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Public Statements

American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act of 2012

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. HASTINGS of Washington. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

The American Battlefield Protection Act of 1996 addressed the preservation and protection of Civil War battlefields through conservation easements or through the purchase of land from willing sellers through Federal grants. H.R. 2489 renews this effort, which will soon expire, and it adds the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 battlefields to those eligible for protection.

The Natural Resources Committee made several improvements to the legislation as introduced, including a reduction of the authorization from 10 years to 5 years. Also, the authorization was cut in half to save up to $50 million over the course of the program. It is important to note that we have not raised the authorization one cent over current levels; therefore, there is no increase in spending.

Finally, the committee added language to prohibit these funds from being used for lobbying activities or from being distributed to organizations that participate in lobbying. With so many existing needs within the National Park Service, we want to ensure that these funds go specifically for battlefield protection and not to outside advocacy groups. These battlefields are part of our history, and we should do everything we can to ensure that future generations understand what our forefathers went through to ensure our freedoms.

So, with that, I support this legislation, and I reserve the balance of my time.


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