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Washington Office Division of Public Affairs
Release Date: 12/16/11
Contacts: Derrick Henry , 202-912-7526  
  Robin Hawks , 202-912-7241  

BLM's Revised Historic Preservation Agreement Enhances Tribal Consultation

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today released a revision to its national programmatic agreement (PA) with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO).  The PA governs the agency’s activities on federal, state and private lands that may impact historic properties.

The revision authorizes efficient consultation between the BLM and State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO) and clarifies how the agency consults with Tribes and other consulting parties on activities that could affect historic properties, including those historic properties of traditional religious and cultural significance to tribes. The PA does not apply to tribal lands.

The PA guides BLM’s planning and decision making as it affects historic properties as defined under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).  That law requires BLM to consider, plan for, protect, and enhance historic properties that may be affected by its actions.

The revision emphasizes the requirement for the BLM to consult with Tribes in the context of an ongoing government-to-government relationship, to obtain their views on the potential impacts on resources of significance to Tribes, and encourages the development of tribe-specific consultation protocols. It authorizes the BLM to maintain protocols with SHPOs that establish a more efficient alternative Section 106 compliance process, but institutes a requirement for tribal consultation and public comment on BLM-SHPO protocol revisions. It also adds the BLM national tribal coordinator to the BLM Preservation Board. That board advises the BLM on policies and procedures for NHPA implementation.

The BLM anticipates signing the revised agreement in February 2012.  The letter announcing the revision to stakeholders, the revised agreement, and comments about the PA and responses can be downloaded at this link.

“The BLM’s stewardship of the public lands includes respecting our unique relationship with Tribes and carefully considering their views and concerns through consultation,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “This PA implements those principles as the BLM examines proposals for activities on public lands, knowing that future generations will appreciate our efforts to preserve treasured resources on public lands.”

The original programmatic agreement was signed in 1997 by the BLM, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO). The current revision was developed with the two other signatories following an extensive process of outreach and consultation with tribes and other stakeholders which began in August 2008.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 12-16-2011