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Weekly Legislative Activities Report

National Park News

The Office of Legislative and Congressional Affairs puts out weekly reports on hearings, new legislation and other activities on the Hill. This report covers the week ending on Friday, June 21st.

In order to obtain the full text of any of the bills that appear below, click on the following link: http://thomas.loc.gov/ . That will take you to Thomas, the Library of Congress legislative tracking system. Enter the bill number in the “Search Bill Text” block, being sure to also click on the “Bill Number” option below the block.

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New Public Laws

Nothing to report.

Floor Action

On June 14th, the House passed by a vote of 315-108, H.R. 1960 (McKeon, R-CA-25), to authorize appropriations for fiscal year 2014 for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths for such fiscal year, and for other purposes.  The bill as passed includes the following provisions of interest to the NPS:

  • Sec. 592, Arlington National Cemetery; this section would allow the Department of Defense (DOD) to enter into a concessions contract to provide transportation and interpretive services within Arlington National Cemetery.  Currently, NPS provides this service via a concessions contract, and transports visitors throughout the cemetery and to Arlington House, the Robert E. Lee Memorial.  This section also prohibits the DOD from operating the bookstore at the cemetery visitor center, which is currently operated by an NPS cooperating association (Eastern National).
  • Sec. 2846, Fort Monroe Land Conveyance; this section would require the transfer of Department of Defense land associated with Fort Monroe but which is not part of Fort Monroe NM, to the Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • Sec. 2865, Distinguished Flying Cross; the text of this section is identical to H.R. 330 (Calvert, R-CA-42).
  • Sec. ---, Manhattan Project National Historical Park; this section would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, after entering into an agreement with the Secretary of Energy, to establish the park at Los Alamos, NM, Hanford, Washington, and Oak Ridge Tennessee.  The text is identical to H.R. 1208 (Hastings, R-WA-4)  
  • Sec. ---, War Memorial Protection; the text of this section is identical to H.R. 1497 (Hunter, R-CA-50).

On June 17th, the House passed by voice vote the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:
  • H.R. 520 (Speier, D-CA-14), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study of alternatives for commemorating and interpreting the role of the Buffalo Soldiers in the early years of the National Parks, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill.
  • H.R. 674 (Sablan, D-MP), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating prehistoric, historic, and limestone forest sites on Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, as a unit of the National Park System.  The Department testified in support of the legislation during the last Congress.
  • H. Res. 264 (Bishop, R-UT-1), providing for the concurrence by the House in the Senate amendment to H.R. 588, with an amendment.  This resolution amends H.R. 588 (Young, R-AK-At Large), to provide for donor contribution acknowledgments to be displayed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Visitor Center, and for other purposes.  The resolution would allow donor recognition only at the Vietnam Veterans Education Center; it would also provide a four-year extension of authority to construct the Center.

On June 19th, the Senate passed by unanimous consent the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:
  • S. 23 (Levin, D-MI), a bill to designate as wilderness certain land and inland water within the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the State of Michigan, and for other purposes.  The Department testified in support of the legislation during the last Congress.
  • S. 157 (Murkowski, R-AK), a bill to provide for certain improvements to the Denali National Park and Preserve in the State of Alaska, and for other purposes.  This bill would authorize micro-hydro projects and a land exchange in the Kantishna Hills area, authorize right-of-way permits for natural gas pipelines, and name the Talkeetna Ranger Station in honor of Walter Harper.  In testimony on the House companion bill (H.R. 586; Young, R-AK-At large), the Department testified that it had no objection to renaming the ranger station and authorizing right-of-way permits for natural gas pipelines, and that it supported authorizing the micro-hydro projects and the land exchange.
  • S. 230 (Portman, R-OH), a bill to authorize the Peace Corps Commemorative Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and its environs, and for other purposes.  The Department testified in support of the legislation during the last Congress.
  • S. 304 (Cochran, R-MS), a bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to convey to the State of Mississippi 2 parcels of surplus land within the boundary of the Natchez Trace Parkway, and for other purposes.  The Department testified in support of the legislation during the last Congress.
  • S. 393 (Coons, D-DE), a bill to designate additional segments and tributaries of White Clay Creek, in the States of Delaware and Pennsylvania, as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.  The Department testified in support of the legislation during the last Congress.
  • S. 459 (Johnson, D-SD), a bill to modify the boundary of the Minuteman Missile National Historic Site in the State of South Dakota, and for other purposes.  The bill would transfer about 28 acres of land from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service.  The Department testified in support of the legislation during the last Congress.

Committee Activity

On June 18th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) held an oversight hearing on “Citizen and Agency Perspectives on the Federal Land Recreation Enhancement Act.” The Department’s witness was Pamela K. Haze, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget, Finance, Performance, and Acquisition.

On June 18th, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee (Wyden) approved the following bills of interest to the National Park Service:
  • S. 155 (Murkowski, R-AK), to designate a mountain in the State of Alaska as Denali.  The Department does not object to the bill.
  • S. 255 (Baucus, D-MT), a bill to withdraw certain Federal land and interests in that land from location, entry, and patent under the mining laws and disposition under the mineral and geothermal leasing laws.  The lands that would be withdrawn by this bill are adjacent to Glacier National Park.  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 285 (Udall, D-NM), to designate the Valles Caldera National Preserve as a unit of the National Park System.  The bill would transfer administrative jurisdiction of the Preserve from the U.S. Forest Service to the National Park Service.  The bill was amended to include language protecting hunting, trapping, fishing, and grazing in the Preserve and to authorize a science center to be located in the town of Jemez Springs, New Mexico.  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 360 (Udall, D-NM), a bill to amend the Public Lands Corps Act of 1993 to expand the authorization of the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce, and the Interior to provide service opportunities for young Americans; help restore the nation's natural, cultural, historic, archaeological, recreational and scenic resources; train a new generation of public land managers and enthusiasts; and promote the value of public service.  The Department strongly supports the bill.
  • S. 486 (Burr, R-NC), to authorize pedestrian and motorized vehicular access in Cape Hatteras National Seashore Recreational Area, and for other purposes.  As introduced, the bill would overturn the ORV management plan at Cape Hatteras NS that has been in effect since February, 2012.  The committee amended the bill to maintain the ORV rule but require modification of buffers and also undertake a public process to consider changes to the rule.  The Department strongly opposed the bill as introduced but has not taken a position on the bill as amended.
  • S. 783 (Wyden, D-OR), a bill to amend the Helium Act to improve helium stewardship, and for other purposes.  The bill was amended to provide $50 million for NPS deferred maintenance, subject to a 50 percent match of nonfederal funds.  The Department supports the bill.

New Bills Introduced     

The following bills of interest to the NPS were introduced:
  • H.R. 2395 (Hastings, R-WA-4), to provide for donor contribution acknowledgments to be displayed at projects authorized under the Commemorative Works Act, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 2398 (Bishop, R-UT-1), to prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from taking action on Federal lands that impede border security on such lands, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 2407 (Maloney, D-NY-18), to reauthorize the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.
  • H.R. 2416 (Clay, D-MO-1), to require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study regarding the proposed United States Civil Rights Trail, and for other purposes.
  • H.R. 2420 (Norton, D-DC-At Large), to authorize the Benjamin Harrison Society to establish a memorial in the District of Columbia to honor the patriots of the American Revolutionary War and the War of 1812.
  • H.R. 2430 (Pascrell, D-NJ-9), to adjust the boundaries of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park to include Hinchliffe Stadium, and for other purposes.
  • S. 1186 (Warren, D-MA), a bill to reauthorize the Essex National Heritage Area.
  • S. 1189 (Menendez, D-NJ), a bill to adjust the boundaries of Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park to include Hinchliffe Stadium, and for other purposes.
  • S. 1202 (Whitehouse, D-RI), a bill to establish an integrated Federal program to respond to ongoing and expected impacts of extreme weather and climate change by protecting, restoring, and conserving the natural resources of the United States, and to maximize government efficiency and reduce costs, in cooperation with State, local, and tribal governments and other entities.

Upcoming Committee Activity

On June 27th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) will hold an oversight hearing on “Outdoor Recreation Opportunities on State, Local and Federal Land.”  The hearing is scheduled for 2:00 pm in 1334 Longworth.  The Department was not invited to testify.

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For additional information, please visit the Legislative and Congressional Affairs Office website at http://www.nps.gov/legal/



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