Message #354:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Government Affairs Update from SAA
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 96 14:08:00 MST
Encoding: 281 TEXT


From: Shereen Lerner

SOCIETY FOR AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY
Government Affairs Update Program
END OF CONGRESS REPORT
Donald Forsyth Craib
Manager, Government Affairs, and Counsel

In attitude and accomplishment, the second session of the 104th Congress 
stands in stark contrast to the first.  In a less confrontational 
atmosphere, both the Republican Congress and President Clinton moved to the 
political center in search of accomplishment and to bolster their prospects 
at the polls in November.  All of this resulted in a wave of bipartisan 
lawmaking, which bode well for archaeology and historic preservation.

When the second session of Congress began in 1996, much of the government, 
including many of the agencies that support and protect our nation's 
archaeological resources, was shut down, and Congress and Clinton 
administration remained at loggerheads.  Republicans vowed to persevere in 
their attempt to balance the budget on their own terms, while congressional 
Democrats were promising to thwart the conservative agenda with the help of 
the president's veto pen.  Republicans did not anticipate, however, the 
change in political climate.  Soon after the government shutdowns, public 
opinion turned sharply against the Republicans' take-no-prisoners approach, 
and the campaign season quickly proved the impetus for compromise.  Soon the 
Republicans were retreating from their strategy of confrontation and moving 
toward conciliation.

The way spending decisions were made during 1996 was evidence of the shift 
from confrontation to compromise.  Declaring their determination to avoid 
another government shutdown, Republicans, with Democrats, completed the 
fiscal 1997 appropriations process on time; it was only the fourth time 
since 1948 that all work on appropriations legislation was finished before 
the start on the new fiscal year.

Below are a few bills and issues considered during the last few weeks of the 
session.

Appropriations

Hours before the beginning of fiscal year 1997, Congress sent to the 
president an omnibus spending bill containing six separate appropriations 
measures, including one for the Department of the Interior.  The $12.6 
billion Interior bill funds the interior department, a variety of related 
agencies, such as the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, 
Forest Service, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the National 
Endowment for the Humanities.  The administration had threatened to veto the 
stand-alone version of the bill over funding levels as well as certain 
controversial provisions on environmental and Indian policy, which were 
dropped in the final bill.  The bill provides $377 million less for Interior 
programs than requested by the White House, but $163 million more than the 
House-passed version and $133 million less than the Senate 
committee-approved figure.  Programs that SAA had supported in its 
 testimony before the House Appropriations Committee last spring remained at 
fiscal year 1996 levels.  For example, the National Endowment for the 
Humanities was funded at last year's level of $110 million.

Reauthorization of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

On the last day of the session the Senate cleared for the president's 
signature a revamped package of parks and lands bill, including language 
reauthorizing the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, after Sen. 
Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) reached a last-minute agreement with the 
administration on several contentious provisions benefiting Alaska.  The 
Advisory Council is reauthorized until the year 2000 at a level of $4 
million.  Sen. Murkowski had introduced a stand-alone reauthorization bill 
for the Advisory Council earlier this year and was instrumental in adding it 
to the final omnibus bill.  SAA supported the legislation.

Utah Wilderness

Republicans were unsuccessful in repeated attempts to pass legislation that 
would have designated 1.8 million acres of federal land in Utah as 
wilderness, while at the same time permanently releasing for potential 
development an additional 1.4 million acres that had been studied for 
possible wilderness protection since 1976.  In the end, President Clinton 
stole the show by announcing, less than two months before the election, that 
he would order (under his authority in the Antiquities Act of 1906) the 
creation of a 1.7 million acre national monument in southern Utah.  Within a 
few days after the announcement, Rep. James Hansen (R-Utah) introduced 
legislation to amend the Antiquities Act to limit the authority of the 
president in designating acreage areas in excess of 5,000 acres as national 
monuments. The amendment was to be retroactive to January 1, 1996.  The bill 
did not receive consideration in the remaining days of the Congress.  SAA 
opposed the bill.

United Nations Heritage Areas

Introduced by Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), H.R. 3752 would require 
international officials to get Congressional approval before including U.S. 
parks and other lands in worldwide environmental programs, such as the 
United Nations World Heritage list.  Supporters of the bill said that the 
United Nations should not be allowed to block development in a designated 
area simply by placing it on an international list.  Opponents argued that 
the legislation was moot because the only areas designated by the United 
Nations were lands that had already been set aside as a U.S. park or 
protected area. The measure was defeated on the floor of the House when it 
did not get the votes of two-thirds of the members a requirement for bills 
considered under suspension of the rules.  The vote was 246-178.  SAA 
opposed the bill.

NAGPRA Amendments

On July 23, 1996, Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) introduced S. 1983 a bill to 
amend the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). 
The bill was marked up a few days later by the Senate Committee on Indian 
Affairs, and it passed the Senate in early September.  A companion bill was 
introduced in the House by Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) on September 17. 
 The amendment would add an additional requirement in instances where Native 
American human remains are intentionally excavated or removed for purposes 
of study by requiring written consent from lineal descendants, if known or 
readily ascertainable, or each appropriate Indian tribe on Native Hawaiian 
organization.  The amendment would also require notification to Indian 
tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations when human remains are 
inadvertently discovered on federal land (see page 4, Senate Report 
104-356).

In a letter to Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman John McCain 
(R-Arizona), Bill Lipe wrote, "SAA believes that the proposed amendment to 
NAGPRA may have unforeseen consequences for federal agency compliance with 
the National Historic Preservation Act and may result in substantial delay 
or cancellation of federally funded, permitted, or assisted projects."  Lipe 
stated further that "the implications of the proposed amendment should be 
further understood before it is presented to Congress" and suggested that 
the committee convene a hearing to take testimony from all interested 
parties.

SAA government affairs coordinated a lobbying effort with industry during 
the last few days of the Congress to stall the bill until Congress could 
take a closer look at its ramifications.

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LEGISLATION
ISSUE:                  Interior Appropriations, Fiscal Year 1997
LEGISLATION:            H.R. 3610
STATUS:                 Funds many programs of importance to the protection 
and preservation of archaeology.  Passed the Congress and was signed into 
law by the President on September 30, 1996.  SAA supported the legislation.

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ISSUE:   Advisory Council on Historic Preservation Reauthorization
LEGISLATION:    H.R. 1296
STATUS: Reauthorizes the Advisory Council until the year 2000 at $4 million. 
Passed the Congress and sent to the President.  SAA supported the bill.

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ISSUE:          American Land Sovereignty Protection Act of 1996
LEGISLATION:    H.R. 3752
STATUS: Bill would require congressional approval before any U.S. property 
could be designated a World Heritage Site or other such designation by an 
international organization.  Bill failed to get votes of two-thirds of 
members required for passage under suspension of the rules.  SAA opposed the 
legislation.

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ISSUE:                  Utah Wilderness Act
LEGISLATION:            S. 884, S.Rpt. 104-192 ;   H.R. 1745, H.Rpt. 104-396
STATUS:         Measure would designate a wilderness 1.8 million acres of 
federally owned land and free up for development another 1.4 million acres 
that had been under study for wilderness protection.  S. 884 rejected as 
part of Omnibus parks legislation that was signed into law.  SAA opposed the 
bill.

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ISSUE:          Antiquities Act Amendments
LEGISLATION:    H.R. 4118
STATUS: Amends the Antiquities Act by limiting the authority of the 
president to designate areas in excess of 5,000 acres as national monuments. 
Measure died in committee.  SAA opposed the bill.

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ISSUE:                  NAGPRA Amendments
LEGISLATION:            S. 1983, S.Rpt. 104-356, H.R. 4084
STATUS: Bills would require written consent by lineal descendants, if known 
or readily ascertainable, or each appropriate Indian tribe or Native 
Hawaiian organization before Native American human remains are intentionally 
excavated or removed for purposes of study.  S. 1983 passed the Senate, but 
was not acted upon by the House before adjournment.  SAA opposed the 
legislation in its present form.

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ISSUE:                  NHPA Amendments
LEGISLATION:            H.R. 563
STATUS:         Legislation would amend the National Historic Preservation 
Act by requiring that traditional cultural properties be evidenced by human 
activity that has unique significance, and would remove Mt. Shasta from the 
National Register.  Bill died in committee.  SAA opposed the bill.

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ISSUE:                  BLM Land Transfers to States
LEGISLATION:            S. 1031, H.R. 2032
STATUS:         These bills would allow for the transfer of ownership of 
lands currently managed by BLM to the states.  A hearing was held by a House 
Resources Committee Subcommittee, but the measures died in committee. SAA 
opposed the bill.

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ISSUE:                  Fossil Protection Act of 1996
LEGISLATION:            H.R. 2943
STATUS:         The bill would allow surface collecting of fossils on public 
lands by the public without a permit and also allow for the excavation of 
fossils by collectors under a permit process.  The bill died in committee. 
SAA opposed the bill.

 --------------------

REGULATORY ISSUES

ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS' PROPOSAL

SAA commented on the Department of the Army Corps of Engineers' proposal to 
issue, reissue, and modify nationwide permits under section 404 of the Clean 
Water Act (33 U.S.C. 1344) and section 10 of the Rivers and Harbors Act of 
1899 (33 U.S.C. 403).  In its letter, SAA stated that it was concerned that 
the Corps' proposal to issue, reissue, and modify nationwide permits would 
needlessly put at risk this country's rich and diverse archaeological and 
cultural history that is often found in areas within the jurisdiction of the 
corps.

Presently, the state historic preservation office (SHPO) is afforded an 
opportunity for 30 days to provide comments prior to the decision to 
authorize a project under the nationwide permit.  Under the corps' proposal, 
however, the SHPO would "be held to the same time restraints as the other 
agencies."  Currently, this "time restraint" is about 15 days and is too 
short a period of time for a SHPO to adequately review the project.  SAA 
urged the corps to keep the 30-day review period, which had been found to be 
acceptable to the public and allows  SHPO staffs to complete a substantive 
review of a project for its effects on archaeological and historic 
properties.

The comment letter also pointed out that the proposal does not meet some of 
the basic legal requirements set forth in Section 106 of the National 
Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470).  SAA noted that the corps' 
proposal did not allow the comments of the SHPO or other interested parties 
in the public process to be taken into account, and this omission is in 
direct conflict with the requirement and spirit of the NHPA.  SAA concluded 
by urging the corps to make the necessary changes to its proposal that would 
put the corps into compliance with the NHPA.

ADVISORY COUNCIL'S SECTION 106 PROPOSED REGULATIONS

Revised Section 106 regulations were published in the Federal Register for a 
60-day public comment period that ends on November 12, 1996.  SAA government 
affairs has organized an "issue team" to assist the Government Affairs 
Committee in preparing a response to the proposed regulations.  Members on 
the team represent a wide array of interests within the membership of the 
SAA.

The Advisory Council claims that the proposed regulations would 
significantly modify the current Section 106 process and provide a greater 
opportunity for federal agencies to resolve historic preservation issues 
with the SHPO and other involved parties, without direct council 
involvement.  Consequently, the proposed regulations redefine the role of 
the council by limiting the council's involvement to controversial cases 
where the its unique perspective and expertise can facilitate effective 
solutions.  The proposed regulations also provide new flexible methods of 
obtaining council comment on certain undertakings or effects.

NAGPRA DRAFT RECOMMENDATIONS

Draft recommendations regarding the disposition of culturally unidentifiable 
human remains and associated funerary objects were published in the Federal 
Register on August 20, 1996.  Section 8 (c)(5) of NAGPRA requires the review 
committee to recommend specific actions for developing a process for the 
disposition of culturally unidentifiable Native American human remains.  The 
SAA Task Force on Repatriation has submitted comments.  In addition, the 
review committee also seeks comments on draft recommendations for the 
disposition of human remains culturally affiliated with non-federally 
recognized Native American groups.