Heritage Area could benefit through Senate legislation

From staff reports

The Oil Region National Heritage Area stands to benefit from an amended version of the National Heritage Area Act advanced by the the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

The legislation, which would provide long-term authorization for America’s National Heritage Areas and a steady stream of federal funding for these critical designations, was approved Tuesday without opposition via bipartisan voice vote, according to a news release from the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry & Tourism.

“Long-term authorization is vital to the heritage preservation and economic development activities of the Oil Region National Heritage Area,” said John R. Phillips II, ORA president and chief executive officer.

“Alleviating the worry of (authorization) sun-setting would allow us to focus more of our energy and resources on forwarding the mission of our organization, instead of having to fight for re-authorization every few years.”

The National Heritage Area Act establishes standard criteria for the funding, management and designation of National Heritage Areas across the country, and sets an annual authorization of up to $1 million for all National Heritage Areas, according to the release.

The Oil Region National Heritage Area was congressionally designated in 2004 because of the area’s significance as the birthplace of the modern petroleum industry and is managed by the ORA.

Over the last several years, the Alliance of National Heritage Areas (ANHA), of which the Oil Region National Heritage Area is a member, has worked to pass legislation that would secure the future for all National Heritage Areas and has supported the National Heritage Area Act, the release said.