• Fiscal Year 2024 Appropriations Finalized After Months of Delay

    April 3, 2024

    The long-anticipated conclusion of the Fiscal Year 2024 appropriations process included some disappointments and several positive developments.

    Amidst a political environment with House Republicans seeking deep spending cuts, the Historic Preservation Fund saw a disappointing reduction from FY23 enacted levels ($204.515 million) to FY24 ($188.666 million), an approximate decrease of 7%.

    It is worth noting, however, that the FY24 appropriated level of funding for the HPF remains well above the authorized level of funding to be deposited in the HPF each year ($150 million) – highlighting the need for an increase in the program’s authorized funding.

    The Semiquincentennial, Save America’s Treasures, and Paul Bruhn Revitalization grant programs within the HPF experienced funding reductions, but the bill retained a sizeable amount of Congressionally Directed Spending (formerly known as earmarks) in the Senate, totaling $19.766 million for 51 specific preservation projects.

    Included in the FY24 funding package were several notable preservation wins:

    • Lawmakers and preservationists celebrated the inclusion of an extension for the HPF’s funding authorization until September 30, 2024.
    • Bill language protecting cultural and natural resources at Minidoka National Historic Site by restricting implementation for installation of thousands of wind turbines in the vicinity
    • Bill language maintaining the prohibition on drilling in Chaco Canyon until the completion of a cultural resources investigation mandated in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021.
  • Overview of the President’s FY 2025 Budget Request

    April 3, 2024

    On March 11, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the President’s FY 2025 Budget Request.

    This request is the first official step in the FY 2025 Federal Appropriations process.

    The President’s budget request is just that: a request. This outlines the Administration’s priorities and goals for the coming fiscal year, but it is Congress who officially appropriates, not the President.

    For the National Park Service, the FY25 request is $3.6 billion, a net increase of $101.1 million over the recently passed FY 2024 level, an approximately 2.9% increase.

    However, this requested increase does not extend to the HPF. The 2025 budget includes $151.4 million for HPF programs, a decrease of $37.266 million – a proposed 20 percent reduction – from the enacted FY 2024 level.

    This includes a notable cut to the Save America’s Treasures competitive grant program, as well as zero funding for the Semiquincentennial Celebration grant program. It should be noted the President’s budget does not account for any Congressionally Directed Spending.

  • 3 Ways to Engage with Your Legislators this Winter Holiday

    December 22, 2023

    The U.S. House of Representatives began their holiday recess on December 14, while the U.S. Senate has delayed their adjournment until later this month. Your advocacy for historic preservation priorities can be very effective over the holidays, and here are three ways to engage with your federal decisionmakers over the next few weeks:

    1. Most members of Congress send out a regular newsletter to their constituents. Sign up for newsletters from your U.S. Representative and your U.S. Senators to learn more about what their priorities are, what legislation they’ve sponsored, and if they will be hosting any upcoming town hall discussions. Don’t know who represents you?
      1. Enter your zip code on https://www.house.gov to find your U.S. Representative.
      2. Select your state on https://www.senate.gov/states/statesmap.htm to find your U.S. Senators.
    2. Take action from home by visiting our Action Center. You can send personalized messages to your Congressional delegation about current preservation priorities including the Historic Preservation Fund, the Historic Tax Credit, National Historic Trail Designation for Route 66, and more!
    3. Invite your elected officials to visit a local historic site that’s important to you and your community.
  • ACHP Call for Comments on the Secretary's Standards

    September 27, 2023

    Over the summer, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) issued a request for comments on the application and interpretation of the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties. The ACHP intends to share the themes and issues it received with the Department of the Interior, which is the agency responsible for promulgating regulations and guidance related to the Secretary’s Standards.

    The National Trust commented that the Secretary’s Standards are sufficiently flexible to balance historic preservation goals with market realities and social imperatives, and that a regular cadence of guidance documents that allows for public input will optimize the way the Secretary’s Standards are implemented and interpreted.

    Read the National Trust’s comment letter.

  • 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.

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