EO) 13990, entitled “Protecting Public Health and the Environment and Restoring Science to Tackle the Climate Crisis." Secretarial Order 3398 revoked the following orders as inconsistent with EO 13990:
- SO 3348 – “Concerning the Federal Coal Moratorium” (March 29, 2017);
- SO 3349 – “American Energy Independence” (March 29, 2017);
- SO 3350 – “America-First Offshore Energy Strategy” (May 1, 2017);
- SO 3351 – “Strengthening the Department of the Interior's Energy Portfolio” (May 1, 2017);
- SO 3352 – “National Petroleum Reserve – Alaska” (May 31, 2017);
- SO 3354 – “Supporting and Improving the Federal Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Program and Federal Solid Mineral Leasing Program” (July 6, 2017);
- SO 3355 – “Streamlining National Environmental Policy Reviews and Implementation of Executive Order 13807, ‘Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects’” (August 31, 2017);
- SO 3358 – “Executive Committee for Expedited Permitting” (October 25, 2017);
- SO 3360 – “Rescinding Authorities Inconsistent with Secretary's Order 3349, “American Energy Independence’” (December 22, 2017);
- SO 3380 – “Public Notice of the Costs Associated with Developing Department of the Interior Publications and Similar Documents” (March 10, 2020);
- SO 3385 – “Enforcement Priorities” (September 14, 2020); and
- SO 3389 – “Coordinating and Clarifying National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Reviews” (December 22, 2020).
Secretary Order 3399 (Department-Wide Approach to the Climate Crisis and Restoring Transparency and Integrity to the Decision-Making Process)
Secretary Order 3399, issued on April 16, 2021, establishes a Departmental Climate Tasks Force, that is tasked with "develop[ing] a strategy to reduce climate pollution; improve and increase adaptation and resilience to the impacts of climate change; address current and historic environmental injustice; protect public health; and conserve Department-managed lands." Secretary Order 3399 also contains instructions for using the National Environmental Policy Act to "support the Department’s policy to listen to science; to improve public health and protect the environment; to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; to bolster resilience to the impacts of climate change; and to prioritize environmental justice."
Secretary Order 3401 ("Comprehensive Analysis and Temporary Halt on all Activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Relating to the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program")
Secretary Order 3401, issued on June 1, 2021, establishes a temporary moratorium on all activities of the Federal Government relating to the implementation of the Coastal Plain Oil and Gas Leasing Program in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, as mandated by Executive Order 13990. Secretary Order 3401 also announces that DOI will conduct a new, comprehensive analysis oft he potential environmental impacts of the Program
Secretarial Order 3348
Secretarial Order 3348, issued on March 29, 2017, revokes Secretarial Order 3338, thus terminating the moratorium on federal coal leasing as well as the programmatic environmental review of the federal coal leasing program. The order states that “the public interest is not served by halting the federal coal program for an extended time, nor is a PEIS required to consider potential improvements to the program.”
Litigation: On August 15, 2022, a federal court reinstated the moratorium on federal coal leasing, stating that the Trump Administration DOI had failed to fully assess the environmental effects of allowing more coal mining.
Secretarial Order 3349
Secretarial Order 3349, issued on March 29, 2017, implements the directive from President Trump’s Executive Order on Energy Independence and Economic Growth to “immediately review existing regulations that potentially burden the development or use of domestically produced energy resources and appropriately suspend, revise, or rescind those that unduly burden the development of domestic energy resources beyond the degree necessary to protect the public interest or otherwise comply with the law.” The order calls for a reexamination of the mitigation and climate change policies and guidance that the Department of Interior issued during the Obama administration, as well as all regulations related to U.S. oil and natural gas development.
Secretarial Order 3350
Secretarial Order No. 3350, issued on May 1, 2017, implements President Trump’s Executive Order Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy (Apr. 28, 2017). It directs the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) to develop a new five-year plan for oil and gas exploration in offshore waters and reconsider a number of regulations governing those activities.
Implementing Action: On July 3, 2017, BOEM issued an information request, seeking comments on the preparation of a new five-year plan for 2019-2024. Interested parties are asked provide information on, among other things, the economic, social, and environmental values of offshore resources and the potential impact of oil and gas development on other resources and the marine, coastal, and human environments.
Secretarial Order 3351
Secretarial Order No. 3351, establishes a new position (Counselor to the Secretary for Energy Policy) to help implement policies related to energy development, whose duties include:
- “Developing and coordinating strategies, policies, and practices that promote responsible development of all types of energy on public lands managed and administered by the Department. “
- “Identifying regulatory burdens that unnecessarily encumber energy exploration development, production, transportation; and developing strategies to eliminate or minimize these burdens.”
- “Promoting efficient and effective processing of energy-related authorizations, permits, regulations, and agreements.”
Secretarial Order 3360
Secretarial Order 3360 rescinds the DOI’s climate and mitigation policies, including the Departmental Manual on Climate Change Policy, Departmental Manual on Landscape-Scale Mitigation Policy, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Mitigation Manual, and BLM Mitigation Handbook. The order also directs BLM to review the Draft Regional Mitigation Strategy for the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska and begin revisions to ensure it is consistent with the administration’s energy dominance goals.
Secretarial Order 3377
“Secretarial Order 3377: Contractibility of Federal Functions for Oil and Gas Development on Indian Lands” was passed to further the aims of Executive Order 13783, “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth,” and Executive Order 13868, “Prmoting Energy Infrastructure and Economic Growth.
Secretarial Order 3226: Evaluating Climate Change Impacts in Management Planning
Secretarial Order No. 3226, was issued on January 19, 2001. It directed all agencies within the Department to ” consider and analyze potential climate change impacts when undertaking long-range planning exercises, when setting priorities for scientific research and investigations, when developing multi-year management plans, and/or when making major decisions regarding the potential utilization of resources under the Department’s purview.” It specified that the departmental activities covered by the order included, but were not limited to: “programmatic and long-term environmental reviews undertaken by the Department, management plans and activities developed for public lands, planning and management activities associated with oil, gas and mineral development on public lands, and planning and management activities for water projects and water resources.”
It was amended on January 16, 2009 (Secretarial Order No. 3226, Amendment No. 1) and eventually reinstated by Secretarial Order 3289.
Secretarial Order 3283: Assignment of Renewable Energy Generation Responsibilities
Secretarial Order 3283 was issued by Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne on January 16, 2009 in order to specify the Department of the Interior’s responsibilities to accomplish the goal laid out in Section 211 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This section states the provision to approve non-hydropower renewable energy projects on public lands with a total combined generation capacity of at least 10,000 MW of electricity by 2015 (Section 211, Public Law 109-58, 119 Stat. 660 (2005)). The Order clarifies that the Assistant Secretary—Land and Minerals Management has the “lead responsibility” in meeting the federal renewable energy goals, with other Program Assistant Secretaries providing support (including the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks). This Secretarial Order was issued with the aim of furthering development of renewable energy in order to “enhance the energy security of the United States.”
- Secretarial Order 3283 (Jan. 16, 2009)
Secretarial Order 3285: Renewable Energy Development by the Department of the Interior
This Order establishes the development of renewable energy as a priority for the Department of the Interior and establishes a Departmental Task Force on Energy and Climate Change. This Order also amends and clarifies Departmental roles and responsibilities to accomplish this goal.
- Secretarial Order 3285 (Mar. 11, 2009)
Secretarial Order 3289: Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change on America’s Water, Land, and Other Natural and Cultural Resources (2009/2010)
This Order establishes a Department-wide approach for applying scientific tools to increase understanding of climate change and to coordinate an effective response to its impacts on the land, water, ocean, fish, and wildlife, and cultural heritage resources that the Department manages. It calls upon BLM and other agencies within the Department to consider and analyze potential climate change impacts when undertaking long-range planning exercises, and to develop landscape-level strategies for understanding and responding to climate change impacts. It creates a “Climate Change Response Council” to oversee these efforts. It also calls for the creation of a Landscape Conservation Cooperation Network which connects federal, state, local and tribal governments and other stakeholders to manage landscape conservation efforts across jurisdictional boundaries.
The order was amended in February 2010 to integrate climate change mitigation considerations (primary renewable energy development goals) into the planning directives outlined in the order. The “Climate Change Response Council” was renamed the “Energy and Climate Change Council”.
It replaces Secretarial Order No. 3226, Amendment No. 1, issued on January 16, 2009, and reinstates the provisions of Secretarial Order No. 3226, issued on January 19, 2001.
- Secretarial Order 3289 (Sept. 14, 2009)
- Secretarial Order 3289, Amendment No. 1 (Feb. 22, 2010)
Secretarial Order 3338: Discretionary Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement to Modernize the Federal Coal Program / Moratorium on Federal Coal Leasing
This Secretarial Order directs the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to prepare a discretionary Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) that analyzes potential leasing and management reforms to the current Federal coal program, in order to help determine if the program should be modernized in a manner that gives proper consideration to the impact of that development on important stewardship values, while also ensuring a fair return to the American public. One key issue to be addressed in the PEIS is the effect of the coal leasing program on greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions from the production and consumption of federal coal, and how the leasing program should be updated to account for those impacts. BLM commenced the environmental review process in early 2016, and published a scoping document in January 2017 which outlines the key issues that will be considered in the PEIS.
DOI also announced a moratorium on federal coal leasing during the environmental review and modernization process.
- Secretarial Order 3338 (Jan. 15, 2016)
- Press release (Jan. 15, 2016)
- Fact sheet – Modernizing the Federal Coal Program (Jan. 16, 2016)
- E-Planning Docket
Deregulatory Action: On March 28, 2017, President Trump issued an executive order directing DOI to “take all steps necessary and appropriate to amend or withdraw” Secretarial Order 3338, consistent with the President’s goals of promoting domestic energy production and revitalizing the coal industry. The order also directed DOI to “lift any and all moratoria on Federal land coal leasing activities related to Order 3338.”
On March 29, 2017, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke signed a secretarial order aimed at implementing the Executive Order. Secretarial Order 3348 revokes Secretarial Order 3338, thus terminating the moratorium on federal coal leasing as well as the programmatic environmental review of the federal coal leasing program.
Litigation: Immediately after the orders were issued, a coalition of environmental groups and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe filed a lawsuit challenging DOI’s decision to reverse course and lift the moratorium without having completed the programmatic environmental review.
Plans and Reports
On October 7, 2021, twenty-three federal agencies released plans detailing how they will adapt to climate change and increase resilience to climate change impacts. The plans include a variety of resiliency and adaptation measures, including steps to develop a more resilient supply change, to enhance protections for workers and communities, and to increase climate literacy and leadership within Federal agencies. The climate adaptation and resilience plans were previously submitted to and reviewed by the National Climate Task Force, White House Council on Environmental Quality’s Federal Chief Sustainability Officer, and the Office of Management and Budget. President Biden mandated these plans in his January 27, 2021 Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.
- DOI 2021 Climate Action Plan (Oct. 7, 2021)
On November 26, 2021, the Department of Interior published its Report on the Federal Oil and Gas Leasing Program, which was mandated by President Biden’s Executive Order 14008 (“Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad”). The report outlines deficiencies in the current program and identifies recommendations to modernize it. Per the report, DOI’s recommended reforms serve three primary goals:
“• Providing a fair return to the American public and States from Federal management of public lands and waters, including for development of energy resources;
• Designing more responsible leasing and development processes that prioritize areas that are most suitable for development and ensure lessees and operators have the financial and technical capacity to comply with all applicable laws and regulations; and
• Creating a more transparent, inclusive, and just approach to leasing and permitting that provides meaningful opportunity for public engagement and Tribal consultation.”