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On March 25, 2010, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) notified the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) of its intent to develop a prototype programmatic agreement (PPA) in accordance with 36 CFR Part 800.14(b)(4) of the regulations implementing Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). After subsequently consulting with States, Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs), FEMA has submitted a revised draft to the ACHP for consideration. The designation of a PPA by the ACHP would create a framework for FEMA to develop state by state agreements that would expedite Section 106 compliance for disaster recovery activities. It will also address concerns raised by State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs), Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs), Indian Tribes and NHOs regarding the need for flexibility when coordinating historic preservation reviews. Background information about PPAs is posted on the ACHP’s website at http://www.achp.gov/docs/guidance_prototype_agreements.html.
In order to build on its successes in negotiating existing statewide programmatic agreements and to identify major issues that still required FEMA review, prior to drafting a PPA, FEMA led listening sessions at the 2010 annual meeting of the National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO) and met with tribal representatives in January 2011. In addition, FEMA staff consulted with select SHPO representatives in late summer of 2010 to discuss the content of a draft PPA. Internally, FEMA convened a working group of environmental, historic preservation, and program staff to discuss patterns and trends of Section 106 reviews. In August 2013, FEMA submitted to the ACHP the draft PPA for review and comment. ACHP’s comments are integrated into the draft PPA that is being made available for stakeholder review as the views of participants in the Section 106 review process are important to FEMA and ACHP.
It should be noted that the provisions of the draft PPA were recently used by FEMA when negotiating the PAs for New Jersey (NJ) and New York (NY) in response to Hurricane Sandy. These PAs were recognized as useful planning tools by consulting parties as they expedited Section 106 reviews and facilitated timely consultation with SHPOs, Indian tribes and state emergency management agencies. A noteworthy provision of these PAs, which has also been incorporated into the attached PPA, is the stipulation that allows other federal agencies to utilize the PA to satisfy their Section 106 responsibilities for response and recovery activities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has used this provision for the review of Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery activities in NJ and NY to avoid duplication of reviews (Stipulation I.A.7).
The Sandy Recovery Improvement Act of 2013 amends the Stafford Act to allow Indian tribes to request emergency declarations and receive funds directly from FEMA similar to States. The ACHP believes that once designated as a PPA, this agreement could be a useful tool for Indian tribes to request mission assignments to direct federal agencies to help perform work related to disaster response and recovery projects (Stipulation I.A.3). Also, tribes will be able to identify appropriate representatives based on tribal standards/qualifications when reviewing undertakings that affect historic properties of religious and cultural significance to them (Stipulation I.B.1.b).
In accordance with the ACHP’s guidance on developing PPAs, FEMA has consulted States, Indian tribes National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), NATHPO, and United South & Eastern Tribes, Inc. (USET). While the responsibility to consult stakeholders remains with FEMA, the ACHP would welcome your views on the adequacy of this PPA to address FEMA programs. Your views will be considered as the ACHP determines whether to designate this PPA.
If you would like a detailed summary of stakeholders that participated in the drafting of the PPA, this information can be requested from FEMA by contacting John Ketchum, FEMA Federal Preservation Officer, at 202-646-3271, or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit comments to Ms. Meghan Hesse, FEMA detailee to the ACHP, at email@example.com by COB October 25, 2013.