United States Capitol Rotunda.

Congress Holds Hearing Targeting National Historic Preservation Act

07/25/2017
By Preservation Maryland

The Nation’s most important historic preservation law came under scrutiny recently at a hearing of the Natural Resources Subcommittee on Oversight entitled, “Examining Impacts of Federal Natural Resources Laws Gone Awry, Part II

The hearing on July 18, 2017, which comes as the Congress begins to broadly debate regulation and its impact on the economy, focused on both the Section 106 portion of the National Historic Preservation Act as well as the creation of new National Register districts.

VIDEO FROM THE HEARING

hearing targets section 106 AND national register of historic places

Dr. Amos Loveday, an industry consultant spoke primarily in opposition to considering properties “determined eligible” for the National Register as a component of the Section 106 review process. Ms. Patty Brandt, leader of an Oregon-based citizens group that contested the creation of a National Register district also testified in opposition to the law. Ms. Amanda Leiter, a former Obama Administration official from the Department of the Interior, testified in favor of the laws broad check-and-balances and the need for regulation to protect our Nation’s historic places.

The Coalition for American Heritage, a new advocacy organization advocating on behalf of the Nation’s preservation laws and programs, provides a detailed explanation of the hearing, questions and positions taken.

federal assault mirrors state attacks on preservation laws

Unfortunately, the latest federal targeting of this critical law follows several recent examples at the state level, notably in Michigan and Utah, where state legislators have attempted to scale back or limit the power of local and state historic preservation laws. There, the results have been mixed thanks to the organized advocacy of state and local preservation organizations.

next steps

Preservation Maryland is working closely with members of Maryland’s federal delegation to oppose any damaging changes to the National Historic Preservation Act. We also encourages Preservation Maryland members and supporters to alert colleagues and friends to the potential threats to this landmark legislation.

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Preservation Maryland is Maryland’s first and largest organization dedicated to preserving the state’s historic buildings, neighborhoods, landscapes, and archaeological sites.

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