Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 19, Number 15, April 22, 2016 →

Permanent HPF Reauthorization Advances in Senate!

This week the Senate passed the long delayed Energy Policy Modernization Act ,S. 2012. Included in that bill was the permanent reauthorization of the Historic Preservation Fund. S. 2012 passed 85-12 and was supported by the Democratic and Republican Senate leaders, showing huge bipartisan support. Similar energy policy reform legislation, H.R 8, passed the House in December, but was not as extensive as the Senate bill and did not include reauthorization of the HPF.

The differences between the two bills will now be worked out through a conference committee. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), sponsor of S. 2012 and Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is already in contact with Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Sen Murkowski said of the conversation “We are both eager to go”. They hope to complete work on the conference committee draft and pass the bill in the House and Senate before the Congress breaks for summer recess.

Since the House version of energy reform is not nearly as extensive as the Senate version, additional House legislation, like H.R 2817, which reauthorizes the HPF for 10 years, will likely be part of the conference committee discussions. For this reason we need to make as much progress on H.R 2817 as possible and show that it has significant support. Please encourage your Representative to cosponsor H.R 2817! If they’ve already signed on as cosponsor, thank them for the support. We’ve made great progress, with 19 new cosponsors signing on since last month’s Advocacy Week; let’s continue the momentum!

NPS Awards $2.58 million in Grants for Maritime Heritage Education and Preservation Projects

This week, the National Park Service announced $2.58 million in matching grants for maritime heritage education and preservation projects, benefiting projects in 19 states. The grants are available to state, local and tribal governments, as well as non-profit organizations. The grants are given out in accordance with the National Maritime Heritage Act, which passed in 1994 and provides funding for education and preservation projects through the recycling of vessels from the MARAD’s National Defense Reserve Fleet. NPS Director, Jon Jarvis, said of the Maritime Heritage Program

“As a nation with vast coastlines and interior waterways, our maritime heritage is an integral part of the story of our economic growth and the defense of our nation,” said Director Jonathan B. Jarvis.  “These grants will enable our state historic preservation partners to connect local communities to their maritime heritage from sea to shining sea.”

Check out the complete list of Maritime Heritage Program 2015 grant recipients.

Celebrate Earth Day and National Park Week

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Half-dome at Yosemite National Park. Photo by Rachel Thornton

Today is Earth Day, and what better way to celebrate then by getting out visiting one of our National Parks, during National Park Week! In celebration of National Park Week, and the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, all units of the NPS will remain admission free through April, 24th. National Park Week is where we celebrate the over 400 natural, historic, and culturally significant sites that make up the National Park System.

As we celebrate National Park Week and the 100th anniversary, it is critical that we continue to support our National Parks. A report released this week, showed that National Park visitor spending contributes $32 billion to our economy and supports 295,000 jobs. The study also found that every $1 invested in our National Parks returns $10. Visitor spending on our National Parks has been increasing over the last few years and that number is expected to continue to rise in 2016.

The report comes just after Secretary of Interior, Sally Jewell, gave a major policy speech at the National Geographic Society. In her speech, secretary Jewell called for increased investment in National Parks and our public lands to prepare for the next 100 years of conservation. So get out there and celebrate Earth Day by supporting our National Parks!

Maryland Passes Reauthorization of the State’s Historic Tax Credit for 5 Years

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Advocates from Preservation Maryland, Maryland Historical Trust and the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy during last month’s National Preservation Advocacy Week. Photo by Meagan Baco

Maryland’s state historic tax credit program has been reauthorized for 5 years. Both houses of the Maryland legislature voted to renew the state’s historic tax credit program earlier this month, just days before the end of the 2016 session. The legislation now moves to be signed into law by Gov. Larry Hogan.

The legislation renews the historic tax credit for 5 years, which could spark even more use the tax credit by providing more certainty for developers. Preservation advocates in Maryland were also successful in ensuring several key changes were included in the final bill that will make the tax credit more enticing for developers and increase use of the credit in rural communities.

Our partners at Preservation Maryland were at the forefront of the effort to renew the state’s historic tax credit. In February, Preservation Maryland joined preservation advocates from across the state for their annual Maryland History Advocacy Day. Preservation advocates gathered in Annapolis, MD to lobby state lawmakers. A key part of their platform was renewing Maryland’s historic tax credit program. Preservation Action congratulates our partners in Maryland on their success and excellent advocacy! Learn more about Preservation Maryland’s effort to renew the historic tax credit program.

National News

NTHP: “Now Accepting Nominations for 11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Stories From Around the States

Alabama: “Senate Leader: Historic Renovation Credit Extension Won’t Happen This Year

Mississippi: “Historic Tax Credit Renewal Likely for Mississippi

Rhode Island: “International Conference in Newport Explores Climate Change and Rising Sea Levels

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