• Broadband Expansion Bill Threatens Environmental and Cultural Heritage Reviews

    July 27, 2023

    The National Trust led a coalition of seven environmental groups in a letter of June 23 opposing H.R. 4141, a bill to eliminate all required reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) for “broad categories of broadband infrastructure development.”

    The letter was addressed to the chairman (Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-WI) and ranking member (Rep. Joe Neguse, D-CO) of the House Natural Resources Committee. It was signed by the Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, the Environmental Law and Policy Center, Green Latinos, the League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Southern Environmental Law Center.

    Citing a previous court decision in the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. Circuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the letter noted that the FCC’s actions in the case of United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians v. FCC, 933 F. 3d 728, 745 (D.C. Cir. 2019) “did not meet the standard of reasoned decision-making” in its call for eliminating environmental and cultural reviews.

    In addition, while acknowledging the $65 billion in federal investment in broadband in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act [P.L. 117-58] is necessary to bridge the digital divide, the letter stated that it should not come at the expense of environmental, health and cultural impacts from broadband development.

    Instead, the signatories called on Congress to “focus on providing the necessary resources, staff, funding, and training to ensure that the review process for the siting of this important infrastructure is efficient and equitable” and not allow the FCC broad and sweeping powers to exercise categorical exclusions in siting broadband projects.

  • Disagreement on Approach to FY24 Funding Will Impact the Historic Preservation Fund

    June 28, 2023

    Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, under heavy pressure from the more conservative flank of the Republican caucus, announced that spending levels approved under the recently passed debt ceiling package represent a spending ceiling Congress cannot surpass.

    House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Kay Granger (R-TX) announced her intention to markup FY 2024 spending bills at FY 2022 funding levels, which would yield an estimated $120 billion reduction in federal spending.

    While the proposed cuts appear to be a non-starter with Senate Democrats, bipartisan support will be necessary to pass the appropriations bills into law and prevent a partial government shutdown on October 1.

    Additionally, the recent debt ceiling agreement requires that all 12 appropriations bills be completed before the end of the fiscal year. Failure to do so will result in a 1 percent rescission in funding for both defense and non-defense spending.

    More specifically, the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have set their respective “302(b) allocations,” or funding caps, at $25.4 billion and $37.9 billion for the FY24 Interior & Environment bill.

    The 302(b) allocations are voted on by the full Appropriations Committees, but they are not subject to review or vote by the full House or Senate.

    The $12.5 billion gap between House and Senate funding levels sets up a battle between the two chambers.

    If the House funding level prevails, the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which includes the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), would face a nearly 35 percent cut below the current year’s enacted levels.

    The HPF is currently funded at $204.5 million and in FY22 was funded at $173.072 million.

    The Historic Preservation Fund Reauthorization Act would significantly enhance protection of our nation’s historic resources, ensuring that they remain vibrant for communities throughout the country well into the future. Ask members of the House of Representatives to support the Historic Preservation Fund Reauthorization Act (H.R. 3350).

  • Advisory Council Requests Comments on Secretary’s Standards

    June 28, 2023

    The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation is inviting public feedback regarding application and interpretation of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties (Secretary’s Standards) and associated guidelines.

    The Department of the Interior sets out four treatments in the Secretary’s Standards: preservation, rehabilitation, restoration, and reconstruction. Each of the four Standards differs slightly in its articulation and in the expected results.

    Comments must be submitted in writing by 5 p.m. on July 20, 2023, by emailing dnull@achp.gov.

    Major themes and issues that emerge from the comments received will be shared with the Department of the Interior, which is a member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the National Park Service, which is tasked with promulgating regulations and issuing guidance related to the Secretary’s Standards.

  • Good News for Florida’s Coastal Historic Districts!

    May 23, 2023

    Earlier this month, we let you know about state legislation that threatened historic districts in Florida’s coastal communities. Many of you responded by writing to your state legislators to express your concerns about the potential impact of these bills. As the final week of the legislative session ended, the legislation failed to advance, removing the threat to Florida’s historic districts for this year.

    Your actions made a difference to historic places across Florida. Thank you for your support. While preservationists in Florida are feeling relieved, it is possible that similar legislation will be introduced again next year. We hope we can count on you to once again stand up for Florida's historic places if needed.

  • Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus Briefing

    April 26, 2023

    As part of Preservation Month, the Congressional Historic Preservation Caucus will hold a briefing on May 9.

    Preservation Action will host the annual briefing, which has been on hiatus since 2019 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    This year’s briefing will feature a panel of national historic preservation policy experts and will include discussions about improving and enhancing the Historic Tax Credit through the recently re-introduced Historic Tax Credit Growth and Opportunity Act (H.R. 1785, S. 639) and ongoing efforts to reauthorize the HPF, which is set to expire in in September 2023.

    Stay tuned for additional information on speakers, opportunities to invite congressional staff contacts, and more about this exciting event.

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Now accepting nominations for the 2024 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places! Letters of Intent are due September 29, 2023.

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