Williamsburg Yorktown (Va.) Daily

Legislation Introduced to Protect Historic American Battlefields

By WYDaily Staff

WASHINGTON — Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) joined with Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) Wednesday to introduce the American Battlefield Protection Program Enhancement Act, bipartisan legislation that would protect America’s historic battlefields.

According to Kaine’s office, the bill would make updates to strengthen the American Battlefield Protection Program (ABPP), a program within the National Park Service (NPS) that promotes the preservation of significant historic battlefields and sites of armed conflict across the United States.

According to ABPP records, the program has preserved more than 35,000 acres of historic land in 20 states, including Virginia and Mississippi.

“From Yorktown to Appomattox, the map of Virginia is a map of America’s military history,” said Kaine. “I’m proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation to strengthen the American Battlefield Protection Program and help ensure these lands are preserved, so future generations can visit and learn about their importance.”

“Our bipartisan changes to this critical program would create a quicker and easier process for preserving our national battlefields, sites that hold so many stories of our history,” added Hyde-Smith.  “Enhancing the American Battlefield Protection Program would improve opportunities for history-rich states like Mississippi to save these sites.”

According to Kaine’s office, the American Battlefield Protection Program Enhancement Act would permit nonprofits and tribes to directly apply for ABPP grants, ensure battlefield restoration grant funding is available for all battlefields, clarify the eligibility of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites for Battlefield Land 
Acquisition Grants, and create a process for expanding and updating historic battlefield boundaries.

“I applaud Senators Kaine and Hyde-Smith for their longstanding support for the American Battlefield Protection Program. ABPP is one of the best examples of the private sector working with the federal government to preserve American history. The program encourages nonprofit and state investment in saving hallowed ground, leveraging federal dollars more than 3-to-1,” said David Duncan, President of the American Battlefield Trust.

The legislation was cosponsored by Senators Mark R. Warner (D-VA), John Cornyn (R-TX), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Thom Tillis (R-NC).