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Home arrowNews arrowACHP Issues Program Comment for Disposal of Navy vessels

ACHP Issues Program Comment for Disposal of Navy vessels

March 8, 2010 – The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has issued a Program Comment, pursuant to 36 CFR 800.14(e), to the U.S. Navy for the disposal of its vessels that are obsolete or no longer needed for Navy missions and have been stricken from the Naval Vessel Register (NVR). Navy vessels that have been stricken from the NVR are those that have been both decommissioned (taken out of service and crew reassigned) and inactivated (will not be retained for potential reuse).

Under Section 800.14(e) of the regulations, agencies can request the ACHP to provide a Program Comment on a particular category of undertakings in lieu of conducting individual reviews of each individual undertaking under such category, as set forth in 36 CFR 800.4 through 800.7. An agency can meet its Section 106 responsibilities for considering the effects of particular aspects of those undertakings on historic properties by following the steps set forth in the Program Comment.

Naval vessels are an unusual type of historic property, in that they are mobile assets that are put into harm's way and remain in active service for typically less than fifty years. Because naval vessels have a limited useful life, each year the Navy determines which vessels should be decommissioned from active service. The Navy is unable to retain vessels once they have been stricken from the NVR due to the inherent high costs involved and mission conflict. However, the Navy has an active Ship Donation Program that allows for the conveyance and preservation of select historic vessels to non-profit organizations. The program comment is intended to aid the Navy by making historic eligibility determinations by the time the vessel is decommissioned (and thus to be made potentially available for the ship donation program), rather than when the vessel's final disposition is decided.

The ACHP sought public input on the Program Comment. Most of the public input centered on the need to keep the SHPOs better informed regarding the Navy’s statements of eligibility or non eligibility of the vessels to be decommissioned in the following year and when the Navy would strike those historic vessels from the Naval Vessel Register and dispose of them. Other comments asked for clarification of various issues, such as whether the applicability of the program comment is limited to floating vessels (it is) and whether the program comment would preclude the disposition of vessels for recycling (it does not). After the close of the comment period, the ACHP staff met with their Navy counterparts to address the comments and make edits as appropriate.

On March 5, 2010, the ACHP voted to issue the Program Comment. It went into effect that day. A copy of the issued Program Comment can be found here.

Please address all questions concerning this Program Comment to Dr. Tom McCulloch, Office of Federal Agency Programs, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Suite 803, Washington, DC 20004. Fax (202) 606-8647. You may submit electronic comments to: tmcculloch@achp.gov.

Updated March 15, 2010

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