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U.S. to Increase Federal, Tribal Land Infrastructure Investments
USAgNet - 06/26/2020

The U.S. Department of the Interior has forged a new partnership with the USDA by signing the National Programmatic Agreement among the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Programs, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation for Sequencing Section 106 (USDA-RD NPA).

The USDA-RD NPA (PDF, 685 KB) is used by USDA Rural Development to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) when investing in water, power, waste treatment and telecommunications projects on federally managed lands, including federal Indian reservations. Tribal communities greatly benefit from such development, and DOI is proud to partner with USDA Rural Development on helping them meet their Section 106 compliance requirements. In addition to Section 106 requirements, all USDA Rural Development applicants must undergo an environmental review process before construction can begin.

The NPA provides a way for USDA Rural Development to invest in infrastructure development projects in rural communities by allowing USDA Rural Development to obligate funds for a federal undertaking prior to completing the Section 106 process for projects on federally owned and controlled lands. An undertaking is a project, activity, or program funded, permitted, licensed or approved by a federal agency that can take one to five or more years to complete.

With the NPA, rural applicants, including tribes, who have difficulty obtaining resources to undertake and complete the Section 106 review process, including the analysis of project alternatives, can be confident that USDA Rural Development low-interest loans and grants will be available to assist them with Section 106 compliance, creating more project certainty for proponents.

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