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ACHP Offices Closed For Inauguration Week
Due to the presidential inauguration activities, the National Building Museum, which houses the ACHP, will be closed to the public and tenants January 16-22. January 16 and January 20 are federal holidays. But on January 17-19, the ACHP staff will be conducting business, although not physically in the office. Most ACHP staff telework and can be reached by e-mail or on their direct phone lines. For a staff directory, please click here. Normal operations will resume on January 23.
NPS Announces More Than $7.5 Million in Grants to Preserve African American Civil Rights Movement Sites
Jan. 12 – We salute the National Park Service who today announced funding for 39 projects in more than 20 states that will preserve and highlight the sites and stories associated with the Civil Rights Movement and the African American experience. “Through the African American Civil Rights Grant Program, we’re helping our public and private partners tell unique and powerful stories of the African American struggle for equality in the 20th Century,” National Park Service Acting Director Michael Reynolds said. Read the press release here.
Chicano Park in San Diego Among New NHLs
Jan. 11-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell today announced the designation of 24 new National Historic Landmarks across the country. Read the press release. Newly designated Chicano Park was one of the ACHP’s Section 106 Success Stories featuring a smart collaboration among local artists, the California Department of Transportation, and Federal Highway Administration to restore a place famous in the struggle for Chicano civil rights. Read the story.
Native Youth Newsletter Now Available!
The Interagency Working Group on Native Youth in Historic Preservation is pleased to announce its first newsletter. The ACHP established the working group to bring together federal agencies with historic preservation expertise to work collaboratively to introduce Native youth to the field and explore ways to expand existing resources and create new opportunities. Read the newsletter here.
President Obama Announces Intent to Appoint New Member
On Dec. 21, the President announced his intention to appoint Reno Keoni Franklin as the new Native American/Native Hawaiian member of the ACHP. Read the press release here. Read the White House announcement here.
President Signs Bill Authorizing ACHP Full-Time Chairman and Reauthorizes Historic Preservation Fund
On Dec. 16, President Barack Obama signed the National Park Service Centennial Act into law. It is Public Law 114-289 https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/4680/text
The bill contained amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act that the ACHP had been pursuing for several years. These include the conversion of the ACHP chairman to a full-time position, appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate, and the addition of the General Chairman of National Association of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (NATHPO) as a voting member of the ACHP. The ACHP chairman provisions would take effect on Jan. 20, 2017, commencing a four-year term for that position. The current chairman will serve until the full-time chairman is appointed and confirmed. The NATHPO provision takes effect now. Read more here. Read FAQs about the legislation here.
TrustLive Sessions Online
The ACHP participated in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s PastForward conference in November. Watch former Vice Chairman Teresa Leger de Fernandez and others in an exciting panel discussion of Preservation Voices. To watch more of the conference videos, simply click on the second link below and choose the session you would like to view.
Preserve America Designation for Orange Mound Celebrated in Memphis
Hundreds of advocates, community leaders, schoolchildren, and other members of the public gathered at Mount Pisgah Christian Methodist Episcopal Church in southeast Memphis Dec. 16 to celebrate the designation of Orange Mound as the 905th Preserve America Community.
Orange Mound holds the distinction of being the first subdivision in the U.S. designed specifically for African Americans. Attendees of the designation ceremony were treated to a reenactment of the story of Orange Mound's origins, as well as stirring music and dance performances by local ensembles from the Blues City Cultural Center and Melrose High School. U.S. Representative Steve Cohen and ACHP Member Jordan Tannenbaum also addressed the audience, with the crowd applauding Tannenbaum's acknowledgment of the community's success in 2015 in celebrating its 125th anniversary.
The ceremony closed with Tannenbaum reading the official Preserve America designation letter from First Lady Michelle Obama, and the presentation of a replica of the official designation sign for the community.
Orange Mound was named after the Osage orange shrubs that lined the grounds of the Deadrick Plantation, from which the lands that formed the community were deeded in 1870. The land was purchased by Izey Eugene Meacham, who in turn sold plots to local African Americans.
Congress Passes Water Infrastructure Bill With Provisions Backed by the ACHP
On December 10, the Senate passed the revised House version of the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act. The measure now goes to the President for signature.
Several provisions supported by the ACHP in a recent letter to Congress were included: a review of the Army Corps of Engineers’ tribal consultation policy; the creation of a public interest criterion for assessing Corps properties; and the addressing of cultural resources in a new Indian dam safety program. The ACHP believes all three provisions will enhance the Corps’ consideration of cultural resources, particularly those of interest to Indian tribes.
The tribal consultation provision requires the Corps to review its policies, regulations, and guidance related to consulting with Indian tribes on water resources development projects or other activities that require the approval of, or the issuance of a permit by, the Corps and that may have an impact on tribal cultural or natural resources. The result of this review will be a report to Congress. Given past controversies regarding the adequacy of the Corps’ consultation with Indian tribes on cultural and natural resource issues, the review called for in the provision could be an important step toward more effective tribal consultation on future projects.
The public interest criterion provision makes an important change to the criteria used by the Corps in determining which of its properties—including dams, flood control structures, levees and reservoirs—are not needed to fulfill its missions and is a candidate for disposal. The provision adds a criterion addressing the economic, cultural, historic, or recreational significance of properties. This addition will help to ensure that broader, public interest issues–including historical significance – are considered during the Corps’ evaluation of the properties it manages.
The dam safety provision authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the Corps, to carry out a program to address the safety of federal dams in Indian Country. The provision requires, among other things, that the Corps take into account risks to natural and cultural resources when addressing the deferred maintenance needs of Indian dams.
Update: Army Corps Decision on Dakota Access Pipeline
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced on December 4 that it decided not to grant an easement to the Dakota Access Pipeline to cross the Missouri River on Corps land until a fuller analysis of alternatives is completed. The Corps indicated this decision is based in part on National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations and its interest in greater public and tribal participation in infrastructure project reviews such as this.
The Corps has not indicated whether it intends to reopen or conduct any further review under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) related to this action. At present, the Corps has determined it has fulfilled its obligations under Section 106 for the pipeline project. As reflected in its correspondence with the Corps (see here), the ACHP has questioned the sufficiency of the Corps’ review for the entire 1,172-mile pipeline under Section 106. The lawsuit filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and others regarding the Corps’ environmental review of the pipeline project, including its compliance with Section 106, remains under consideration in federal court.
An interagency work group is currently reviewing the outcome of several recent tribal consultation meetings held by the Corps, the Department of Justice, and the Department of the Interior that examined steps the federal government might take to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure project reviews and decisions. ACHP staff is participating in the work group’s analysis of the meetings and development of further actions.
Agencies Call for Tribal Input on Consultation on Infrastructure Projects
On September 9, in a joint statement the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps), Department of Justice and Department of the Interior committed to engage in government-to-government consultations with Indian tribes on what the federal government should do to better ensure meaningful tribal input into infrastructure project reviews and decisions. The consultations would also address whether new legislation should be proposed to Congress to promote protection of tribal lands, resources, and treaty rights when these projects are undertaken.
The announcement followed a decision the same day by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that denied a motion filed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe that would have temporarily enjoined construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). DAPL is a proposed 1,168-mile oil pipeline that would stretch from the Bakken fields of North Dakota to Pakota, Illinois, and cross properties of religious and cultural significance to the Standing Rock Sioux and other Indian tribes. Construction of DAPL requires federal permits and approvals, most notably from the Corps.
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) became involved in the case after receiving expressions of concern from tribes and other stakeholders about the Corps’ compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Section 106 requires federal agencies to consider the effects on historic properties of projects the agencies carry out, permit, license, approve, or financially assist. The ACHP concluded that the Corps’ efforts to comply with Section 106 were deficient. The Corps disagreed and issued the necessary permits and approvals.
While the court decision is being appealed, the Corps and the Departments of Justice and the Interior sent a formal invitation on September 23 to tribal leaders to launch a series of consultation sessions to address the broader issues of tribal engagement in infrastructure reviews. The ACHP will be fully engaged in these sessions.
The ACHP's ongoing work with the development of policy recommendations to improve the national historic preservation program on its 50th anniversary will also benefit from the input received through the consultations.
Chairman’s Award Goes to Painted Bluff Project
ACHP Chairman Milford Wayne Donaldson presented the Chairman’s Award for Achievement in Historic Preservation at an evening reception Nov. 30 to partners who worked on the graffiti removal and camouflage project at Painted Bluff in Alabama. A historic site with pictographs dating back 600 years, Painted Bluff had become a graffiti magnet, and the Tennessee Valley Authority, University of Tennessee, Stratum Unlimited, University of Alabama, Southeastern Climbers Coalition, and 15 federally recognized Indian tribes worked together to restore the character of the bluff. Read more about the award here. View a slide presentation here.
ACHP Meets in DC for Fall Business
The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation met Dec. 1 in Washington, D.C. for its fall business meeting. New member Luis Hoyos was sworn in, and member Leonard Forsman was sworn in as the new vice chairman of the ACHP. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell of Forsman’s home state of Washington administered the oath to him and talked about the importance of historic preservation.
Council members passed several action items including a report and recommendations regarding the ACHP’s public policy initiative for the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act and the future of the federal preservation program. They also endorsed a diversity statement regarding internal ACHP business including staff and council member diversity and inclusiveness. Additionally, they supported sections of House and Senate bills regarding the Water Resources Development Act pertaining to historic properties and the Army Corps of Engineers.
Council members discussed the upcoming transition of presidential administrations and how priorities need to be set for preservation initiatives that will be of interest to the new Administration. The next business meeting will be March 22-23 in Washington, D.C.
ACHP Announces Community Revitalization Policy Statement
After years of research and study into the needs of communities across the U.S. who are struggling to revive their economies and historic assets, the ACHP has issued a policy statement aimed at helping to provide ideas and principles for successful community revitalization. Read more about how to help your community.
First Lady Designates New Preserve America Community
First Lady Michelle Obama sent a letter to the community leaders of Orange Mound, a neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee, announcing it is the newest Preserve America Community. The total now is 905 designated communities. Read the press release here.
President Announces Intent to Appoint New Vice Chairman
President Barack Obama announced his intention to appoint current ACHP Native American Member Leonard Forsman as vice chairman of the ACHP. Forsman serves as chairman of the Suquamish Tribe in Washington. Read more here.
Agreement Reached for Four-State, 728-Mile Transmission Line
The proposed TransWest Express Transmission Line would move energy from Wyoming through Colorado and Utah, ending in southern Nevada, and provide power for up to 1.8 million homes in the Southwest each year. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has been consulting with more than 80 parties since 2012 in order to take effects on historic properties from this lengthy transmission line into account. On October 18, 2016, the ACHP signed the Programmatic Agreement (PA) that resulted from the consultation, completing the execution of the agreement.
The PA effectively addresses direct, indirect, and cumulative effects on historic properties. Building on the methodologies for assessing indirect effects done on previous transmission projects, this agreement reflects the most up-to-date thinking about addressing visual effects in landscape-scale projects (see Appendix C).
The BLM's outreach to the many interested parties in the four-state area is also of note. The agency invited 53 Indian tribes to participate in consultation, including two tribes whose reservation boundaries were crossed by the preferred alignment. Sidebar discussions between the project proponent, TransWest Express LLC, and the Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation led to a joint press release about the proactive hiring of qualified tribal members for construction jobs, a job fair prior to the start of construction, and a career fair for high school students highlighting energy-related jobs. Prior to the ACHP's signature, 34 parties signed the PA, including four Indian tribes, indicating unusually broad consensus about the agreement. View the full Programmatic Agreement here.
New Report on Climate Change Highlights Efforts in Historic Preservation
A new White House report highlights the damage that climate change can cause to historic properties and neighborhoods, cultural institutions, tribal sites, and other heritage assets. The impacts from climate change “can irrevocably change a community’s sense of place and erode community identity and stability,” according to Opportunities to Enhance the Nation’s Resilience to Climate Change. The report goes on to note the federal government is exploring ways to support communities seeking to relocate in the face of rising sea levels, and that the National Park Service and Federal Emergency Management Agency have published guidance regarding cultural resources and climate change. The report was prepared by the interagency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, of which the ACHP is a member.
President Obama joins preservationists across the country today in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act.
Read more here.
ACHP Celebrates 50th Anniversary at Events
Read about how ACHP members and staff have celebrated the 50th anniversary of the NHPA and the founding of the ACHP!
Section 106 and the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: General Information and Guidance
The ACHP adopted a plan to support the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (Declaration) on March 1, 2013. In the plan, the ACHP commits to raising awareness about the Declaration in the historic preservation community and incorporating the principles and aspirations of the Declaration into ACHP initiatives and programs. As part of the effort to raise awareness, the ACHP also committed to developing guidance on the intersection of the process under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106) and the Declaration. Read more.