WASHINGTON, DC -- Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument Act, H.R. 5979, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers (KY-05), designating the Mill Springs Battlefield a National Monument and part of the National Park System. The historic Civil War battlefield spans Wayne and Pulaski counties in southern Kentucky and adjoins the Mill Springs National Cemetery. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell filed a companion bill in the U.S. Senate in support of the action.
Congressman Rogers made the following remarks on the House Floor urging passage of the legislation:
“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 5979, the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument Act—legislation I introduced that directs the Secretary of Interior to establish the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument as a unit of the National Park System.
“On January 19, 1862, the small Kentucky town of Logan's Crossroads erupted in a blast of artillery and musket fire, as Confederate and Union forces clashed in the Battle of Mill Springs.
“When the smoke cleared, it was clear that the Union was victorious, and had secured its first significant victory of the Civil War.
“To honor the site, the Mill Springs Battlefield in Pulaski and Wayne Counties, Kentucky was designated a U.S. National Historic Landmark District in 1993.
“Realizing the need to preserve and protect the battlefield for the future, the Mill Springs Battlefield Association was founded in 1992. MSBA currently owns more than 900 acres of the battlefield, and even built a $1.7 million, 10,000-square foot visitor center and museum at the site.
“Mr. Speaker, while MSBA is currently doing an exemplary job in maintaining the battlefield, it simply does not have the financial resources to adequately preserve and maintain the site in perpetuity.
“To ensure that the Mill Springs Battlefield is protected for future generations, I introduced this legislation—to add the battlefield to the National Park System.
“This will ensure that this battlefield--where the Union first tasted victory--is protected, preserved and promoted well into the future.
“Mr. Speaker, this effort is supported by the Secretary of Interior, Ryan Zinke, as well as the National Park Service.
“It is also supported by many in Kentucky, including our Governor, my friends in our Congressional Delegation, and countless local leaders.
“It is also supported by MSBA, who is willing to donate their property to make this National Monument a reality.
“Chairman McClintock, I am particularly grateful to you, Chairman Bishop, and your staff, who have worked closely with me to bring this bill to the Floor. Thank you.
“I’d also like to specifically thank my friend and colleague, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for ushering companion legislation through the Senate.
“And finally, Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the men and women of the Mill Springs Battlefield Association. Without their decades of work to preserve this important site, none of this would be possible today.
“Mr. Speaker, I urge the passage of the Mill Springs Battlefield National Monument Act, and yield the balance of my time.”
The bill now heads to the U.S. Senate for consideration in coordination with Leader McConnell's companion legislation.
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- Mill Springs Battlefield Clears First Hurdle to Become Part of the National Park System
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- Rogers, McConnell Lead Effort to Add Mill Springs Battlefield to Federal System