The Bureau of Land Management historic preservation program took an important step forward on Feb. 9, 2012, when a major revision to the national Programmatic Agreement (nPA) was signed at the business meeting of the ACHP. On hand were the signatories, left to right, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers President Ruth Pierpont, Clement Price ACHP Vice Chairman, BLM Director Bob Abbey, ACHP Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson and ACHP Executive Director John Fowler.
The nPA governs BLM’s activities on federal, state, and private lands that may impact historic properties. The agreement ensures that protocols developed with each state are subject to the new provisions and clarifies how BLM will consult with Indian tribes and other consulting parties on activities that could affect historic properties, including those historic properties of traditional religious and cultural significance to tribes. While the revised agreement enhances the consultation role of tribes, it does not apply to tribal lands. The revision emphasizes the requirement for BLM to consult with Indian tribes in the context of an ongoing government-to-government relationship, to obtain their views on the potential effects on historic properties of significance to Indian tribes. It encourages the development of tribe-specific consultation protocols. It authorizes BLM to maintain protocols with State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) that achieve efficiency and consistency within a state. In early 2014, the signatory parties executed an amendment to the nPA that provided BLM with an additional year to complete protocols with their individual SHPOs, extending the deadline from Feb. 9, 2014, to Feb. 9, 2015.