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Congress is currently determining funding levels for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2017 and starting the process for FY18 for historic preservation. They need to hear from you right now. It is critical that all advocates of historic preservation reach out to their members of Congress to notify and urge them to sign onto the House/Senate “HPF Dear Colleague” letters which shows support for the Historic Preservation Fund.

The Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) provides vital funds for historic preservation and protection programs. This year’s House Dear Colleague letter request $83.4 million, including $47.925 million for State Historic Preservation Offices, $11.985 million for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, and $500,000 in grants to underserved communities. In addition, the request includes $13 million for competitive grants for the Civil Rights initiative, and $5 million in competitive grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. This request is equal to level of funds included in the House passed FY17 Interior Appropriations bill. What’s at Stake if the HPF is Under-Funded? Under-funding the Historic Preservation Fund seriously jeopardizes not only our national historic preservation program, but also State and local preservation efforts. As dollars and staff sizes shrink in State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, public education and training, survey and documentation programs, and rehabilitation funding suffer in order to address the activities about which SHPOs and THPOs have no discretion – such as responding to rehabilitation tax credit applications, and commenting on Section 106 cases. The Senate Dear Colleague letter is still being worked on. We will share as soon as it becomes available.

Help Spread the Word!

This webpage contains information on contacting your Members of Congress, how to ask that they sign-on the HPF Dear Colleague letters, and concise information to help you make your preservation pitch. Share this web site with your members, networks, and social media friends on Facebook and Twitter.

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Contact your Representatives to sign-on to the “FY18 HPF Dear Colleague Letters”

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Take a looks at last year’s Dear Colleague Letter. Did your Representative or Senator sign-on last year?

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Share your advocacy and this Call to Action in your newsletters, advocacy alerts and social media pages

Ask your Member(s) of Congress to sign-on to the House FY18 HPF Letter

Representatives Michael Turner (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) are circulating a “FY18 Historic Preservation Fund Dear Colleague” letter in the House of Representatives.

How to Contact your Member of Congress

If you have a personal contact in your member’s Washington D.C. or District/State office please contact that person directly. If they do not handle Interior Appropriations please ask that they pass the message along to the Interior Appropriations staffer. If you don’t have a personal contact you can call the member’s DC office and ask to speak with the Interior Appropriations staffer or email your message through the “Contact” section of the member’s website. If you are emailing through the Member’s website please select “Environment” in the Message Subject drop-down menu.

House of Representatives

Deadline: Thursday, March 30, 2017

Contact your Congressman and request that he/she signs onto the FY18 Historic Preservation Fund Dear Colleague Appropriations letter being circulated by Reps. Michael Turner (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). To maximize the impact of this letter we need as many Members as possible to sign. Last year 102 Representatives signed-on. House FY18 HPF Dear Colleague Appropriations (PDF) → Search for your Representative by Zip Code → 

To sign-on the letter, Member’s offices should contact either:

Jeffrey Wilson in Rep. Turner’s (R-OH) office at 202-225-6465 or jeffrey.wilson@mail.house.gov or Paul Balmer in Rep. Blumenauer’s (D-OR) office at 202-225-4811 or paul.balmer@mail.house.gov. Sign on deadline is Thursday, March 30th at 5pm (EST).

Sample Message to your Representative

I request that you sign-on to the FY18 Historic Preservation Fund Dear Colleague letter being circulated by Reps. Michael Turner (R-OH) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) in support of funding for the Historic Preservation Fund. The requested amount matches the amount in the House passed fiscal year 2017 Interior budget, which includes vital funds for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and provides competitive grants to preserve and protect significant sites of the Civil Rights Movement. The Historic Preservation Fund is the single most important source of federal support for saving and protecting America’s historic resources.

Include a Local Example

In addition to the sample message above be sure to include a local example. There is no better illustration of the impact and effectiveness of the HPF than local, shining examples of the HPF at work. Every district has them – make sure your legislator is supplied with images, facts and figures about them. Your State Historic Preservation Office can help provide you the information. HPF-funded programs have established a successful set of incentives, regulations, and assistance that foster local decision making and direct private investment to maximize the viability of existing resources. Many activities are made possible by the HPF, but their effectiveness is increasingly compromised by staff layoffs, lack of funds for survey and documentation work, and frustratingly slow turn around times for reviews and certifications. Specific examples of how these programs work in your community, and illustrations of the tremendous need for such programs will help you reinforce the importance of funding for the States, Tribes and territories through the Historic Preservation Fund.

Historic Preservation Fund FAQ

When was the Historic Preservation Fund Established?
In 1976 Congress amended the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 to establish the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The HPF was created to provide a continual and constant source of funds to implement our nation’s  historic preservation program. HPF resources, which primarily flow through State and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, encourage investment in historic preservation efforts and accelerate historic preservation activities at the local, state and national levels – leveraging private investment, revitalizing communities, promoting heritage tourism, and building public private partnerships.
What is the Source of Funding to the HPF?
The HPF receives its annual deposit from off shore oil lease reserves. Off-shore drilling funds our national preservation program? Here is the legislative justification: Federal lands include those on the outer continental shelf and oil companies pay for the right to drill for oil on those lands off the coast of the United States. The exploitation of one valuable resource supports investment in another. This is the thrust of the HPF – and also the Land and Water Conservation Fund after which the HPF was modeled. A share of proceeds from the consumption of one non-renewable natural resource (oil) is reinvested in our man-made historic and cultural resources.
How much is authorized annually for the Historic Preservation Fund?
From FY 1980 onward, the fund has received annual deposits of $150 million. The authorized funds deposited into the HPF are, however, subject to the appropriation process. Unexpended funds are to remain in the HPF until appropriated. The President’s Budget shows a balance of $3.28 billion.
What is the Current Level of Funding?
For fiscal year 2014, Congress provided a total of $56.41 million for the Historic Preservation Fund consisting of $46.25 million for State Historic Preservation Offices, $8.985 for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and $500,000 for a grant program for survey and nomination.
What is at Stake?
Under-funding the Historic Preservation Fund seriously jeopardizes the federal preservation program and by extension State and local preservation efforts. As the dollars and staff sizes shrink in the SHPOs and THPOs, difficult choices must be made. Many times there is no alternative but to realign priorities and eliminate discretionary programs – public education, support for private sector non-profits, site visits to communities and rehabilitation tax credit projects – in order to have sufficient resources to address the activities about which SHPOs have no discretion such as responding to rehabilitation tax credit applications, and commenting on Section 106 cases. These examples illustrate the debilitating consequences of under-funding and serve to suggest the incredible advances that additional funding could secure. At a time when Americans, like never before, are searching to understand and celebrate the hallmarks of our democracy and our unique American experience, we have to hold the federal government to its responsibilities put into law decades ago.

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