Federal Preservation Law 101 for Local Historic Preservation Commissioners


Ever wondered what is Section 106? NEPA? 4(f)? And what does it have to do with your local historic preservation commission’s work and impacts in your community? Are you looking for a better understanding of your role in what appears to be a complex legal process? This session will provide a breakdown of these three leading federal laws that require consideration of historic places for federally funded, permitted, or approved projects. The State Historic Preservation Office’s role in reviewing projects and proposals triggered by these laws will also be explained. Attendees will gain practical tips and advice for how to stay informed of, track, and participate in project review and consultation.

CE Credits:
Jul 15, 2022 8:30 AM

Ramona Murphy Bartos

Ramona Murphy Bartos is Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer and Administrator of the State Historic Preservation Office for the State of North Carolina. She is an alumna of the joint Juris Doctor / Master of Historic Preservation Program at the University of Georgia, and Emory University (BA History and International Studies). Prior to her position in state public service, Ramona practiced law for nearly a decade in Georgia as an attorney in private practice for both private and local government clients, and served as a city attorney. Ramona is now Vice President of the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Merritt

Elizabeth (“Betsy”) Merritt serves as Deputy General Counsel for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where she just celebrated her 38th anniversary. During that time, she has been passionately committed to the enforcement of federal laws protecting historic properties, especially Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and Section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act. She has been actively involved in hundreds of precedent-setting historic preservation cases over the years, in federal and state courts around the country. But she has an even stronger interest in using administrative advocacy to persuade agencies to make more preservation-sensitive decisions in the first place, especially through Section 106 consultation. Betsy has also been directly involved in developing regulations and legislation implementing Section 106 and Section 4(f), and she frequently represents the National Trust in its role as a congressionally designated member of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Before joining the National Trust, Betsy was a native of Seattle, Washington. She graduated from Mills College and Harvard Law School.

Blythe Semmer

Blythe Semmer, Assistant Director for Special Initiatives at the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, is a planner and historian. She focuses on improving federal preservation and interagency coordination through policy and guidance development and by expanding educational outreach to Section 106 review participants. She previously coordinated the ACHP's Section 106 training program and has assisted a range of federal agencies with National Historic Preservation Act compliance. Prior to joining the ACHP, Blythe worked in a State Historic Preservation Office and for Nashville’s Metropolitan Historical Commission. She holds a Ph.D. in Urban and Regional Planning and Design from the University of Maryland.


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