On Jan. 19, 2022, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Vice Chairman Jordan Tannenbaum signed an agreement with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) to extend the duration of the BLM’s national Programmatic Agreement (nPA) by an additional two years to February 2024. The nPA forms the basis of the BLM’s implementation of its cultural resource management actions under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Section 106 requires federal agencies to consider the effects on historic properties of projects they carry out, assist, fund, permit, license, or approve throughout the country. Section 106 gives the ACHP, interested parties, and the public the chance to weigh in on these matters before a final decision is made.

The nPA governs the BLM’s activities on federal, state, and private lands that might affect historic properties; clarifies how the BLM will consult with Indian tribes and other consulting parties on these activities; and authorizes the BLM to maintain protocols with individual State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) to achieve efficiency and consistency within a state.

The BLM manages one in every 10 acres of land in the United States and approximately 30 percent of the nation’s minerals. As the manager of more land (245 million surface acres) and more subsurface mineral estate (700 million acres) than any other government agency, the BLM carries out a dual mandate under the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) of 1976. That requires managing public land for multiple uses while conserving natural, historical, and cultural resources. In the language of FLPMA, the BLM’s responsibility is to administer public lands “on the basis of multiple use and sustained yield.”

First put into effect in 1997 and significantly revised and expanded in 2012, the nPA established a tailored and more flexible set of procedures that ensure the requirements of Section 106 are achieved, and historic preservation concerns are balanced with other federal mission requirements and needs. Section 106 regulations offer program alternatives such as Programmatic Agreements through which agencies can tailor the Section 106 review process for a group of undertakings or an entire program that might affect historic properties.

The BLM will utilize this extension period to consider future amendments to the nPA in consultation with the ACHP, NCSHPO and individual SHPOs, Indian tribes and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, and other consulting parties. For more information about the BLM nPA, visit www.achp.gov/blm or contact Bill Marzella, ACHP Liaison to the BLM, at bmarzella@achp.gov. 

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