Budget Conference Committee

Wed, 7 Jun 1995 14:29:44 -0400

To the Cultural Resources Community:

This is a message from ACRA (the American Cultural Resources Association)
urging you to take some time, get involved and call or write your members of

Tomorrow, June 8, 1995, the House-Senate Budget Conference Committee will
begin deliberating and ironing our differences in their budget resolutions
passed over the past couple of weeks. This is the time to contact your
members of Congress and express your support for the National Historic
Preservation Act, the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation,
and the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106).

As you may recall, the wording in the House Budget Committee Report is
worrisome, to say the least; and it is now that this wording may begin to
have an effect, as the joint committee begins to decide the *intent* of what
each house passed in an attempt to find a compromise. This House Report
wording is so divorced from reality that we need to educate our
representatives and particularly those on the joint committee as to the real
function and intent of Section 106.

We also need to make it clear to our senators on the committee that
eliminating the Advisory Council as redundant (the wording of the Senate
resolution) would undo nearly 30 years of work trying to protect our common
national heritage.

The Advisory Council is relatively inexpensive for what it does, and what it
does is to simply make sure that cultural resources are taken into
consideration along with other community values such as jobs, economic
development, infrastructure, the environment, when there are federal
undertakings. It does not stop development, and it has no real enforcement
provisions, except that each State Historic Preservation Officer has to be
allowed to comment on an undertaking. The SHPO does not have the power to
enforce any recommendations (despite what many SHPOs and federal agencies
think), only to comment. It is simple, it is elegant, it is cheap, and it is
essential to preserving our past.

Please call or write your representatives.

Another little update. On May 8, Dan Young, Chairman of the House Resources
Committee (oversees all land holding agencies etc. and used to be called
Interior) sent a letter to Ralph Regula, Chairman of the House Appropriations
Subcommittee on the Interior, making recommendations on what specific
programs to cut and how much to cut them by. CEHP Incorporated was able,
after much snooping around, to get a copy of this letter on May 26, and made
it available to ACRA and the Society of Historical Archaeology the same day.
I have hesitated putting this on the net because I mistakenly thought I
might get someone in trouble.

The letter is only a recommendation. But there are few Representatives that
will argue to ADD money to the budget, and this coupled with the wording of
the House Committee Report is doubly worrisome. The letter targets for total

-The National Trust for Historic Preservation ($7million)
-The administration of the Historic Preservation Fund (but presumably not the
fund itself
-National Natural Landmarks (but not National *Historical* Landmarks)
-BLM Resource Protection and Law Enforcement (effectively gutting ARPA within
the BLM)
-Threatened and Endangered Species (let your environmental friends know)
-and two or three other programs not related to cultural resources.

The letter also recommended cutbacks in the following:

-BLM Cultural Resource Management (from $12mil to $10mil)
and other programs not related to cultural resources.
-The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
-Preservation funding for historically black colleges

The letter did not mention NAGPRA grants, the Archaeological Assistance
Division of NPS, and the National Register of Historic Places. These will,
presumably, not be cut.

When I can locate a list of the members of the conference committee I will
publish it to the Net. If your representative or senators are on the
committee, it is especially important for you to give them a call.

Tom Wheaton
Executive Director - ACRA

Call both your senators and representative through the Capitol switchboard at


The Honorable (Senator) The Honorable (Repres)
Senate Office Building House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510 Washington, D.C. 20515
Dear Senator (name) Dear Mr./Ms. (name)

While you are at it, you might give the White House a call and register your
support for a veto of the Rescissions Bill and the timber salvage giveaway
where all environmental laws will be waived. Phone : 202-456-1111.

Outlined below is a letter format. Some elementary, but frequently overlooked
tips are:

Include (in readable print) your name and address. Better yet, use your
personal, professional, or organizational letterhead stationary. Without an
address, the Member has no way of knowing whether you are a constituent. Do
not, however, use an organization's letterhead or appear to represent that
organization's view without permission.

Be polite. Don't alienate the Member and his staff. Even if they disagree
with you on this issue, they may be more friendly on the next. You always
want to keep the door open.

Be brief, to the point, and try to discuss one issue only. If you write on
too many topics, your message is diluted. State in the first sentence why you
are writing. If the subject is complex or technical, include a separate fact
sheet rather than include all the information in the letter itself.

Ask for the Member's position on the issue. This will force the member's
staff to research the issue and ensure that you receive a response. Most
importantly, it lets the Member know you are taking his or her actions
seriously. Always clearly state what action you want your member to take.
Underline your request.

Follow up! Send another letter or make a phone call to the Member or
appropriate staff person if you do not get a response within a reasonable
time period (a month at the latest) or if you do not like the response you
get. Remember to send thank you notes when appropriate and to thank, by name,
the staff members who helped you.




Dear Representative (last name) or Senator (last name):

Opening: State why you are writing. If the issue involves specific
legislation, provide the bill number (if you know it) and the bill's title.
State briefly what you want your representative or senator to do.

Background: Provide applicable background information or describe the issue .
If you have an article or fact sheet, enclose it.

Your Interest: Briefly explain why this issue is important to you and/or how
it specifically impacts your community or state.

Closing: Thank the member. Restate your request. Ask for a response. Provide
your full name and title (if appropriate). Sign with your full name unless
you are on a first-name basis. Indicate to whom copies are being sent (it is
often useful to show that others will see your letter, too).

Sincerely yours,