Legislation

May 07 2013

S. 896

Official Short: Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area Act

Long Title: To establish the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area, and for other purposes.

Sponsors: Mr. Shelby and Mr. Sessions

STATUS:

  • 05/07/2013:  Introduced.

S.869

Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area Act (Introduced in Senate - IS)

S 869 IS

113th CONGRESS
1st Session
S. 869

To establish the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES
May 7, 2013

Mr. SHELBY (for himself and Mr. SESSIONS) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources


A BILL

To establish the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title- This Act may be cited as the `Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area Act'.
    (b) Table of Contents- The table of contents for this Act is as follows:
      Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
      Sec. 2. Definitions.
      Sec. 3. Designation of Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area.
      Sec. 4. Local coordinating entity.
      Sec. 5. Management plan.
      Sec. 6. Evaluation; report.
      Sec. 7. Relationship to other Federal agencies.
      Sec. 8. Private property and regulatory protections.
      Sec. 9. Use of Federal funds from other sources.

SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act:
      (1) LOCAL COORDINATING ENTITY- The term `local coordinating entity' means the Center for the Study of the Black Belt at the University of West Alabama.
      (2) MANAGEMENT PLAN- The term `management plan' means the plan prepared by the local coordinating entity for the National Heritage Area in accordance with this Act.
      (3) NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA- The term `National Heritage Area' means the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area established by this Act.
      (4) SECRETARY- The term `Secretary' means the Secretary of the Interior.

SEC. 3. DESIGNATION OF ALABAMA BLACK BELT NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA.

    (a) Establishment- There is hereby established the Alabama Black Belt National Heritage Area in the State of Alabama.
    (b) Boundaries- The National Heritage Area shall consist of sites as designated by the management plan within a core area located in Alabama, consisting of Bibb, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, Washington, and Wilcox counties.

SEC. 4. LOCAL COORDINATING ENTITY.

    (a) Designation- The Center for the Study of the Black Belt at the University of West Alabama shall be the local coordinating entity for the National Heritage Area.
    (b) Duties- To further the purposes of the National Heritage Area, the local coordinating entity shall--
      (1) submit a management plan to the Secretary in accordance with this Act;
      (2) submit an annual report to the Secretary specifying--
        (A) the specific performance goals and accomplishments of the local coordinating entity;
        (B) the expenses and income of the local coordinating entity;
        (C) the amounts and sources of matching funds;
        (D) the amounts of non-Federal funds leveraged with Federal funds and sources of the leveraging; and
        (E) grants made to any other entities during the fiscal year;
      (3) make available for audit, for each fiscal year for which the local coordinating entity receives Federal funds, all information pertaining to the expenditure of the funds and any matching funds; and
      (4) encourage economic viability and sustainability that is consistent with the purposes of the National Heritage Area.
    (c) Authorities- For the purposes of preparing and implementing the approved management plan, the local coordinating entity may--
      (1) make grants to political jurisdictions, nonprofit organizations, and other parties within the National Heritage Area;
      (2) enter into cooperative agreements with or provide technical assistance to political jurisdictions, nonprofit organizations, Federal agencies, and other interested parties;
      (3) hire and compensate staff, including individuals with expertise in--
        (A) natural, historical, cultural, educational, scenic, and recreational resource conservation;
        (B) economic and community development; and
        (C) heritage planning;
      (4) obtain funds or services from any source, including other Federal programs;
      (5) contract for goods or services; and
      (6) support activities of partners and any other activities that further the purposes of the National Heritage Area and are consistent with the approved management plan.

SEC. 5. MANAGEMENT PLAN.

    (a) Requirements- The management plan shall--
      (1) describe comprehensive policies, goals, strategies, and recommendations for telling the story of the heritage of the area covered by the National Heritage Area and encouraging long-term resource protection, enhancement, interpretation, funding, management, and development of the National Heritage Area;
      (2) include a description of actions and commitments that Federal, State, and local governments, private organizations, and citizens plan to take to protect, enhance, interpret, fund, manage, and develop the natural, historical, cultural, educational, scenic, and recreational resources of the National Heritage Area;
      (3) specify existing and potential sources of funding or economic development strategies to protect, enhance, interpret, fund, manage, and develop the National Heritage Area;
      (4) include an inventory of the natural, historical, cultural, educational, scenic, and recreational resources of the National Heritage Area related to the national importance and themes of the National Heritage Area that should be protected, enhanced, interpreted, funded, managed, and developed;
      (5) include recommendations for resource management policies and strategies, including the development of intergovernmental and interagency agreements to protect, enhance, interpret, fund, manage, and develop the natural, historical, cultural, educational, scenic, and recreational resources of the National Heritage Area;
      (6) describe a program for implementation of the management plan, including--
        (A) performance goals;
        (B) plans for resource protection, enhancement, interpretation, funding, management, and development; and
        (C) specific commitments for implementation that have been made by the local coordinating entity or any Federal, State, or local government agency, organization, business, or individual;
      (7) include an analysis of, and recommendations for, means by which Federal, State, and local programs may best be coordinated (including the role of the National Park Service and other Federal agencies associated with the National Heritage Area) to further the purposes of this Act; and
      (8) include a business plan that--
        (A) describes the role, operation, financing, and functions of the local coordinating entity and of each of the major activities described in the management plan; and
        (B) provides adequate assurances that the local coordinating entity has the partnerships and financial and other resources necessary to implement the management plan.
    (b) Deadline- Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the local coordinating entity shall submit the management plan to the Secretary for approval.
    (c) Approval of Management Plan-
      (1) REVIEW- Not later than 180 days after receiving the management plan, the Secretary shall review and approve or disapprove the management plan on the basis of the criteria listed in paragraph (3).
      (2) CONSULTATION- The Secretary shall consult with the Governor of Alabama before approving a management plan.
      (3) CRITERIA FOR APPROVAL- In determining whether to approve a management plan, the Secretary shall consider whether--
        (A) the local coordinating entity--
          (i) represents the diverse interests of the National Heritage Area, including Federal, State, and local governments, natural, and historical resource protection organizations, educational institutions, businesses, recreational organizations, community residents, and private property owners;
          (ii) has afforded adequate opportunity for public and Federal, State, and local governmental involvement (including through workshops and public meetings) in the preparation of the management plan;
          (iii) provides for at least semiannual public meetings to ensure adequate implementation of the management plan; and
          (iv) has demonstrated the financial capability, in partnership with others, to carry out the management plan;
        (B) the management plan--
          (i) describes resource protection, enhancement, interpretation, funding, management, and development strategies which, if implemented, would adequately protect, enhance, interpret, fund, manage, and develop the natural, historical, cultural, educational, scenic, and recreational resources of the National Heritage Area;
          (ii) would not adversely affect any activities authorized on Federal land under public applicable laws or land use plans;
          (iii) demonstrates partnerships among the local coordinating entity, Federal, State, and local governments, regional planning organizations, nonprofit organizations, and private sector parties for implementation of the management plan; and
          (iv) complies with the requirements of this section; and
        (C) the Secretary has received adequate assurances from the appropriate State and local officials whose support is needed that the State and local aspects of the management plan will be effectively implemented.
      (4) DISAPPROVAL-
        (A) IN GENERAL- If the Secretary disapproves the management plan, the Secretary--
          (i) shall advise the local coordinating entity in writing of the reasons for the disapproval; and
          (ii) may make recommendations to the local coordinating entity for revisions to the management plan.
        (B) DEADLINE- Not later than 180 days after receiving a revised management plan, the Secretary shall approve or disapprove the revised management plan.
      (5) AMENDMENTS-
        (A) IN GENERAL- An amendment to the approved management plan that substantially alters such plan shall be reviewed by the Secretary and approved or disapproved in the same manner as the original management plan.
        (B) IMPLEMENTATION- The local coordinating entity shall not implement a substantial amendment to the management plan until the Secretary approves the amendment.
      (6) AUTHORITIES- The Secretary may--
        (A) provide technical assistance under the authority of this Act for the development and implementation of the management plan; and
        (B) enter into cooperative agreements with interested parties to carry out this Act.

SEC. 6. EVALUATION; REPORT.

    (a) Evaluation- The Secretary shall conduct an evaluation of the accomplishments of the National Heritage Area. An evaluation conducted under this subsection shall--
      (1) assess the progress of the local coordinating entity with respect to--
        (A) accomplishing the purposes of this Act for the National Heritage Area; and
        (B) achieving the goals and objectives of the approved management plan;
      (2) analyze the Federal, State, and local government, and private investments in the National Heritage Area to determine the impact of the investments; and
      (3) review the management structure, partnership relationships, and funding of the National Heritage Area for purposes of identifying the critical components for sustainability of the National Heritage Area.
    (b) Report- Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, based on the evaluation conducted under subsection (a), the Secretary shall submit a report to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate. The report shall include recommendations for the future role of the National Park Service, if any, with respect to the National Heritage Area.

SEC. 7. RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER FEDERAL AGENCIES.

    (a) In General- Nothing in this Act affects the authority of a Federal agency to provide technical or financial assistance under any other law.
    (b) Consultation and Coordination- The head of any Federal agency planning to conduct activities that may have an impact on the National Heritage Area is encouraged to consult and coordinate the activities with the Secretary and the local coordinating entity to the maximum extent practicable.
    (c) Other Federal Agencies- Nothing in this Act--
      (1) modifies, alters, or amends any law or regulation authorizing a Federal agency to manage Federal land under the jurisdiction of the Federal agency;
      (2) limits the discretion of a Federal land manager to implement an approved land use plan within the boundaries of the National Heritage Area; or
      (3) modifies, alters, or amends any authorized use of Federal land under the jurisdiction of a Federal agency.

SEC. 8. PRIVATE PROPERTY AND REGULATORY PROTECTIONS.

    Nothing in this Act--
      (1) abridges the rights of any owner of public or private property, including the right to refrain from participating in any plan, project, program, or activity conducted within the National Heritage Area;
      (2) requires any property owner to permit public access (including access by Federal, State, tribal, or local agencies) to the property of the property owner, or to modify public access or use of property of the property owner under any other Federal, State, tribal, or local law;
      (3) alters any duly adopted land use regulation, approved land use plan, or other regulatory authority of any Federal, State, tribal, or local agency, or conveys any land use or other regulatory authority to any local coordinating entity, including development and management of energy, water, or water-related infrastructure;
      (4) authorizes or implies the reservation or appropriation of water or water rights;
      (5) diminishes the authority of the State to manage fish and wildlife, including the regulation of fishing and hunting within the National Heritage Area; or
      (6) creates any liability, or affects any liability under any other law, of any private property owner with respect to any person injured on the private property.

SEC. 9. USE OF FEDERAL FUNDS FROM OTHER SOURCES.

    Nothing in this Act shall preclude the local coordinating entity from using Federal funds available under other laws for the purposes for which those funds were authorized.