H.R. 548: Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2009

H.R. 548

Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2009

Date
March 2, 2009 (111th Congress, 1st Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

H.R. 548 is being considered on the floor under suspension of the rules, requiring a two-thirds majority vote for passage. This legislation was introduced by Representative Gary Miller (R-CA) on January 15, 2009.

Bill Summary

H.R. 548 directs the Secretary of Interior to work with Federal, State, local, and tribal governments, educational institutions, and nonprofit organizations to protect historic battlefields and associated sites. The Secretary will distribute grants through the existing American Battlefield Protection Program; and the bill authorizes $3 million annually for this purpose.

This legislation also directs the Secretary to establish a battlefield acquisition grant program, under which the Secretary would provide grants to pay the Federal share of the cost of acquiring interests in eligible sites for the preservation and protection of those eligible sites. The non-Federal share of the cost of acquiring an interest in a site must be not less than 50 percent. The bill authorizes $10 million for each of the fiscal years 2009 through 2013 for this program.

 

Background

On September 24, 2008, the House passed a similar bill (H.R. 2933) by voice vote.  The Senate never considered that legislation.

The American Battlefield Act of 1996 established the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), which promotes the protection, restoration, and awareness of historically significant American battlefields.  The ABPP is administered by the National Park Service and requires matching funds from private donors.  Eligibility for the program is currently limited to Civil War battlefields.

According to the National Park Service, this grant program has assisted in the permanent protection of 13,906 acres at 54 Civil War battlefields in 14 states.  Authorization for the program expired on September 30, 2008.

Cost

There is no Congressional Budget Office (CBO) cost estimate available for this legislation, but H.R. 548 authorizes $3 million annually for the American Battlefield Protection Program grants, as well as $10 million per year for 2009-2013 for the new battlefield acquisition grant program.