The National Trust remains focused on advocating for several bills during the lame-duck session that preserve and protect specific historic places. Several bills that the National Trust has endorsed have progressed through the legislative process and could be passed before the 117th Congress adjourns in December. One is the African American Burial Grounds Preservation Act (S. 3667 / H.R. 6805), which would authorize the National Park Service to establish a $3 million annual grant program to aid preservation efforts of historic African American burial grounds across the country. The legislation ensures that descendant-led organizations preserving African American burial grounds can receive grant funding to protect these sacred landscapes. The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands held a hearing in April, and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee favorably voted on the bill in July. Please join the National Trust in asking your elected officials to support this legislation.
The Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act (H.R. 3600) would designate Route 66 as a National Historic Trail. After reintroduction in the summer of 2021, the bipartisan bill led by Representatives Darin LaHood (R-IL) and Grace Napolitano (D-CA) had a House Natural Resources Committee hearing and markup session last November. This bill provides an opportunity to secure the preservation and protection of Route 66, the most culturally celebrated and internationally recognized stretch of highway in America. So far, more than 71,000 supporters have signed a petition in support of the preservation of Route 66. Contact your House representative and ask them to support the bill establishing the Route 66 National Historic Trail to ensure House passage this year.
On November 17, 2022, members of the New Mexico congressional delegation re-introduced legislation, the Chaco Cultural Heritage Area Protection Act (H.R. 9344 / S. 5124), to prevent future oil and gas development, as well as coal and uranium mining, on federal public lands within a roughly 10-mile radius of Chaco Culture National Historical Park. Chaco Canyon and its surrounding landscape in northwest New Mexico hold remarkable examples of ancestral Pueblo ceremonial buildings, distinctive great houses, and an elaborate network of engineered roads. Recently, the Biden Administration moved forward with a twenty-year moratorium on development in the 10-mile buffer zone. This legislation would provide urgent and permanent protections by banning oil, gas, and mineral development on federal lands in the Greater Chaco Region. This incredible landscape—designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987 and included on the National Trust’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places list in 2011—is threatened by encroaching oil, gas, and mineral development. A previous iteration of the legislation passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019. Encourage your members of Congress to support this legislation.