CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Monday, September 10, 2012, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 2489, the American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act of 2012, under a suspension of the rules requiring a two-thirds majority for approval. The bill was introduced on July 11, 2011, by Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and referred to the Committee on Natural Resources, which held a mark up and reported the bill, as amended, by unanimous consent on April 4, 2012.
H.R. 2489 would expand the American Battlefield Protection Program to include battlefields from the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 and would authorize the appropriation of $10 million a year over the 2014 to 2017 period for in order to carry out the program. The bill would authorize the acquisition of land on which nationally significant battles occurred, only from willing sellers. The amounts authorized for each year would be used to provide financial assistance to state or local governments to purchase land that has been identified by the National Park Service (NPS) as eligible for protection through the program but is not contained within the boundaries of a unit of the National Park System.
According to the Natural Resources Committee, in September 2007, the National Park Service completed a “Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States.” The report examined 243 battlefields and 434 historic properties in 31 States, the District of Columbia, and the Virgin Islands. Like a similar Civil War report, it inventoried and identified nationally significant conflict sites and noted areas that could be impacted by development. The American Battlefield Protection Act of 1996 was initially enacted to preserve and protect historically significant battlefields associated with the Civil War. H.R. 2489 would amend the American Battlefield Protection Act to authorize a similar funding program for Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields, to assist in purchasing these sites through the American Battlefield Protection Program.
The American Battlefield Protection Program was appropriated $9 million in 2012 and is authorized at a level of $10 million in 2013. H.R. 2489 would extend the authorization at current level of $10 million through 2017, which would be divided between Civil War and Revolutionary War sites.
According to CBO, implementing H.R. 2489 would cost $36 million over the 2013-2017 period and about $4 million after 2017.