The Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area is a large tract of land spanning from Gettysburgin Pennsylvania to Jefferson's Monticello in Virginia. It encompasses unrivaled places of historical importance and seeks to preserve them, although the historical monuments and the greater region at large are preserved here in unison. The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership is a consortium of companies, environmental groups, preservation groups, and citizen groups that combined to form a grassroots network that lobbied for the federal legislation that would eventually create this National Heritage Area. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives in 2007 and in the Senate on April 10th, 2008. The bill gave the Partnership one-million dollars annually of federal funds to implement measures that would promote tourism and conservation of culture, customs, and scenery within the region. Environmental justice groups and property rights activists argue that this federal allocation of funds violates property rights by imposing growth restrictions and zoning measures that will limit people from owning their own homes. They argue that specifically the minority populations and lower and middle-income demographics will suffer. Thus they argue that this federal measure will impose a regressive burden on these populations that seek to own houses or subsist in the region. (To read further about the case study, see the WHATsection).
Though the grassroots campaign to push this measure through Congress has been a louder voice than the opposition, the range of groups involved in this dispute is diverse. They include Members of Congress, The National Trust for Historic Preservation, Project 21, Property Rights Activists such as the Heritage Foundation, The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, and the Piedmont Environmental Council. (To see detailed explanations of the parties involved see the WHO section).
This debate has played out in various arenas, but mostly it has been in the US Congress where the efforts of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership have been exercised. Because of the most current nature of the case, there have not been any court cases over the issue, though the court will certainly be an arena for the future. The opposition to this legislation has been rather inactive, or simply does not have the resources to compete with the partnership, though perhaps the media is a good source to start with, as people in the are are most likely not aware of the effects of this legislation as it is so important to preserve our national heritage. (To read further about the arenas of the regressive burden claims see WHERE).
Though this case of federal funding measures is difficult to reject because of the historic nature of the heritage area, the opposition does have some Best Alternatives To a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA). As mentioned previously, the media could be a good source, though the partnership has a lot of funds to compete for this media, and thus can be a BATNA for the JTHG side as well. Litigation is also an option, though again the question of discrepancy of funds is difficult to overlook. Funds seem to be important in this case study, and perhaps a good BATNA for the JTHG partnership is to sway the opposition somehow using these funds. (For further discussion of the BATNAs of the groups see HOW).
The case of regressive burden policy in national legislation and specifically the example of the Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area, would apply to many ColbyCollege courses. However I think it would make a great case study in two courses in particular. The first is GO313: Federalism in American Constitutional Law. Environmental justice claims have not found a home in the courts though many constitutional arguments have been made, among other methods, about the place of civil rights in the environmental arena. The JTHG NHA, although not a Supreme Court case, would make a great class simulation because it lies at the intersection of constitutional questions about property rights and questions of civil rights in federal policy, and it would be interesting for students to form a court opinion about the case study. The second class is ES233: Environmental Activism. My case study would be a great introduction to the tension between traditional environmental activists and environmental justice activists. In fact, in the debate over the JTHG NHA, these two sides go head-to-head and this gives rise to the question of whether notions of preservation, spearheaded by wealthy groups, are in line with traditional conceptions of social justice and how activism has shaped this debate. (To read further see COURSES).
For a discussion of resource used to conduct this case study see SOURCES.
Navigate to: Who, What, Where, How, Courses, Sources
Counties in Virginia - JTHG NHA Journey Through Hallowed Ground Corridor