Over one year ago, the National Maritime Alliance asked for our help to lobby for passage of the Ships to Be Recycled in the States (STORIS) Act, an attempt to reverse language in the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act that had allowed the Maritime Administration to use all of the maritime heritage grant funds solely for its own maritime heritage. Many of you wrote to your legislators and the relevant committee members—and we thank you for that effort!
Unfortunately, the STORIS act stalled and was not passed. The good news is that new language has been proposed for the National Defense Authorization Act that would achieve much of what was hoped for with the STORIS Act: restoring the maritime heritage grant program and increasing funding. Focusing on key points, rather than the entire act, makes it easier to gain supporters in Congress.
We at NMHS and the National Maritime Alliance are asking for your help again, by emailing your congressional representative and senators, and members of the committees that will be voting on this legislation, by mid-June.
We have a sample letter here; please complete and personalize the draft letter to the representative or senator’s staff member, and ask that it be shared with the representative or senator. If the staff member’s email is not provided, call the office of the representative or senator to ask for the names and email addresses of the appropriate staff members for committees on commerce and defense, or the legislative director. You can also contact the local office of a representative or senator and ask that your email be forwarded to appropriate staff in Washington, DC. If your representatives are not on these committees (you can write to both senators from your state), write anyway. The bills go to the full House and Senate.
The request asks for inclusion of Section 3508, Title 35, of the National Defense Authorization Act. Sec. 3508 is the main item we wanted in the STORIS Act. It restores the maritime heritage grant program and will increase funding.
Important: Please send a copy of your letter to Tim Runyan at firstname.lastname@example.org. Having copies of your letters helps him lobby for this issue more effectively.
The 2015 National Maritime Heritage Grants awarded 34 grants in 19 states, totaling $2,580,197.37. Here is just a sampling of the programs who will benefit:
|$50,000||National Maritime Historical Society||Indexing, Digitizing, and Online Expansion of Sea History magazine|
|$200,000||Sound Experience||Deck replacement for the National Historic Landmark vessel Adventuress of 1913|
|$100,088||Philadelphia Ship Preservation Guild||Restoration of boat deck and hull of the 1902 tug Jupiter|
|$144,569||North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources||Development of a large artifact conservation wet lab|
|$34,000||Seamens Church Institute||Build a consortium of interconnected digital archives that trace, map and bring to life the history of maritime culture in New York City|
|$50,000||USS Constitution Museum||“Renewing Old Ironsides,” a chronicle of USS Constitution restoration work, capturing the stories of the artisans and documenting the skills involved.|
|$178,670||Project Liberty Ship||Preservation of the Superstructure of Liberty Ship John W. Brown|
|$52,900||San Francisco Maritime National Park Association||Comprehensive structural survey of the steam ferryboat Eureka, a registered National Historic Landmark vessel|
A link to the full list of grants can be found here. Imagine what we could achieve if we could free up more funds for the Maritime Heritage Grants!