The Oil Region National Heritage Area Reauthorization Act (H.R. 642) has been reintroduced in Congress in order to extend federal funding authorization through 2026 for programs and projects in Venango and eastern Crawford Counties of Pennsylvania.
Originally designated by law in 2004, the Oil Region National Heritage Area includes 34 municipalities over 708 square miles, thus focusing on “The Valley That Changed The World” due to the region’s historic role in the founding and development of the petroleum industry. While the official designation is permanent, the ability to receive and utilize federal funds via the U. S. Department of the Interior would terminate as of December 8, 2019 unless this bill or related legislation is enacted.
U. S. Representative Glenn Thompson introduced H. R. 642 on January 17, with U. S. Representative Mike Kelly as original co-sponsor. Both elected officials co-sponsored a similar bill during 2018 which did not achieve passage prior to the conclusion of the legislative session last December.
John R. Phillips is employed as the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism which administers the Oil Region National Heritage Area. Phillips said, “Extending the sunset date will enable pivotal programmatic and financial assistance from the National Park Service to continue ORNHA’s programs and projects to preserve, promote, develop, and support historical, educational, natural, recreational, commercial, and industrial resources of Venango and eastern Crawford Counties.” For more information, see www.oilregion.org.
The Oil Region is among 49 Congressionally designated National Heritage Areas across the country. It is the sole one focused on the stories, artifacts, and the continuing roles which the energy twins of oil and natural gas play in daily life now.