For Penny Woods, retirement from her career at the BLM didn’t mean an end to working. Penny spent the early years of her career in BLM realty in Wyoming, then moved to Utah as a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) team leader working on resource management plans. She got promoted to field manager in Utah and then moved to the same position in Oregon. She then moved to Nevada and was a project manager for a major, over 8-year Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a water pipeline.
Upon retiring in 2013, she continued to work as a contractor and consultant to her former BLM office to assist on that EIS project. It was litigated, and her expertise was needed to prepare materials for the case.
Penny enrolled in the Experienced Services Program in March 2020. As an ESP enrollee, Penny is based out of the BLM Nevada State Office and works as a realty specialist supporting the district offices in Winnemucca, Carson City, and Wells. They are backlogged in renewing right of way (ROW) permits with 30-year expiration periods, and since she used to do this exact work, her expertise (and oftentimes, work on the original permit 30 years ago) is a huge asset. These permits are for things like power and gas lines, water lines, landowners’ driveways, cell towers, etc. on federal land. Penny reviews the case file and ensures she is updated on any new rules and regulations that apply to this work. The holder of the ROW permit might already be aware that they have to renew it and have applied for renewal, or if they are unaware, Penny drafts a letter for the BLM to send to the holder informing them of the requirement. She then sends the casefile to federal realty specialists for further review, processing, and issuance of the permit.
In addition to her realty work, Penny assists with NEPA compliance. Since she was a project manager of EIS teams in the past, she assists the BLM by reviewing current NEPA documents for compliance, consistency, and completeness with a special focus on her fields of expertise like socioeconomics and archaeology.
Penny’s favorite parts of being an ESP enrollee are the part-time schedule. She’s passionate about her work but appreciates that she only works 20 hours per week so cannot overcommit herself. She still has plenty of time for the important things in life, like visiting her sister in Colorado. She also loves that she stays in contact with her former coworkers and friends at the BLM. Penny appreciates that she can still make a difference in the agency she loves using her many years of expertise.