Civil War News
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Congressman Miller Files Bill for Battlefield Preservation
By Deborah Fitts
September 2002

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A California congressman with a love of Civil War history has introduced legislation supporting battlefield preservation.

Republican Rep. Gary Miller and five of his colleagues introduced in July the “American Battlefields Protection Program Act of 2002.” He was joined by five of his colleagues.

The measure puts battlefield preservation funding on a more secure footing than in the past. At present, according to Miller’s spokesman, appropriations are by “earmark,” meaning that funding is not authorized by law, but is sought at the request of specific members of Congress.

The new legislation, if it passes as expected, will provide authorization for federal battlefield-acquisition funding. “It’s never a sure thing,” said the spokesman of the funding, “but having an authorization provides more of a sure thing.”

The legislation calls for the federal funds to go to nonprofit organizations or local or state governments. Recipients would have to match the money one-for-one.

Miller, a real estate developer, is an Arkansas native. His spokesman said that while on long plane rides between his home in California and the nation’s capital, he became captivated by books on the Civil War. “He’s fallen in love with it as a hobby.”

Miller is “a big supporter” of the Civil War Preservation Trust, according to the spokesman. He is “hoping to work with other members of Congress to raise their awareness” about battlefield preservation. The congressman has visited several battlefields in the Washington area.

The spokesman cited “a lot of support” for the bill and said it could pass the House later this year.

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