Do you follow Preservation Action for updates on preservation policy? It’s a good idea to do so, because as you know, legislation can make all the difference for preservation funding and government action. While much of preservation happens at the local level, the federal level carries much influence as well. A recent update that is worth your time:
MILITARY LAND ACT WOULD AMEND NATIONAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT (and not in a good way)
The summary and suggestion from Preservation Action (see their press release and an update):
Thursday, May 8, 2014, the House Natural Resources Committee will mark up H.R. 3687, the Military LAND Act.
This bill would amend the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 to allow federal agencies to block and rescind the listing of federal properties on the National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Landmarks, and on the World Heritage List for national security reasons.
Maureen Sullivan of the Department of Defense and Stephanie Toothman of the National Park Service both testified in opposition to the bill on April 29, 2014.
Preservation Action, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation wrote the Public Lands and Environment Subcommittee Chair and Ranking Member outlining preservationists’ concerns and opposition to the bill.
Stop Congress from taking steps to undermine historic preservation. Please write members of the House Natural Resources Committee and ask them to oppose this harmful bill.
WHAT CAN YOU DO? Now is the time to contact legislators whether via a letter, email or phone call. Preservation is powerful when people speak up. The U.S. Military owns vast tracts of historic properties across the nation. As an example, the Army owns over 20,000 buildings considered eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. And that is only one military branch.
WHAT SHOULD YOU WRITE? Preservation Action suggests this letter (copy & paste, and email – it’s that easy!)
May 7, 2014
Dear (Representative or Senator Name):
I am deeply concerned with H.R. 3687, the Military LAND Act. This bill would amend the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 to allow federal agencies to block and rescind the listing of federal properties on the National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Landmarks, and on the World Heritage List for national security reasons. H.R. 3687 wrongly raises alarm that designation of historic sites weakens the authority of federal agencies to protect our national security. There is nothing that imposes any legal constraint on federal agencies to protect the interests of national security.
In addition, the bill creates a new requirement of Congressional review that could unfairly politicize the process of evaluating historic significance which has existed without issue for the past nearly 50 years.
The NHPA provides the direction and tools to protect our historic resources and, importantly, sets up a clear process of consideration of our historic heritage. Federal, state, and local governments use the NHPA to identify, preserve and protect our historical, architectural, archeological and cultural resources. The National Register of Historic Places is currently comprised of more than 88,000 listings. Listing a property or determining the eligibility of a property for the National Register does not limit a federal agencies authority.
Please do not undermine our nation’s historic preservation. I ask you to oppose H.R. 3687 and any provisions that would weaken the NHPA.
I wrote my senator. Will you?