National Historic Preservation Act
16 USC 470a et seq (2006) and implementing regulations at 36 CFR 800 (2008)
The goal of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), which established the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) in 1966, is to have federal agencies act as responsible stewards of our nation's resources when their actions affect historic properties. The ACHP is the only entity with the legal responsibility to encourage federal agencies to factor historic preservation into federal project requirements.
As directed by NHPA, the ACHP serves as the primary federal policy advisor to the President and Congress; recommends administrative and legislative improvements for protecting our nation's heritage; advocates full consideration of historic values in federal decisionmaking; and reviews federal programs and policies to promote effectiveness, coordination, and consistency with national preservation policies.
Section 106 applies when two thresholds are met:
- there is a federal or federally licensed action, including grants, licenses, and permits, and
- that action has the potential to affect properties listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
Section 106 requires each federal agency to identify and assess the effects of its actions on historic resources. The responsible federal agency must consult with appropriate state and local officials, Indian tribes, applicants for federal assistance, and members of the public and consider their views and concerns about historic preservation issues when making final project decisions.
Effects are resolved by mutual agreement, usually among the affected state's State Historic Preservation Officer or the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer, the federal agency, and any other involved parties. The ACHP may participate in controversial or precedent-setting situations.