Cultural Resources

Who is responsible for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)?

The lead Federal agency responsible for an “undertaking” is responsible for complying with Section 106 of the NHPA. The lead Federal agency for the Navajo Generating Station-Kayenta Mine Complex Project is the Bureau of Reclamation; however, other Federal agencies with actions that are required under the proposed project are obligated to meet their Section 106 requirements. The lead Federal agency determines how the Section 106 process will be coordinated with the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental reviews to avoid duplication of effort and protracted consultations.

Who can contribute to and participate in the Section 106 process of the National Historic Preservation Act?

The following typically contribute to the Section 106 process:

  • The Federal agency: It is the statutory obligation of the Federal agency with jurisdiction over a Federal undertaking to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. If more than one Federal agency is involved in the undertaking, some or all of the agencies may designate a lead Federal agency.
  • The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation: If the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation determines that its involvement is necessary to ensure that the purposes of Section 106 are met, the Council may enter into the Section 106 process.
  • The State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officer(s): This Officer(s) consults with the Federal agency that is undertaking Section 106 responsibilities.
  • The governments of Native American Tribes: The Federal agency will ensure that consultation in the Section 106 process provides elected members and designated representatives of Native American Tribes a reasonable opportunity to identify their concerns about historic properties, advise on the identification and evaluation of historic properties, articulate their views on the undertaking’s effects on such properties, and participate in the resolution of adverse effects.
  • Representative of local governments: A representative of a local government with jurisdiction over the area in which the effects of an undertaking may occur is entitled to participate as a consulting party in the Section 106 process.
  • Applicants (project proponent): Applicants for Federal assistance, permits, licenses, and other approvals are entitled to participate as a consulting party in the Section 106 process.
  • Additional consulting parties: Certain individuals and organizations with a demonstrated interest in the undertaking may participate as consulting parties due to the nature of their legal or economic relation to the undertaking or affected properties, or their concern with the undertaking’s effects on historic properties.
  • The public: The views of the public are essential to ensure informed Federal decision-making in the Section 106 process

What cultural resources are being studied in this EIS for the proposed project?

A Class I (files and literature search) inventory is being conducted for the EIS. The files and literature search is intended to identify previously conducted cultural resources field inventories and previously recorded cultural resources within the project area boundary (or area of potential effect). The area of potential effect for the proposed Navajo Generating Station-Kayenta Mine Complex project encompasses the existing infrastructure (i.e., transmission lines, Kayenta Mine Complex, Navajo Generating Station, coal railroad, ash disposal area, water pipeline). Information gathered through the files and literature search will provide the baseline information in the EIS, and will assist in determining sites that could be adversely affected by the Navajo Generating Station-Kayenta Mine Complex Project.

What is a Class I inventory document overview and how will the results be included in the EIS?

The goal of a Class I inventory is to document all previously identified historic properties within the area of potential effect. A historic property is any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. This can include artifacts, records, and material remains that are related to and located within historic properties. Properties of traditional religious and cultural importance to a tribe also may be listed or determined eligible for listing on the National Register and considered a historic property.

The Class I inventory for the Project will be conducted by compiling the relevant information and data associated with previously completed projects within the area of potential effect. These documents and data reside at various data repositories within Arizona, Nevada, and Utah. The data (Geographical Information Systems, technical reports, manuscripts, and other sources) will be compiled and synthesized to enable evaluation of the significance of the properties identified and point out any data gaps (areas where information is missing, there are problems with the data, or where no previous work has been undertaken). The results will be used to make recommendations for further data collection and an evaluation of the potential adverse effects to the known properties as a result of the actions associated with the Project. Results of the Class I will be used in the project EIS to inform on the cultural resources component of the document.

Will confidential information be kept confidential?

Yes. Information about the location, character, or ownership of historic properties may be subject to the confidentiality provisions of Section 304 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Reclamation will work with tribal governments to ensure that any information deemed confidential is kept confidential. It is important for the agency to carefully review solicitations and information that are released or made available to the general public to ensure confidential information is protected as appropriate.

What is a Programmatic Agreement?

A Programmatic Agreement is a type of agreement document that can be used to address the adverse effects of a Federal undertaking. Programmatic agreements are used when the effects on historic properties are not fully known prior to approval of the undertaking.

Can the public participate in the Section 106 process?

Yes. The regulations emphasize that the “views of the public are essential to informed Federal decision-making in the Section 106 process.” The public can be involved in the programmatic agreement process as a “consulting party.” Consulting parties are afforded an opportunity to participate in development of a programmatic agreement.


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