DATE: May 20, 2005

SUBJECT: Department of the Interior Acquisition Regulation (DIAR); Woody Biomass Utilization

SOURCE: Federal Register, May 20, 2005, Vol. 70, No. 97, page 29208

AGENCIES: Office of the Secretary of the Interior

ACTION: Final Rule

SYNOPSIS: The Department of the Interior (DOI) is finalizing, with changes, the interim final rule that added DIAR Part 1437, Utilization of Woody Biomass, to provide contractors the option of removing woody biomass by-products from DOI land management activities wherever ecologically appropriate and in accordance with the law.

EDITOR'S NOTE: For more on the interim final rule being finalized, see the August 27, 2004, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCHDepartment of the Interior Acquisition Regulation (DIAR); Woody Biomass Utilization.”

The DIAR is Chapter 14 of Title 48 of the Code of Federal Regulations. It is available on the Internet at http://www.doi.gov/pam/aindex.html.

EFFECTIVE DATE: May 20, 2005.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Delia Emmerich, Office of Acquisition and Property Management, DOI, 202-208-3348, or e-mail: Delia_Emmerich@os.doi.gov.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Woody biomass consists of "trees and woody plants, including limbs, tops, needles, leaves, and other woody parts, grown in a forest, woodland, or rangeland environment, that are the by-products of management, restoration and/or hazardous fuel reduction treatment." This rule establishes procedures allowing contractors to remove woody biomass by-products from DOI land management activities when ecologically appropriate ("for example, it may be necessary to retain snags or small woody debris to meet wildlife habitat objectives, or to create specific prescribed burning conditions to stimulate native plant development"). Removal or use of woody biomass will reduce smoke and emissions from prescribed and natural fires; preserve landfill capacities; reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfires to communities and public/private utilities; improve watershed and wildlife habitat protection; and improve forest, woodland, and rangeland health by reducing insects, disease, and invasive plant and animal species. The Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture has provisions in timber sale, service, and stewardship contracts that provide opportunities to utilize this type of material.

On August 27, 2004, DOI published an interim final rule adding DIAR Part 1437. DOI received comments from two respondents, and as a result of comments is finalizing the rule by moving the language to DIAR Subpart 1437.72, Utilization of Woody Biomass, moving the contract clause that was in DIAR 1437.103, Format of Woody Biomass Utilization Clause, to DIAR 1452.237-71, Utilization of Woody Biomass, and making some minor clarifications.

The following are the key provisions of DIAR Subpart 1437.72 (with the corresponding section numbering in parentheses):

DIAR 1452.237-71 (formerly DIAR 1437.103, Format of Woody Biomass Utilization Clause) provides that:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953.

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