• We’re Fighting to Protect NEPA

    July 28, 2020

    The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), one of the nation’s strongest historic preservation laws, is under siege. Recently, the White House issued new rules that completely undermine NEPA’s effectiveness. Today, the National Trust filed a lawsuit challenging these rules.

    For more than 50 years, NEPA has required federal agencies to consider the impacts of their decisions on cultural and natural resources and to disclose these impacts to the public. The new rules not only make it more difficult for citizens to express their concerns, but they seek to rush the development of pipelines, highways that lead to sprawl, and other massive industrial projects.

    While Congress intended NEPA to require the federal government to stop, look, and listen before making decisions, these protections have now been swept aside. Changes included in the new rules make it simpler for agencies to ignore negative impacts to historic resources and remove the obligation for agencies to consider how their decisions contribute to climate change.

    In short, these new rules put historic places in serious danger. That’s why the National Trust is taking this issue to court and fighting back. But to succeed, we need your help.

    Please donate today to help us protect the historic places you love.

  • Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) Passes the House

    March 27, 2020

    On Wednesday, March 25, the Senate unanimously passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) by a vote of 96-0. The nearly 900-page bill provides approximately $2.2 trillion in funding for our healthcare system, workers, businesses, organizations, and industries impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The House passed the bill by voice vote Friday afternoon.

    Summary of Provisions

    The National Trust for Historic Preservation continues to closely monitor legislative developments responding to the COVID-19 outbreak and actively engage lawmakers and our partners to sustain and support the important work of the preservation community in the face of this unprecedented disease outbreak.

    Below is a summary of select provisions in the CARES Act and various legislative summaries, which we will continue to update as additional analysis and resources become available.

    Arts and Humanities Funding

    The legislation includes appropriations for select federal agencies and programs, including $75 million each for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) for grants and administration.

    The funds are available until September 30, 2021, and distributed through grants to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Included is a stipulation that 40 percent of the funds are distributed to state arts agencies and regional arts organizations and 60 percent for direct grants.

    Small Business Provisions

    • Division A of the stimulus bill provides more than $377 billion in support for small businesses, including providing up to $10 million for emergency small business loans (Small Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) loans) for eligible nonprofits and small businesses.
    • Applies to nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees.
    • Loans can be used to cover payroll costs (including health insurance premiums), rent, mortgages, and utility payments.
    • Loan forgiveness is also available subject to restrictions. For example, the loan amount eligible for forgiveness will be reduced proportionally by any reductions in employees; however, employers won’t be penalized for rehiring employees already laid off.
    • Senate Small Business Committee Minority Staff Summary: Small Business Provisions
    • Senate Small Business Committee Minority Staff Summary: Section-by-Section Summary

    Charitable Giving Provisions

    The legislation includes a universal (or non-itemizer, above-the-line) deduction allowing all taxpayers to deduct up to $300 in charitable contributions made in 2020. It also lifts the annual contribution cap for individuals who itemize their tax returns and raises it from 60 percent of adjusted gross income to 100 percent, and for corporations, raises the annual limit from 10 percent to 25 percent.

    Nonprofit Employer Provisions

    Additional provisions of the CARES Act may be of interest to nonprofit employers, such as an Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit (employers receiving emergency SBA loans are not eligible) and amendments to the New Paid Leave Mandates outlined in the second coronavirus relief package (the Families First Coronavirus Response Act).

    Our friends at the National Council of Nonprofits developed a summaryof these provisions and others, including information about an Industry Stabilization Fund that may apply to the nonprofit sector.

    Additional Resources and Advocacy

    The National Trust will continue our advocacy at the federal level to ensure that the voice of the preservation community is heard. We anticipate that a fourth bill will be considered in the weeks ahead. This will afford another opportunity to seek additional investments in preservation programs. We will host a webinar on Thursday, April 2, 2020 to discuss the recent coronavirus legislation and future advocacy opportunities. We will also continue to share additional resources as policy provisions are developed supporting the preservation community, historic sites, and cultural and historic institutions.

  • Update: U.S. Government Confirms It Will Not Target Iran’s Cultural Sites

    January 8, 2020

    The Apandana in Persepolis, Iran

    photo by: iStock

    On Monday, January 6, in response to Administration comments that suggested that it could be appropriate to target cultural heritage sites in Iran in retribution for attack on Americans and American assets by Iran, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and other groups nationwide joined together to urge the U.S. government to protect these irreplaceable sites. The public participated as well, with thousands of advocates signing the National Trust’s petition that asked the United States to avoid targeting Iran’s historically and culturally significant places.

    On Monday evening, Defense Secretary Mike Esper clarified that the United States would “follow the laws of armed conflict” and would not target cultural sites. On Tuesday, the president also confirmed that the Administration would follow international law in this area.

    With these recent developments, it appears that Iran’s cultural sites are not at immediate risk. We thank the many supporters who took action to signal that when we destroy culture anywhere, we destroy culture everywhere.

  • Urge the U.S. Government to Protect Iran’s Cultural Heritage Sites

    January 6, 2020

    We at the National Trust for Historic Preservation urge the U.S. government to protect Iran’s cultural heritage sites—and we ask you to stand with us.

    As an institution founded after the Second World War by the unsung hero of the original “Monuments Men” brigade, which worked to protect the cultural treasures of Europe from the Nazi regime, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has long recognized that the intentional destruction of cultural sites is a blemish on all humankind—a principle now enshrined in international law.

    Historic places around the world are part of the cultural heritage that belongs to all of us. We suffer a collective loss when places of cultural significance are destroyed in times of conflict or other disasters. Just as we were horrified when we witnessed the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas at the hands of the Taliban, or when we saw the flames consume the cathedral of Notre Dame, the loss of historic places in Iran would be a loss for people all over the world.

    When we destroy culture anywhere, we destroy culture everywhere. Take action today and urge the United States government to avoid targeting historically and culturally significant sites in Iran, and to uphold the protection of all irreplaceable sites in times of conflict.

  • President Signs Most Preservation-Friendly Appropriations Bill in History

    December 21, 2019

    Last night, the president signed into law the most preservation-friendly appropriations bill in history. The National Trust for Historic Preservation and our partners advocated for many of the funding increases and policy provisions included in the final funding bill. The provisions impact issues and places that you have taken action on, from submitting public comments to contacting your members of Congress.

    Key highlights include:

    Learn more about the preservation programs and initiatives that have been positively impacted by this bill.

    Continuing Advocacy

    As we celebrate the preservation victories in this bill, we will soon be gearing up for the FY 2021 appropriations process. Please consider signing up for our government relations newsletter to get updates about ongoing developments and opportunities to advocate for robust funding for preservation.

All 5 updates

Announcing the 2020 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.

See the List