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Legislation & Public Policy Issues in Preservation     

Legislation & Public Policy Issues in Preservation
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Statement by ACHP Chair Sara Bronin on the President's Fiscal Year 2025 Budget
Historic Preservation Blog from -
Contributed By: Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP)
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The Biden-Harris Administration today released the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2025. Following historic progress made under the President’s leadership—with more than 14 million jobs added since the President took office and inflation down two-thirds from its peak—the Budget protects and builds on this with proposals for responsible, pro-growth investments in America and the American people. The President’s Budget will lower costs for the American people, protect and strengthen Social Security and Medicare, secure Americans at home and abroad, and reduce the deficit by ensuring wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share.

“The President’s budget supports the ACHP’s mission, allowing us to continue our vital work to protect the nation’s historic resources from the effects of climate change, promote the conversion of underutilized historic buildings into much-needed housing, and defend Tribal sacred sites from desecration,” ACHP Chair Sara C. Bronin said. “The funding will allow us to continue to expand our capacity to serve the public, including strengthening and accelerating reviews of critical infrastructure projects.”

The Budget makes critical, targeted investments in the American people that will promote greater prosperity for decades to come. At the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), the Budget will allow us to continue our work on these and other key priority areas, including promoting the ACHP’s issuance of policy advice, strengthening and accelerating reviews of critical infrastructure projects, advancing a more inclusive preservation program, meeting the ACHP’s nation-to-nation responsibilities to Indian Tribes, and supporting consultation with the Native Hawaiian community.

Promote Policy Advice

The 2025 Budget will continue to support ACHP’s three policy statements, adopted in 2023, that provide important guidance on utilizing historic buildings for housing; ensuring the respectful treatment of burial sites, human remains, and funerary objects; and preparing for and mitigating climate impacts on historic places.

- Housing -- To address the nation’s housing shortage, existing buildings, including historic buildings, should be rehabilitated and reused for housing. The policy encourages and accelerates rehabilitation of historic buildings for housing and assists in harmonizing historic preservation and housing goals. The policy statement’s principles seek to promote informed federal policy making, decision making, and responsible stewardship of historic properties while also advising Tribal, state, and local governments; community groups; nonprofit organizations; developers; and others in the private sector.

- Climate Change -- Historic properties are experiencing escalating climate impacts that are increasingly leading to their damage and destruction. The policy statement promotes informed federal decision making, responsible federal stewardship of historic properties, and consideration of climate impacts during environmental reviews. The ACHP also has designed the policy statement to assist communities and Tribal, state, and local governments as they plan for, mitigate, and adapt to climate impacts.

- Burial Sites, Human Remains, and Funerary Objects -- Human remains, burial sites, and funerary objects are significant to all peoples. This policy advances 13 principles, with the main guiding principle that these sites, remains, and objects should be treated with dignity and respect in all circumstances. Additional principles address Indigenous Knowledge, repatriation, the Department of the Interior’s Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative, and Tribal consultation, among others. As part of this policy, the ACHP has called on federal agencies; state and local governments; and nongovernmental institutions, including contractors, to adopt or adhere to its principles as they seek ways to avoid impacting these sites, remains, and objects.  

In addition to implementing these policies, the 2025 Budget will facilitate ACHP’s plans to issue a Policy Statement on Indigenous Knowledge and Historic Preservation in 2024 that will establish a series of standards and guidelines regarding the role that Indigenous Knowledge has in historic preservation. Indigenous Knowledge is a body of observations, oral and written knowledge, innovations, practices, and expert knowledge developed by Indian Tribes, Native Hawaiians, and other Indigenous Peoples through interaction and experience with the environment. This policy tailors the Biden-Harris Administration’s Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Indigenous Knowledge to the needs of the historic preservation community and clarifies that Indigenous Knowledge is a valid and self-supporting source of information in the federal historic preservation review process. The policy recognizes that Indigenous Knowledge is often sensitive in nature and should be protected from inappropriate disclosure, that Indian Tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations are the appropriate subject matter experts of their knowledge, and calls on federal agencies to ensure that Indigenous Knowledge is accounted for in their decision-making processes.

Strengthen and Accelerate Reviews of Critical Infrastructure Projects

The 2025 Budget will build on recent successes. Beginning in 2022, the ACHP dramatically expanded its own efforts to improve historic preservation reviews for critical sectors. First, using one of the five “program alternatives” available in its regulations, the ACHP approved an exemption that released all federal agencies from carrying out historic preservation reviews for the installation and placement of electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE). In doing so, the ACHP demonstrated leadership in advancing recent laws and executive orders directing federal agencies to facilitate fleet electrification. Second, in 2023, the ACHP approved an exemption for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) from the historic preservation review process for certain maintenance and preservation activities.

The ACHP is now exploring how the exemption might be utilized by other federal agencies that can demonstrate programs and expertise similar to GSA. Third, also in 2023, the ACHP streamlined review for a category of Department of the Army (Army) historic housing inventory constructed from 1963-1975, generally referred to as Army Vietnam War-Era Historic Housing. The Program Comment streamlines and provides the Army with programmatic compliance for management actions occurring on this large inventory of similar property types in lieu of conducting individual project reviews on a case-by-case basis.

The ACHP is uniquely positioned to advance the Administration’s infrastructure initiatives and continue this record of success in FY 2025 by using the same types of program alternatives to accelerate reviews on other sectors, including key infrastructure. The ACHP will do this independently and in close coordination with federal agencies that received funding under President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act in order to facilitate timely and efficient environmental reviews for infrastructure projects.

The ACHP will continue its active engagement as a member of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council to make systemic improvements to environmental reviews and improve accessibility to information needed to inform them. It also will work directly with federal agencies to develop program alternatives that allow them to tailor and improve the efficiency of their environmental reviews for critical sectors.

Advance a More Inclusive Preservation Program

In fulfillment of its statutory charge to encourage public interest and participation in historic preservation, the ACHP will further develop and expand its ongoing efforts to build a more equitable and inclusive preservation program and to engage youth in historic preservation. The ACHP will continue and expand its work with the White House Initiative on Advancing Educational Equity, Excellence, and Economic Opportunity Through Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as a member and as a part of the Arts, Humanities, History and Culture Cluster. It also will partner with the U.S. Forest Service for summer internships for HBCU students, Cultural Heritage in the Forest, to prepare them for careers in the Forest Service’s Heritage Program as well as maintain strong, multi-faceted relationships with Tribal youth and college students, including its partnership with Salish Kootenai College, the only Tribal college or university with a degree program in Tribal historic preservation. 

Meet its Nation-to-Nation Responsibility with Indian Tribes and Support Consultation with the Native Hawaiian Community

Consistent with the unique legal and political relationship with federally recognized Indian Tribes as set forth in the Constitution of the United States, treaties, statutes, and through court decisions, the ACHP actively works to ensure Indian tribes are accounted for in the historic preservation review process. The ACHP will continue to serve as a member of the White House Council on Native American Affairs to advance sacred sites protection, Tribal treaty and reserved rights, and Native languages, among other opportunities. The ACHP also will support ongoing development of training and implementation tools to advance the Biden-Harris Administration’sGuidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Indigenous Knowledge as a member of the National Science and Technology Council’s Indigenous Knowledge Subcommittee. In partnership with the Department of the Interior and the Department of Defense, the ACHP also intends to re-establish the Interagency Native Hawaiian Working Group Memorandum of Understanding and to adopt consultation procedures and a language policy specific to the Native Hawaiian community, with action anticipated in summer 2024.

The Budget builds on the President’s record to date while achieving meaningful deficit reduction through measures that cut wasteful spending and ask the wealthy to pay their fair share.

For more information on the President’s FY 2025 Budget, please visit: To read the ACHP’s FY 2025 Budget Justification, please visit:


Posted: March 15, 2024
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