• 06/10/2021 9:33 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    ACRA is a Partner in the Coalition for Archaeological Synthesis (CfAS). The Coalition is seeking participants for a new initiative that was recently recommended for funding by the US National Science Foundation.

    The project is entitled The Creation and Division of Wealth and the Long-term Consequences of Inequality: Views from Archaeology and is led by Tim Kohler (Washington State University) and Amy Bogaard (University of Oxford). It will advance understandings of relationships between inequality and other dimensions of human social dynamics as they are revealed by the archaeological record.

    The project will be pursued by a working group of 10 researchers who have expertise in the study of social inequality and who have and are willing to share data and expertise pertinent to the topic. Researchers regardless of nationality are eligible; CfAS is committed to diversity and professional development and strongly encourages participation by junior and historically underrepresented researchers, by heritage management professionals as well as academics, and by individuals from developing countries and indigenous communities.

    If you are interested in participating, please see the Request for Information. The due date for responses is July 23, 2021.

    Also, did you know that are can sign up as an individual CfAS Associate? It is quick and easy to sign up, and it is free. That way you will receive information directly from CfAS as soon as it is released.

  • 06/07/2021 12:07 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.

    Crunch time is fast approaching for many of President Biden’s top policy initiatives – and for proposals that impact cultural resource management.

    At the top of the list is infrastructure. Biden met last Tuesday with Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), the top Senate Republican negotiator, to hammer out a compromise on Biden’s American Jobs Plan. Both sides have floated proposals totaling roughly $1 trillion, a far cry from the White House’s original $2.3 trillion plan, but well above the initial Republican offer of $500 billion. But the close numbers do not reveal a sharp divide: the White House wants that $1 trillion to be new spending above what the government is already budgeting for, while the GOP wants to repurpose already authorized spending.

    Biden also took a step towards Republicans on how to pay for the package, but it might not be enough. Initially, Biden’s proposal called for the top corporate tax rate to go from 21 percent to 28 percent, a non-starter for Republicans. Last week, Biden offered to keep the top rate at 21 percent but institute a minimum corporate rate of 15 percent, meaning no corporation would pay less than that. Republicans reacted coolly to the idea, but the talks continue.

    Meanwhile, many Democrats are growing increasingly impatient with efforts to find common ground with Republicans, particularly after Senate Republicans blocked a proposal in late May to form a commission to investigate the Jan. 6th insurrection. The House-passed bill, which was negotiated by the top Republican and Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, failed to receive the 60 votes needed to stop a filibuster, even though six Senate Republicans did vote to move ahead with debate. Even Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), who has been the strongest defender of the filibuster among Democrats, expressed dismay that so few Republicans supported the Commission.

    Although Biden ran for president on the notion of bipartisanship and has been reluctant to go it alone, he is showing signs of frustration with what he sees as Republican intransigence – and a lack of support from some Democrats. In a speech Monday marking the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, Biden pushed for Senate passage of a major voting rights bill, saying, “I hear all the folks on TV saying, ‘Why doesn’t Biden get this done?’ Well, because Biden only has a majority of effectively four votes in the House and a tie in the Senate, with two members of the Senate who vote more with my Republican friends.”

    This was widely interpreted to refer to Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), both of whom have been opposed to reforming the filibuster rules (even though both do vote with Democrats more than with Republicans). It demonstrates the extent to which Democrats believe that enacting their agenda – not just infrastructure and voting rights but policing reform, climate change, immigration and other issues - will depend more on keeping Democrats united and less on reaching out to Republicans they believe don’t want to work with them.

    Despite the partisan tensions, things are moving on some key issues, including transportation. The week before last, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee unanimously approved a $305 billion Surface Transportation Reauthorization Act of 2021 to finance roads and bridges. This amount is 34 percent higher from the last reauthorization to pass Congress, in 2015. The bill, however, has raised concerns among environmental groups that it continues efforts to chip away at NEPA by creating additional exclusions from NEPA for certain kinds of projects, limits the time allowed for NEPA reviews, and limits the length of encironmental impact statements and environmental assessments to 200 pages except in limited circumstances. Although the bill does not affect the National Historic Preservation Act’s Sec. 106 and 110 requirements, ACRA is monitoring the bill closely and urging lawmakers to protect both NEPA and NHPA.

    On the other side of the Capitol, Democrats on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee unveiled a $547 billion transportation funding package late last week that would ramp up spending on rail and transit, while encouraging states to repair existing roads rather than build new ones. While there will be lots of disagreement between the two parties, and two chambers, it is likely that Congress will at least enact legislation to fund transportation projects. Whether they can pass a larger infrastructure package is still an open question.

    Democrats feel pressure to act on infrastructure quickly, as they may lose control of one or both houses of Congress in the 2022 midterm elections. But the election is not the only deadline lawmakers face. Congress is beginning work on annual appropriations bills to keep the majority of federal departments and agencies running in the next fiscal year, which begins October 1. President Biden submitted his budget request to Congress two weeks ago. The plan would spend $6 trillion in the next fiscal year, and would see total annual spending rise to $8.2 trillion by 2031, with deficits running above $1.3 trillion throughout the next decade. House Democrats will start drafting their appropriations bills this week, with the Senate to follow.

    Of top interest to the CRM profession is funding for the Historic Preservation Fund, which Congress has never fully funded. The HPF, which helps support state and tribal historic preservation offices and a host of other preservation programs, can receive up to $150 million per year from oil and gas royalties. Congress provided $144 million in the current fiscal year – the highest ever – but ACRA and its allies are pushing for the full amount.

    ACRA is making the case that, like Sec. 106, the Historic Preservation Fund helps the United States preserve and protect its history, both the good and the bad. That desire to tell the full story of America was on display last week as the country marked the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa massacre, when mobs of White residents destroyed more than 35 square blocks of what was at the time the wealthiest Black community in the U.S., killing as many as 300. Only in recent years has the terrible story of the massacre been told, but as President Biden said in Tulsa last week, “Just because history is silent, it does not mean that it did not take place.” The role of the CRM industry is to help tell that history, and to advocate for federal policies that make that possible.

  • 06/03/2021 2:28 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    ACRA is thrilled to announce that we will be hosting our 27th annual conference in person! This year’s conference theme — A Watershed Year: Navigating Change in the CRM Industry — focuses on how the past few years have brought historic changes to not just ACRA, but to the CRM industry overall and the nation at large. From navigating new ways of conducting business in the face of COVID-19 to addressing long-standing diversity issues in the industry, now is the time for CRM firms to come together to bring lasting positive change.

    A draft schedule of events and sessions, hotel information, and more is available on the conference page now. Register before August 15 to get the Early Bird rate - ACRA members and firms who register multiple attendees get an even bigger discount.

    Register for the 2021 ACRA Conference Now

    Public Health & Safety at 2021 ACRA Conference

    While we are all excited to come together in person again, the health and safety of our conference attendees is our first and most important priority and we must be mindful of public health best practices as a part of the COVID-19 pandemic. ACRA will be following all health and safety guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and all local ordinances. These may include masking, distancing, and other measures as necessary. We are continuing to monitor the situation as it evolves and will be sharing more specific health and safety protocols as we get closer to the conference.

  • 06/02/2021 1:44 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    From the ACHP:

    Join the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation all summer on our social media as we celebrate this #HistoricSummerVacation! Many of the historic sites that were closed or partially closed over the past year are starting to reopen and we’re inviting you to let us know about historic places we can highlight over the next three months.

    The public is expected to head out this summer on driving vacations and we would like to remind them about all the great historic sites along the way that they can enjoy.

    Please send us the name of the historic place, a couple of sentences about the site, the website, and an original or non-copyrighted photo. 

    Also, tune in to the ACHP’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds every Friday to see our featured site!

    Looking forward to seeing you this summer!

  • 06/01/2021 4:21 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you have not had a chance, please take some time to complete our survey on archaeological sciences in CRM!

    ACRA has partnered with the Society for Archaeological Sciences to find out how CRM firms are conducting specialized archaeological sciences work. The survey measures the current status of archaeological science within the CRM, its potential future, and the need for trained specialists within the industry.

    The survey can be found below. Note: this survey is meant to be completed by one person per organization - if you are not authorized to complete surveys on behalf of your firm, please send this to the person who is.

    Your answers will assist us in serving a wider range of CRM specialists. Thank you in advance for your participation!

  • 05/24/2021 11:36 AM | 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.

    Partisanship continues to slow down action on major policy items in Washington, even as the country begins to feel a sense of optimism that the worst of the pandemic is behind us.

    Nowhere is the tension between the two parties more evident than in the repercussions from the Jan. 6th insurrection. Last week, the House approved a bill to create an independent commission to investigate the causes of the attack on the U.S. Capitol. Although 35 Republicans joined all Democrats to vote for the bill, most Republicans opposed it - despite the fact that the deal was negotiated with Homeland Security Committee ranking Republican Rep. John Katko (R-NY). Its prospects in the Senate are dim following Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell's announcement he will oppose it.

    Inter-party fighting is also affecting the debate over infrastructure. President Biden met with top Congressional leaders from both parties at the White House for the first time in his presidency two weeks ago to seek common ground on his infrastructure bill. While both sides said they are committed to work in a bipartisan fashion, Senate Republican leader McConnell reiterated his opposition to any rollbacks of the 2017 Trump tax cuts, which Biden has proposed as a way to pay for the plan.

    Although the White House said last week they would be open to a bill that spent $1.7 trillion on infrastructure – below their initial $2.3 trillion proposal – that is still far from the $600-$800 billion amount Republicans have said they would support. And late last week, a spokesperson for Sen. Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV), who is leading negotiations for Republicans, said the sides were even further apart than when President Biden met with Hill leaders.

    Democrats appeared to be leaning towards breaking the plan into two parts: "traditional" infrastructure, like roads and bridges, which could pass with GOP support, and the other provisions, like home care and climate funding, for which they would use the reconciliation process that requires just 50 votes in the Senate.

    Meanwhile, House Republican leaders are planning to introduce an infrastructure proposal of their own. The plan, led by House Transportation and Infrastructure ranking member Sam Graves (R-MO), would focus on “traditional” infrastructure like highways and bridges, and would spend around $400 billion over five years. Notably, this plan might include changes to the environmental review process, although details are not yet known.

    As it meets with members of the key committees on Capitol Hill, ACRA continues to urge Congress to balance new infrastructure with the need to consider its impacts on our country’s cultural and historic heritage.

    President Biden has previously said he hopes to strike a deal on an infrastructure bill by Memorial Day, but with only a week to go, that deadline seems optimistic. The same holds for other top White House priorities like voting reform and police reform.

    Meanwhile, debate continues over other issues that impact the cultural resources management industry:

    • The Biden administration is preparing regulatory improvements that will help speed up the environmental review process for large-scale renewable energy projects, particularly offshore wind, according to Daily Energy Insider. The details are not yet known, but ACRA is working to make sure that the plan does not curtail the National Historic Preservation Act.
    • President Biden will release his fiscal year 2022 budget this Friday, outlining his priorities for federal spending in the coming year. This will serve as the unofficial start of the annual appropriations process, where Congress determines the spending levels for various programs beginning in September. Of particular interest to the CRM industry is the Historic Preservation Fund, which helps support state and tribal historic preservation offices, as well as other preservation activities. Although the HPF, which can receive up to $150 million per year from oil and gas royalties, Congress has never provided that full amount. Due to the lobbying efforts of ACRA and others, Congress did provide $144 million last year, the highest level ever, but ACRA is pushing Congress to appropriate the full $150 million.
    • Speaking of oil and gas leasing, pressure is growing on the administration to end its pause on new leases. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards (D) urged the Biden administration to resume offshore oil and gas leasing within months during a hearing before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources two weeks ago. However, the Interior Department has not said whether sales will resume.
    • The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee approved the nomination of Tommy Beaudreau to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior on an 18-1 vote. It now goes to the full Senate. Beaudreau previously served as the first director of the newly formed Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management in the Obama administration following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, and then served as chief of staff to then-Secretary Sally Jewell. Beaudreau is President Biden's second pick for the deputy secretary slot, after he withdrew the nomination of Elizabeth Klein over objections from Manchin and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) that she was too hostile to fossil fuels. Although Beaudreau is likely to be confirmed by the full Senate, his past ties to the fossil fuel industry have raised concerns among some environmental groups.
  • 05/20/2021 2:16 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Section 110(k) and Section 106: Responding to Anticipatory Demolition Concerns
    June 10, 2021
    2:00 - 3:30 PM (EDT)
    Register Now

    Members $89 | Students $19 | Non-Members $129

    The ACHP is back on June 10 for the next webinar in our 2021 series - Section 110(k) and Section 106: Responding to Anticipatory Demolition Concerns.

    This webinar will use ACHP expertise and real-life examples to to show how Section 110(k), sometimes referred to as the "anticipatory demolition" section, intersects with the overall Section 106 process. Section 110(k) of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) prohibits a federal agency from granting a loan, loan guarantee, permit, license, or other assistance to an applicant who, with intent to avoid the requirements of Section 106, intentionally significantly adversely affected a historic property to which the grant would relate, or having legal power to prevent it, has allowed such significant adverse effect to occur, prior to a Section 106 review.

    As always, in addition to reduced pricing, ACRA member firms enjoy a firm-wide registration fee - once one person pays for a spot, all other firms employees can register for no additional cost.

    We expect spaces to fill up quick, so register NOW to reserve your spot!

    Register Now

  • 05/17/2021 4:49 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    If you missed last week's webinar on radiocarbon dating basics, it is now available on demand for you to watch on your own schedule!

    Even if you think you know every there is to know about radiocarbon dating, there is always new information as the science continues to advance. Radiocarbon Dating Basics will give an introduction to radiocarbon dating with a focus on what radiocarbon dating is and how it can be used.

    Maren Pauly, Scientific Associate with Beta Analytic, covers a number of topics, including variability in dating uncertainty due to wiggles within the radiocarbon curve, recommendations on how to best select and prepare samples for radiocarbon dating, and more. Maren is a paleoclimatologist with research experience reconstructing climate from modern corals and subfossil tree-rings, in addition to Late Glacial radiocarbon calibration.

    As with the live session, this webinar is available to ACRA members at a discounted price. Members can get the discount code to access the presentation here.

    Watch Radiocarbon Dating Basics Now

  • 05/14/2021 1:21 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Wade Catts of ACRA member firm South River Heritage Consulting has received the DAR History Award Medal from the Cooch’s Bridge Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

    Photo courtesy of the Newark Post

    From the Newark Post:

    On May 1, the Cooch’s Bridge Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honored Catts with the DAR History Award Medal, a prestigious award that requires a lengthy approval process from the national organization.

    “Mr. Catts has contributed to the greater understanding of American history by sharing his almost 40 years of professional experience as an archeologist with his local community through historical research and cultural research management of historic sites,” Laura McCrillis Kessler, historian general for the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, wrote. “Mr. Catts’ extensive research and knowledge of Mid-Atlantic regional history and historic preservation greatly reflects the meaning behind this award.”

    For more information on Wade's story and award, check out the full article in the Newark Post, and please join us in congratulating Wade in the comments below! 

  • 05/13/2021 2:43 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    The voting period for the 2021 ACRA Board elections opens Monday! The candidates in this year's slate are vying for 8 open positions, including:

    • President
    • Secretary
    • Treasurer
    • Vice-President - Membership
    • Vice-President - Diversity
    • 3 At-Large Board Positions

    Each candidate has submitted a biography and statement to help you make your selection. The slate of candidates is strong, and thus we urge you to review the statements carefully and choose those candidates who you feel best understand the needs of our industry and are committed to providing leadership on the ACRA board.

    Read the Candidate Statements and Bios

    Per ACRA's bylaws, each member firm gets one vote. Only member firms are eligible - student and associate members do not vote in elections.

    Bundle administrators only will receive an invitation from SurveyMonkey on Monday, May 17. If you do not receive your invitation by 5:00 pm EDT that day, please first check your spam folder. If you still do not see it, contact us. Voting will be open until June 11, 2021 at 11:59 pm EDT.

    Your firm can help shape the future of ACRA - check out the candidates now and submit your vote before the deadline!

Become an ACRA member to get exclusive benefits including vendor discounts, premium access to online learning opportunities, and much more.

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