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House Approves Bill to Establish National Park in the Blackstone River Valley

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Washington, DC, December 4, 2014 | comments
In a victory for Rhode Island families and advocates for environmental protection and historic preservation, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation to make the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Corridor a unit of the National Park System. U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park Establishment Act along with co-sponsors Richard E. Neal (D-MA), James McGovern (D-MA), and James Langevin (D-RI) to preserve the natural and historical significance of important sites along the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Corridor. This legislation was also introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).
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In a victory for Rhode Island families and advocates for environmental protection and historic preservation, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved legislation to make the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Corridor a unit of the National Park System. U.S. Congressman David N. Cicilline (D-RI) introduced the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park Establishment Act along with co-sponsors Richard E. Neal (D-MA), James McGovern (D-MA), and James Langevin (D-RI) to preserve the natural and historical significance of important sites along the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Corridor. This legislation was also introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senator Jack Reed (D-RI).

“This is great news for Rhode Island. The Blackstone River Valley is home to the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution and it’s long past time that this national treasure take a permanent place in the National Park System to preserve its historical significance for future generations of Rhode Islanders and visitors to enjoy,” said Cicilline.

“I have been an enthusiastic supporter of the Blackstone Valley National Park Initiative for many years. In my opinion, the corridor is a special place that deserves to be part of a system that includes Yosemite, Acadia and the Grand Tetons. With this vote, we are one step closer to having the volunteers and professionals of the park system safeguard this magnificent natural resource in the center of New England,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal.

“This action represents a significant step in our efforts to preserve the history and ecology of the Blackstone Valley,” Rep. McGovern said. “It’s been a long time coming, and I commend Congressman Cicilline and Senator Reed for their leadership.  I look forward to seeing the Blackstone in our National Park System.”

 “The Blackstone Valley is rich with natural resources, vibrant culture and historic significance. It is a source of pride for Rhode Islanders, and I am thrilled that the area is finally getting the recognition it deserves, thanks in large part to the leadership of my colleague, Congressman Cicilline,” said Langevin.

In 2011, Cicilline introduced the House companion measure to the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park Establishment Act. Last year, Cicilline testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources’ Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation in support of this legislation and in September the bill passed a critical hurdle when the House Committee on Natural Resources advanced the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park Establishment Act. Cicilline also worked with House lawmakers to include the legislation in the Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was approved by the House today.

Spanning from Worcester, MA to Providence, RI, the Blackstone River Valley is the birthplace of the American Industrial Revolution. The Valley’s beauty and history embodies a landscape rich in natural, historic, and cultural treasures. The legislation will help preserve these icons of industry, environment, and history for generations to come.

Now that the FY15 NDAA bill has passed the House it must be approved by the U.S. Senate before being sent to the president’s desk to become law. The Senate is expected to vote on this legislation next week.

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