APRIL 26, 2019

Proposed Rule Changes Threaten National Register of Historic Places Nominations. Comments Due Tuesday!

TAKE ACTION! Submit Comments on the Proposed Rule Changes to the National Register by April 30th

Preservation Action is highly concerned with proposed revisions to the National Register of Historic Places. The proposed rule changes would substantially impact how historic resources are nominated to the National Register of Historic Places and determined eligible. While the stated intent is to bring regulations current with recent amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the proposed revisions clearly go far beyond that purpose and are inconsistent with the language in and intent of the NHPA.

The National Park Service is seeking public comment and we need your voice!  Submit your comments in opposition to the proposed rule changes by  April 30thPreservation Action made it easy for you to take action. Review the sample comment below and make it your own. You can also check out our Action Alert for a one-pager, talking points, and additional information to assist you in writing your comments.

Sample Comment

"I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule changes regarding nominations to the National Register of Historic Places. The revisions proposed by the National Park Service are inconsistent with the language in and intent of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and would have a devastating impact on the ability of properties to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The rules were drafted without tribal consultation and failed to consider potential concerns of other affected parties. I write to strongly object to the proposed changes.

Some of the most concerning changes deal with how federal properties are recognized as historic places. The proposed rule would allow federal agencies to effectively block a historic property from being listed on the National Register. Furthermore, the changes would revoke the right of any person or local government to appeal the failure of a nominating authority to nominate a property, if that property is federally owned. Federal properties are often critical to the character of cities and towns across the country. The proposed changes restrict local control of communities to determine the future of their federally owned historic assets and would result in fewer federal properties being added to the National Register.

The Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit is a proven preservation and community revitalization tool, which is only available to properties individually listed to the National Register of Historic Places or as part of a historic district. The proposed rules would allow federal agencies owning a property in a proposed historic district to object to the historic district nomination and prevent its listing, limiting the ability of properties to take advantage of these vital tax incentives.

Historic district nominations would be further restricted by giving large property owners an outweighed ability to block nominations to the National Register. Currently, a majority of property owners can object to a historic district nomination. The proposed rules would give State Historic Preservation Officers the near impossible burden of factoring a property owners percentage of total land area in addition to the current process of one private property owner, one vote. There is no statutory authority to make this change.

The rule as proposed in docket #NPS-2019-0001 would dramatically impact the ability of properties to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. I strongly urge you to reconsider these changes."

How to Take Action

1. Review the sample comment above and make it your own. Include local examples of how the proposed changes would impact historic preservation in your community.

2. Submit comments on docket #NPS-2019-001 to the National Park Service by April 30, 2019.

3. Share Preservation Action's Action Alert and One-Pager with your network, friends family and coworkers.

4. Share on social media, using #hpadvocacy.

5. Become a member of Preservation Action. Help support this effort and our other national advocacy efforts. 

Senate Historic Preservation Fund Dear Colleague Letter Receives Strong Support

A bipartisan group of 23 Senators signed on to the  Senate FY20 Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) Dear Colleague Letter .  Led by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand  (D-NY) and Sen. Bill Cassidy  (R-LA), the letter requested $141 million in funding for the Historic Preservation Fund, the same amount we advocated for during Advocacy Week. This includes important increases for State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, a new grants program for GIS-based mapping for of historic resources, and continued support for competitive grant programs. The letter was sent to the Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittee   last week.  We can't thank Senators Gillibrand and Cassidy for their continued leadership on historic preservation. 

The House FY20 HPF Dear Colleague Letter was sent to the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee last month and also requested $141 million for thee HPF. The letter, led by Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) received support from 130 Representatives. Overall, the House and Senate letters combined received support from 153 bipartisan members of Congress, marking a record level of support for the Historic Preservation Fund! Thanks to everyone that reached out to your Senators and Representatives over the last several weeks, we couldn't have done it without you.

Thank Your Members of Congress

Did your Representative or Senators sign on this letter? Be sure to thank them for their vocal support of historic preservation funding! See the final list of signers below.

Legislation to Establish a Historic Tax Credit in California Advances in State Senate

Earlier this month legislation to establish a historic tax credit program in California passed 5-0 out of the Senate Governance and Finance Committee, next the bill will be heard by the Senate Appropriations Committee. SB 451 would establish a 20% tax credit on qualified rehabilitation expenses, with a 25% tax credit for specific types of adaptive reuse. Under the legislation, $50 million would be allocated annually for the program.

A previous attempt to establish a historic tax credit in California came up short in 2014, when previous Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed legislation that passed the state legislature with near unanimous support. If passed, California would join 35 other states that currently have a state historic tax credit program.

Check out the latest from the California Preservation Foundation to learn more and find out how you can help!

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Preservation Action is the only national  non-profit dedicated exclusively to lobbying for the best preservation policies at the federal level. We seek to make historic preservation a national priority by advocating to all branches of government through a grassroots constituency empowered with information and training.