U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today announced that he has introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives the American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act (H.R. 2489), a bipartisan bill that would provide competitive matching grants to preserve battlefields from the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Civil War.
"Sprawl and commercial development are threatening the historic sites where our nation was forged and shaped," Holt said. "Each time a historic battlefield is replaced with a parking lot, a chapter of American history is erased, and future generations lose an important window onto their heritage. This bill would provide matching funds that would leverage private efforts to preserve our nation's past."
Holt's legislation would build on the success of the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), which provides competitive matching grants that support private efforts to preserve Civil War sites. Since 1999, the program has helped to save more than 16,500 acres of historic sites in 14 states.
Holt's bill would reauthorize the ABPP and create an identical program to preserve battlefields from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812. Holt introduced similar legislation in the last session of Congress, and his bill passed the House unanimously.
Among the sites covered by Holt's legislation are hundreds of battlefields and associated sites throughout New Jersey. A full list of eligible areas in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Somerset Counties is available online.
According to the National Park Service, the need to preserve battlefields from the Revolutionary War and War of 1812 is dire. Out of the 825 nationally significant battlefields and associated sites from these wars, 107 have been lost, 245 are in fragmented or poor condition, and 222 are in danger of being destroyed within the next ten years.
The American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act is cosponsored by Rep. Steven Rothman (D-NJ), Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-NY). Sen. Charles Schumer (NY) has introduced a companion bill in the Senate, S. 779.