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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Federal Bulk Transmission Cultural Resource Assessment(11-FD)

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act is intended to preserve and protect historic properties and to identify any unknown sites in the United States. Federal agencies are mandated to undergo a review process for any project that requires a federal permit, receives federal funding, license or approval and has the potential to impact properties listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. The Act requires the federal agency to “take into account” the effect a project may have on historic properties and allows interested parties an opportunity to comment on the potential impacts a project may have on historic properties. The implementing regulations require the responsible federal agency to make a “reasonable and good faith effort” to identify historic properties that may be affected by the project. [1] Under Section 106, the lead agency in consultation with the land managing agency, must identify and assess the effects of an undertaking (including transmission line projects) on historic properties. The project proponent will typically fund the technical studies required to accomplish the identification and assessment efforts. The lead federal agency consults with the appropriate State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) and/or Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO) if required, land managing agency, Native American tribes, appropriate state and local officials, and members of the public, and consider their views and concerns about historic preservation when making final Initiative decisions. Effects are addressed by mutual agreement with the SHPO and/or THPO, the lead federal agency, and any other involved parties. Most often in the case of large scale undertakings, Section 106 compliance is managed through the use of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) or a Programmatic Agreement (PA). Typically a MOA or PA, establishes the agreed upon measures to resolve the adverse effects and the roles and responsibilities of the agency and the consulting parties.

If the responsible agency finds that there are no historic properties present or that the undertaking will have no effect upon historic properties that are present, the responsible agency will provide documentation of the finding to the SHPO and/or THPO. [2]

If historic properties are identified, the process is more involved and time consuming. The SHPO and THPO have separate processes that require similar actions by the responsible agency and developer. After consultation with the responsible agency and SHPO and/or THPO, the developer will need to hire a consulting archaeologist. Based on consultation and the surveys, the parties will enter into an MOA, which outlines agreed-upon measures that the agency will take to avoid, minimize, or mitigate the adverse effects on national historic properties or historic tribal resources. If the consulting parties are not able to reach an agreement, the consultation is terminated and the responsible agency must allow the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) an opportunity to comment before the responsible agency renders a final decision that would allow the project to continue. In many cases, the MOA or PA is written and agreed upon prior to the cultural surveys.

More Information

Determine Which Federal Permits Apply

Use this overview flowchart and following steps to learn which federal and state permits apply to your projects.

Contact Information

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Division of Lands, Realty, and Cadastral Survey Directory

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List of Reference Sources

  1. Title 36 CFR 800 Protection of Historic Properties (2014). 4(b)
  2. Title 36 CFR 800 Protection of Historic Properties (2014). 4(b)(1)

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