Feb 052010

An Alert From Preservation Action

In a major blow to our nation’s federal historic preservation program, the President’s budget, released on Monday of this week, requested the elimination of both the Save America’s Treasures (SAT) and Preserve America (PA) programs – representing a $25 million cut to the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). An Action Alert can be viewed here.

In the termination language that accompanied the budget, it was stated that the “SAT and PA programs have not demonstrated how they contribute to nationwide historic preservation goals.” Further, it was suggested that elimination of these programs would enable the National Park Service to “focus resources on managing national parks and other activities that most closely align with its core mission.”

Funding for Heritage Areas was also cut by $9 million. Once again, the White House justified this cut by citing the need for the National Park Service to focus on “national parks and lack of management,” which further suggests that the Administration believes the management of cultural resources is not in line with the NPS’s core mission.

At the same time the President severely cut historic preservation programs, he increased the funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) to $620 million, and stated his intention to seek full funding (at $900 million) by 2014. The LWCF and HPF, considered “sister funds,” both receive their annual deposits from outer-continental shelf oil and gas drilling leases. Unlike the HPF, which funds a variety of programs that focus on cultural resources, the LWCF’s primary purpose is to acquire land and provide for park maintenance.

The preference the administration is showing towards natural resources versus cultural resources, rather than a comprehensive approach which reflects the complete mission of the National Park Service is cause for concern.

In the coming weeks, it is essential that you contact your members of congress to let them know that cultural resources and natural resources are of equal importance. With the administration’s current focus on job creation and economic development, it will be critical to our effort to link historic preservation to these important goals.

Senator Dick Durbin (D)
309 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2152 (202) 224-2152
Fax: (202) 228-0400

Website: http://durbin.senate.gov/
Contact Form: http://durbin.senate.gov/sitepages/contact.htm

Senator Roland Burris (D)
523 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510
Phone: (202) 224-2854 (202) 224-2854
Fax: (202) 228-5417

Website: http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/senators/one_item_and_teasers/burris.htm
Contact Form: Email: Senator_RolandBurris@Burris.Senate.Gov

Congressman Tim Johnson (R)
U.S. House of Representatives – 15th District
1229 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
Phone: (202) 225-2371 (202) 225-2371
Fax: (202) 226-0791

2004 Fox Drive
Champaign, IL 61820
Phone: (217) 403-4690 (217) 403-4690
Fax: (217) 403-4691

Website: http://www.house.gov/timjohnson/
Contact Form: http://www.house.gov/timjohnson/contact/index.shtml

February 5th, 2010