Step 6: Consideration

Review and Deliberation of Input

During a consultation, the Office may receive a flood of comments for the Action. To effectively utilize and consider the comments, the Office must first sort through and organize the comments according to the issues and aspects of the Action they address and sometimes filter out comments that do not pertain to the Action.

Whether a comment is expressed by one individual or many organizations, the number of occurrences or people represented by such expressions does not necessarily add weight to how such a comment should factor into decision-making. The basis and rationale within the comment is most instructive. However, when a comment is expressed multiple times and its basis and rationale are not clear, it may be helpful to seek clarification in order to understand the basis and rationale.

After organizing and reviewing the comments received, and after considering how the comments’ recommendations regarding the Action’s decision-making may inform the corresponding issues and aspects of the Action, the Office shall prepare a Consultation Report. The Consultation Report should serve to demonstrate both internally and externally how input was considered and processed. For some Actions, the consulting parties may review and comment on a draft of the Consultation Report. However, for other Actions, the Consultation Report is strictly within the purview of the Office.

When engaging in the review and deliberation of input the Office shall:

  • Review all comments received during consultation;
  • Organize the comments according to the issues and aspects of the Action they address;
  • Decide what to do with non-responsive comments, perhaps report as “Other Comments”;
  • If necessary, seek clarification of comments received;
  • If dealing with potentially sensitive information regarding human remains and associated funerary objects, list only locational information that would be required in a notice which includes the county and State where the human remains and associated funerary objects originated, if known;
  • Adhere to regulatory or pre-established timeframes for completing the review of comments and provide justification if a time extension is necessary; and
  • Prepare a Consultation Report that, at a minimum, includes the following summaries:
    • Federal action necessitating the consultation,
    • Comments received through consultation, and
    • Interim and preliminary recommendations and decisions made during the consultation process, when applicable.


Key:  The Office’s general deliberative process privilege – which considers Departmental priorities and policies, legal authorities, operational and other internal considerations and any other applicable privileges – shall not be limited by the consultation comments review process.

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