Engel and Smith Introduce Cultural Heritage Protection Bill

Posted by eden on November 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm : Blog

On November 14, Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Chris Smith (R-NJ) introduced the “Protect and Preserve International Cultural Property Act” (HR 5703). Rep. Engel is the ranking member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and Rep. Smith chairs the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.

The Act would protect cultural heritage worldwide and prohibit the import of Syrian antiquities into the U.S. in an effort to slow financial support for ISIL. It proposes to create a President-appointed White House Coordinator for International Cultural Property Protection to“coordinate and promote efforts to address international cultural property protection activities” among agencies, the military, law enforcement, import restrictions, and the Cultural Antiquities Task Force, and to submit an annual report to Congress.

In his press release (see here), Rep. Engel explained, “Whether art or architecture or archived materials, cultural property plays a vital role in the heritage of peoples all around the world…. Today, ISIL and other terrorist organizations have found a lucrative source of revenue in artifacts they traffic out of areas of conflict. America must respond by denying terrorists and criminals the ability to profit from instability by looting the world of its greatest treasures.”

 

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UPDATE: House Committee Chairs Selected

Posted by eden on November 19, 2014 at 10:49 am : Blog

On November 18, House Republicans selected new committee chairs for the 114th Congress (no women were selected). Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT) was selected to chair the important Natural Resources Committee. Accordingly, as noted above, the preservation community can expect that the Committee will continue its review of NEPA. See here for a full list of new House committee chairs.

 

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The Election: Effects on Preservation

Posted by eden on November 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm : Blog

The Republicans took control of the Senate and strengthened their hold on the House on November 4. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) is headed for a runoff election in Louisiana, the GOP has won at least 8 Senate seats and will have 243 seats (see here) in the House. Between election losses, retirements, and other moves, the House’s Historic Preservation Caucus will lose at least 13 members (the votes in Rep. Louise Slaughter’s race in New York are still being counted).

How will the election results affect cultural heritage, historic preservation and archaeology?

Transportation

Congress is scheduled to tackle several transportation issues next year, including highway and transit (the current MAP-21 extension expires on May 31, 2015), FAA and Amtrak. With this crowded agenda, we will be watching closely the revamped House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee, and Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation (CST) Committee.

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV), who has served as the top Democrat on the T&I Committee, lost his re-election bid after 38 years in Congress. Reps. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) and John Garamendi (D-CA) are both campaigning to replace him on the Committee. Most expect DeFazio to win; if he does, he will have to give up his Ranking Member post on the Natural Resources Committee.

We expect that “streamlining” will continue to be the trend in Transportation legislation, with additional proposals to reduce the effort required for projects to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

Science

House Space and Technology (SST) Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) has already wreaked havoc in the science community, particularly with respect to the National Science Foundation’s funding of the social sciences, including archaeology and anthropology (see, for example, Science article here and Slate article here). Just last week he published an op-ed in The Hill arguing that social science research is not in the national interest (here). Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX), Ranking Member of the SST, and others have pushed back, but with a Republican-dominated House and Senate, the GOP is sure to increase its efforts to control NSF grant-making, particularly outside of STEM.

The Environment and Climate Change

With many predicting the loss of archaeological and cultural sites as the oceans expand (see this interesting analysis of the problem from AIA’s Archaeology Magazine, here), how lawmakers address the problem is critical. Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) is likely to be made chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee. He denies the existence of global warming, calling it a hoax. Such leadership will do nothing to stem the tide of climate change and site destruction.

In Energy & Natural Resources, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) will be the new Chair. She supports fossil fuels and expanded drilling, as did former Chair Landrieu. Murkowski, however, is expected to support the Keystone XL pipeline and push for construction of a proposed 17-mile road in Alaska that would pass through a federal wildlife refuge. (Interior Secretary Sally Jewell has stuck firmly by her rejection of the proposal.)

We are also watching the House Natural Resources Committee for signs that they will pursue reform of NEPA. Rep. Doc Hastings (R-WA) will be stepping down from his chairmanship at the end of the year, and Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT) is expected to become chair. Rep. Bishop is currently the chair of the subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation, and in that capacity he requested a General Accounting Office report last year on the level of effort and time required for NEPA compliance on major projects. Under his leadership, we expect that the Committee will continue its review of NEPA, with a focus on whether environmental regulations are more appropriate at the state, rather than federal, level.

Bright Spots for Preservation

One bright spot from this week’s election was in New Jersey, where voters approved a constitutional amendment dedicates money from a business tax toward open space preservation. Historic preservation is an important goal of the amendment.

The National Trust also reported a victory in Hamilton County, Ohio, where residents elected to implement a one-quarter of one-percent sales tax levy to help restore Cincinnati’s Union Terminal.

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Chances are slim for the Senate and President Obama to reach compromise on key legislation. Majority Leader Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) famously told the National Journal in 2010 that “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Obama joked in 2013 that he was not interested in getting a drink with McConnell – although Obama changed course last week, saying “Actually I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon with Mitch McConnell.” While a few bottles of bourbon would certainly liven things up on the Hill, it’s unlikely to change the parties’ fundamental disagreements, primarily on immigration and health care. There is some talk of finding agreement on tax reform, but making significant changes in our nation’s tax code would require major compromise on both sides.

Despite their large gains, Republicans won’t have a sufficient majority in the Senate to defeat a presidential veto. While President Obama has issued only two vetoes during his 6 years in office, a Democratic Senate blocked most highly objectionable legislation before it reached his desk. Without that buffer, the preservation community needs to focus more of its efforts on the administration and the White House.

 

 

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Marion Werkheiser to Present at National Preservation Conference

Posted by marion on November 3, 2014 at 1:08 pm : Blog

pastforward

Marion Werkheiser will be a presenter at the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s annual conference, PastForward, in Savannah, Ga., November 11-14, 2014 at Savannah International Trade & Convention Center and the Westin Hotel. More than 2,000 attendees are expected to attend, including historic preservationists, architects, city planners, developers, and public and private-sector professionals.

Marion will present on Friday, Nov. 14 at 12:00pm on Preservation50, our national celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act in 2016. Marion will be joined by her Heritas Group colleague Marti Grimminck in this 30-minute power session designed to engage preservation advocates in planning for this ground-breaking anniversary celebration.

Conference programming includes educational Learning Labs, day-long Preservation Leadership Training Intensives and Field Studies that take attendees into the community. New this year are the TrustLive presentations which will bring new voices and new ideas together to focus on the intersections between historic preservation and larger issues including sustainability, climate change, real estate, technology, and new audiences. TrustLive will be live-streamed and virtually attended by people from across the nation and around the globe.

In addition, the Preservation Studio will feature live demonstrations, engaging films and exhibits showcasing the latest products, services, resources and information in preservation. The Preservation Studio is open to the general public.

For more information on the PastForward 2014, the National Preservation Conference, visit www.PastForward2014.org.

The 2014 National Preservation Conference, PastForward, is brought to you by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in collaboration with SCAD: The Savannah College of Art and Design and in partnership with the Historic Savannah Foundation.

 

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Preservation Action Foundation’s 2015 Advocacy Scholars Program

Posted by eden on September 29, 2014 at 10:30 am : Blog

From Preservation Action:

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Preservation Action Foundation is excited to announce its call for papers for the 2015 Advocacy Scholars Program. Are you or someone you know interested in historic preservation, planning, history, public policy, law, architecture or a related field and currently enrolled in a undergraduate or graduate program? If so, encourage them to apply to our Advocacy Scholars program, which offers a limited number of competitive scholarships to students interested in attending National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week (March 2-4, 2015) in Washington, D.C. The first year of the program was a huge success in training the next generation of preservation advocates and thanks to our many great sponsors, we are excited to announce the second year of the program. Attached is a copy of the flyer. Through the Advocacy Scholars Program, Preservation Action Foundation offers a limited number of stipends so that students can attend the National Historic Preservation Advocacy Week in Washington, DC. This year’s program will be held March 2-4, 2015 in Washington, D.C. In addition to the stipend, Advocacy Scholars receive complimentary registration to the conference and are our guests at special events including the Congressional Reception and luncheon.

To be considered, applicants submit:

1. A cover letter stating your interest, any previous legislative or advocacy experience and how participating in the program will contribute to your academic work and professional goals.

2. A 1,500 word essay on one of the following topics:

National Heritage Areas@30: In 2014 Congress considered multiple requests to designate new National Heritage Areas, even though the program faces continued financial and legislative challenges. Why is this large landscape program so compelling and what is its future? Give us your thoughts.

The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 established policy to protect our nation’s cultural resources. Preservation Action was founded by advocates to make historic preservation policies a national legislative priority. How do people who value preservation continue to take a stand? How to engage the next generation of historic preservationists and advocates?

3. Proof of academic enrollment. Students should submit essays by email to education@preservationaction.org by Friday, October 31, 2014. This is a competitive juried process. Selected Advocacy Scholars will be notified no later than Monday, January 5, 2015. For more information, please see www.preservationaction.org/scholars-2015/ and the attached Call for Papers. Please feel free to share this opportunity.

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Announcing Our New Ally, The Heritas Group

Posted by marion on May 7, 2014 at 1:41 pm : Blog

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Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC is pleased to announce the launch of its strategic ally, The Heritas Group. Heritas is a global firm of big idea strategists for government, business, and social change organizations.

Through this new venture we bring together a team of thirteen proven leaders, collaborating from our Washington, DC and San Francisco headquarters and from satellite offices on five continents, to complement our work at Cultural Heritage Partners. Heritas practice areas include:

  • Global Government Affairs: Forging unlikely coalitions and strategies that break through to ensure voices are heard
  • Social Enterprise & Innovation: Crossing sectors to discover system-changing solutions to intractable challenges
  • Leadership by Design: Producing transformative leaders in unprecedented times
  • Cultural Heritage Solutions: Leveraging the strength of the world’s diverse heritage to secure a more prosperous future

Our theory is simple: we think these are the most promising pathways to advancing the work of inspiring clients, while also helping to discover and scale answers to more universal challenges.

Our Heritas team includes co-founding partners:

  • Deborah Lehr, a China expert most recently Vice Chairman of the Paulson Institute, founded by former US Secretary of the Treasury and former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson, and previously Senior Managing Director at the New York Stock Exchange and Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for China.
  • Penelope Douglas, a pioneer in community development and impact investing and chair of Mission Hub, which includes collaboration labs nationwide and Social Capital Markets (SOCAP), investors and social innovators building a market at the intersection of money and meaning.
  • Peter Herdrich, a veteran television producer for the major networks, and former CEO of the world’s largest archaeological organization, the Archaeological Institute of America.
  • Greg Werkheiser, CHP co-founder and a pioneer of leadership development movements, social entrepreneur, and legal advocate.
  • Marion Werkheiser, CHP co-founder and leader in cultural heritage law and its intersection with politics and socio-economic development.

Learn about the eight other exciting members of our team, our clients, current initiatives, and more at www.heritasgroup.com.

We’re excited about this new phase of our work. Please let us know what you think and how we might collaborate!

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GAPP Holds Successful Kickoff Summit

Posted by eden on April 8, 2014 at 8:19 pm : Blog

The Gas and Preservation Partnership (GAPP) held its inaugural Summit, Honoring Our History-Fueling Our Future, in Pittsburgh on March 21, 2014 at the Fairmont Hotel. Attendees discussed how to simultaneously and collaboratively encourage energy exploration and protect important historic resources in and around the areas of potential impact of such exploration.

An overflow crowd of 130 professionals included executives from energy companies, including supermajors, energy industry trade associations, cultural resource management firms, engineering firms, state and national professional archaeological associations, state government historic preservation offices, tribal agencies, academic institutions, and law and business consulting firms.

The Pittsburgh Post Gazette provided front page coverage of the event (available here), and an Associated Press article appeared in twenty major newspapers nationwide (available here).

The summit advanced three objectives:

  • Educate the energy industry about the social and economic importance and methodologies of cultural resource preservation;
  • Educate the preservation community about the economic and geopolitical importance and methodologies of energy development; and,
  • Develop the business case for working together to develop voluntary practices that advance energy exploration while protecting the most important cultural resources.

Perhaps the greatest accomplishment was overcoming healthy skepticism from many attendees that in the midst of the nation’s highly contentious political environment, two seemingly different interest groups could forge an alliance of mutual benefit based on shared values and compromise. That is not to say GAPP’s job is done, but some essential trust was built in Pittsburgh which will facilitate joint solution-building in the months ahead.

Please check the GAPP conference webpage for updates such as video and photo coverage, speakers’ PowerPoint slides, and a concise summary of the main points from each session.

Next steps in GAPP’s efforts are to:

  • Continue to build the GAPP governing board to expand strategic resources and to reflect (as it does now) equal representation from industry and the preservation community.
  • Guide GAPP’s four working groups to the production of their respective components of a set of draft voluntary best practices for circulation and feedback. See GAPP working group descriptions here: http://gasandpreservation.org/working-groups/
  • Expand the dialogue to include other energy industries, including solar, wind and electric.

GAPP welcomes new participants. If your company may be interested in becoming more involved as a board member, financial or promotional supporter, or through membership in one of GAPP’s working groups, please get in touch.

Working Groups: workinggroups@gasandpreservation.org

Sponsorship and General Questions: info@gasandpreservation.org

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The Converging Roads to Energy Independence and Historic Preservation

Posted by marion on February 26, 2014 at 2:19 pm : Blog

Marion F. Werkheiser posted a piece this week entitled, “The Converging Roads to Energy Independence and Historic Preservation,” to the Preservation Leadership Forum hosted by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The piece discusses the important work of the Gas and Preservation Partnership (GAPP) to develop voluntary practices that encourage shale gas development while taking into account impacts to historic and cultural resources.  Join CHP at the GAPP Summit: Honoring Our History, Fueling Our Future on March 21, 2014 at the Fairmont Hotel in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Culture, Interrupted: Eden Talks About Third Reich-Era Looting at GSU Law

Posted by eden on February 12, 2014 at 1:46 pm : Blog

On February 10, 2014, Eden joined Professor Ryan Rowberry and members of the International Comparative Law Society at Georgia State University Law School to talk about Third Reich-era art looting and some of the related cases she has worked on.

Between January 1933 and May 1945, untold millions of pieces of art and cultural objects were looted by the Nazis during their campaign to recast culture in their own ideal image. And despite the well-publicized heroics of the Monuments Men, there were also some instances of Allied soldiers taking advantage of the wartime chaos to take home valuable items. These instances of theft have led to several reported – and even more unreported – restitution claims and other efforts by looting victims to recover their property.

 

 

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IRS Publishes HTC Safe Harbor

Posted by eden on January 10, 2014 at 9:24 am : Blog

As one of its last items of business in 2013, the IRS released its long-awaited Revenue Procedure addressing Historic Tax Credits on December 30 (Revenue Procedure 2014-12, 26 C.F.R. § 601.105). The Rev Proc “establishes the requirements (the Safe Harbor) under which the [IRS] will not challenge partnership allocations of § 47 rehabilitation credits by a partnership to its partners” (Section 1). Early reviews report that the document resolves many of the questions the HTC community has been dealing with since the Third Circuit decided the Historic Boardwalk case last year. That case caused reluctance among tax credit investors to invest in new projects. Rev. Proc. 2014-12 is designed to address the ambiguity created by Historic Boardwalk and to encourage investment in historic structures by providing a reasonable safe harbor for HTC projects.

The Rev Proc applies to allocations made on or after December 30, 2013; for buildings placed into service before December 30, the IRS will not challenge allocations if they meet the same criteria. Here is a brief summary of the Rev Proc’s requirements:

  • The investor must invest at least 20% of its total expected contributions, and at least 75% of the total contributions must be fixed in amount, before the building is placed in service.
  • The investor must maintain at least 5% interest in each item of partnership income, losses, and tax credits for the taxable year for which the investor’s percentage share of that item is the largest.
  • The investor’s interest must have “a reasonably anticipated value commensurate with the Investor’s overall percentage interest in the Partnership,” and cannot be a substantially fixed amount.
  •  The investor cannot be substantially protected from losses and must participate in profits in a manner not limited to a preferred return.
  • The developer (Principal) must have at least a 1% interest in income, losses and tax credits.
  • Several limitations on the investor’s master tenant in an “inverted lease” to sublease the building back to the developer.
  • The developer’s promises to the investor are limited to “the performance of any acts necessary to claim the § 47 rehabilitation credits.” They must be unfunded, meaning that “no money or property is set aside to fund all or any portion of the guarantee, and if neither the person making the guarantee (the guarantor) nor any person under the control of the guarantor agrees to maintain a minimum net worth in connection with the guarantee.”
  • The developer cannot indemnify the investor against loss of tax credits in the case of an IRS challenge, although the investor is entitled to procure insurance from “persons not involved with the rehabilitation or the Partnership.”
  • The developer may not have a right to repurchase the investor’s interest, but the investor may have a right to force the developer to repurchase at fair market value.
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