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Home arrowNews arrowACHP Issues Program Comment to Streamline Communication Facilities Construction and Modification

ACHP Issues Program Comment to Streamline Communication Facilities Construction and Modification

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) issued a Program Comment for the USDA Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) by unassembled vote on October 23, 2009.  The Program Comment relieves RUS, NTIA, or the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from conducting duplicate Section 106 reviews when these agencies assist a telecommunications project subject to review by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The initiative will help facilitate the deployment of $7.2 billion in Recovery Act funding for the expansion of access to broadband services. 

Under Section 800.14(e) of the regulations, agencies can request the ACHP issue a Program Comment on a particular category of undertakings in lieu of conducting individual reviews under the Section 106 regulations (36 CFR Part 800). 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. In response to ACHP’s request for comments on the proposed Program Comment, FEMA requested inclusion in the measure. FEMA also provides grants to telecommunications facilities subject to FCC review.

The Program Comment applies only to those undertakings reviewed under the FCC’s Nationwide Programmatic Agreement or Nationwide Programmatic Agreement for the Collocation of Wireless Antennas (NPAs).  Nothing in the Program Comment alters the FCC NPAs or the procedures through which State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs and THPOs), Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations, local governments, and other consulting parties consult about the effects of these undertakings. RUS, NTIA, and FEMA remain responsible for Section 106 reviews for undertakings that include components other than telecommunication facilities construction or modification subject to FCC review. However, RUS, NTIA, or FEMA will not have to consider the effects of the telecommunication facilities construction or modification portion reviewed under the FCC NPAs. 

The Program Comment is available here.

Updated November 23, 2009

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