H.R. 3388: Petersburg National Battlefield Boundary Modification Act

H.R. 3388

Petersburg National Battlefield Boundary Modification Act

Date
December 8, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Sarah Makin

Floor Situation

H.R. 3388 is being considered under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds vote for passage.  The legislation was introduced by Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) on July 29, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 3388 modifies the boundary of the Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia to include the properties identified on the map titled "Petersburg National Battlefield Boundary Expansion," dated June 2007.  The bill would allow the National Park Service (NPS) to acquire the land by purchase, easement, exchange, and donation from private and non-profit landowners, and through a land transfer from the Department of the Army.

The bill authorizes the Secretaries of the Interior and the Army to transfer the administrative jurisdiction for approximately 1.171 acres under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior within the boundary of the Petersburg National Battlefield in exchange for approximately 1.170 acres under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Army within the boundary of the Fort Lee Military Reservation adjacent to the Battlefield.

Background

Nearly one quarter of the entire Civil War was fought in and around Petersburg, Virginia.  The Petersburg National Battlefield site is where General Robert E. Lee held off the Northern troops for nine and one half months, in what became one of the longest sieges in the history of American warfare.  Eventually, both armies were forced to abandon Petersburg, Virginia, leaving behind 70,000 casualties as they began their trek toward Appomattox Courthouse, where General Lee would ultimately surrender.

Cost

According to CBO, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts, implementing H.R. 3388 would cost about $5 million over the 2010-2014 period to acquire a portion of that acreage.  Currently NPS estimates the entire parcel has a value of about $30 million and would take 15 to 20 years to acquire.  Based on that information, CBO expects that over half of the property would be acquired through purchase (about $20 million over the next 15 to 20 years), while the rest would be accomplished through easements and donations.  In addition, CBO estimates that NPS would spend less than $500,000 annually for new trails, exhibits, surveys, and studies as the new acreage is acquired.  Finally, CBO estimates that the NPS would need about $500,000 annually for operations and management costs.  Enacting H.R. 3388 would have no effect on direct spending or revenues.