Policy Update Mar 15, 2016

Position on H.R. 87, H.R. 295, H.R. 1621, and H.R. 4680

NPCA submitted the following positions on legislation being considered by the House Committee on Natural Resources during a markup on March 15 and 16, 2016.

H.R. 87 – Shiloh National Military Park Boundary Adjustment and Parker’s Crossroads Battlefield Designation Act: NPCA supports this bill which adjusts the boundary of Shiloh National Military Park to protect the Fallen Timbers, Russell House and Davis Bridge battlefields, and establishes the Parker’s Crossroads battlefield as an affiliated area of the National Park System.

H.R. 295 – To reauthorize the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Historic Preservation program: NPCA supports this bill to amend the Omnibus Parks and Public Lands Management Act of 1996 to reauthorize Historic Preservation Fund (HPF) grants for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) from FY2016 through FY2025. HPF funds will be used to support preservation and restoration of buildings and structures at HBCU campuses across the nation.

H.R. 1621 – To modify the boundary of Petersburg National Battlefield in the Commonwealth of Virginia: NPCA supports this bill to adjust the boundary of Petersburg National Battlefield in Virginia. Civil War battlefields are being destroyed at the alarming rate of 30 acres each day, despite their continued value and meaning to America. Petersburg National Battlefield is under substantial development pressure and significant sites have already been lost. A comprehensive National Park Service study of the area calls for the addition of 7,238 acres of critical battlefield to the park. The added lands at Petersburg will protect America’s Civil War history, leave a lasting legacy for future generations, and enhance the park’s ability to attract visitors.

H.R. 4680 - To prepare the National Park Service for its Centennial in 2016 and for a second century of promoting and protecting the natural, historic, and cultural resources of our National Parks for the enjoyment of present and future generations: NPCA supports this bill as an important step toward enhancing our national parks and their visitor programs for the Centennial of the National Park Service and beyond. H.R. 4680 formally establishes a public-private funding partnership called the Centennial Challenge to finance signature construction, maintenance and education projects. Over the last two years, Congress has provided $25 million for the Centennial Challenge through annual appropriations which was successfully doubled by private dollars. If Congress authorizes a long-term partnership with dedicated and strong federal funding, the private sector could significantly invest in important maintenance and education needs in our national parks.

In addition, H.R. 4680 establishes an endowment to ensure the long-term success of our parks. The legislation also provides clear authority for education and interpretation, offers additional opportunities for youth and veterans, and allows for more funding to directly support volunteer programs. NPCA encourages the Chairman, Ranking Member and the committee to identify additional sources of funding to more robustly support the programs in this bill as well as more directly address the maintenance backlog.