Salem, MA. - Senator Ed Markey (D-MA), and Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (D-MA) introduced legislation in both the House of Representatives and the United States Senate that would eliminate the funding authorization sunset provision and the total funding cap for the Essex National Heritage Area. When Congress created and authorized the Essex National Heritage Area, it placed a sunset date of September 30, 2021, after which no additional federal funding may be appropriated without an extension of authorization.
“The Essex National Heritage Area is a treasure—valued not just by those in the Commonwealth, but also by visitors from around the country who come to experience the history and natural beauty of Essex County,” said Markey. “I’m introducing this legislation so we can ensure the Essex National Heritage Area will be there for families far into the future, from Appleton Farms to the Winter Island Light.”
Without a reauthorization extension and a lift of the funding cap, the Essex Heritage programs and projects will be severely affected, if not crippled.
"The Essex National Heritage Area is a treasured part of our nation’s history. It is vital that Congress continue to help fund the vital programs that preserve this area and its resources for generations to come," said Moulton. "Since its creation, the Essex National Heritage Area has become an economic engine for our communities. While Congress has capped funding for the Heritage Area at $17 million over the past twenty years, the annual economic impact has exceeded $150 million, supporting thousands of jobs, and generating $14.3 million in tax revenue. I am proud to join Congresswoman Tsongas and Senator Markey in working to protect a part of our community that holds a special place in the historical and cultural fabric of our country.”"
The lack funding will cause projects to halt and could have negative impacts for Essex Heritage’s ability to attract non-federal funding sources.
“Our nation has made a commitment that our most significant historical, cultural, and natural sites should be preserved in perpetuity for future generations of Americans,” said Tsongas. “They help to tell the story of who we are as a people and a country, as well as spur sustainable economic growth and preserve our quality of life. Here in the Merrimack Valley, the Essex National Heritage Commission plays a critical role in continuing this tradition and building the public-private partnerships that are required to make this work possible. Our legislation ensures that the federal government continues to be a strong partner to the Commission and the residents of Essex County.”