Preservation Action, Legislative Update
Volume 20, Number 23, July 21, 2017 →
National Historic Preservation Act Subject of House Subcommittee Hearing on “Burdensome” Regulations
This week the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing on the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). The hearing titled “Examining Impacts of Federal Natural Resources Laws Gone Astray, Part II” focused on the NHPA and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. According to the hearing memo, the aim of the hearing was to “examine the federal government’s implementation of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, with a focus on instances where the application of these statutes strays past the original intent of Congress.”
Two witnesses provided testimony in regards to the NHPA, Patty Bandt, a resident of Portland Oregon, and Amos Loveday, of Atchley Hardin Lane, LLC. The discussions on the NHPA during the hearing included multiple instances of inaccuracies and mis-information or misleading information. At one point, when discussing section 106 review, the Subcommittee Chairman Bruce Westerman(R-AR) asked Amos Loveday if he could think of a instance where a project didn’t go through because of a “delay in permits or project approval”. Loveday responded by saying “I would have to search my memory” Ultimately he was unable to remember any instances, but went on to say the issue is more about delays. This was not the only time abandoned projects were alluded to, without any evidence to back up the claims.
This hearing was not about a specific legislative proposal, but could be used to inform future legislation that seeks to be make changes to the NHPA. Preservation Action reached out to members on the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and will continue to educate members of Congress on the importance of the NHPA. Preservation Action will closely monitor to this issue and let you know of any future legislative proposals that impact the NHPA. Watch the full hearing, here.
The Appropriations Committee Approves FY18 Interior Appropriations Bill, Now Moves to House Floor
This week the House Appropriations Committee advanced the FY18 Interior and Environment Appropriations Bill. The Bill passed the committee by a vote of 30-21, with most democrats opposing the bill, largely due to cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency and policy riders. The bill now moves to be considered on the House floor.
During the hearing, the House Appropriations Committee approved a Manager’s Amendment offered by Subcommittee Chairman, Ken Calvert (D-CA), which in addition to several non-controversial amendments included a $1 million increase to the Save America’s Treasures program, from $4 million to $5 million. Overall the full committee draft of the FY18 Interior Appropriations bill funds the Historic Preservation Fund at the following levels.
- SHPOs: $46.925 million, $1 million below FY17 enacted levels
- THPOs: $9.485 million, $1 million below FY17 enacted levels
- Civil Rights Grants: $10.5 million, $2.5 million below FY17 enacted levels
- Save America’s Treasures Grants: $5 million, equal to FY17 levels
- HBCU Preservation Program: $3 million, $1 million below FY17 levels
- Underserved Communities Grants: $500,000, equal to FY17 levels
During the hearing, Subcommittee Ranking Member, Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN) praised the funding included for the HPF grant programs, like the Save America’s Treasures program. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-TX) also specifically highlighted the funding included for the Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) preservation program and the Civil Rights Grants program. The committee’s approved bill also included $19.821 million (equal to FY17 levels) for the Heritage Preservation Program, which funds National Heritage Areas. This program was recommended for elimination in President Trump’s FY18 Budget Request, released earlier this year.
Preservation Action praises the committee for approving increased funding for the Save America’s Treasures program. This important program, established in 1998, works to protect and preserve historically significant sites, structures and artifacts. Funding for Save America’s Treasures was restored last year, after several years of no funding. Preservation Action will continue to follow the appropriations process and encourage robust funding for preservation programs.
Save the Date! Preservation Action Foundation After Party and Auction Returns Nov. 15th
We’re excited to announce the revival of our annual benefit auction with the Preservation Action Foundation’s After Party and Auctionon November 15, 2017 from 830pm-1030pm during the National Preservation Conference in Chicago, IL! The annual auction had long been a highlight for Preservation Action and of the National Preservation Conference. The After Party and Auction will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 15th at the Cliff Dwellers Club on the 22nd floor of the Borg-Warner building in Chicago. The event will held from 8pm-10pm following the Opening Reception of the National Preservation Conference at the Field Museum. Please save the date, and stay tuned for more details!
If your interested in donating an item to be auctioned off during the National Preservation Conference email Rob Naylor at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ideal auction items include hotel stays, tours of historic sites, or other unique experiences. We’d love to feature your city or state at our annual auction! Sponsorship opportunities are also available.
PastFoward 2017, the National Preservation Conference hosted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, will be held Nov. 14-17 in Chicago, IL. Check out the conference website for more information.