In the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), Congress established a comprehensive program to preserve the historical and cultural foundations of the nation as a living part of community life. Section 106 of the NHPA is crucial to that program because it requires consideration of historic preservation in the multitude of projects with federal involvement that take place across the nation every day.
Section 106 requires federal agencies to consider the eﬀects of projects they carry out, approve, or fund on historic properties. Additionally, federal agencies must provide the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) an opportunity to comment on such projects prior to the agency’s decision on them.
Section 106 review encourages, but does not mandate, preservation. Sometimes there is no way for a needed project to proceed without harming historic properties. Section 106 review does ensure that preservation values are factored into federal agency planning and decisions. Because of Section 106, federal agencies must assume responsibility for the consequences of the projects they carry out, approve, or fund on historic properties and be publicly accountable for their decisions.