July 31, 2013

Kaine Applauds Progress On Bipartisan Battlefield Protection Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Parks Subcommittee of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee held a hearing today to consider a series of bills, including U.S. Senator Tim Kaine’s American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act. Kaine introduced the bill with Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS) in May 2013. The bipartisan bill will preserve historical battlegrounds by extending the authorization of the Civil War Battlefield Preservation Program (CWBPP) that provides competitive federal grants to match private and non-profit donations.

“America’s battlefields are historic landmarks that help us commemorate what made our nation what it is today,” Kaine said in a statement to the Subcommittee. “This effort brings together federal, state, and private sector supporters to ensure future generations will be able to visit these sites and appreciate the historic deeds that transpired on this hallowed ground.”

Kaine also highlighted the bill’s economic impact, citing findings by the Virginia Tourism Corporation that Civil War tourists in Virginia stay twice as long and spend double the money of the average tourist.

“It would be worth protecting these battlefields for the historic value alone, but these activities also have economic value,” said Kaine. “Battlefield tourists do not simply pass through a region.  They pay for guided tours.  They stay in hotels and bed and breakfasts.  They dine at local restaurants.  They browse the shops on town streets.” 

In addition to Kaine and Cochran, the American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act has 11 co-sponsors in the Senate. The House of Representatives passed a companion bill, H.R. 1033, in April.