Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 17, Number 48, December 05, 2014 →
News about the National Defense and Authorization Act
Military LAND Act Removed From NDAA and Passed by the House
A joint agreement was reached by leaders of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee on the National Defense and Authorization Act (NDAA) that explicitly does not include the Military LAND Act. This provision would have undermined the National Historic Preservation Act, preventing designation of federal properties as World Heritage Sites, National Historic Landmarks, or be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, on the basis of national security. The bill passed the House in a 325-98 vote, but still requires approval from the Senate. The Senate is expected to vote on the NDAA as early as next week. Leaders of both parties are encouraging the bill be passed without amendment.
The removal of the Military LAND Act represents a huge victory for preservationists who have lobbied against the provision since it was first introduced in the House earlier this year. The provision was originally included as section 2816 of the NDAA in the version passed by the House. Preservation Action would like to thank everyone who wrote in to your representative and worked with us in successfully removing this harmful and unnecessary provision from the NDAA. We will keep you posted, as this bill still needs to be passed by the Senate.
NDAA Includes Significant National Parks Package
In addition to the Military LAND Act being excluded from the joint NDAA agreement reached by the House and Senate Armed Services Committee, the bill also included one of the largest expansions of the National Parks system. If passed, the NDAA would establish 6 new national park sites, expands 9 National Park sites, and includes the extension of 14 National Heritage Areas. This includes several historical sites that had bipartisan support but was never able to pass the House and Senate. The NDAA passed the House in a 325-98 vote. The Senate is expected to vote on the measure as early as next week.
Included in the 6 new national park sites that would be established by NDAA is the Manhattan Project National Historical Park. This bill has been years in the making and will encompass facilities in New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington all involved in the Manhattan Project, a top-secret federal program to build the world’s first atomic bombs during World War II.
Also included in the NDAA is the establishment the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park in Auburn, NY and the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park in Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Harriet Tubman, a former slave, became a leader in the abolitionist movement, helping to rescue many slaves using the Underground Railroad. The Harriet Tubman National Historical Park would represent the first in U.S History established to honor an African American woman.
Overall, the NDAA would establish the following new national park sites:
- Blackstone (RI)
- Coltsville (CT)
- Harriet Tubman (NY)
- Manhattan Project (WA, TN, NM)
- Valles Caldera (NM)
- Tule Springs (NV)
NYC’s Landmarks Commission Drops Proposal to Remove Buildings from Designation Consideration
New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission drops a proposal to remove 94 properties and two historic districts from its oversight. Last week the Landmarks Commission released a list of more than 100 buildings and structures that would be removed from its calender. The commission calenders a property it seems worthy of landmark consideration. The act of calendering a property provides some protection to the property; as any changes to a calendered property requires approval from the commission.
The Landmarks Commission said they were trying to clear a back log of properties that had been calendered for over 5 years ago. A public hearing was scheduled to be held on Dec. 9th, but after pressure from city leaders and preservation groups, like the New York’s Landmarks Conservancy, the commission dropped the proposal. The Landmarks Conservancy denounced the proposal from the commission, saying the process lacked transparency and disregarded the commission’s own responsibility and mission.
ACHP Announces Section 106 Webinar Series Registration
Registration for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation‘s Section 106 webinar is now open. The series begins December 18th and enrollment is limited to 25 students. A complete list of course dates, program descriptions, and registration instructions are now available at www.achp.gov/sec106webinar.html.
Upcoming Events and Stories From Around the States
Docomomo US National Symposium will be held in Minneapolis, Minnesota from June 4-7, 2015. Join Docomomo US/Minnesota for “Modernism on the Prairie: Rural to Metro Regional Interpretations of the Modern Movement”. Register Today!