House and Senate committees have taken significant steps in the past few weeks to advance legislation that would preserve historic and cultural resources, including those on public lands.
The Amache National Historic Site Act (H.R. 2497/S. 1284) continued to see strong support during an October 6 hearing in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks. The legislation, endorsed by the National Trust and introduced by Representatives Neguse (D-CO) and Buck (R-CO) in the House and Senators Bennet (D-CO) and Hickenlooper (D-CO) in the Senate, calls for the creation of a National Historic Site in Colorado to honor more than 7,500 individuals of Japanese descent unjustly and forcibly incarcerated during World War II. The House Natural Resources Committee also held a markup on October 13 where the Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony (STOP) Act (H.R. 2930/S. 1471) was unanimously approved by the committee. This bicameral legislation supported by the National Trust would strengthen laws aimed at preventing trafficking in Native American cultural items and facilitate the voluntary return of sacred and cultural items.
Meanwhile on the House floor, an overwhelming vote of 391-36 on September 28 demonstrated further support for the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area Act (H.R. 1154/S. 470). Endorsed by the National Trust and other preservation organizations, this Act would authorize a study to assess the designation of that National Heritage Area. The Great Dismal Swamp is a landscape rich in cultural and historic resources and holds significant environmental importance for Virginia, North Carolina, and beyond.