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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, August 2nd. NOTE: The House and Senate are in recess until September 9th.

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

Nothing to report.

Committee Activity

On July 29th, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power (McClintock) will hold an oversight field hearing on “Stopping Federal Land and Water Grabs: Protecting Property Rights from Washington, DC Edicts.”  The hearing is scheduled for 1:00 PM at the Theater of the West Plains Civic Center, West Plains, MO.  The Department submitted a statement for the record.

On July 30th, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee (Rockefeller) approved S. 839 (Nelson, D-FL), a bill to reauthorize the Coral Reef Conservation Act of 2000, and for other purposes.

On July 31st, the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks (Udall) will hold a hearing on the following bills of interest to the National Park Service.  The hearing is scheduled for 2:30 PM in SD-366 Dirksen.  The Department’s witness was Stephanie Toothman, Associate Director, Cultural Resources, Partnerships and Science:

  • S. 398 (Collins, R-ME), a bill to establish the Commission to Study the Potential Creation of a National Women's History Museum, and for other purposes.  The Department does not oppose the bill, but requests an amendment.
  • S. 524 (Bennet, D-CO), a bill to amend the National Trails System Act to provide for the study of the Pike National Historic Trail.  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 618 (Schatz, D-HI), a bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to conduct certain special resource studies.  The bill would authorize three special resource studies for sites in Hawaii, one for Midway Atoll, one for Rota, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and an update of the 2003 special resource study for World War II sites in the Republic of Palau.  The Department supports authorizing studies for each of the areas except for the Midway Atoll, and requests an amendment on the Rota study area.
  • S. 702 (Blumenthal, D-CT), a bill to designate the Quinebaug and Shetucket Rivers Valley National Heritage Corridor as "The Last Green Valley National Heritage Corridor".  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 781 (Feinstein, D-CA), a bill to modify the boundary of Yosemite National Park, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill with an amendment.
  • S. 782 (Casey, D-PA), a bill to amend Public Law 101-377 to revise the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Train Station, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill with an amendment.
  • S. 869 (Shelby, R-AL), a bill to establish the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area, and for other purposes.  The Department recommends deferring action on the bill until the NPS completes a final review of the feasibility study for the area, and recommends that Congress enact national heritage area program legislation before designating any additional new national heritage areas.
  • S. 925 (Gillibrand, D-NY), a bill to improve the Lower East Side Tenement National Historic Site, and for other purposes.  The bill would add a second property to the historic site.  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 974 (Reid, D-NV), a bill to provide for certain land conveyances in the State of Nevada, and for other purposes.  The bill includes a section that would establish the Tule Springs Fossil Beds National Monument as a unit of the National Park System.  The Department supports some parts of the bill, including the establishment of the new unit, and has concerns about others, and would like to work with the committee and sponsor to resolve outstanding issues.
  • S. 995 (Boozman, R-AR), a bill to authorize the National Desert Storm Memorial Association to establish the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial as a commemorative work in the District of Columbia, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill with an amendment.
  • S. 1044 (Portman, R-OH), a bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to install in the area of the World War II Memorial in the District of Columbia a suitable plaque or an inscription with the words that President Franklin D. Roosevelt prayed with the United States on D-Day, June 6, 1944.  The Department supports retaining the Commemorative Works Act as the vehicle for siting and designing the plaque or inscription.
  • S. 1071 (Udall, D-CO), a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to make improvements to support facilities for National Historic Sites operated by the National Park Service, and for other purposes. The bill would allow the NPS to make improvements to nonfederal structures in cases that met certain criteria.  The Department could only support the bill if amended to apply specifically to Sand Creek Massacre National Historic Site.
  • S. 1138 (Gillibrand, D-NY), a bill to reauthorize the Hudson River Valley National Heritage Area.  The bill would extend the authorization of funding for the heritage area for nine years.  The Department recommends amending the bill to authorize an extension of funding until the NPS completes an evaluation and report on the area and until national heritage area program legislation is enacted.
  • S. 1151 (Harkin, D-IA), a bill to reauthorize the America's Agricultural Heritage Partnership in the State of Iowa.  The bill would extend the authorization of funding for the heritage area for ten years.  (See position of S. 1138, above.)
  • S. 1157 (Casey, D-PA), a bill to reauthorize the Rivers of Steel National Heritage Area, the Lackawanna Valley National Heritage Area, the Delaware and Lehigh National Heritage Corridor, and the Schuylkill River Valley National Heritage Area. The bill would extend the authorization of funding for each of the four heritage areas for ten years. (See position of S. 1138, above.)
  • S. 1186 (Warren, D-MA), a bill to reauthorize the Essex National Heritage Area. The bill would extend the authorization of funding for the heritage area for 15 years and by $5 million.  (See position of S. 1138, above.)
  • S. 1252 (Sanders, I-VT), a bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate segments of the Missisquoi River and the Trout River in the State of Vermont, as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.  The Department recommends deferring action on the bill until the study for the area is completed.
  • S. 1253 (Murphy, D-CT), a bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate certain segments of the Farmington River and Salmon Brook in the State of Connecticut as components of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and for other purposes.  The Department recommends deferring action on the bill until the study for the area is completed. 
  • S. 1328 (Kirk, R-IL), a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the archeological site and surrounding land of the New Philadelphia town site in the State of Illinois, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill.
  • S. 1339 (Brown, D-OH), a bill to reauthorize the Ohio & Erie Canal National Heritage Canalway.  The bill would extend the authorization of funding for the heritage area for nine years.  (See position of S. 1138, above.)
  • 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 supports the bill with an amendment.
  • H.R. 885 (Doggett, D-TX-35), to expand the boundary of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, and for other purposes.  The Department supports the bill with amendments.
  • H.R. 1033 (Holt, D-NJ-12), and S. 916 (Kaine, D-VA), bills to authorize the acquisition and protection of nationally significant battlefields and associated sites of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812 under the American Battlefield Protection Program.  The Department supports the bills with amendments.
  • H.R. 1158 (Hastings, R-WA-4), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to continue stocking fish in certain lakes in the North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area.  The Department does not oppose the bill if amended.

On July 31st, the House Appropriations Committee (Rogers) began but did not complete a markup on the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014.

On July 31st, the House Natural Resources Committee (Hastings) approved by unanimous consent H.R. 930 (Schock, R-IL-18), to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of the archeological site and surrounding land of the New Philadelphia town site in the State of Illinois, and for other purposes. The committee amended the bill to require the study to determine certain specified effects from designating the area as a unit of the National Park System.  The Department supports the bill but has concerns about the adopted amendment.

On August 2nd, the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security (Chaffetz) and the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation (Bishop) held an oversight hearing titled “Review of U.S. Park Police Weapons Accountability Program.”  The Department’s witnesses were Kim Thorsen, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Public Safety, Resource Protection and Emergency Services; Jon Jarvis, Director, NPS; and Teresa Chambers, Chief, US Park Police, NPS.

On August 2nd, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife, Oceans and Insular Affairs (Fleming) held a hearing on the following bills of interest to the National Park Service.  The Department’s witness was Stephen Guertin, Deputy Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:
  • H.R. 2798 (Latta, R-OH-5), to amend Public Law 106-206 to direct the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to require annual permits and assess annual fees for commercial filming activities on Federal land for film crews of 5 persons or fewer. The bill would require issuance of an annual permit for $200 for the small film crews to conduct commercial filming activities on public lands and waterways, with unrestricted use of cameras or related equipment and no additional fees. The Department opposes the bill.
  • H.R. 2799 (Latta, R-OH-5), to establish the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council Advisory Committee to advise the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture on Wildlife and habitat conservation, hunting, recreational shooting, and for other purposes.  The Department does not support the bill.

New Bills Introduced     

The following bills of interest to the NPS were introduced:
  • S. 1384 (Gillibrand, D-NY), a bill to help ensure that all items offered for sale in any gift shop of the National Park Service or of the National Archives and Records Administration are produced in the United States, and for other purposes.
  • S. 1389 (Gillibrand, D-NY), a bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Prison Ship Martyrs’ Monument in Fort Greene Park, in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, as a unit of the National Park System.
  • S. 1398 (Carper, D-DE), a bill to require the Federal Government to expedite the sale of underutilized Federal real property.
  • S. 1432 (Hirono, D-HI), a bill to direct the Secretary of the Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of designating portions of the Ka'u Coast in the State of Hawaii as a unit of the National Park System.

 Upcoming Committee Activity

Nothing to report.

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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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