BLM Makes Changes to Record System For Land Ranchers

In a move that will increase the transparency of its records, the Bureau of Land Management published in last Wednesday’s Federal Register  a notice announcing a change in the way that the agency handles certain personal information relating to public land ranchers. With the change, which is consistent with a recent ruling of the U.S. District Court for Idaho, the BLM will post on a publicly accessible Website reports that include the official mailing addresses of nearly 18,000 BLM grazing permittees and lessees. Personal telephone numbers of and financial information about public land ranchers will not be made available on the publicly accessible Website.

The record system change, formally known as a notice of amendment to an existing system of records, seeks to balance mandates from two Federal laws with different purposes — the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 1966 (as amended), which calls for full or partial disclosure of certain government records, and the Privacy Act of 1974 (as amended), which establishes procedures governing the collection, maintenance, use, and dissemination of personal identifying information about individuals.

Unless comments are received that would require a contrary determination, the change will take effect after a 40-day public comment period that began Dec. 29 and ends Feb. 7, 2011. Anyone interested in commenting on the amendment may do so by submitting written comments to BLM Privacy Office, 1849 C Street, N.W., Room 725 LS, Washington, D.C. 20240. E-mailed comments should be sent to Commenters should be aware that the entire content of their comments, including their personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time. For further information, please contact Robert Roudabush, Division Chief, Rangeland Resources, Bureau of Land Management, 1849 C Street, N.W., Room 201 LS, Washington, D.C. 20240; phone number: 202-912-7222; e-mail: