HERITAGE AREAS AND NATIONAL PARKS BILLS CONSIDERED
by Preservation Action
September 27, 2007
The Senate National Parks Subcommittee of the Energy and Natural Resources committee met on Thursday, September 27, 2007 to hear testimony on eleven bills concerning specific National Parks and Heritage Areas. Subcommittee Chairman Daniel Akaka (D- HI) and Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) presided. Of the eleven, nine bills were considered “non-controversial,” and supported with little debate by the National Parks Service and the Subcommittee. These bills primarily dealt with technical issues, such as reauthorization of funds and boundary adjustments.
For a full list of the bills, parks and areas consider, visit:
The National Park Service objected to two bills: S. 148 that would establish Paterson Great Falls National Park and S. 697 that would create the Steel Industry National Historic Site were not supported by National Park Service. Daniel Wenk, NPS’s Deputy Director for Operations testified on behalf of the agency. He stated that the resource study conducted on Paterson Great Falls concluded that the area did not meet three of the four criteria for establishing a national park. The NPS believed that the current site management by the state of New Jersey was sufficient. Wenk met strong criticism, particularly from Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) who presented quotes from noted scholars claiming the historic study interpretation of Paterson was “severely flawed.”
The Steel Industry National Historic Site Act (S. 697) was also opposed by NPS. Wenk cited “feasibly of administration,” “lack of integrity,” and cost as reasons for the agency’s objection.
Representative Bill Pascrell Jr. (D-NJ) urged the passage of S. 148 in order to refurbish and maintain a unique piece of American history. Pascrell is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and is a cosponsor of H.R. 1043 that would improve the Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credit. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI) testified on behalf of S. 189, delving into Keweenaw, Michigan’s rich history and the benefits that the legislation would have on this economically depressed part of Michigan. Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) spoke on in favor of legislation affecting Cache La Poudre River Heritage Area because of the “rich history related to water law in the West.” Allard is one of seven Senators currently cosponsoring the Senate version of the tax credit improvements bill.