Your Congress in Action: Vol. 14

10/02/2020 4:31 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

Your Congress in Action is a series that highlights the Capitol Hill news that affects CRM firms the most. Be sure to subscribe to the ACRAsphere to ensure you don't miss an update.

  • A federal judge ordered William Perry Pendley to be removed as the head of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), determining that he served unlawfully for over a year. Pendley has been acting as BLM's director since July 2019 and was never officially confirmed by the Senate in the role. President Trump formally nominated him for the role in July 2020, but later withdrew that nomination after considerable opposition to the appointment. Rather than appoint a new acting director, Interior Secretary David Bernhardt will serve in the role. Read more in the New York Times.
  • The House approved a $2.2 trillion stimulus plan earlier this week in response to the continued COVID-19 pandemic. This bill significantly cut costs from the bill passed by the chamber in May, especially concerning funding for state, local, and tribal governments. However, talks with the Senate and the Trump administration continue to languish, with hopes of a bipartisan relief package being passed before the November election dwindling.
  •  REMINDER: ACRA has created resources to help you take action for historic preservation in your state as state budgets are considered this fall. Many states are facing budgets cuts due to decreased tax revenue, and both SHPO offices and infrastructure projects could be affected as a result. Because the budget discussions in each state vary widely, the best place to start is to meet with your state's SHPO and/or state archaeologist. You can then take the information from those meetings to discuss the issue with state lawmakers. ACRA has compiled a list of resources to make requesting and holding these meetings as fast as possible, including a sample meeting request and a list of suggested questions. If you are having trouble finding the contact information for your SHPO or state archaeologist, let us know and we can easily provide that for you.
  • Earlier this fall the Center for Biological Diversity published a list of the projects that have been expedited in response to President Trump's Executive Order (EO) issued in June. The EO directed federal agencies to waive environmental regulations to speed up infrastructure projects under the auspices of responding to the “economic emergency” presented by the COVID-19 pandemic (more on the EO here). Thus far "federal agencies have produced little evidence  that any infrastructure projects have been expedited" under the EO. More in the Engineering News-Record.

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