What is SHPO?

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is a law with a requirement and responsibility to “stop, look, and listen” before moving forward with decisions that impact properties and the human environment. As part of a combination of laws set to preserve the cultural, historical, and environmental integrity of different property types, it is integral for all parties to partake in a consultation process to access and mitigate the potential for adverse effects.

Historic properties or sites are typically protected under the National Register of Historic Places. Many of these places house artifacts, remains, or records within the parameters of the property. Additionally, they may be a place of religious value or maybe a place of cultural importance. Concerns don’t necessarily always consider detrimental effects but also the social, economic, or health benefits of a potential development.

To thoroughly review the area of potential effects caused by alterations to a historic property comes what is called an undertaking that is carried out by a consultative party. The consultative process starts by bringing together the appropriate stakeholders to assess historical properties and regulations associated with potential developments. State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) are a part of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). This federal agency is often sought out to provide counsel on upcoming projects. SHPOs work as a consultant service to ensure that reasonable accommodations are made to approve, fund, or resolve issues that revolve around adherence to Section 106 procedures and offset potential effects.

As part of the NEPA process, an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement is prepared. It is then reviewed with the SHPOs and other consulting parties to thoroughly review such documents and allow for public comment as a means of due diligence for objection. However, it should be noted that SHPOs are not meant to give a project clearance nor identify impacts. They are also not the only ones that should be consulted, as several parties are integral to the overall project and development of such historical properties.

FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) houses a team of experts who are knowledgeable in matters about cultural resource management and NEPA compliance. FCS provides recommendations and solutions to ensure we are meeting clients’ needs and navigating essential review processes swiftly and efficiently.

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In an ever-changing regulatory and sustainability environment, FCS understands the challenges you face. Our highly qualified environmental specialists, energy management consultants, and technical experts deliver integrated, industry-specific solutions that move your project forward—so that you can focus on what matters.