For Immediate Release: 10/11/01
$11 Million Allocated by Congress to Preserve Endangered Battlefields
CWPT praises Congress for its commitment to protecting America's hallowed grounds
(Washington, D.C.) - The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) today applauded House and Senate conferees for including a provision in the Fiscal Year 2002 Interior Appropriations Act (H.R. 2217) for Civil War battlefield preservation. The funding bill allocates $11 million over three years for a competitive grant program to save endangered Civil War battlefields.
"We are ecstatic," remarked CWPT President James Lighthizer. "This money will allow us to preserve thousands of acres of historic land that would otherwise be lost to urban sprawl."
The provision, often referred to as the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program, is similar to a program established by Congress and the Department of the Interior in FY 1999. The program targets priority Civil War sites outside National Park Service (NPS) boundaries. Grants from the program are awarded by the American Battlefield Protection Program (an arm of NPS). In the past three years, the program has saved nearly 7,000 acres of hallowed ground in 11 states.
Based on this record of success, the FY 2002 program has enjoyed unprecedented bipartisan support. Senate Interior Appropriations Chairman Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) and Ranking Member Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), as well as House Interior Appropriations Chairman Joe Skeen (R-N.M.) and Ranking Member Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), displayed strong leadership in getting the program included in the final conference report. In addition, 12 Senators and 63 Representatives expressed their enthusiasm for the program in various letters to appropriators.
"We cannot thank the conferees enough for their support of battlefield preservation," Lighthizer noted. "Beyond the financial commitment, just knowing that our leaders on Capitol Hill are dedicated to protecting America's past is a shot in the arm for the entire preservation movement."
The Interior funding bill was approved by conferees on Wednesday. It now moves on to the House and Senate for a final vote, then to the President for his signature. Little opposition to the measure is anticipated.
With 35,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds.