36 CFR § 800.1 - Purposes.
(a)Purposes of the section 106 process. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires Federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and afford the Council a reasonable opportunity to comment on such undertakings. The procedures in this part define how Federal agencies meet these statutory responsibilities. The section 106 process seeks to accommodate historic preservation concerns with the needs of Federal undertakings through consultation among the agency official and other parties with an interest in the effects of the undertaking on historic properties, commencing at the early stages of project planning. The goal of consultation is to identify historic properties potentially affected by the undertaking, assess its effects and seek ways to avoid, minimize or mitigate any adverse effects on historic properties.
(b)Relation to other provisions of the act. Section 106 is related to other provisions of the act designed to further the national policy of historic preservation. References to those provisions are included in this part to identify circumstances where they may affect actions taken to meet section 106 requirements. Such provisions may have their own implementing regulations or guidelines and are not intended to be implemented by the procedures in this part except insofar as they relate to the section 106 process. Guidelines, policies, and procedures issued by other agencies, including the Secretary, have been cited in this part for ease of access and are not incorporated by reference.
(c)Timing. The agency official must complete the section 106 process “prior to the approval of the expenditure of any Federal funds on the undertaking or prior to the issuance of any license.” This does not prohibit agency official from conducting or authorizing nondestructive project planning activities before completing compliance with section 106, provided that such actions do not restrict the subsequent consideration of alternatives to avoid, minimize or mitigate the undertaking's adverse effects on historic properties. The agency official shall ensure that the section 106 process is initiated early in the undertaking's planning, so that a broad range of alternatives may be considered during the planning process for the undertaking.