Support Our Maritime Heritage: Write to Congress for Maritime Heritage Grant Funding:
An Appeal from Dr. Timothy Runyan, National Maritime Alliance, and NMHS
NMHS requests your support of the “Ships to be Recycled in the States” (STORIS) Act, which amends the National Maritime Heritage Act to secure funding for a National Maritime Heritage Act grant program. This grant program is critical to the maritime heritage community of over 1,000 small non-profit organizations in more than 40 states.
From 2005 to present, in excess of $69 million has been earned and collected from the sale of excess government vessels to domestic ship recyclers. As initially intended, 25%, or more than $17 million, was to go into the competitive grant program. However in 2010, the National Defense Authorization Act allowed the Maritime Administration (MARAD), which jointly manages the program with the National Park Service, to instead use the 25% exclusively to preserve MARAD properties.
The maritime heritage community has sought restoration of the approximately $17 million collected through 2014. This year, MARAD agreed to share only $7 million in a multi-year grant program with the National Park Service. MARAD has not sought input from the Maritime Heritage community stakeholders on the agency program, and to date, has not apparently expended any of the funds. Instead, the money has languished at MARAD while US maritime heritage organizations struggle for funding.
The STORIS Act Section 5 (c) restores funding, as originally intended by Congress, for the nation’s maritime heritage organizations—historic naval ships, lighthouses, maritime museums, sail training, education and preservation organizations. Senator Begich is the author of the STORIS Act and he is working with the Senate Commerce Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee to include it in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. Please support Senator Begich’s bill, seconded by Sen. Blumenthal (CT) and Rep. Courtney (CT). It will provide significantly more funding for us and other maritime organizations around the country.
Bills are being marked up on Capitol Hill; we must write now to members on the committees that will be involved in this bill. There are 4 committees—2 House, 2 Senate. You can find the members of each committee here. For a draft letter to send to members of your committee, click here . Copy the text and paste it to your own word processing program. Fill it out with your information. Email the letter to the committee members from your home state. You can write to all senators through their Senate web site—you must be a member of the district to submit a letter to a congressman via their web site, unless you have an email address to send to. You will need to copy and paste in your letter. We also suggest sending a hard copy of your letter by snail mail.
Thank you for stepping up and your willingness to help. We must contact these members of the House and Senate now if we are to succeed. Millions in grant funding for the maritime heritage community is at stake. Please make these contacts!