IMPORTANT UPDATES – Maritime Heritage Grant Program – Your help needed !

Below is a message from Dr. Tim Runyan, National Maritime Alliance

Earlier, we announced that $2-3M will be available for the National Maritime Heritage grant program for 2020 from profits of ship scrapping by the Maritime Administration. We can help assure a supplement of $5M to the 2020 National Maritime Heritage grants program—raising the amount available to $7-8M.

I am working with staff of Rep. Brian Higgins (NY D-26, Buffalo-Erie area). Rep. Higgins offered an amendment to the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (Defense Bill) that stated:

“the Secretary of Defense may contribute up to $5,000,000 to support the National Maritime Heritage Grants Program established under section 308703 of title 54, United States Code.” The amendment was included in the 2020 NDAA passed by the House (HR 2500).

I am working with Rep. Higgins’ Legislative Director to support this amendment. It will be considered in the conference among the House and Senate as they iron out the differences between their Defense bills. There is no complementary language regarding the $5M in the Senate NDAA (S. 1790). The conference will begin soon–but the conference members to represent the House and Senate have not been announced.

Our task is to contact the members who will make a decision on whether the $5M remains in the final 2020 NDAA. I am also working with Rep. Higgins’ staff to strengthen the language–from “the Secretary of Defense “may contribute” to “shall contribute,” in the amendment.

Since the conference members are not known at this time, it is best we write to the chairs and ranking members of the House Armed Services Committee, and the Senate Armed Services Committee, and cc other members, including our local Representatives/Senators. I have prepared a draft letter below.

Again, for clarification: there will be $2-3M available in the coming 2020 National Maritime Heritage Grant Program generated from ship scrapping. The $5M allocation would be an addition to the $2-3M. The grants program will be administered by NPS, as usual.

Suggested Letter

Letterhead

The Hon. Name of Rep/Senator

House/Senate Office Building

Washington, DC  20515 (House) 20510 (Senate)

Date, 2019

Dear Senator/Representative #####:

I write to ask that you assure the inclusion of Section 1099F (HB 2500) in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act. This language authorizes the Secretary of Defense to contribute up to $5M to fund the National Maritime Heritage Grants program. We want to make clear that we anticipate the full amount of $5M will be contributed to the grant program.

The National Maritime Heritage Grants program was created by Congress in 1994 to support the preservation of historic maritime resources and educate the public on the nation’s rich maritime history. This competitive grant program, administered by the National Park Service, requires one-to-one matching support by a successful applicant. State, tribal and local governments, and non-profit organizations are eligible to apply for grants. It is the only federal grant program supporting America’s maritime heritage. The program has provided only about $10M in grant support in the past five years.

Section 1099F in the House NDAA helps address the funding shortage. The language of Section 1099F is not included in the Senate NDAA. Your support is critical to insure its inclusion in the final NDAA at the conference of the House and Senate.

We have benefited greatly by a grant(s) through this program (if applicable, and you can cite briefly the outcome of the grant funding). Describe your organization.

The (name of your organization) is part of the maritime heritage community, composed of 1,000 non-profit organizations in more than 40 states. This includes historic naval ships, maritime museums, tall ships for sail training, lighthouses, maritime historical societies, education, and preservation organizations. Hundreds of veterans serve as staff or volunteers.

Please act to ensure Section 1099F, “Support for National Maritime Heritage Grants program,” is included in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act.

Sincerely,

Your name, organization, contact information

Cc or bcc a copy to: Tim Runyan, Chair, National Maritime Alliance at: runyant@ecu.edu

You are encouraged to cc staff of the members of Congress.

Timothy J. Runyan, PhD, Chair, National Maritime Alliance

252-902-5455 cell

runyant@ecu.edu

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