Program Comments are an alternate method for federal agencies to meet their Section 106 obligations. Program comments are one of five program alternatives which allow agencies to tailor Section 106 to meet the needs of the agency [see §800.14 for a description of all the program alternatives]. Using the option of Program comments are intended to give the ACHP flexibility to issue comments on a federal program or class of undertakings in lieu of commenting on such undertakings on a case-by-case basis. The ACHP may also issue program comments at the request of a federal agency or on its own initiative.Section 800.14(e) of the ACHP’s regulations sets forth the process for issuing such comments. Federal agencies must consider, but are not obligated to follow, the ACHP’s comments. If an agency does not follow the ACHP’s comments, the ACHP may withdraw them, in which case the agency will continue to comply with Section 106 in its usual case-by-case basis.
The following table identifies the steps in the program comment process as outlined in the ACHP’s regulations. The left hand column provides requirements in the program comment process while the right hand column provides corresponding ACHP recommendations to federal agencies. These recommendations help the ACHP in reviewing an agency’s needs for program comments, planning consultation, reducing delays in issuing program comments, and ensuring adequate monitoring of issued program comments.Following the table, the ACHP has developed a series of questions and answers regarding the program comment process. Answers to questions are based on the requirements found in the ACHP’s regulations, past experience in approving program comments and recommendations that have been developed based on this past experience. The ACHP welcomes additional questions that users may have on program comments and this guidance. Questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following subject line: “RE: ACHP Program Comment Guidance.”