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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Section 106 Review Under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA): How It Works

Kristina Alexander
Legislative Attorney

Designed to preserve historic properties, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) has been faulted by some for delaying implementation of federal projects. Under NHPA, federal agencies must conduct a collaborative, thoughtful review of a project’s effects on historic properties. The review must allow for participation by the public and other interested parties. When projects would have adverse effects on historic properties, NHPA procedures allow interested parties to negotiate how best to address such effects. In addition to providing procedures to assess project impacts on historic properties, NHPA establishes programs for the federal government to study and protect historic properties, including sites, buildings, structures, and objects. The act also authorizes grants for assisting state and tribal governments with preservation, among other things. This report will examine the NHPA process for evaluating federal projects’ impacts on historic properties, which is known as a Section 106 review.

The 112
th Congress exempted the federal highway system from eligibilty for the National Historic Register in the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21; P.L. 112-141, §1104(a)), thus eliminating any NHPA review for those highways (although individual elements such as bridges were not exempted). The 112th Congress considered legislation that would limit NHPA reviews for certain projects, such as reconstructing highways or bridges destroyed in a disaster (H.R. 7, §3003; H.R. 2112, §127 [public print version only, not as introduced or enrolled]; H.R. 3347; S. 1389); and transferring Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land in the Mohave Valley for a shooting range (S. 526 [introduced version]).

Date of Report: January 17, 2013
Number of Pages: 20
Order Number: R42538
Price: $29.95

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