WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation approved Emergency Situation Procedures the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will use to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response undertakings.

The ACHP authorized the procedures under 36 C.F.R. § 800.12(a) of the regulations implementing Section 106 for projects that respond to COVID-19 under the national emergency declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020; major disasters declared by President Trump for states; and other COVID-19 emergencies or disaster declarations that have already been issued by the President, a tribal government, or the governor of a state, or may be issued by any of them.

“This agreement is an important achievement in adapting the Section 106 review process to meet the unprecedented challenges federal agencies are facing during this crisis,” ACHP Chairman Aimee Jorjani said. “The ACHP proudly and efficiently supports this whole-of-government response to assist agencies in carrying out their vital roles in protecting the public during the emergency.”

FEMA anticipates the vast majority of emergency/disaster response undertakings will have no potential to affect historic properties, such as procurement and storage of supplies, commodities, and equipment; reimbursement for administrative actions including supplies and staff; and collection and storage of medical waste, or pose no or limited potential to affect historic properties such as modification of existing facilities. However, in certain rare circumstances, where existing facilities are insufficient, new construction of temporary medical facilities, shelters, or emergency operations centers may affect historic properties.

In developing the Emergency Procedures, FEMA consulted with the ACHP, State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations. The ACHP remains in contact with the consulting parties to assess whether further refinements to the procedures might be warranted moving forward.