Suppose that the Trump/Pence administration is successful in doing away with U.S. environmental impact assessment laws and regulations, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). We have no more environmental assessments or impact statements, no more Section 106 review, no more State or Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, no more Advisory Council on Historic Preservation or National Register of Historic Places. Of course, this probably isn’t what the TrumpPencers will do – instead they’ll just bully the government’s employees into making the laws meaningless – but for simplicity’s sake suppose everything gets swept away.
Suppose further that the voters turn the rascals out after a few years, and we are in a position to rebuild a national program of cultural heritage impact assessment and management. What should we do?
For reasons that I’ve discussed in more books and journal articles than anybody cares to recall, I don’t think we ought just to put the “old” systems back in place. We ought to recognize that those systems have deficiencies, some of which actually make them more vulnerable than they need be to attack by Trump-types, while some simply make them not very helpful in protecting the aspects of the environment to which people attach cultural value.
So, I’m offering a thousand bucks (US$1,000) to the person, consortium, group, organization, gang, or crowd that produces the best written description of the cultural heritage program the United States should put in place once the Trump phenomenon has run its course.
“Best” means that the program is:
· Inclusive both in terms of the tangible and intangible environmental variables it addresses and the people, communities, and groups whose values are addressed;
· Minimally bureaucratic – not relying more than absolutely necessary on government oversight bodies and documentation;
· Consultative – involving open but results-oriented dialogue among participants;
· Simple enough to make it accessible to and usable by ordinary citizens;
· Open to use by and for all kinds of citizens;
· Just and equitable in its treatment of people, other life-forms, and communities;
· Reasonable in terms of time and financial costs imposed on all involved; and
· Balanced in relation to other needs, values, and priorities.
Describe your proposed program in ten typewritten pages or fewer, and send it as an attachment to email to TomKing106@Gmail.com.
Proposals will be judged by a small team of knowledgeable people that I’m currently assembling, and the award will be announced and made on inauguration day, January 20th, 2017.