Policy Update Mar 8, 2018

Position on S. 1160, S. 1335, S. 1446 & S. 1602

NPCA submitted the following positions to the Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources ahead of a markup scheduled for March 8, 2018.

S. 1160: Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area Amendment Act – NPCA supports this legislation that would add Livingston County, the City of Jonesboro in Union County, and the city of Freeport in Stephenson County, to the boundary of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area. Livingston County is the only county in the 8th Judicial Circuit (Lincoln’s law circuit) not currently within the boundary of the National Heritage Area. The cities of Jonesboro and Freeport were both sites for Lincoln-Douglass debates of 1858. Their inclusion in the boundary will enable the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area and its partners to tell a more complete story about Lincoln’s time in Illinois prior to his election as president of the United States.

S. 1335/H.R. 2888: Ste. Genevieve National Historical Park Establishment Act – NPCA supports this legislation to establish a new unit of the National Park System in the state of Missouri. Established in the mid-1700s, Ste. Genevieve was the first settlement on the west bank of the Mississippi River and is still the only surviving French Colonial village in the U.S. The NPS Special Resource Study of the site found that a portion of the Ste. Genevieve historic district meets criteria for national significance and suitability, and that certain resources within the district are feasible to manage as a unit and would benefit from direct NPS management.

S. 1446/H.R. 1135: 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 FY2018 through FY2024. HPF funds will be used to support preservation and restoration of buildings and structures at HBCU campuses across the nation.

S. 1602: Finger Lakes National Heritage Area Study Act – NPCA supports this legislation, which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating certain land as the Finger Lakes National Heritage Area. The historic Finger Lakes Region of New York is a 9,000 square mile, four-season playground, set against a backdrop of Mother Nature’s best work – from waterfalls and gorges to thick, cool woods to rolling hills to miles of spectacular shoreline on 11 glacial lakes and one Great Lake. It also includes the Women’s Rights National Historical Park that tells the story of the first Women’s Rights Convention held in Seneca Falls, NY on July 19-20, 1848. Should the final study recommend the designation of a Finger Lakes National Heritage Area, NPCA hopes it will also recommend the best methods for ensuring the fiscal well-being of the new area and of the existing National Heritage Area program.

NPCA supports the judicious expansion of the National Heritage Area program. We do, however, have grave concerns about the unintentional and adverse impacts adding new heritage areas, no matter how worthy of designation, will have on the 49 that currently exist without an increase to the program’s operating budget. Heritage areas must match federal funding dollar for dollar with non-federal support. On average, most heritage areas deliver a four to one return on their federal investment. Increasing the program’s budget will protect stories and lifeways, generate heritage tourism, and create jobs. And it is the only way to ensure that new areas can thrive without undermining the performance of those that already exist.