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U.S. Department of the Interior Administrative Decisions and Policies



The Interior Library has a very large collection of materials related to the Department. Sometimes the acronyms, citations and internal indexing systems can be confusing. Some commonly requested Department of the Interior administrative materials are described below.


Land Decisions

Land Decisions (L.D.'s) were published from July 1881 through December 1929 in volumes 1 through 52 of Decisions of the Department of the Interior and General Land Offices in Cases Relating to the Public Lands(L.D.). Cases reported in these volumes pertained almost exclusively to matters under the jurisdiction of the General Land Office. In addition, this publication included important Administrative ("A") Decisions.

Access to cases in the L.D.s is through the Digest of Decisions of the Department of the Interior in Cases Relating to Public Lands. Each L.D. volume also has tables and an individual index.

Citation to a Land Decision looks like this:

Walter Maine, 52 L.D. 510 (1928).

The index-digests are located at the end of Land and Interior Decisions series, row 31B.

 

Interior Decisions

In 1930, beginning with volume 53, the title of Department of the Interior and General Land Offices in Cases Relating to the Public Lands was changed to the slightly more manageable Decisions of the Department of the Interior (I.D.). The I.D.'s run from volume 53 through 101.

In addition to certain important decisions issued by IBLA (more about that below), current volumes include opinions from other boards within the Office of Hearings and Appeals, such as Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA), Interior Board of Contract Appeals (IBCA), and certain Solicitor's Memorandum Opinions ("M" Opinions). Moreover, from 1930 to 1970, important Administrative ("A") Decisions were published in the I.D.s.

Access to the I.D.s is through the Index-Digest of the Department of Interior, although if you know the case or party(ies) name(s), you can use the Table of Cases in the front of each volume. The index-digests are located at the end of Land and Interior Decisions series, row 31B.
 


Administrative Decisions

Administrative Decisions (also called Solicitor's Opinions) were unpublished opinions that resulted from appeals of the Director's opinions. "A" decisions were issued before the creation of IBLA in 1970. Important "A" decisions were published in L.D. volumes 1-52 and I.D. volumes 53-77.

Access to published "A" decisions is through the Index-Digest of the Department of Interior. Unpublished Solicitor's Opinions can be found in bound volumes on the shelf.

Citation to an "A" decision looks like this:

William P. Surman, A-31010 (December 1, 1969).

The index-digests are located at the end of Land and Interior Decisions series, row 31B. There is no index for the unpublished "A" decisions; you need to know a party's name and a date (or at least an approximate date!).



Interior Board of Land Appeals

The Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) is part of the Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA), Office of the Secretary. IBLA is authorized to review decisions of certain departmental agencies and departmental administrative law judges. IBLA was created on July 1, 1970. IBLA decisions replaced "A" decisions.

The Library keeps unpublished IBLA decisions in looseleaf binders, filed by the IBLA volume and page numbers. IBLA decisions are generally unpublished. Only the more important decisions are reprinted in Decisions of the Department of the Interior (I.D.), from 1970 to the present.

Access to published IBLA decisions is through the Index-Digest of the Department of Interior (Row 31B).

Citation to an unpublished IBLA decision looks like this:

Paul N. Scherbel, 58 IBLA 52 (1981).

Citation to an IBLA decision published in the I.D.'s looks like this:

Fortune Oil Co., 71 IBLA 153, 90 I.D. 84 (1983).


Interior Board of Contract Appeals

IBCA decisions are documents released by the Board of Contract Appeals (BCA) for the Department of the Interior. They are decisions reached by an agency board of administrative judges established in accordance with guidelines in 41 U.S.C. §607.

Looseleaf binders of IBCA decisions can be found on the shelf, and selected IBCA decisionss are also incorporated in Decisions of the Department of the Interior (I.D.), 1970 to the present. (Row 31B).

Access to these IBCA decisions is through the Index-Digest of the Department of Interior. Citation to a published IBCA decision looks like this:

Appeal of Rocky Mountain Construction Co., IBCA-1091-12-75 (Aug. 17, 1977), 84 I.D. 829.


Interior Board of Indian Appeals

The board decisions first appear in looseleaf binder volumes entitled Decisions of the Interior Board of Indian Appeals (IBIA). Certain selected board decisions are printed in the official bound volumes of the I.D.s, 1970 to the present.

Access to published IBIA decisions is through the Index-Digest of the Department of Interior (Row 31B).

Citation to a published IBIA decision looks like this:

Administrative Appeal of Dean Hansen v. Area Director, Aberdeen Area Office, Bureau of Indian Affairs, 5 IBIA 250 (Nov. 17, 1976), 83 I.D. 561.

The index-digests are located at the end of Land and Interior Decisions series, row 31B.


A Quick Guide to the DOI Administrative Acronyms

 Name  Abbr  Comment  Tools/Resources
Interior Board of Land Appeals IBLA Started in 1970
1970 to present: See bound books and notebooks on shelf.
Selected decisions published in the I.D.s.
Index-Digest of the Department of the Interior (Row 31B)
Interior Board of Indian Appeals IBIA
Started in 1970.
1970 to present: See bound books and notebooks on shelf.
Selected decisions published in the I.D.s.
Index-Digest of the Department of the Interior (Row 31B)
Interior Board of Contract Appeals IBCA Started in 1970.
1970 to present: See bound books and notebooks on shelf.
Selected decisions published in the I.D.s
Index-Digest of the Department of the Interior (Row 31B)
Interior Land Decisions  L.D.  Vol. 1-52 (1881-1929): Decisions of the Department of the Interior and General Land Office in Cases Relating to the Public Lands Digest of Decisions of the Department of Interior in Cases Relating to Public Lands (Row 31B)
Interior Decisions  I.D. Vol. 53-101 (1930-1994): Decisions of the Department of the Interior Index-Digest of the Department of Interior (Row 31B)
Administrative Decisions
(a.k.a. Solicitor's Opinions)
A decisions Solicitor's Opinions Selected decisions published in: Vol. 1-52 (1881-1929): Decisions of the Department of the Interior and General Land Office in Cases Relating to the Public Lands and Vol. 53-101 (1930-1994): Decisions of the Department of the Interior

"A" decisions for 1937-1954 (sporadic) are also available in notebook; ask at reference desk. Bound volumes of unpublished decisions, 1955-1970, are on the shelf.

Remember: No "A" decisions issued after creations of IBLA in 1970.
Digest of Decisions of the Department of Interior in Cases Relating to Public Lands (Row 31B)

No index for the unpublished "A" decisions; you need to know a party's name or a date (or at least an approximate date!).
Solicitor's Memorandum Opinions M opinions

Solicitor's Opinions
Selected opinions published in: Vol. 53-77, Decisions of the Department of the Interior

Also see bound volumes of opinions on shelf.
Index-Digest of the Department of the Interior (Row 31B)


Secretary's Orders

Secretarial Orders can be found in the following places:

Numbered orders (1925-1980; Nos. 1-3050 ) are collected in a set of books in the Reference section of the Library. If you know the number or the date of the order, you should have no problem retrieving it. [The library's collection of Secretarial Orders has some gaps in it. However, in most cases, if the Order you need is not in the books, it can be obtained from another office. Just let the Reference Librarian know.]

Also check online for more recent Secretarial Orders. Selected expired orders from 1992 to the present are available in the archive.

On the other hand, unnumbered orders (those signed prior to 1925) exist in a collection found only in the National Archives, so you will not be able to get them at the Library, unless the order has been incorporated into the Interior Land Decisions. Thus, if you are looking for an unnumbered Secretarial Order, check the indexes to the I.D.s and L.D.s before you go to Archives.


Departmental Manual

The Departmental Manual is an internal reference work which contains the organizational structure of agencies within the Department of the Interior, delegations of authority, standards, procedures, and policies. Departmental manuals are cited only for internal purposes. Citation to the Departmental Manual looks like:101 DM 6.1A.

A copy of the Departmental Manual is kept in the Library, in a set of white, 3-ring notebooks. In addition, sections of the Manual can be found online.


Public Land Orders

Public Land Orders (PLO's) implement the authority granted to the Secretary of the Interior by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 to make, modify, extend, or revoke land withdrawals. A withdrawal removes an area of Federal land from settlement, sale, location, or entry under some or all of the general land laws, for the purpose of limiting activities under those laws to maintain other public values in the area or reserving the area for a particular public purpose or program. Withdrawals are also used to transfer jurisdiction over an area of Federal land from one department, bureau, or agency to another.

Public Land Orders began with PLO No. 1., June 20, 1942. Now issued by the Bureau of Land Management, Public Land Orders are published in the Federal Register. Tables of citations of Public Land Orders can found in various print and Internet sources.

Each year through 1995, Title 43 of the CFR included an appendix with an updated table of all Public Land Orders, with citations to the Federal Register texts.

The Library also maintains a printed list of all Public Land Orders and their Federal Register citations, which is available by asking the Reference Librarian.

To locate the most recent Public Land Orders, see the Federal Register. In the search box, add the term "Public land order," with quotation marks.

Another method for locating recent Public Land Orders uses the DOI Library's weekly compilation of Federal Register notices. Refer to "Bureau of Land Management" sections under each day's notices to locate citations to Public Land Orders. The lists also include sections on "Presidential Documents" which serve as indexes to notices of Proclamations and Executive Orders.