Monday, December 14, 2009

Congress Gives for Battlefield Preservation

After all of the recent fighting it takes quite an impressive feat for me to give our national legislative branch a tip of the hat. Well, I think they finally did something to earn a little bit of my respect.

On November 1, President Obama signed the 2010 Interior-Environment Appropriation bill that included $9 million for Civil War battlefield preservation under the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program (CWBPP), which serves as the primary federal funding provider. This appropriation is the largest single-year allocation for Civil War battlefield preservation in our nation's history.

The funding bill is designed to use grant matching monies to encourage state and private preservation efforts such as that of the Civil War Preservation Trust. In addition, the bill seeks to target at-risk land acreage outside National Park Service boundaries; the areas most prone to development. Over the last 10 years CWBPP has saved over 15,000 acres of battlefield ground at 60 battlefields in 14 states. With this bill even more will be accomplished.

The bill was a welcome bi-partisan effort in what has been one of the most contentious congresses in recent memory. It is so pleasing to see that after the Democratic and Republican battles over bank bailouts, economic stimulus debates, and health care, they were able to come together to ensure that additional grounds gets preserved for future generations to learn from and appreciate.

In my opinion the timing of the bill couldn't be better. With an economy that has seen more individuals unable to give like they would want, and with the arrival of the Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration, this was the time to get this done.

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