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FW: SAA February 2005 Government Affairs Update

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  • Lewine, Mark
    fyi-now that I have joined the SAA, I find that they have many informative and well-done services; this is one ... From: David Lindsay
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2005
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      fyi-now that I have joined the SAA, I find that they have many
      informative and well-done services; this is one
      -----Original Message-----
      From: David Lindsay [mailto:david_lindsay@...]
      Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2005 9:33 AM
      To: Lewine, Mark
      Subject: SAA February 2005 Government Affairs Update

      Riched20; SAA Government Affairs Program: Monthly
      Washington, D.C. Update
      For February 2005

      David Lindsay
      Manager, Government Affairs
      Society for American Archaeology

      The new 109 th Congress and President Bush's second
      term kicked off in February with a huge number of
      momentous issues to address, including the war in
      Iraq, the FY06 federal budget, and the President's
      proposed re-organization of the Social Security system.
      Looming over everything, however, are the daunting totals
      of the federal budget deficit and the overall national debt.

      Even though the President's party controls both houses
      of Congress, concern is growing about the seemingly
      inexorable upward spiral of red ink, fueled by war
      expenses and the rapidly rising costs of certain programs,
      including the new Medicare prescription drug program.

      The increasing concern over the budget prompted the
      administration to submit to Congress a Fiscal Year 2006
      budget that made substantial cuts in many areas,
      including historic preservation programs. The following
      is a breakdown of the budget request for many federal
      historic preservation activities, along with a comparison
      of the request versus last year's final enacted spending

      BLM cultural resources management: $15.2 million, up
      $315 thousand;
      NPS cultural programs: $17.7 million, down $2.2 million;
      Historic Pres. Fund (HPF) total: $66.2 million,
      down $5.5 million;
      HPF grants to SHPO's: $34.5 million, same as FY05;
      HPF grants to THPO's: $3.2 million, same as FY05;
      HPF grants to Save America's Treasures: $15 million,
      down $14.5 million;
      HPF grants for Preserve America: $12.5 million, up
      from zero in FY05;
      Advisory Council for Historic Preservation: $4.9 million,
      up $300 thousand;

      Congress has begun its oversight hearings on the
      budget request.

      The new Congress has brought changes to several important
      congressional committees. In the House, the
      Appropriations Committee has re-organized itself in order
      to reflect the changes that the creation of the Department
      of Homeland Security has brought to the federal
      bureaucracy. As a result, the committee now has 10
      subcommittees instead of thirteen. The Subcommittee on
      Interior is now called the Subcommittee on Interior and
      Environment, with new jurisdiction over the Environmental
      Protection Agency, the president's Council on Environmental Quality, and
      a number of other environmentally-related offices.
      The Senate Appropriations Committee is considering a
      similar re-organization.

      The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs has new leadership
      following the departure of Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell
      (R-CO) from Capitol Hill. Nighthorse-Campbell was chair
      of the committee, which is now headed by Sen. John McCain
      (R-AZ). Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) has stepped down as
      vice-chair of the panel. That role is now being filled
      by Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND).


      The following are bills that could affect federal
      archaeology policy

      S. 63 - Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area Act
      Sponsor - Sen. Bingaman (D-NM)
      Status - passed 2/16 by Energy and Natural Resources
      Outlook - pending before full Senate, likely to be
      Background - S. 63 would create a National Heritage Area
      encompassing the New Mexico counties of Taos, Santa Fe,
      and Rio Arriba for the management and protection of the
      Pueblo Indian and Spanish colonial cultural resources
      in those areas. The bill would authorize the creation
      of the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area,
      Inc., a management entity to develop and oversee the
      plan to preserve the heritage resources within the
      boundaries of the Area. A board of directors made up
      of representatives from the counties, the cities of
      Santa Fe, Espanola, and Taos, the tribes and pueblos in
      the Area, and others would be constituted. The Board
      would be required to develop a management plan for the
      Area within three years, recommending preservation
      steps to be taken and identifying sources of funding.
      No federal funding would be available if the
      management plan was not submitted within three years.
      No federal funds would be available for the purchasing
      of property. The management entity's actions would
      also be prevented from having any regulatory impact on
      private property. S. 63 is nearly identical to
      legislation considered during the 108 th Congress.

      H.R. 3 - Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users
      Sponsor - Rep. Young (R-AK);
      Status - introduced 2/9;
      Outlook - pending before House Transportation and
      Infrastructure Committee, markup scheduled for 3/2;
      Background - H.R. 3 is the latest attempt to reauthorize
      the federal government's surface transportation programs.
      The last Congress failed to approve a comprehensive
      transportation reauthorization bill. As in last
      year's House bill, H.R. 3 contains a provision that
      would allow projects that have completed a
      Section 106 review to be exempt from having to undertake
      a Section 4(f) review if an agreement is reached under
      the Section 106 process that the project will have no
      adverse effect on historic properties. The Advisory
      Council on Historic Preservation would be able to prevent
      such an exemption either on its own or
      if a consulting party to the Section 106 review of
      the project petitioned the ACHP to do so, and the
      ACHP decided to act on the petition.

      Unlike last year's Senate bill, the House bill's
      language would apply only to historic properties,
      not any of the other types of lands and areas protected
      by the 4(f) standard, such as parks, recreation
      areas, and wildlife and waterfowl refuges.
      In addition, the H.R. 3 does not set a "de minimis"
      threshold for the exemption to take place, as
      in the Senate bill.

      The Senate is expected to introduce its own version
      of the reauthorization bill sometime in March.
      Negotiations during the last Congress broke down, even
      though both houses had passed their versions of the bill,
      because of a disagreement over a total spending limit.


      The State Department's Cultural Property Advisory
      Committee (CPAC) is the panel that evaluates and advises
      the administration on requests made by foreign nations
      under the terms of the 1970 UNESCO Convention on
      the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit
      Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural
      Property. In the requests, nations that are experiencing
      looting and illegal export of their cultural patrimony ask
      the U.S. to impose restrictions on endangered cultural
      items as part of a comprehensive effort to stem illegal
      trade in them. Late last year, China asked the U.S.
      to impose restrictions on certain specific categories
      of art and archaeological material. On February 17,
      during a meeting that was heavily attended by the public,
      the CPAC heard from interested outside parties on the
      merits of the request. Speakers included art dealers and
      collectors, and representatives from museums,
      archaeological groups, and various preservation
      organizations. The CPAC will make its recommendations to
      the State Department later this year.

      The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation held its
      winter meeting in Monterey, California on February 18,
      during which it received a brief update on the status of
      the Council's Task Force on Archaeology. The Task Force
      has been charged with evaluating and making
      recommendations to the Council on how to update the
      Council's archaeology policies and how archaeology can be
      better used to increase public interest in historic
      preservation. The SAA submitted comments to the Task
      Force last year. The comments can be found at

      If you know of any SAA member who does not receive this
      update, but might like to, let me know or have them
      contact me at david_lindsay@....

      The SAA 70 th Annual Meeting
      March 30 - April 3, 2005
      Salt Lake City, UT

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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