For Immediate Release: 02/02/04
President's Budget Includes Increased Funding for Battlefield Preservation
Bush Administration budget includes $5 million in matching grants for Civil War battlefields
(Washington, DC) - In his Fiscal Year (FY) 2005 budget request to Congress, President George W. Bush today included $5 million in federal matching grants for Civil War battlefield preservation. The $5 million provision is more than double the White House's previous request of $2 million in FY 2004.
"We are extremely pleased with the President's decision to increase funding for battlefield preservation during a tight fiscal year," remarked Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) President James Lighthizer. "Today's announcement further underscores the Administration's commitment to protecting our nation's endangered Civil War battlegrounds."
The President's budget request sets aside $5 million from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program. If agreed to by Congress, this would represent the most money ever available in a single year for the program. Congress has previously appropriated a total of $21 million for the program during the past six fiscal years.
The Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program was first established by Congress in 1998 and was formally authorized as part of the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Act of 2002. It provides federal grant money for Civil War battlefield land outside National Park Service (NPS) boundaries. Nearly 11,000 acres of high-priority battlefield land in 15 states has been saved as a result of the program.
The success of the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program is primarily due to its non-federal match requirement, which encourages state and private investment in Civil War battlefields. The grants are competitively awarded by the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), an arm of NPS. Acquisition is from willing sellers only. Among the battlefield sites that have benefited from the program are Antietam, Maryland; Bentonville, North Carolina; Chancellorsville, Virginia; Fort Donelson, Tennessee; and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
With 50,000 members, CWPT is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its goal is to preserve our nation's endangered Civil War sites and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds through education and heritage tourism. CWPT's website is located at www.civilwar.org.