Historic Preservation - Technical Procedures

Preservation Laws, Regulations And Executive Orders
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Hp Legislation/Federal Laws - Gsa/Pbs And Nps/Pad
General Requirements
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Preservation Laws, Regulations And Executive Orders
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This standard includes a select list of preservation laws,
regulations and executive orders compiled and annotated by GSA in
1981.  It has been slightly modified using the 1993 Federal
Historic Preservation Laws by the U.S. Department of the Interior,
National Park Service, Cultural Resources Program - revised and
updated by the Preservation Assistance Division.


A.   Antiquities Act of 1906, Public Law 59-209, 34 Stat. 225, 16
    U.S.C., 431 et seq.

    1.   The earliest legislation enacted to protect cultural
         resources, this act provides for the protection of
         historic or prehistoric remains or any object of
         antiquity on Federal lands. It establishes criminal
         sanctions for unauthorized destruction or appropriation
         of antiquities and authorizes scientific investigation of
         antiquities on Federal land.

B.   Historic Sites, Buildings and Antiquities Act of 1935, Public
    Law 74-292, 49 Stat. 666, 16 U.S.C., 461 et seq.

    1.   This act declares as national policy the preservation of
         historic (including prehistoric) sites, buildings and
         objects of national significance. The act directs the
         National Park Service to establish a mechanism for
         cataloging and identifying historic and archeological

    2.   As a result of this directive, the National Park System
         Advisory Board and the National Park Service Advisory
         Council were established.

C.   Reservoir Salvage Act of 1960, Public Law 86-521, 74 Stat.
    220, 16 U.S.C. 469 et seq.

    1.   This act provides for the recovery and preservation of
         historical and archeological data, including relics and
         specimens, that might be lost or destroyed as a result of
         the construction of dams, reservoirs and attendant
         facilities and activities.

D.   National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Public Law 89-665,
    80 Stat. 9l5, 16 U.S.C., 470 et seq., as amended by Public Law
    91-243,Public Law 93-54, Public Law 94-422, Public Law 94-458,
    Public Law 96-199, Public Law 96-244, Public Law 96-515,
    Public Law 98-483, Public Law 99-514, Public Law 100-127,
    Public Law 102-575.

    1.   This act is the single most important law governing the
         policies of Federal agencies toward historic

    2.   In addition to expanding the national policy of historic
         preservation at the Federal level, it encourages
         preservation on the State and private levels, in part
         through grants for preparing comprehensive statewide
         surveys and plans for historic preservation.  The 1992
         amendments to this act aimed to extend Federal Government
         concern to Indian tribal properties.

    3.   Section 101(a) in Title I of the act authorizes the
         Secretary of the Interior to expand and maintain a
         National Register of Historic Places for cultural

    4.   Section 106 in Title I outlines specifications required
         of Federal agencies to protect cultural resources,
         defined as any district, site, building, structure, or
         object included in the National Register. To satisfy
         these requirements, an Environmental Impact Assessment
         (E.I.A.) or Environmental Impact Statement (E.I.S.) must
         consider the effects of a proposed Federal undertaking on
         the resources.  

    5.   Section 108 in Title I establishes a Historic
         Preservation Fund.  

    6.   Section 110 in Title I makes Federal agencies responsible
         for the preservation and use of historic buildings,
         thereby complying with Section 106.

    7.   Title II of the act establishes the Advisory Council on
         Historic Preservation to comment on Federal actions
         having an effect on cultural resources. The Advisory
         Council has implemented procedures to facilitate
         compliance with this section.

    8.   Title III of the act authorizes the provision of a
         National Museum for the Building Arts to collect and
         disseminate information concerning the building arts.

    9.   Title IV of the 1992 amendments to the act establishes a
         National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
         to promote research into and serve as a clearinghouse for
         information on historic preservation.  The act outlines
         the purposes of the National Center, located at
         Northwestern State University of Louisiana in
         Nachitoches, Louisiana.

    10.  Also, under the 1992 amendments, Indian tribes are
         encouraged to preserve their cultural and historic
         property.  They established a program whereby a tribe may
         assume the duties of the State Historic Preservation
         Officer, as well as nominate traditional properties to
         the National Register of Historic Places.  This Title
         also complies with the Native American Graves Protection
         and Repatriation Act.  The Secretary of the Interior is
         authorized to make grants to Indian tribes for the
         preservation of religious properties listed in the
         National Register.

E.   Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act of 1966,
    Public Law 89-670, 49 U.S.C. 1653(f).
    1.   This section declares the maintenance and preservation of
         land traversed by transportation lines a national policy

    2.   It prohibits the use of a historic site for Federally
         funded transportation programs unless 1) there is not a
         feasible alternative use for the site and 2) the program
         includes all possible planning to minimize potential harm
         to the resource.

F.   National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Public Law 91-190,
    as amended, 42 U.S.C. 4371 et seq.
    1.   This act declares a National Environmental Policy. Under
         it, Federal agencies are compelled to factor into their
         planning process the impact of a project on the
         environment.  Included in the definition of "environment"
         are important historic and cultural aspects of our
         national heritage.  

    2.   The act directs Federal agencies to consult with agencies
         such as the National Park Service and the Advisory
         Council on Historic Preservation as a part of the process
         to assess environmental impact of a project.

G.   Executive Order 11593, "Protection and Enhancement of the
    Cultural Environment," 3 C.F.R. 559, 1971.

    1.   The second most important legal document aimed at
         ensuring the protection of cultural resources, the order
         requires all Federal agencies to survey properties under
         their jurisdiction and nominate appropriate candidates to
         the National Register of Historic Places.  Until the
         surveys are completed and the nominations made, each
         agency must ensure that no resources that may be eligible
         for the National Register are inadvertently damaged,
         destroyed, or transferred.  Whenever possible and
         economically feasible, any properties transferred are to
         be used "in a manner compatible with preservation
         objectives."  If National Register properties will be
         unavoidably altered or destroyed as a result of Federal
         action, all agencies must provide for the recording of
         vital information in the appropriate NPS catalog.

    2.   Federal agencies are required to institute procedures to
         assure that Federal plans and programs "contribute to the
         preservation and enhancement" of non-Federally owned
         cultural resources "of . . . significance."  The act also
         sets forth requirements for consultation and review of
         any Federal actions affecting properties that might be
         found eligible for the Register.

H.   An Act to facilitate the Preservation of Historic Monuments
    and Other Purposes, 86 Stat. 503, 40 U.S.C. 484 (k)(3) et seq.

    1.   This Act authorizes the administration of the General
         Services Administration to convey to local public bodies
         at no cost historic surplus properties listed on the
         National Register and deemed appropriate by the Secretary
         of the Interior for preservation purposes.

I.   Historical and Archeological Data Preservation Act of 1974,
    Public Law 93-291, 88 Stat. 174, 16 U.S.C. 469 et seq.

    1.   This act extends the requirements of the Reservoir
         Salvage Act of 1960 to all Federal or federally assisted
         or licensed construction projects.

    2.   The act places coordinating responsibility with the
         Secretary of the Interior and, for the first time,
         authorizes all Federal agencies to seek appropriations,
         obligate available funds, or reprogram existing
         appropriations for the recovery, protection, and
         preservation of significant scientific, prehistoric, or
         archeological resources.

    3.   Agencies can either undertake these efforts themselves or
         transfer one percent of the total authorized
         appropriation for each project (over $50,000) to the
         Secretary of the Interior for such purposes.

J.   Amtrak Improvement Act of 1974, Public Law 93-496, 45 U.S.C.
    1.   This act authorizes the Federal rail transportation
         agencies and the National Endowment for the Arts to
         dispense grants and technical assistance for the
         preservation of railroad passenger terminals and for
         their reuse as civic and cultural activity centers.

K.   Public Buildings Cooperative Use Act of 1976, Public Law
    94-541, 90 Stat 2505, 40 U.S.C. 611.

    1.   The Public Buildings Cooperative Use Act of 1976
         encourages adaptive use of existing structures of
         architectural, historical or cultural interest;
         encourages multiple-use facilities on the site and
         shared-use facilities with the host community; and
         authorizes an alternative to new construction for Federal

L.   Section 8 of the General Authorities Act Amendments of 1976,
    Public Law 94-458, 16 U.S.C. 1 et seq.

    1.   This act seeks to monitor the welfare of areas of
         national significance and to recommend those which may
         have potential for inclusion in the National Park System.

M.   Section 9 of the Mining in the National Parks Act of 1976,
    Public Law 94-429, 16 U.S.C. 1908.

    1.   This act protects nationally significant property from
         irreparable damage due to surface mining activity.  

N.   Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, as amended,
    Public Law 96-96, 16 USC 470aa et seq.

    1.   This act provides for the protection of archaeological
         resources on public lands and Indian lands from
         excavation and pillage.

    2.   It also seeks to foster exchange of archaeological
         information between governmental authorities,
         professional archaeologists and private individuals.

O.   Regulations for the Protection of Historic and Cultural
    Properties, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, 36
    C.F.R., Part 800.

    1.   Issued by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation,
         these regulations represent the most important document
         needed to perform an analysis of the environmental impact
         of a project on a cultural resource.

    2.   Pursuant to Section 106 of the National Historic
         Preservation Act, Sections 1(3) and 2(b) of Executive
         Order 11593, and the President's Memorandum of July 12,
         1978, "Environmental Quality and Water Resources
         Management," the Advisory Council sets forth regulations
         for their review of Federal undertakings that might
         affect either federally owned or leased or non-federally
         owned historic and cultural resources eligible for or
         listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

    3.   The Council procedures define terms used in the National
         Historic Preservation Act; describe initial procedures
         for identifying cultural properties; restate the criteria
         for eligibility to the Register established by the
         Secretary of the Interior; establish criteria for
         determining the effect on the property of the Federal
         action; set forth procedures for Council review of the
         determination of effect; and define legal obligations for
         consultation, discussion of alternatives, and
                   determination of mitigating measures.

P.   Section 48(g) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 90 Stat.
    1519, as amended by 100 Stat. 2085, 26 USC 48(g).
    1.   This section establishes which certified historic
         structures can qualify for preservation tax incentives.
         To qualify for the tax incentives, a property owner must
         have certification of both the historic structure and the
         completed rehabilitation.

Q.   Section 170(h) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, 90 Stat.
    3204, 26 U.S.C. 170(h).
    1.   This section spells out the conditions under which
         charitable contributions of interests in historic
         property can qualify for income and estate tax
         deductions.  In general, such donations are said to be
         "charitable contributions" only for conservation

R.   Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987, Public Law 100-298, 43 USC
    2101 et seq.
    1.   This act establishes the title of States in certain
         abandoned shipwrecks, including those in submerged lands
         eligible for inclusion in the National Register.  The law
         of salvage and the law of finds shall not apply to such
         abandoned shipwrecks.


The governors of all 50 states appoint State Historic Preservation
Officers (SHPOs) under the provisions of the National Historic
Preservation Act of 1966. This act, administered by the Office of
Archeology and Historic Preservation of the National Park Service,
also provides funds for states to prepare comprehensive statewide
historic surveys and plans, and for other purposes. Most states
have established programs to protect and preserve non-federally
owned cultural resources through several legislative vehicles.

A.   State antiquities codes.

    1.   Antiquities codes are omnibus legislation providing
         protection for historic sites and objects. Generally
         established to protect relics, objects and sites
         discovered in archeological explorations, codes
         occasionally designate direct state control over historic
         properties and frequently stipulate penalties for

B.   State enabling legislation.

    1.   Enabling legislation provides legal authorization for
         designated political subdivisions to protect historic

    2.   The most pertinent acts for preservation are those
         dealing with historic easements, tax abatements and
         historic districts.

C.   Historic easements.

    1.   Legal technique for preservation property for public use
         by providing for public control over certain aspects of
         the property, thus protecting the character of historic

D.   Tax abatements.

    1.   Empower county and municipal governments to pass
         ordinances to permit tax exemption on real property or on
         the public interest in real property.

E.   Historic districts.

    1.   Created by the State through county or local zoning
         ordinances that restrict and regulate exterior changes to
         buildings and structures in accordance with an overall
         comprehensive plan for maintaining the integrity of the
         historic district.

    2.   Although Federal actions are not legally subject to local
         restrictions regarding new construction, GSA policy is to
         cooperate with local commissions.


A.   Traditionally, cities have afforded protection to municipal
    properties through the creation of historic districts, art
    commissions, and ad hoc advisory boards. In recent years, many
    cities have developed comprehensive preservation programs
    conducted by municipal landmarks commissions.

B.   City landmark commissions generally perform regulatory,
    project planning, and advisory functions. The regulatory
    authority usually relies on the administration of a program
    that designates landmarks and landmark districts and permits
    their protection through mandatory design review procedures.
    These commissions have the power to prohibit the alteration,
    construction, reconstruction, or demolition of designated
    areas, sites, and structures. Commissions are often authorized
    to review and approve or disapprove proposed changes to the
    physical environment of designated sites and districts.

                         END OF SECTION
Last Reviewed 2012-02-24