On September 23, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 160, the “Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Battlefield Protection Act,” legislation to establish a federal grant program specifically for preserving and protecting battle sites associated with the American Revolution and the War of 1812.
The bill would authorize $10 million in grants annually in fiscal 2009-13 from the Land and Water Conservation Fund for the preservation and protection of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 battlefields and related historical sites, as is currently done for Civil War sites. The bill would allow officials at the American Battlefield Protection Program to collaborate with state and local governments and non-profit organizations to preserve and protect the most endangered historical sites and to provide up to 50 percent of the costs of purchasing battlefield land threatened by sprawl and commercial development.
According to a 2007 National Parks Service (NPS) “Report to Congress on the Historic Preservation of Revolutionary War and War of 1812 Sites in the United States,” 170 of 677 nationally significant sites associated with the two wars are in danger of being destroyed in the next 10 years. At least 33 states could benefit if the bill becomes law. The bill now awaits a vote in the Senate.
In addition to the 170 sites in danger of being destroyed within the next 10 years, the NPS found that 99 have already been lost forever and 234 are in poor condition.
The Senate has yet to act on its version of the bill.