National Programmatic Agreement for the National Historic Preservation Act
The BLM invites Tribal Nations and other interested public parties to participate in revising and updating its National Programmatic Agreement for the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) implementation.
Signatories to the agreement include the BLM, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. The current agreement, signed in 2012, will expire in February 2024 and the BLM intends to revise the National Programmatic Agreement based upon Tribal, public, and signatory consultation, and to extend it an additional 10 years.
Providing a Program Alternative
A major component of the National Programmatic Agreement is that it allows the BLM to enact alternate means of complying with Section 106 of the NHPA. Section 106 requires federal agencies like the BLM to take into account the effects of its undertakings on historic properties prior to permitting, authorizing, or funding projects or plans within their jurisdictions. Typically, agencies comply with the Section 106 review process by following federal regulations outlined at 36 CFR 800.3 – 800.7. However, the National Programmatic Agreement is a “Program Alternative” created under the NHPA Section 106 regulations which allows the BLM to develop “State Protocol Agreements” tailored to the individual historic properties management needs and interests of each state where BLM has surface management responsibilities. These individual state protocols define efficiencies in the Section 106 process for routine undertakings that are agreed upon by the BLM and the individual State Historic Preservation Offices. In addition, the National Programmatic Agreement encourages cooperative relationships with State Historic Preservation Offices; effective communication with Tribal governments, local governments and the public; and establishes a “Preservation Board” composed of BLM historic preservation experts and line officers that provide policy recommendations to BLM managers at the local, state and national level.
The National Programmatic Agreement and the state-level protocols only apply to the BLM’s activities on public, private, and state land as long as those lands are not within the external boundaries of an Indian reservation (i.e., Tribal lands as defined in the regulations, 36 CFR 800.16(x)). In those instances when the BLM does have responsibility for compliance with Section 106 on Tribal lands, it follows the standard 36 CFR part 800 process.
Written input may be provided through September 15, 2023, to BLM_HQ_420_NPA@blm.gov. To the extent possible, comments should reference the specific section or paragraph of the National Programmatic Agreement that the commenter is addressing.