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Our Insights

Programmatic Agreements—Streamlining the Section 106 Process

May 30, 2019

In 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) was passed to help preserve historic buildings and structures, which were being demolished due to intense urban renewal projects in the 1960s.

The NHPA created a clearly defined process for historic preservation in the United States through something called Section 106. Federal projects—or those using federal funds—are now subject to this formal review process to help inventory important cultural resources and avoid or minimize harm.

In his feature in POWER Environmental’s Currents newsletter, Glenn Darrington explains that along with the many steps involved in a Section 106 review, there are a number of other factors that come into play when determining the future of historic properties. Along with the complexities to comply with the NHPA, conflicts between interested parties and the expansive range of cultural resources that must be assessed can make Section 106 a long and arduous process.

However, there is a program alternative called a Programmatic Agreement (PA) that can streamline and reduce cost and time as well as increase project flexibility. This reference guide provides more information on Programmatic Agreements. Along with a visual of the Section 106 review process, it shows where in the process a PA is executed and lists the pros and cons of implementing a PA.

A glossary of terms is also provided as a quick reference to commonly used terms in describing the NHPA.

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