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Legislation & Public Policy Issues in Preservation     


Legislation & Public Policy Issues in Preservation
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Senate Passes FY’10 Interior Bill and Rejects Controversial Amendments on Public Lands and Historic Preservation
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - Public Policy, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Save America’s Treasures, Historic Preservation Fund, State Historic Preservation, Tribal Historic Preservation
Contributed By: The National Trust for Historic Preservation's Department of Public Policy
Email The Author: pr@nthp.org
Website: http://www.nthp.org

The Senate passed the FY10 Interior Appropriations bill (H.R. 2996) this week by a vote of 77-21. The Senate Interior bill funds the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) at $74.5 million, including $20 million for the Save America’sTreasures (SAT) program, $46.5 million for State Historic Preservation Offices, $8 million for Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, and $3.175 million for the Preserve America program (from the National Park Service construction account).

The Senate floor debate this week included a number of controversial amendments that would have affected public lands and historic preservation. Sen. Tom Coburn R-OK) offered an amendment that would have diverted desperately-needed funding from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for land management agencies — including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, and U.S. Forest Service — from land acquisition for the purpose of reducing the Interior Department’s public lands and national parks maintenance backlogs. The LWCF amendment was defeated by vote of a 79-19. However, Democrats agreed to accept a revised amendment by Coburn that allows private property owners to opt out of being included in any National Heritage Area, which passed under unanimous consent. Coburn also sponsored an amendment with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that would have transferred $1 million in funding for the historic Sewall-Belmont House in Washington, D.C. to the National Park Service construction budget for maintenance and backlog, but the amendment was withdrawn.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) offered an amendment that would have struck $5 million in Senators’ earmarks for the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) Program and instead “provide criteria for the distribution of grants under the program” in which “the entire amount shall be distributed by the Secretary of the Interior in the form of competitive grants on the basis of the following criteria: (1) the collection or historic property must be nationally significant; (2) the collection or historic property must be threatened or endangered; (3) the application must document the urgent preservation or conservation need; (4) projects must substantially mitigate the threat and must have a clear public benefit; (5) the project must be feasible; and (6) the application must document adequately the required non-Federal match.'' The McCaskill amendment was defeated 72-26 and reinforced the immense popularity of the SAT program with lawmakers in providing direct funding for historic preservation projects in their respective states through the earmarking process.

The Senate also appointed conferees upon final passage, including Sens. Feinstein (D-CA); Byrd (D-WV); Leahy (D-VT); Dorgan (D-ND); Mikulski (D-MD); Kohl (D-WI); Johnson (D-SD); Reed (D-RI); Nelson (D-NE); Tester (D-MT); Inouye (D-HI); Alexander (R-TN); Cochran (R-MS); Bennett (R-UT); Gregg (R-NH);Murkowski (R-AK); and Collins (R-ME).

Reprinted by permission of the Public Policy Department of the National Trust


Keywords: Public Policy, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Save America’s Treasures, Historic Preservation Fund, State Historic Preservation, Tribal Historic Preservation

Posted: September 26, 2009
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Unless noted, the thoughts and opinions expressed in the article are solely that of the
author and not necessarily the opinion of the editors of PreservationDirectory.com.
   



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