Today, The Hill published ACHP Chair Sara Bronin’s op-ed warning of the growing threat of climate change to America’s historic places and landmarks.
From the Statue of Liberty to the coast of Florida, rising sea levels and extreme weather put our historic sites at risk. Just last month, severe storms and flooding caused significant damage to a historic lighthouse in Maine and left parts of Annapolis, Md.’s historic district submerged in nearly three feet of water. And it’s not just flooding; the effects of climate change likely worsened last year’s wildfire in Lahaina, Hawaii, that claimed 100 lives and devastated the town’s beloved historic district.
In testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, Chair Bronin recently asked Congress to create a federal climate heritage office to address these issues. And last year, the Advisory Council adopted the federal government’s first policy statement on climate change and historic preservation. The statement urges decision-makers to take steps to make historic properties more resilient, to consider such properties during disaster preparedness and response, and to facilitate and invest in the reuse of historic buildings which can contribute to decarbonization.