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Congress Adjourns But Leaves FY'12 Interior Bill Unfinished
Historic Preservation Blog from PreservationDirectory.com - National Trust for Historic Preservation, Interior bill,
Contributed By: National Trust's Public Policy Department and Center for State and Local Policy
Website: http://www.preservationnation.org/resources/newsletters/trustee-bulletin/Public-Policy-Weekly-Bulletin-2-1-1-2-2-3-13.html

Congress adjourned for its August recess and House consideration of the Interior spending bill, which began last week, was put on hold as of last Thursday in order to resolve the debt-ceiling crisis.  The Interior bill will be taken up again when Congress returns after Labor Day and will move forward with consideration of some 200-plus amendments that are still pending. As of the end of last week, there several amendments that were hostile to historic preservation and public lands that the Trust plans to advocate against when Congress returns in September.  Not all the news was bad on the amendments front, however, as one amendment (offered by Rep. Holt) would permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) at $900 million annually and another amendment( offered by Rep. Jackson-Lee) would prevent any Interior bill funding from being used "for contravention of the National Historic Preservation Act or the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management act of 1996."  Another positive amendment (offered by Rep. Pastor) would strike a provision of the bill that would overturn Interior Secretary Salazar's prohibition on uranium mining in and around the Grand Canyon.  On the other hand, the hostile amendments were more onerous and numerous in comparison, including: 

  • Rep. Rehberg's amendment on limitation on funds for the establishment of new National Monuments (thereby undermining the Antiquities Act);
  • Amendment No. 82 – Rep. Rigell:  None of the funds made available By: this Act may be used to purchase lands that would result in a net increase in Federal land holdings (other than lands acquired to be held in trust for the benefit of a federally recognized Indian tribe).
  • Amendment No. 91 – Rep. Gosar:  None of the funds made available under this Act may be used to enforce any of the following laws against the United States Border Patrol during border patrol activities on Federal lands: (1) The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); (2) the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), (3) The National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470 et seq.);  (4) The Wilderness Act (16 U.S.C. 1131 et seq.).
  • Rep. Lankford's amendment that none of the funds be used for creating buffer zones around NPS areas;
  • Rep. Lankford's amendment that none of the funds be used to increase the net number of acres of federal land under the Department of the Interior;
  • Rep. Huelskamp's amendment that none of the funds be used for the Heritage Partnership Program;
  • Rep. King's amendment on exempting from the Water Pollution Control Act  small- and medium-sized concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs)
The Interior bill (HR 2584) is expected to be folded into a year-ending omnibus spending or continuing resolution (CR) bill that will necessitate trying to eliminate the most hostile amendments ahead of consideration of the bill.  Appropriators also have another strong incentive to work quickly as the new joint committee established by the debt ceiling deal (see below) is required to submit its deficit its recommended spending cuts to Congress by December 2nd.  If an omnibus bill or CR is not signed into law before the December 2nd deadline, FY’12 funding levels could also suffer further devastating cuts as a result.  

Reprinted with permission from the National Trust's Public Policy Department and Center for State and Local Policy



Keywords: National Trust for Historic Preservation, Interior bill,

Posted: August 5, 2011
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