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Home Historic Preservation Programs & Officers Federal Multiagency: National Contingency Plan Introduction NCP PA Text
Programmatic Agreement on Protection of
Historic Properties During Emergency Response
Under the National Oil and Hazardous Substances
Pollution Contingency Plan
Table of Contents
- Legal Authorities Protecting Historic Properties
- Definition of "Historic Property"
- Responsibility for Historic Properties Consideration
- Pre-Incident Planning
- Federal Lead Emergency Response
- Regional PAs
- Authority, Effective Date, Withdrawal, Amendment
Appendix I: Categorical Exclusion ListReleases or Spills Categorically Excluded from Additional National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Compliance
Appendix II: Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Archeology and Historic Preservation
- The signatory Federal Departments and Agencies enter into this Programmatic Agreement
(PA) to ensure that historic properties are taken into account in their planning for and
conduct of the emergency response under the National Oil and Hazardous Substances
Pollution Contingency Plan (NCP). 40 CFR Section Part 300. The National Conference of State
Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) is also a signatory, on behalf of State Historic
Preservation Officers (SHPOs), to facilitate Federal agency ability to develop and execute
a uniform nationwide approach for considering and treating historic properties before and
during emergency response. In the event an individual SHPO is unable to respond, the
Agency or Department may contact the NCSHPO or the Advisory Council on Historic
Preservation (ACHP) to consider alternatives and receive assistance. The signatories agree
that their Departments/Agencies will follow this PA or, to meet regional needs, develop
regional PAs that are not inconsistent with this PA and the National Historic Preservation
Act of 1966, as amended (NHPA), P.L. 89-665, 16 U.S.C. Section 470 et seq., and the
regulations promulgated thereto.
- The NCP does not provide specific guidance for taking historic properties into account
during emergency response to an actual or threatened release of a hazardous substance,
pollutant or contaminant or the discharge of oil or other pollutants (hereinafter, a release
or spill). Also, emergency provisions contained in the regulations implementing Section
106 of the NHPA do not directly address requirements for such emergency responses.
Accordingly, for the purpose of this PA, an "emergency" shall be deemed to exist
whenever circumstances dictate that a response action to a release or spill must be taken
so expeditiously that normal consideration of the Section 106 process is not reasonably
- The purpose of this PA is to provide an alternative process to ensure appropriate
consideration of historic properties within the meaning of the NHPA during emergency
response to a release or spill. This PA does not address the consultation procedures under
Section 106 of the NHPA once that phase of the response action has ended.
- In carrying out duties under the NCP, including the priorities of protecting public health
and safety, the Federal On-Scene Coordinator (OSC) may have to make emergency
response decisions that adversely affect historic properties. By following this PA,
however, the Federal OSC will be making an informed decision that takes historic
property information into account prior to authorizing actions that might affect such
- The responsibility of the Federal OSC in protecting public health and safety is paramount.
That mission is a difficult one involving problems that cannot be anticipated and calling for
judgment on the part of the Federal OSC. Nothing in this PA changes the national
response priorities, nor does it change the effect of existing law.
- 36 CFR Section 800.13 provides, inter alia, that:
An Agency Official may elect to fulfill an agency's Section 106 responsibilities for a particular
program, a large or complex project, or a class of undertakings...through a Programmatic
36 CFR Section 800.13(e) provides that:
An approved Programmatic Agreement satisfies the Agency's Section 106 responsibilities for all
individual undertakings carried out in accordance with the agreement until it expires or is
During such time as the ACHP and the NCSHPO are signatories, compliance with this PA by a
Federal OSC will be deemed to constitute compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA during
pre-incident planning and emergency response activities.
- LEGAL AUTHORITIES PROTECTING HISTORIC PROPERTIES
- National Historic Preservation Act
- In 1966, Congress instituted a policy to preserve the Nation's cultural and historic heritage by
enacting the NHPA. The NHPA implementing regulations most pertinent to actual or threatened
releases of hazardous substances, pollutants or contaminants or oil spills are those of: 1) the
ACHP, an independent Federal agency that administers Section 106 of the NHPA through
procedures specified in 36 CFR Part 800, "Protection of Historic Properties," and 2) the
Department of the Interior (DOI) regulations at 36 CFR Part 60, National Register of Historic
- Section 106 of the NHPA provides that Federal agencies are to take into account the effects of
"Federal or federally assisted undertakings" on historic properties that are listed in or eligible for
inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. It further affords the ACHP an opportunity
to comment on the undertaking.(1)
- This PA does not address other Federal laws defining and protecting historic properties, such as:
- The Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), 16 U.S.C. Section 470aa et seq., which provides
for the protection of archeological sites and other resources. ARPA establishes criminal and civil
penalties for actual or attempted illegal excavation or removal of or damage to archeological
resources; illegal trafficking in archeological resources; and knowingly causing another to commit
an ARPA violation;
- The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), 25 U.S.C. Section 3001 et
seq., which provides for the protection of Native American human remains and other defined
classes of cultural items. NAGPRA also establishes criminal penalties for illegal trafficking in
these cultural items. 18 U.S.C. Section 1170;
- The Antiquities Act of 1906, 16 U.S.C. Section 433 et seq., which establishes criminal penalties for
non-permitted appropriation, excavation, injury, or destruction of any historic or prehistoric ruin or
monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Federal Government;
- The National Marine Sanctuaries Act (also known as Title III of the Marine Protection, Research
and Sanctuaries Act, 16 U.S.C. Section 1431, et seq., which establishes civil penalties for destruction of,
loss of, or injury to a sanctuary resource, including historic properties. In addition to fines, parties
can also be held responsible for response costs; damages including replacement cost, restoration
cost, or acquisition of an equivalent sanctuary resource, and lost-use value of that resource and
- Many States also have laws defining and protecting historic properties. Regional PAs may
consider State laws relevant to the historic properties in the region, to the extent they are not
inconsistent with Federal law.
- DEFINITION OF "HISTORIC PROPERTY"
- The term "historic property" is defined in the NHPA as: "any prehistoric or historic district,
site, building, structure, or object included in, or eligible for inclusion on the National Register";
such term includes artifacts, records, and remains which are related to such district, site, building,
structure, or object. 16 U.S.C. Section 470(w)(5).
- Criteria for listing a property in the National Register of Historic Places are found at 36 CFR
Part 60. The statutory definition of historic properties and the established criteria determine
whether a historic property needs to be considered during emergency response. A historic
property need not be formally listed on the National Register to receive NHPA protection, it need
only meet the National Register criteria (i.e., be eligible for listing in the National Register).
Section VI.C.2, below, discusses determining the National Register eligibility of historic
properties during emergency response.
- RESPONSIBILITY FOR HISTORIC PROPERTIES CONSIDERATION
- For the purpose of this PA, the Federal OSC, as the Federal official designated to coordinate
and direct response actions, is responsible for ensuring that historic properties are appropriately
considered in planning and during emergency response.
- Planning Support/Coordination
- The NCP, at 40 CFR Section 300.210(c), provides that Area Contingency Plans (ACPs) are to be
developed under the direction of a Federal OSC. The Federal OSC shall ensure that ACPs include
the information on consideration of historic properties and are developed in consultation with the
parties specified in Section V of this agreement.
- Federal agencies with expertise in protection of historic properties available to assist the
Federal OSC during preparedness planning include the Department of the Interior,(2) the ACHP,
and other Federal land-managing agencies for properties on their lands. The primary source of
information on historic properties in an area, particularly properties not on Federal lands, is the
SHPO, who is the official appointed by the Governor as part of the State's participation in NHPA
programs. Other parties that may assist are listed in V.A. of this PA.
- The National Program Center (NPC) of the National Park Service, consistent with its authority
and responsibilities, will provide coordination of appropriate expertise to Area Cornmittees and
Regional Response Teams (RRTs) for pre-incident planning activities through the United States
Coast Guard (Coast Guard) and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The
NPC will coordinate through the Commandant of the Coast Guard and the Office of Emergency
and Remedial Response of EPA.
- Prior to finalizing or subsequently revising ACPs, the Federal OSC will provide a draft of
sections addressing historic properties identification and protection to the parties identified in
Section V.A. of this PA. Each party shall have 30 calendar days from receipt to review the draft
and provide comments to the Federal OSC. Should any reviewing party file a timely objection to
the draft or any portion thereof, the Federal OSC will consult with the objecting party to resolve
the objection. If the objection cannot be resolved, the Federal OSC will provide documentation of
the dispute to the ACHP and request their comments. The ACHP comments will be taken into
account by the Federal OSC in finalizing or revising ACPs.
- Emergency Response Support/Coordination
- To ensure historic properties are considered during emergency response, the Federal OSC must
have access to reliable and timely expertise and support in order to make timely and informed
decisions about historic properties.
- A Federal OSC may obtain historic properties expertise and support m any one of several ways.
These include implementing an agreement with State or Federal agencies that have historic
properties specialists on staff (see IV.B.2), executing a contract with experts identified in ACPs or
hiring historic properties specialists on staff. Historic properties specialists made available under
contract or hired must:
- Meet the qualifications listed in the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for
Archeology and Historic Preservation, 48 Federal Register 44738-39 (September 29, 1983); see
Appendix II; and
- Be available to assist the Federal OSC whenever needed.
- PRE-INCIDENT PLANNING
- As part of pre-incident planning activities, Federal OSCs (or the OSC's management) shall consult
with the SHPO, Federal land-managing agencies, appropriate Indian tribes and appropriate Native
Hawaiian organizations, as defined in Section 301 of the NHPA, and the other interested parties
identified during pre-incident planning, as described in Section IV.B of this PA, to:
- Identify historic properties.
- Identify: 1) historic properties that have been listed in or determined eligible for inclusion in the
National Register of Historic Places that might be affected by response to a release or spill; and 2)
unsurveyed areas where there is a high potential for the presence of historic properties.
- Identify exclusions. These may be specific geographic areas or types of areas where, should a
release or spill occur, historic properties are unlikely to be affected. This includes the specifics
listed in Appendix I and any additional exclusions agreed on by the signatories to this or a
regional PA. Incidents in areas covered by exclusions would not require consideration for protection of historic properties, except as provided in Section VI.A.1.(3)
Develop a list of parties that are to be notified in the event of an incident in a non-excluded
area. This list should include the SHPO for the State in which the incident occurred, Federal and
Indian tribal land owners or land managers and Hawaiian Native organizations in the area where
the incident occurred, if any.
- Develop emergency response strategies that can be reasonably anticipated to protect historic
properties. The Federal OSC shall ensure that response strategies, including personnel and
equipment needed, are developed to protect or help protect historic properties at risk. This
includes consideration of the sensitivity of historic properties to emergency response measures
proposed in ACPs or other response plans, including chemical countermeasures and in situ
- The Federal OSC shall ensure that historic properties protection strategies can be carried out by:
- Identifying who will be responsible for providing expertise on historic properties matters to the
Federal OSC during emergency response. Depending on the size and complexity of the incident, a
Federal OSC historic properties specialist or a historic properties technical advisory group
convened by the specialist may be the most effective mechanism;
- Providing information on availability of appropriate training for historic property specialists to
participate in emergency response, ~g., Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response
(HAZWOPER) training, familiarity with all relevant contingency plans and response management
systems, etc.; and
- Working with the parties listed in section V.A. to obtain information for response personnel on
laws protecting and activities that may potentially affect historic properties.
- FEDERAL LEAD EMERGENCY RESPONSE
- The Federal OSC shall determine whether the exclusions described in section V.A.l.b. apply.
- If the incident affects only excluded areas, no further actions are necessary under this PA,
- Previously unidentified historic properties are discovered during emergency response; or
- The SHPO (or appropriate Federal, Indian, or Hawaiian Native organizations) notifies the
Federal OSC that a categorically excluded release or spill may have the potential to affect a
significant historic property.
- If the area where a release or spill occurs has not been excluded, in the cases specified in
Section VI.A. l .a or b, if the Federal OSC is unsure whether an exclusion applies, or if the
specifics of the incident change so that it no longer fits into one of the exclusions, the remaining
steps in this Section shall be followed.
- Activate the agreed-upon mechanism for addressing historic properties, including notification
of the parties identified pursuant to Section V.A.2., and consultation with these parties concerning
the identification of historic properties that may be affected, assessing the potential effects of the
emergency response, and developing and implementing emergency response activities. These
requirements for notification and consultation shall be satisfied if the Federal OSC makes
reasonable and timely efforts to notify and consult the parties listed in this Section. Thereafter
there shall be additional consultation to the extent practicable.
- Verify identification of historic properties.
- Consult with the SHPO, land owners and/or land managers, appropriate Indian tribes and
Native Hawaiian organizations, and other interested parties identified in pre-incident planning to
verify the location of historic properties identified during the planning process and determine if
other historic properties exist in areas identified in V .A. l .a.2. that might be affected by the
incident or the emergency response.
- If newly discovered or unanticipated potential historic properties are encountered during
emergency response actions, the Federal OSC shall either: 1) consult with the SHPO (or
appropriate Federal, Indian, or Hawaiian Native organizations) to determine if the properties are
eligible for inclusion in the National Register, or 2) treat the properties as eligible.
- Assess potential effects of emergency response strategies on historic properties. Such
assessment shall be done in consultation with the parties listed in Section V A.
- The potential adverse effects of releases or spills and of emergency response on historic properties
may include, but are not limited to:
- Physical destruction, damage, or alteration of all or part of the historic property;
- Isolation of the property from or alteration of the character of the property's setting when that
character contributes to the property's qualification for the National Register; and
- Introduction of visual, audible, or atmospheric conditions that are out of character with the
property or alter its setting.
- Emergency response actions that may have adverse effects on historic properties include, but are
not limited to:
- The placement of physical barriers to deter the spread of released or spilled substances and the
excavation of trenches to stop the spread of the released or spilled substances; and
- Establishing camps for personnel, constructing materials storage and staging yards, excavating
borrow pits for fill materials, and constructing alignments for road access.
- Direct physical contact of historic properties with released or spilled substances may result in one
or more of the following: 1) inability to radiocarbon date the contaminated resources; 2)
acceleration of deterioration of an object or structure; or 3) prevention of identification of historic
properties in the field. As a result, important scientific, historic, and cultural information may be
- Make and implement decisions about appropriate actions. The Federal OSC shall take into
account professional comments received from the parties listed in Section V.A. in making
decisions that might affect historic properties.
- Emergency response strategies delineated in plans may need to be reviewed based on
information available at the time of an actual incident. The purpose of this review is to evaluate
whether implementation of the strategies in the plan might, for the emergency response action that
is underway, adversely affect historic properties and, if so, how such effects might be avoided or
- Make arrangements for suspected artifact theft to be reported to the SHPO, law enforcement
officials, and the land owner/manager.
- Arrange for disposition of records and collected materials.
- Ensure the confidentiality of historic property site location information, consistent with
applicable laws, so as to minimize opportunities for vandalism or theft.
- Whenever the Federal OSC determines the requirements of this Section cannot be satisfied
concurrently with the paramount requirement of protecting public health and safety, the
determination shall be documented in a writing including the name and title of the person who
made the determination; the date of determination; and a brief description of the competing values
between public health and safety and carrying on the provisions of this Section. Notwithstanding
such a determination, if conditions subsequently permit, the Federal OSC shall endeavor to
comply with the requirements of this Section to the extent reasonably practicable.
- REGIONAL PAs
- Regional PAs may be developed as provided in I.A. as an alternative to this national PA.
Regional PAs are to include the provisions of this PA and may include appropriate additional
provisions responsive to regional concerns.
- A regional PA should be signed by appropriate regional-level Federal officials, State agencies,
tribal officials and the ACHP.
- Either this PA or a PA developed at a regional level may be adopted by the RRT and
incorporated or referenced in Regional Contingency Plans (RCPs), 36 CFR Section 300.210(b), and
ACPs in the region.
- AUTHORITY, EFFECTIVE DATE, WITHDRAWAL, AMENDMENT
- The signatories below are authorized to sign the PA on behalf of their respective Department,
Agency or organization. This PA may be signed in counterparts.
- In order to allow sufficient time for pre-incident planning and other preparedness activities, this
PA shall not be become effective with respect to a signatory Department or Agency until ninety
(90) days after it has been signed on the Department's or Agency's behalf.
- Any signatory may withdraw from this PA by sending, through an official authorized to act in
this matter, written notice to all current signatories at least thirty (30) days in advance of the
effective date of withdrawal. The requirements contained in this PA will remain in full force and
effect with respect to remaining signatories.
- Nothing herein prevents the signatories from agreeing to amend this PA.
Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
June 4, 1997
National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers
May 13, 1997
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Acting Deputy Director, Office of Emergency and Remedial Response
May 23, 1997
U.S. Department of the Interior
Director, Office of Environmental Policy and Compliance
June 4, 1997
U.S. Department of Transportation, Coast Guard
Assistant Commandant for Marine Safety and Environmental Protection
May 13, 1997
National Park Service
Acting Deputy Director
August 7, 1997
U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Assistant Administrator for Ocean Services and Coastal Zone Management
July 3, 1997
U.S. Department of Energy
November 7, 1997
U.S. Department of Defense
Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Environmental Security)
November 3, 1997
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Under Secretary of Defense for Natural Resources and Environment
August 28, 1998
1) Section 106 of the NHPA provides, inter alia, as follows:
Effect of Federal undertakings upon property listed in National Register; comments by Advisory
Council on Historic Preservation
The head of any Federal agency having direct or indirect jurisdiction over a proposed Federal or federally
assisted undertaking in any State and the head of any Federal department or independent agency having
authority to license any undertaking shall, prior to approval of the expenditure of any Federal funds on the
undertaking or prior to the issuance of any license, as the case may be, take into account the effect of the
undertaking on any district, site, building, structure, or object that is included in or eligible for inclusion in
the National Register. The head of any such Federal agency shall afford the Advisory Council on Historic
Preservation ... a reasonable opportunity to comment with regard to such undertaking.
16 U.S.C. Section 470f.
2) 40 CFR Section 300 175(b)(9) reads, in pertinent part, as follows:
DOI may be contacted through Regional Environmental Officers (REOs), who are the designated members
of RRTs.... [B]ureaus and offices have relevant expertise as follows:
...(viii) National Park Service: General biological, natural, and cultural resource managers to evaluate,
measure, monitor and contain threats to park system lands and resources; archaeological and historical
expertise in protection, preservation, evaluation, impact mitigation, and restoration of cultural resources....
3) Response to spills or releases that involve non-excluded areas should be considered to have the potential
to adversely affect historic properties that are listed in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register.
APPENDIX I.CATEGORICAL EXCLUSION LIST
Releases or Spills Categorically Excluded from Additional
National Historic Preservation Act Section 106 Compliance
Releases/Spills onto (which stay on):
- Gravel pads
- Roads (gravel or paved, not including the undeveloped right-of-way)
- Parking areas (graded or paved)
- Dock staging areas less than 50 years old
- Gravel causeways
- Artificial gravel islands
- Drilling mats, pads, and/or berms
- Airport runways (improved gravel strips and/or paved runways)
Releases/Spills into (that stay in):
- Lined pits; e.g., drilling mud pits and reserve pits
- Water bodies where the release/spill will not: 1) reach land/submerged land; and 2) include
- emergency response activities with land/submerged land-disturbing components
- Borrow pits
- Concrete containment areas
- Gases (e.g., chlorine gas)
IMPORTANT NOTE TO FEDERAL OSC:
1) IF YOU ARE NOT SURE WHETHER A RELEASE
OR SPILL FITS INTO ONE OF THE CATEGORIES LISTED ABOVE;
2) IF AT ANY TIME, THE
SPECIFICS OF A RELEASE OR SPILL CHANGE SO IT NO LONGER FITS INTO ONE OF THE
CATEGORIES LISTED ABOVE;
3) IF THE SPILL IS GREATER THAN 100,000 GALLONS;
4) IF THE STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICER NOTIFIES YOU THAT A
CATEGORICALLY EXCLUDED RELEASE OR SPILL MAY HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO
AFFECT A HISTORIC PROPERTY
YOU OR YOUR REPRESENTATIVE MUST FOLLOW THE
SECTION VI OF THIS PA.
APPENDIX II.SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR'S STANDARDS
for Archeology and Historic Preservation
48 Federal Register 44738-39 (September 29, 1983)
Professional Qualifications Standards
The following requirements are those used by the National Park Service and have been previously published
in the Code of Federal Regulations 36 CFR Part 61. The qualifications define minimum education and
experience required to preform identification, evaluation, registration, and treatment activities. In some cases,
additional areas or levels of expertise may be needed depending on the complexity of the task and the nature
of the historic properties involved. In the following definitions, a year of full-time professional experience need
not consist of a continuous year of full-time work but may be made up of discontinuous periods of full-time
or part-time work adding up to the equivalent of a year of full-time experience.
The minimum professional qualifications in history are a graduate degree in history or closely related field; or
a bachelor's degree in history or closely related field plus one of the following:
- At least two years of full time experience in research, writing, teaching, interpretation, or the
demonstrable professional activity with an academic institution, historic organization or agency, museum,
or other professional institution; or
- Substantial contribution through research and publication to the body of scholarly knowledge in the field
The minimum professional qualifications in archeology are a graduate degree in archeology, anthropology, or
closely related field plus:
- At least one year of full-time professional experience or equivalent specialized training in
archeological research, administration or management;
- At least four months of supervised field and analytic experience in general North American
- Demonstrated ability to carry research to completion.
In addition to these minimum qualifications, a professional in prehistoric archeology shall have at least one year
of full-time professional experience at a supervisory level in the study of archeological resources of the
prehistoric period. A professional in historic archeology shall have at least one year of full-time professional
experience at a supervisory level in the study of archeological resources of the historic period.
- Architectural History
The minimum professional qualifications in architectural history are a graduate degree in architectural history,
art history, historic preservation, or closely related field, with course work in American architectural history;
or a bachelor's degree in architectural history, art history, historic preservation or closely related field plus one
of the following:
- At least two year of full-time experience in research, writing, or teaching in American architectural
history or restoration architecture with an academic institution, historical organization or agency,
museum. or other professional institution; or
- Substantial contribution through research and publication to the body of scholarly knowledge in
the field of American architectural history.
The minimum professional qualifications in architecture are a professional degree in architecture plus at
least two years of full-time experience in architecture; or State license to practice architecture.
- Historic Architecture
The minimum professional qualifications historic in architecture are a professional degree in architecture or
a State license to practice architecture, plus one of the following:
- At least one year of graduate study in architectural preservation, American architectural history,
preservation planning, or closely related field; or
- At least one year of full-time professional experience on historic preservation projects.
Such graduate study or experience shall include detailed investigations of historic structures, preparation of
historic structure research reports, and preparation of plans and specifications for preservation projects.
April 30, 2002
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