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Intersection of Transmission Line with Regional and Tribal Concerns Results in Comprehensive Agreement for Way Forward
Agreement Reached for Four-State, 728-Mile Transmission Line
The proposed TransWest Express Transmission Line would move energy from Wyoming through Colorado and Utah, ending in southern Nevada, and provide power for up to 1.8 million homes in the Southwest each year. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been consulting with more than 80 parties since 2012 in order to take effects on historic properties from this lengthy transmission line into account. On October 18, 2016, the ACHP signed the Programmatic Agreement (PA) that resulted from the consultation, completing the execution of the agreement.
The PA effectively addresses direct, indirect, and cumulative effects on historic properties. Building on the methodologies for assessing indirect effects done on previous transmission projects, this agreement reflects the most up-to-date thinking about addressing visual effects in landscape-scale projects (see Appendix C).
The BLM's outreach to the many interested parties in the four-state area is also of note. The agency invited 53 Indian tribes to participate in consultation, including two tribes whose reservation boundaries were crossed by the preferred alignment. Sidebar discussions between the project proponent, TransWest Express LLC, and the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation led to a joint press release about the proactive hiring of qualified tribal members for construction jobs, a job fair prior to the start of construction, and a career fair for high school students highlighting energy-related jobs. Prior to the ACHP's signature, 34 parties signed the PA, including four Indian tribes, indicating unusually broad consensus about the agreement. View the full Programmatic Agreement here.
PA for Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan Now In Effect
The Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) was developed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to help locate renewable energy development in the most appropriate locations on 10 million acres of land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in southern California. A Programmatic Agreement (PA) to address how historic properties will be taken into account in that process was executed on February 5, 2016, by BLM State Director Jerome E. Perez, California State Historic Preservation Officer Julianne Polanco, and Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. This agreement marks a significant step forward in the BLM's efforts to incorporate historic preservation values in its planning efforts.Read the Programmatic Agreement here.
The DRECP consultation process itself was widely seen as a success due to the BLM's efforts in reaching out to and incorporating input from more than 350 consulting parties, including Indian tribes; local, state, and federal government entities; historic preservation interest groups; environmental interest groups; and the renewable energy industry. The dialog that resulted from consultations has led to an unusual degree of satisfaction with the outcomes in the PA, which provide a review process to consider effects to significant historical and archaeological resources for all future renewable energy projects proposed within the DRECP area. The satisfaction with the PA is illustrated by the signature of 15 consulting parties-including four Indian tribes-prior to the date it was executed by the signatories.
This effort is another in a growing list of BLM large-scale planning efforts where historic properties are considered at the beginning of the planning process. Other examples include the development of the West Wide Energy Corridors, Solar Energy Zones and West Mojave Travel Plan.
BLM, CA SHPO, and ACHP Finalize Travel Plan PA
Signatories celebrate after signing this ground-breaking PA. Front row: Julianne Polanco, Wayne Donaldson, Jim Kenna. Back row: Ashley Blythe, Jim Shearer, Brendon Greenaway
A programmatic agreement (PA) for the West Mojave Plan Environmental Impact Statement and the West Mojave Route Network Project was executed on September 30, 2015, in Sacramento, California. The PA was the result of intense consultations led by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to efficiently address the off-highway vehicle route network in a travel plan that will govern 15,000 miles of routes in the West Mojave Desert. The objectives of the BLM's West Mojave Plan Amendment (WEMO) are to create a sustainable travel and transportation system that provides access to public lands for a range of uses which compliment specific management goals, including protecting historic properties.
This PA lays the groundwork for future BLM consideration of effects of the agency's travel planning decisions on historic properties and will be a model for future discussions. It balances the need to identify and protect historic properties with the expectation that travel will be authorized on many routes that have already been used for decades without official designation as travel routes. The consultations brought together a large and diverse group of 64 consulting parties, including the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO); Indian tribes; other local, state, and federal government entities; off-highway vehicle clubs; historic trails and rock art associations; and landowners. It allowed an important dialog between these parties to occur, which facilitated a better understanding among the groups and should improve protection of the area's cultural resources in the future. Read the PA.
The WEMO PA was executed by Julianne Polanco, the recently appointed California SHPO; Milford Wayne Donaldson, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and former California SHPO; and James G. Kenna, BLM California State Director, signing just two days before his retirement. The Section 106 consultations were led by BLM's Ashley Blythe, with assistance from Jim Shearer and Tony Overly. The California SHPO's consultation efforts were led by Brendon Greenaway, and the ACHP's by Nancy Brown, liaison to the BLM.
BLM completes Revision of all State Protocols
The ACHP is pleased to note that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has completed revisions of all state Protocols, which define the relationship between a state's BLM staff and an individual State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO). BLM's revised National Programmatic Agreement (nPA), which was executed with the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and the ACHP in 2012 and amended in 2014, called for the BLM-SHPO Protocols to be updated by Feb. 9, 2015 to reflect the changes in the nPA. Since October 2014, revisions to Protocols have been completed in Arizona, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oregon, with Utah completing a similar document for small-scale undertakings. These Protocols spell out how BLM offices will work with the SHPO: cooperating on preservation planning and public outreach efforts, sharing information, meeting reporting requirements, and consulting on Section 106 undertakings. The Protocols do not alter BLM's responsibilities to consult with Indian tribes or other consulting parties under Section 106.
State-by-State Recently Executed Protocols:
Articles on Revised Protocols Executed Earlier in 2014:
Alaska SHPO and BLM Sign Revised Protocol
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Alaska announced this week that Judy Bittner, Alaska State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and Bud Cribley, BLM-Alaska's State Director, signed a new Protocol for Managing Cultural Resources on Land Administered by the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska. This is an outgrowth of the BLM's National Programmatic Agreement (nPA), revised in 2012, that called for the BLM-SHPO Protocols to be updated to reflect the changes in the nPA. The Protocol spells out how BLM's offices in Alaska will work with the SHPO, cooperating on preservation planning and public outreach efforts, sharing information, reporting requirements, and consulting on Section 106 undertakings. The agreement also allows BLM, in certain limited instances, to proceed in undertakings without further SHPO consultation. These include routine building, trail, and road maintenance; activities in extensively disturbed locations; and permitting activities such as hunting guides, where land disturbance is not anticipated.
California and Nevada Sign Protocol
The California State Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) successfully executed a revised Protocol with the State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) from California and Nevada on February 10, 2014. Both state SHPOs are party to the agreement because the California BLM administers land in CA and NV. The Protocol guides the way in which the BLM will consult with the SHPOs, including creating a list of exemptions when BLM does not need to consult and establishing new reporting requirements for the BLM website. To see the full document and appendices, click here. California BLM is the second state to revise its BLM-SHPO Protocol to reflect the changes made in the BLM's National Programmatic Agreement (nPA), which was updated in 2012.
BLM and State Sign Historical Preservation Agreement
The Bureau of Land Management, Gov. Matt Mead and the State Historic Preservation Office recently signed a revised agreement outlining how the state and federal government consults to manage cultural resources. Federal law requires the BLM to consult with the State Historic Preservation Office about how a project will affect archaeological and historic sites on public land. The revised protocol brings more clarity and consistency to how the consultation process occurs, and provides for increased participation from American Indian tribes and the public, according to a release from the state. For more information, or to view the agreement go to http://on.doi.gov/1naDC1Z.
Idaho BLM and SHPO Sign Agreement
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Idaho has announced that Janet Gallimore, Idaho State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), and Tim Murphy, BLM-Idaho's Acting State Director, signed a new State Protocol Agreement on how the BLM will meet its responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act. This is an outgrowth of the BLM's National Programmatic Agreement (nPA), revised in 2012 and amended in 2014, that calls for the BLM-SHPO Protocols to be updated to reflect the changes in the nPA. The Protocol spells out how BLM's offices in Idaho will work with the SHPO, cooperating on preservation planning and public outreach efforts, sharing information, reporting requirements, and consulting on Section 106 undertakings. The agreement also allows BLM, in certain limited instances, to proceed in undertakings without further SHPO consultation. These include routine undertakings such as revegetation by broadcast seeding, maintenance of existing roads where disturbance outside the existing road will not occur, and issuance of special use permits where land disturbance is not anticipated.
BLM’s National Programmatic Agreement
The Bureau of Land Management historic preservation program took an important step forward on Feb. 9, 2012, when a major revision to the national Programmatic Agreement (nPA) was signed at the business meeting of the ACHP. On hand were the signatories, BLM Director Bob Abbey, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers President Ruth Pierpont, and ACHP Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson, FAIA. The nPA governs BLM’s activities on federal, state, and private lands that may impact historic properties. The agreement ensures that protocols developed with each state are subject to the new provisions and clarifies how BLM will consult with Indian tribes and other consulting parties on activities that could affect historic properties, including those historic properties of traditional religious and cultural significance to tribes. While the revised agreement enhances the consultation role of tribes, it does not apply to tribal lands. The revision emphasizes the requirement for BLM to consult with Indian tribes in the context of an ongoing government-to-government relationship, to obtain their views on the potential effects on historic properties of significance to Indian tribes. It encourages the development of tribe-specific consultation protocols. It authorizes BLM to maintain protocols with State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) that achieve efficiency and consistency within a state. In early 2014, the signatory parties executed an amendment to the nPA that provided BLM with an additional year to complete protocols with their individual SHPOs, extending the deadline from Feb. 9, 2014, to Feb. 9, 2015.
BLM Featured in Section 106 Success Stories
Updated April 7, 2017