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Home News October 21, 2013
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) hosted a one-day overview of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act for Indian tribes in Palm Springs, CA, on September 20, 2013. Through the BLM-ACHP partnership, the ACHP liaison to the BLM, Nancy Brown, provided the training free of charge to tribal representatives involved in projects proposed for the BLM California Desert District. Thirty participants from 13 tribes took advantage of the opportunity to learn more about the Section 106 process, which requires consideration of historic properties and tribal consultation for projects proposed on federally owned land, as well as projects that are federally permitted, licensed, and assisted. The topic is particularly relevant due to the many renewable energy projects being processed in Southern California.
The training provided information on Section 106’s four-step process, when tribes can expect to be contacted, and how tribal consultation informs the process. The differences between a Memorandum of Agreement and a Programmatic Agreement were explained, and discussion included approaches to resolution of adverse effects. The discussion was enriched by the attendance of eight BLM managers and staff, in addition to a representative from the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the California Energy Commission. The BLM staff was able to address internal procedures and processes for handling applications, as well as BLM’s compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. One tribal representative noted the benefits of BLM inviting the tribes to participate in the pre-application meeting with the proponent, which allows them to have a very early opportunity to discuss the proposal before it is formally submitted.
Mark Purdy, the BLM California Desert District’s tribal liaison, thanked Ms. Brown for conducting the workshop on behalf of the BLM. He added, “The candid conversations with tribal representatives about 106 and BLM processes were invaluable. Having open conversations like we had can be a challenge without a third party perspective present, so it was extremely effective to have you there.” The BLM and ACHP offered a similar workshop in 2012 in El Centro, CA, for tribes the agency works with there, and due to the success of that training and to tribal requests, this second training was offered.