The purpose of early tribal and interagency outreach during processing of applications in areas outside of designated leasing areas is to:
Government-to-government consultation with tribal staff provides opportunities for tribes to identify traditional cultural properties and sacred sites with applications in variance areas. On the basis of information and discussions arising from outreach meetings, the BLM determines whether there is a need for new ethnographic research to provide sufficient information to adequately consider the effects of solar energy development on issues and resources of concern to tribes. BLM field office cultural staff, in consultation with their Deputy Preservation Officer, recommend to responsible BLM line officers whether to collect additional ethnographic data for a given solar application. Should new ethnographic research, studies, or interviews be recommended, the BLM cultural staff, in consultation with tribal officials, will provide guidance to BLM line officers about the appropriate scope of that work, provisions for safeguarding data confidentiality, and programs of mitigation.
Early outreach to State and local (county and/or municipal) governments is important to determine compatibility with officially adopted plans and policies (e.g., comprehensive land use plans, open space plans, conservation plans) and permit requirements (e.g., special use permits).