[Federal Register: December 29, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 248)]
[Page 68862-68863]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Bureau of Land Management


Notice of Intent To Revise the 1997 Programmatic Agreement With 
the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National 
Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers

AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent.


SUMMARY: The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announces its intent to 
revise the 1997 National Programmatic Agreement (PA) with the Advisory 
Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) and the National Conference of 
State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) regarding the manner in 
which the BLM meets its responsibilities under the National Historic 
Preservation Act.

DATES: You may submit written comments to help inform the PA revision 
process by January 28, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Send written comments to: Robin Burgess, BLM Preservation 
Officer, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 
1849 C Street, NW., Mail Stop 204-LS, Washington, DC 20240 or robin_
burgess@blm.gov. Copies of the existing PA, the addendum to the PA, and 
draft revision strategy are available upon request from this address 
and are also available at http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/CRM/

Officer, U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, 
1849 C Street NW., Mail Stop 204-LS, Washington, DC 20240, telephone: 
(202) 912-7241, or e-mail: robin_burgess@blm.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The BLM 1997 National PA authorizes the BLM 
to follow an alternative to the process in the ACHP's regulations, 36 
CFR part 800, for meeting its responsibilities under Section 106 of the 

[[Page 68863]]

Historic Preservation Act (Pub. L. 89-665, October 15, 1966; 16 U.S.C. 
470 et seq.) (NHPA) for consulting with State Historic Preservation 
Officers (SHPOs) and the ACHP. Development of such alternative 
processes are provided for in 36 CFR part 800.14. The key goals of the 
PA are to make the process under Section 106 more efficient, and to 
strengthen the partnerships between the BLM and the states, especially 
those states in which public lands represent a high percentage of land 
within the state, to facilitate and conduct preservation activities of 
mutual interest. The PA does not apply to tribal lands and does not 
alter the BLM's tribal consultation policies and procedures outlined in 
BLM Manual Section 8120 and BLM Handbook Section H-8120-1, as revised 
in December 2004.
    The PA provides that signatories are to review its implementation 
biennially and meet to resolve objections. The signatories may revise 
or amend the PA by mutual agreement, or terminate the PA following 90 
days notice. The NCSHPO, its BLM task force, and the BLM have worked 
closely to identify ideas for improved implementation of the PA. A 
joint working group developed a list of recommendations, which the BLM 
Preservation Board endorsed and the BLM is in the process of 
implementing those recommendations.
    The ACHP, its Native American Advisory Group, the National Congress 
of American Indians, and others believe that tribes would benefit from 
playing a greater role in the PA. In response, the BLM wrote to tribal 
leaders and held a series of eight regional listening sessions to 
discuss its tribal consultation guidance and the PA. Tribes were asked 
to share their ideas on how to improve the BLM's relationship with 
their tribes and how to make tribal consultation more effective, 
including specific revisions to the PA, protocols, or agency policies. 
The final result of this outreach will be used to develop a series of 
recommendations for BLM leadership to improve tribal consultation 
generally and revise the PA.
    On February 4, 2009, the BLM, ACHP, and NCSHPO executed an addendum 
to the PA (dated January 5, 2009) that outlined a series of major 
milestones for completing the BLM's ongoing tribal consultation 
outreach effort, consolidating the results of that effort, and 
developing revisions to the PA as informed by the results of this 
outreach to Native Americans. This notice fulfills one of those 
milestones--formal initiation of the public notification process for 
revising the PA.
    In addition to this notice, the BLM has mailed a summary report on 
the BLM 2008-09 listening sessions and a draft strategy revising the 
PA, taking into account the results of the BLM's tribal consultation 
outreach initiative. The draft strategy identifies the following key 
goals for a revised PA:
     Ensure terminology is consistent with definitions in 36 
CFR 800.16 (definitions section);
     Elaborate what the tribal role in the NHPA Section 106 
process is;
     Specify alternative procedures for undertakings excepted 
from the normal alternative process;
     Incorporate a process for partnering with tribes through 
individual protocols between a tribe and the BLM state office(s). BLM-
SHPO protocols authorized by the current PA streamline BLM-SHPO 
consultation to allow individualized arrangements, but do not alter the 
BLM's tribal consultation requirements;
     Clarify the roles of consulting parties and expectations 
for public outreach processes;
     Integrate the concept of phased Section 106 compliance 
into the PA to clarify how the BLM meets its compliance obligations for 
large scale projects and programs;
     Provide clear guidance on when new alternative procedures 
require ACHP involvement;
     Incorporate communication processes for collaborating on 
NHPA Section 110 and other proactive work, including coordination with 
state preservation plans and priorities;
     Include a process for using the 36 CFR part 800 procedures 
as an alternative to the PA;
     Review the process for development of BLM policy affecting 
Section 106 activities and general management, as outlined in Component 
5.f of the 1997 PA, and clarify the role of the BLM Preservation Board;
     Establish PA monitoring milestones and processes, 
including periodic tribal consultation; clarification of field office 
certification process; and standardized annual reports to states and PA 
     Identify opportunities for participation of tribes, 
states, and the ACHP in BLM training related to cultural resources 
planning, compliance, and management;
     Develop a schedule for review and revision of state 
protocols; and
     Increase the efficiency of the annual reporting process by 
aligning it with other reporting requirements, such as the Secretary of 
the Interior's Report to Congress on Federal Archaeological Activities.
    Written comments on the BLM's plan to revise the PA should be 
specific and confined to the PA revision. Where possible, comments 
should reference the specific section or paragraph of the draft 
strategy that the commenter is addressing.
    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so.

Richard C. Hanes,
Acting Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning.
[FR Doc. E9-30771 Filed 12-28-09; 8:45 am]