September 21, 1999
The Administration supports H.R. 834, but during Senate consideration will
seek to amend the bill's provisions that would make locating federal
facilities in historic districts a priority.
The Administration believes that historic properties are critical to the health of the civic life of local communities. To that end, Executive Order 13006 requires, under specific circumstances, agencies to give first consideration to locating federal facilities in historic properties in historic districts, especially those in central business districts. As well, Executive Order 13006 reaffirms the Federal Government's commitment to locating federal agencies in urban and rural areas. Significantly, the priorities and guidance contained in Executive Order 13006 represent a balance of agency decision-making discretion, existing laws, and federal location priorities that is absolutely critical.
H.R. 834, however, would codify only the provisions of Executive Order 13006 that would make locating federal facilities in historic districts a priority, while excluding the provisions of the Executive Order that allow agencies to balance other executive and statutory location mandates. To do so would make the location process inflexible and could adversely affect the Government's ability to make operationally appropriate and economically prudent location decisions.