Sites associated with the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 in the Mid-Atlantic and elsewhere could get protected under legislation reintroduced in the House. Rep. Russ Holt (D-NJ) introduced the American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act of 2011 (H.R. 2489), which was referred to the Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands.
Holt picked up four cosponsors for his bill. The House passed the measure last year but the Senate did not.
Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) introduced the same measure in the Senate back in April but the bill is languishing before the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. No one has even cosponsored Schumer’s bill.
The legislation would include battlefields and other sites associated with the American Revolution and War of 1812 as eligible to be bought by the National Park Service (NPS) under the American Battlefield Protection Program, which was originally set up to protect Civil War sites. (For details on the bill and sites affected, see the story linked to below.)
In a letter seeking support from other representatives, Holt wrote “Unfortunately, urbanization, suburban sprawl and unplanned commercial and residential development are constantly encroaching on many of these significant battlefields. These encroachments pose a severe and growing risk to the preservation of these historic sites….Out of the 825 nationally significant battlefields and associated sites of these two earlier conflicts, 107 of these battlefields have been lost, 245 are in fragmented or poor condition, and 222 are in danger of being destroyed within the next ten years.”
For info on an NPS study on endangered site affiliated with the conflicts, see http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/Rev1812Study.htm.
Last year under a related grant program in the same act to protect War between the States sites, three Virginia organizations got grants. One created a website to build awareness of battlefields in the Shenandoah Valley; another went to change zoning and planning in the valley to protect sites; and the third went to conduct an archeological survey of one of the first naval engagements of the war.
Current law authorized $10 million a year in such grants for Civil War site preservation. The pending legislation would add another $10 million for the earlier conflicts. Details on previous grants:http://www.nps.gov/history/hps/abpp/grants/battlefieldgrants/2010grantawards.htm.
View the pending legislation at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c112:H.R.2489: