ACRA has called on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to rescind Appendix C and adopt the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s (ACHP) Section 106 regulations under 36 CFR 800 as a better way of meeting its responsibilities under the National Historic Preservation Act.
In June, the Corps announced it was considering potential rulemaking actions regarding its use of Appendix C, along with other topics, and asked for input from stakeholders and the public. ACRA’s comments come following the distribution of a member survey about the Corps’ regulatory program, and after the Corps held a special listening session for ACRA firm members in July regarding their deliberations over Appendix C.
In their comments, ACRA said that adopting the ACHP regulations “will result in stronger and more meaningful consultation with Tribal governments and descendant communities, better enabling the Corps to fulfill its trust responsibility to Tribal Nations. It also will lessen inconsistencies between how the Corps approaches Section 106 reviews and those of other federal agencies that follow 36 CFR 800, and would improve consistencies among Corps districts on how Appendix C is implemented.”
ACRA also cited the benefit to the Corps of moving its regulatory program “away from the current narrow definition of ‘permit area’ and towards the ACHP regulations’ definition of ‘area of potential effects,” noting that the “permit area” definition “often fails to reflect the broad and complete range of direct and indirect foreseeable and cumulative effects of permitted work.”
Lastly, ACRA recommended to the Corps that, if they decide not to rescind Appendix C, then they should “develop a program alternative subject to approval by ACHP and in close consultation with stakeholder groups as per 36 FR 800.14.”
It is not known if and when the Corps will make any decisions about its use of Appendix C. ACRA will continue to monitor the Corps’ deliberations.