House Subcommittee Holds Hearing on National Heritage Area Legislation
This week the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks and Public Lands held a hearing on 4 bills related to National Heritage Areas (NHAs). Three of those bills, H.R 642, H.R 1990, and H.R 2288, would reauthorize the Oil Region National Heritage Area, the National Aviation Heritage Area, and the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor. Another bill considered, H.R 1049, would establish a National Heritage Area Program and standardize the administration of NHAs. The bill was introduced by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY) in February and is up to 100 cosponsors in the House. There are currently 55 National Heritage Areas, which include sites of national significance across the country. NHA funding was proposed for elimination by the administration, but Congress continues to support NHAs in the appropriations process.
During the hearing, National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith, said the administration feels NHAs should be weaned off of federal support and therefore did not support the bills before the committee. The chairwoman of the subcommittee Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) said NHAs remain beneficial to our communities and their local economies, citing that every dollar invested in National Heritage Areas leverages $5.50 in other public and private money.
More than just the economic benefit, National Heritage Areas help to tell a more complete story of our nation's history. Preservation Action appreciates the attention given from the committee, and the continued support Congress has shown for National Heritage Areas. Check out the full hearing below.