Congresswoman Elaine Luria Introduces Bill to Protect Fort Monroe National Monument

September 17, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Elaine Luria (VA-02) today introduced the Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act to allow the Commonwealth of Virginia to transfer approximately 40 acres of coastal land to the Fort Monroe National Monument. This would unify two divided sections of Fort Monroe, creating an unbroken and federally managed coastline along the Chesapeake Bay.

If signed into law, the Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act (H.R. 4345) would require the Secretary of the Interior to work with the Commonwealth to resolve issues related to managing several non-historic buildings on the land.

This bill comes after federal officials refused to accept these approximately 40 acres of land from the Commonwealth of Virginia as a donation to the Department of Interior.

“Fort Monroe was the site of so many defining moments in our nation’s history,” Congresswoman Luria said. “I am introducing this bill to ensure that we can properly remember Fort Monroe’s rich history and keep it accessible for future generations. Our bipartisan and bicameral legislation initiates a long overdue transfer of coastal land needed to preserve our history and protect this national monument.”

The entire bipartisan Hampton Roads delegation – Congressman Bobby Scott (VA-03), Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04), and Congressman Rob Wittman (VA-01) – are original cosponsors of this bill.

“Recognizing the great need for continued stewardship of Fort Monroe, interpretation of its history, and care for the surrounding beaches, I am pleased to join Congresswoman Luria as a cosponsor of the bipartisan and bicameral Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act,” Congressman Scott said. “Adding this land to the Fort Monroe National Monument will not only foster expanded economic and educational opportunities for the City of Hampton and the Commonwealth of Virginia, it will also unify the park for future generations.”

“We have the opportunity to better preserve the natural, cultural, and historic resources at Fort Monroe as well as conserve the shoreline of one of Virginia’s most valuable treasures – the Chesapeake Bay,” Congressman Wittman said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues, in a bipartisan fashion, to preserve historic Fort Monroe.”      

“I am honored to cosponsor the bipartisan Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act to expand and protect Fort Monroe,” Congressman McEachin said. “The site of Fort Monroe has immense historical significance – it is where the first slave ships landed in the English colonies and where 250 years later, escapes slaves found safety at ‘Freedom’s Fortress.’ As we continue to struggle in reckoning with Virginia’s history and complex role in our shared American story, it is important that we further protect this site in order to tell a more complete and inclusive American history. Including this additional land in the Fort Monroe National Monument will unify the site and help provide greater educational, conservation, and recreational opportunities for all Virginians.”

The House version of the Fort Monroe National Monument Land Acquisition Act is a companion bill to an identical Senate bill that was introduced in July by Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner.

Congresswoman Elaine Luria represents Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, where she is the Vice Chair of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, and the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, where she serves as Chair of the Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs Subcommittee.