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Home arrowNews arrowDecember 20, 2011

BLM National Programmatic Agreement Improves Consultation

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a final draft of the revised national Programmatic Agreement (PA) between BLM, the ACHP and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO). The PA, which will replace the 1997 BLM national PA, has been revised to improve consultation with Indian tribes and ensure consistency with the National Historic Preservation Act's implementing regulations at 36 CFR Part 800 as revised in 2004. The three parties anticipate the agreement will be signed in February 2012.

This final draft of the PA enhances the role of tribal governments, consulting parties, and the public in the BLM project review process. It discusses the role of tribes in the Section 106 process and incorporates steps to foster BLM communication with tribes, which may result in separate agreements between BLM and individual tribes. The final draft includes a commitment to identify consulting parties and invite them to participate in the Section 106 process, as well as seek and consider the views of the public. While respecting this consultation process, the final draft strives to maintain the types of administrative efficiencies that were established in the original 1997 PA. To make the PA clearer and easier to use, the final draft spells out guidance from relevant BLM handbooks and manuals. The 1997 PA incorporated the information by reference.

The BLM letter announcing the release of this final draft PA can be found at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/2011/december/NR_12_16_2011.html. The link includes the final draft of the PA and the BLM's responses to comments received on previous versions of the document. For questions regarding tribal issues and the PA, parties are encouraged to contact BLM's National Tribal Coordinator, Jerry Cordova, at 202/912-7245 or jcordova@blm.gov. For all other questions regarding the PA, BLM's Preservation Officer Robin Hawks should be contacted at 202/912-7241 or rhawks@blm.gov.

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