WASHINGTON, D.C.--Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne today praised bipartisan action to permanently continue historic preservation programs founded by each of the past two First Ladies in legislation passed by the U.S. Senate.
Today the Senate approved the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act by a recorded vote of 73-21. It contains provisions to authorize permanently both the Preserve America program founded by First Lady Laura Bush and the Save America's Treasures program established by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton.
“Bipartisan approval of this legislation by an overwhelming margin reflects the importance of these complementary historic preservation grant programs,” Secretary Kempthorne said. “We are especially grateful for the leadership of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman, former Senator Pete Domenici, and Senators Hillary Clinton and Richard Burr.”
At a Capitol Hill press conference in October 2007, Mrs. Laura Bush, Honorary Chair of Preserve America and Save America's Treasures, announced introduction of the legislation authorizing Preserve America and Save America's Treasures. She was joined by Secretary Kempthorne; Representatives Brad Miller and Mike Turner, who introduced the House version; Sen. Hillary Clinton and former Sen.Pete Domenici, who introduced the legislation in the Senate.
On April 9, 2008, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett testified in favor of the historic preservation legislation before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources National Parks Subcommittee to authorize the Preserve America and Save America's Treasures programs. John Nau, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and co-chair with Scarlett of Preserve America, testified in favor of the legislative provisions in the House.
Both programs enhance heritage tourism and public-private partnerships in historic and cultural preservation. Preserve America also fosters reuse and interpretation of cultural resources that form the social, educational and economic fabric of communities. The Save America's Treasures grant program funds “bricks and mortar” improvements to historic structures and assets.
Legislation to authorize Preserve America and Save America's Treasures ensures continuation of the historic preservation and heritage tourism benefits provided through these programs. Both programs have demonstrated significant on-the-ground results.
Administered by the Department of the Interior in cooperation with other federal agencies including the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the programs have operated without congressional authorization since their inception.