Federal agencies are required by the National Historic Preservation Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and other provisions of Federal law to consider historic resources in the planning and execution of their projects.
Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and its implementing regulations at 36 CFR Part 800 requires Federal agencies to—
- clearly define the scope of their undertaking;
- develop an Area of Potential Effects;
- make a reasonable and good-faith effort to identify and evaluate historic properties; and
- assess the project’s effects when historic properties are present.
If adverse effects are identified, the Federal agency must consult on ways to avoid, minimize, or mitigate those effects. The process is consultative and there is no prescribed outcome.
Consultation takes place with DHR, which serves as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in Virginia, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), Indian tribes that attach religious or cultural significance to historic properties that may be affected by an undertaking, local governments, interested public, and other stakeholders.
DHR’s role in the process is advisory. More information on Section 106 is available on the ACHP website.
The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires Federal agencies to consider the human environment, including cultural resources, in evaluating a project’s impacts. Under certain circumstances, NEPA may be used to satisfy the requirements of Section 106.
More information on combining NEPA and Section 106 is available at website of the National Preservation Institute.
Updated April 27, 2020