Streamlining the Section 106 Historical Review Process
The historic review process can present a substantial hurdle for development projects. For example, A&K is currently helping clients manage historic review procedures in a variety of contexts including: tribal resources on proposed transmission lines; landmark buildings integrated into multi-use developments; and historic railways and a shipwreck in a remediation site.
Whether the review is under section 106 of the federal National Historic Preservation Act or a state analog such as M.G.L. c. 9, s. 27C, a common problem is time. Agencies often have specific timelines for making initial determinations on whether historic resources may implicated. However, once potential effects are identified and consultation with historical agencies, tribes and other interested parties begins, the lack of a definite process can mire a project in delays.
The delays can be compounded if the project is also subject to overlapping federal or state environmental review. Recently, the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation (ACHP) and the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released joint guidance – NEPA and NHPA: A Handbook for Integrating NEPA and Section 106 – to streamline federal historic and environmental review. While it does not create any new law or policy, this compilation of best practices and tips provides a useful roadmap to guide project proponents and agencies through the coordinated review maze. From our experience, the most useful piece of advice in the guidance is to establish a strong working relationship with the parties early and maintain constant coordination until review is complete. Good rapport and vigilance won’t solve all historic review issues, but it will likely save you substantial time.
About TJ: I specialize in Environmental Law, Energy, Litigation and Airport Law at Anderson & Kreiger. Prior to practicing law, I consulted with state governments, utilities and the national gas industry on environmental topics including air quality, renewable energy and climate change policies.
Posted In: Section 106 Historical Review