The United States House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources unanimously passed HR 359, the Fort San Gerónimo Preservation Act, legislation sponsored by Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González-Colón (NPP, R) to establish Fort San Gerónimo del Boquerón in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as an affiliated area of the National Park System.
“I thank Chairman Westerman for including my bill, HR 359, the Fort San Gerónimo Preservation Act, in today’s markup. Despite its small size, this fort became a centerpiece of San Juan’s first line of defense. It is the sole surviving fortification representing the 1797 Battle of San Juan—the last attack on Puerto Rico by a major European power—and has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 1983. This bill will ensure this precious historic site is well preserved, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to bring HR 359 to the House floor soon,” said González-Colón.
“Fort San Gerónimo del Boquerón is a historically significant part of Puerto Rican history dating back to the 16th Century. Its soldiers and cannons guarded the harbor in San Juan against foreign invaders for centuries, and it continued to serve as an American military post into the 1900s. Congresswoman González Colón’s bill would protect this piece of history as an affiliated area of the National Park System and ensure visitors can learn about it for generations to come. I applaud her leadership and was pleased to see it advance out of our committee today under unanimous consent,” said Chairman Westerman (R).
The committee also considered and unanimously approved HR 886, the Save Our Seas 2.0 Amendments Act, a bill co-led by House Oceans Caucus co-chairs Jenniffer González-Colón and Suzanne Bonamici.
“This important bipartisan and bicameral bill would make technical modifications to underlying law to provide both NOAA and the Marine Debris Foundation needed flexibilities to conduct marine debris prevention and removal efforts and protect the health of our ocean,” González-Colón explained.
The Fort San Gerónimo Preservation Act would:
- Establish Fort San Gerónimo del Boquerón as an affiliated area of the National Park System—the first in Puerto Rico.
- Authorize the National Park Service to enter into cooperative agreements with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture to provide technical and financial assistance for the fort’s preservation without placing the site under federal ownership.
- Bring national recognition to Fort San Gerónimo’s role and help us more fully tell the story of the San Juan National Historic Site and the oldest and largest Spanish fortification system in the United States.
HR 359 is supported by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and the Puerto Rico State Historic Preservation Office.