Hearings and Business Meetings

SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 01:30 PM

Mr. John Parsons

Associate Regional Director for Lands, Resources, and Planning

STATEMENT OF JOHN PARSONS, ASSOCIATE REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR LANDS, RESOURCES AND PLANNING, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, OF THE SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING H.R. 318, TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO STUDY THE SUITABILITY AND FEASIBILITY OF DESIGNATING THE CASTLE NUGENT FARMS LOCATED ON ST. CROIX, VIRGIN ISLANDS, AS A UNIT OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM. 

 February 16, 2006

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 318, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior (Secretary) to study the suitability and feasibility of designating Castle Nugent Farms on St. Croix, Virgin Islands, as a unit of the National Park System. 

The Department does not oppose H.R. 318, if amended as described in this testimony.  This study would provide an opportunity to determine the appropriate way to preserve and interpret resources associated with the plantation period in the Virgin Islands.  The National Park Service (NPS) currently manages three units on the island of St. Croix - Christiansted National Historic Site, Buck Island Reef National Monument, and Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve.  In a time of tight budgets and a refocusing on the core mission of the National Park Service (NPS), we believe that funding should be directed first toward completing the 25 previously authorized studies.

In light of the President’s commitment to devote more resources to maintaining existing units of the National Park System, we have made an effort to curtail taking on new responsibilities.  For this reason, we believe any study should evaluate all alternatives for preservation and interpretation, including what role, if any, might best be played by the NPS or other partners.  We recommend that H.R. 318 be amended to specify that the study explore all options.  Our proposed amendment is attached to this testimony.
 
The NPS is in various stages of progress on 25 studies previously authorized by Congress, 17 of which are being funded through the special resource study budget.  We transmitted three studies in FY 2005, and there are seven studies in the transmittal process.  Our highest priority is to complete these pending studies, though we expect to start newly authorized studies as soon as funds are made available.  We estimate that the costs of completing this study will be approximately $250,000 to $350,000.

H.R. 318 would direct the Secretary to carry out a study of the Castle Nugent Farms, which consists of approximately 1,400-acres located on the arid southeastern shore of St. Croix.  The property is believed to be the largest parcel of privately held land in the U. S. Virgin Islands. 

The farm’s rolling terrain consists of a mixture of dry forest, native vegetation, and rangeland that slopes down from an elevation of 750 feet to the sea, fronting on a coastline that includes cobble beaches.  One of the largest and healthiest fringing coral reef systems in the Virgin Islands extends only a few hundred feet offshore.  The property also provides nesting areas for sea turtles, blackcrowned night herons, and a host of other migrating and resident birds.

Castle Nugent Farms has a long and diverse history of farming dating back to the 1730’s when the property was first established as a cotton and sugar plantation after the Danish West Indies Company purchased St. Croix from France.  For many years, sugar cane, indigo, and cotton were the main crops. 

After Emancipation in 1848, the plantation began breeding N’Dama cattle, which had earlier been brought to St. Croix from Africa.  This breed was a prominent part of the farm’s operations until the 1960s when attention shifted towards raising an N’Dama cross breed of cattle known as Senepol.  Introduced to Castle Nugent Farms in 1957 the Senepol breed has been able to flourish due to its tolerance to tropical, dry climates and its ability to survive in near-desert conditions, thus making the cattle an ideal match for St. Croix’ climate.  Today, the farm is well-known for its production of high quality Senepol beef, which is both consumed locally and exported to world markets.

Castle Nugent Farms contains a cluster of buildings from the colonial plantation era including a great house that dates from the plantation’s establishment, a converted chapel, the remains of a sugar mill, slave quarters, and a converted cotton storage shed.  The buildings are situated in close proximity to each other on a hill with views towards the Caribbean Sea.  The current owner lives on-site and also operates the buildings and grounds as a bed and breakfast.  According to the owner, other cultural resources on the grounds include recent discoveries of pottery shards and other artifacts left over from either slave shanties or Arawak Indian campsites.

If authorized by Congress, and if funds are made available, a study would be able to determine if the resources present at Castle Nugent Farms are nationally significant, if the site would be a suitable and feasible addition to the National Park System, whether direct NPS management or alternative protection by other public agencies or the private sector is appropriate for the site, and what management alternative would be most effective and efficient in protecting the resources and allowing for public enjoyment of the site.

That concludes my testimony.  I would be happy to answer any questions you or other members of the subcommittee may have.
 
Proposed Amendments
H.R. 318, Castle Nugent Farms Study

Insert a new subsection (c) as follows and redesignate the existing subsection (c) as subsection (d). 

“(c) MANAGEMENT ALTERNATIVES. — In completing the study authorized in subsection (b), the Secretary shall examine whether the National Park Service, the territorial government, or other public or private groups will be the most appropriate entity to provide for the management and preservation of Castle Nugent Farms.”

 

STATEMENT OF JOHN PARSONS, ASSOCIATE REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR LANDS, RESOURCES AND PLANNING, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING H.R. 562, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE GOVERNMENT OF UKRAINE TO ESTABLISH A MEMORIAL ON FEDERAL LAND IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA TO HONOR THE VICTIMS OF THE MANMADE FAMINE THAT OCCURRED IN UKRAINE IN 1932-1933


February 16, 2006

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 562, a bill to authorize the Government of Ukraine to establish a memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia to honor the victims of the man-made famine that occurred in Ukraine in 1932-1933.

The Department opposes enactment of this legislation because it duplicates efforts currently underway to establish a memorial that would honor all victims of communism worldwide.  This memorial, the Victims of Communism Memorial, was authorized by P.L. 103-199 on December 17, 1993.  

H.R. 562 would authorize the Government of Ukraine to establish a memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia to honor the men, women, and children who perished by famine under communist rule in Ukraine from 1932-1933.  The bill would require that the establishment of the memorial comply with the major provisions of the Commemorative Works Act, but contains minor exceptions to four provisions.  Two provisions require a commemorative work to have significance to the American Experience, and two relate to the requirement that the Secretary maintain and preserve the memorial.  As a memorial gift from a foreign nation, the Government of Ukraine would be responsible for establishing, constructing, maintaining and preserving the memorial.

The people of Ukraine were brought to the verge of physical extinction in 1932-1933 when a man-made disaster resulted in the deaths of millions of innocent men, women, and children.  The Soviet Government, under the political control of Joseph Stalin, used food as a weapon to annihilate or suppress the political and cultural identity of the Ukrainian people.  To fill impossibly high grain quotas, assigned brigades seized the 1932 crop from one of the world’s most fertile farmlands.  Those who resisted giving up their crops were killed.  Millions of people starved while stockpiles of seized grain rotted by the tons.  Attempts were made by the United States Government to intercede at the height of the famine to provide food and other necessary supplies to help the starving people of Ukraine.  In 1988, the United States Commission on the Ukraine Famine reported that the people of Ukraine were victims of genocide, or “starved to death in a man-made famine.”  

The National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (Commission), established in 1986 to review proposals to establish memorials and provide its recommendation to the Secretary of the Interior and committees of Congress, reviewed this proposal on March 15, 2005.   While it supported a similar proposal in the 108th Congress, the Commission has since considered revisions made by the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation (Foundation) to expand its effort as a two-fold commemoration.  The Foundation is proposing a memorial to victims of communism worldwide that would be supplemented by a virtual museum to tell the history of the impact of communism.  The Commission also concluded that because the Victims of Communism Memorial would encompass the history of the Ukraine Famine as well as that of 120 different nationalities, ethnic groups, and countries that were also victims of communism, it would not endorse legislation proposed to provide a separate, specific recognition of this or other national or ethnic groups that already would be recognized in the Victims of Communism Memorial. 

We agree with the approach of commemorating the millions of victims of communism worldwide, including those who suffered immeasurably during the horrific Ukraine Famine, through the Victims of Communism Memorial.  While the victims of the Ukraine Famine obviously deserve recognition, we believe that creating separate memorials for individual groups would detract from the overall message of the Victims of Communism Memorial and could, potentially, create an unfortunate competition amongst various groups for limited memorial sites in our Nation’s Capital.  The Foundation envisions the Victims of Communism Memorial as a visible symbol for all those who have suffered atrocities to human rights and perished.  The Foundation secured site approvals for placement of the Victims of Communism Memorial within sight of the United States Capitol and design approvals in 2005.  The Foundation plans to begin construction on the memorial this spring.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment.  This concludes my prepared remarks and I will be happy to answer any questions you or other committee members might have.

STATEMENT OF JOHN PARSONS, ASSOCIATE REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR LANDS, RESOURCES AND PLANNING, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S. 1870, TO CLARIFY AUTHORITIES FOR THE USE OF CERTAIN NATIONAL PARK SERVICE PROPERTIES WITHIN GOLDEN GATE NATIONAL RECREATION AREA AND SAN FRANCISCO MARITIME NATIONAL HISTORICAL PARK

FEBRUARY 16, 2006


Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear before your committee to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 1870, a bill to clarify the authorities for the use of certain National Park Service properties within Golden Gate National Recreation Area and San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. 

The Department supports enactment of S. 1870, which is based on an Administration proposal that was submitted to Congress last year.  Golden Gate National Recreation Area (NRA) and San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park (NHP) both have had longstanding authority to spend revenue generated from certain properties for the maintenance of park property.  S. 1870 would enable the National Park Service to more effectively manage these properties by ensuring that the revenue from those properties could be used for multi-year rehabilitation and maintenance projects.  This legislation also would separate intermingled authorities of the two parks and, therefore, ensure that each park has its own property-use and admission-fee authorities.  In addition, S. 1870 would provide for a modest boundary adjustment between them.

Since 1978, Golden Gate NRA has had authority to retain the revenue from the use of the Haslett Warehouse, the Cliff House properties and Louis’ Restaurant, which the National Park Service owns.  Under this authority, the park may use the revenues for certain infrastructure expenses, “provided that surplus funds, if any, will be deposited into the Treasury of the United States.”  This provision has been interpreted to mean that funds that are not spent within the fiscal year in which they are collected cannot be spent by the park.  Without the ability to retain revenues over a longer period of time, the park cannot use the funds for projects that cost more than the park receives in one year.  This legislative proposal would allow revenue to remain available until expended, giving the park the authority to enter into longer-term rehabilitation and maintenance contracts. 

The property-use authority granted to Golden Gate NRA was extended to San Francisco Maritime NHP when that park was established in 1988 as a separate unit from property within Golden Gate NRA.  However, the authority for revenue use was provided by a reference to the Golden Gate NRA law.  Instead of relying on this reference, S. 1870 would explicitly include in the law that established the maritime park, the authority for administering contracts for, and revenues received from, the use of the Haslett Warehouse and other San Francisco Maritime NHP properties.  San Francisco Maritime NHP, like Golden Gate NRA, would have the ability to retain the revenue beyond the current fiscal year, allowing the park to enter into multi-year contracts for the rehabilitation and maintenance of its historic ships and other assets.  

Revenue generated from the use of properties at both parks would be available for use as in current law—for administration, maintenance, repair, and related expenses of the properties under a management contract or lease.  Thus, the revenues generated by these properties would be used to reduce the deferred maintenance backlog at the parks, rather than for broader park purposes.

In addition, S. 1870 would transfer the authority for retaining revenue from admission fees to the ships owned by San Francisco Maritime NHP from the law governing Golden Gate NRA to the law governing San Francisco Maritime NHP.  And, it would adjust the boundary between the two parks by moving San Francisco’s Municipal Pier from Golden Gate NRA to San Francisco Maritime NHP.  The maritime park already administers Municipal Pier by direction of the Regional Director of the Pacific West Region; this provision would simply conform the two parks’ boundaries to the existing administrative arrangement. This boundary adjustment, along with the division of legislative authority for administering leased properties and admission fees, would complete the separation of the two park units that began with the formal establishment of San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park in 1988.

There are no additional costs to the National Park Service associated with S. 1870.

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement.  I would be happy to answer any questions you or other members of the subcommittee may have.   

 

STATEMENT OF JOHN PARSONS, ASSOCIATE REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR LANDS, RESOURCES AND PLANNING, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S. 1913, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO LEASE A PORTION OF THE DOROTHY BUELL MEMORIAL VISITOR CENTER FOR USE AS A VISITOR CENTER FOR THE INDIANA DUNES NATIONAL LAKESHORE


February 16, 2006

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the Interior’s views on S. 1913, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to lease a portion of the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center for use as a visitor center for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  The Department strongly supports enactment of S. 1913.  The Administration transmitted a similar proposal to Congress on September 30, 2005.

S. 1913 would authorize the National Park Service (NPS) to use federally appropriated funds to lease space in the Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center, a new visitor facility being built by the Porter County Convention, Recreation and Visitor Commission (PCCRVC) outside the boundary of Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (national lakeshore).  It would also authorize the Secretary of the Interior to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Porter County Convention, Recreation and Visitor Commission prior to entering into a lease agreement.  The Memorandum of Understanding would outline the terms of the joint partnership, including cooperative management of the new visitor facility and sharing of operational activities.

The new Dorothy Buell Memorial Visitor Center is located approximately three quarters of a mile south of the national lakeshore boundary on IN 49, the principal north/south artery into the national lakeshore.  It will be owned by the PCCRVC and space will be leased to the national lakeshore.  The two parties will jointly plan and staff the new visitor center and offer “one-stop shopping” for the visitor with exhibits and theater space to educate them about the resources found in the park, aspects of threatened and endangered species management, habitat preservation, and wetlands restoration.


In 1998, the national lakeshore and the PCCRVC began to explore the concept of a joint visitor center to be shared by the PCCRVC, the national lakeshore, and the Indiana Dunes State Park.  Both the national lakeshore and the PCCRVC suffer from low visitation at their respective visitor centers due to their poor locations away from the primary thoroughfares.  Only about 66,000 visitors to the national lakeshore, just 3 percent of the park’s 2 million visitors, travel to the existing visitor center each year.   Because of the existing visitor center’s inconvenient location, size, and layout, the national lakeshore’s General Management Plan recommended relocating the existing visitor center to the more heavily traveled IN 49 corridor.  The old visitor center would then be used exclusively for school programs, which the national lakeshore currently hosts for over 50,000 students per year. 

A partnership to acquire land for a new site was initiated.  A more prominent location outside the national lakeshore but within the primary travel corridor to the dunes was selected.   Using a series of Transportation Enhancement grants, the PCCRVC purchased the land and secured a contract for construction.  The site for the new facility will be the cornerstone of a small commercial center.

A transportation study indicated that the new visitor facility would increase revenue to the area by $24 million and visitor center visitation by over 300 percent.  Commercial tour bus operators would be advised of the new visitor center and could include it as the first stop on their way into the national lakeshore or state park for information and orientation to the area.  Local schools also would be directed to the new visitor facility to begin their educational trips to the national lakeshore.  Visitor contact facilities and waysides within both the national lakeshore and the state park would provide information regarding the new visitor facility and list its location. 

S. 1913 would provide authority to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore to expend federally appropriated funds outside the boundaries of the park in order to lease space for exhibits, offices, a book store, and a theatre from PCCRVC.  It would also authorize the expenditure of funds for the planning, design and development of exhibits to be placed in the new facility in the NPS-leased space and provide NPS staff for visitor information and education.

Passage of S. 1913 would have minimal impact on the park’s current budget.   The space that would be leased by the NPS includes room for exhibits, offices, a theatre, and a bookstore that would be operated by the national lakeshore’s cooperating association.  Park staff would be relocated to the new visitor facility to provide education and information, so no additional FTEs are required or expected as a result of this proposal.  The national lakeshore will continue to participate in the development of the new visitor facility’s design plans, providing input for enhancing visitor flow and sustainability and offering technical advice on issues such as native landscaping. 

A one-time cost of approximately $1,200,000 would be needed to design, construct, and install exhibits in space leased for the national lakeshore.  The NPS would include the project in the next update of its five-year construction plan.  Annual lease payments would be approximately $70,000.  This cost increase would be offset within the park’s base budget with a reduction in lower priorities, so no additional operational funding would be requested or expected.  

Two million visitors travel to Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore each year.  Many of them are from the Chicago metropolitan area and are often unaware that the national lakeshore is a unit of the National Park System.  By relocating the primary visitor contact point to a more prominent location, the park would have the opportunity to contact and educate four times as many visitors regarding the national lakeshore’s programs and resources as well as helping them understand the mission of the National Park Service.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment.  This concludes my prepared remarks and I will be happy to answer any questions you or other committee members might have.

 
STATEMENT OF JOHN PARSONS, ASSOCIATE REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR LANDS, RESOURCES AND PLANNING, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION,     NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S. 1970, A BILL TO AMEND THE NATIONAL TRAILS SYSTEM ACT TO UPDATE THE FEASIBILITY AND SUITABILITY STUDY ORIGINALLY PREPARED FOR THE TRAIL OF TEARS NATIONAL HISTORIC TRAIL AND PROVIDE FOR THE INCLUSION OF NEW TRAIL SEGMENTS, LAND COMPONENTS, AND CAMPGROUNDS ASSOCIATED WITH THAT TRAIL

February 16, 2006


Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the Interior’s views on S. 1970.  The bill would amend the National Trails System Act to update the feasibility and suitability study of the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (NHT). 

We thank Senators Tom Coburn, Bill Frist, and Lamar Alexander for their interest in and support of the commemoration of the Trail of Tears NHT.  The Department supports updating the feasibility and suitability study for the Trail of Tears NHT; however, we recommend that S. 1970 be amended to remove the automatic designation of any additions to the original trail the study determines to be eligible.  In a time of austere budgets and a refocusing on the core mission of the National Park Service (NPS), we believe that available funding should be first directed toward taking care of what we already own. 

S. 1970 would update the feasibility and suitability study for the Trail of Tears NHT through the examination of additional routes, land components, and campgrounds associated with that trail not included in the initial study.   The Secretary of the Interior would determine if some or all of these components are eligible additions to the trail at the completion of the study.  Further, it would authorize the Secretary to make designations of any of these additional routes, land components and campgrounds that she found eligible.  The National Trails System Act does not provide for additions to trails subsequent to their designation by Congress.

A network of 24 scenic and historic trails has been created since the enactment of the National Trails System Act in 1968.  These trails provide for outdoor recreation needs, providing enjoyment and appreciation, which in turn, promotes good health and well-being.  They traverse resources that connect us to history and provide an important opportunity for local communities to become involved in a national effort by encouraging public access and citizen involvement. 

In 1987, Congress designated the Trail of Tears National Historic Trail.  The trail encompassed the primary water route and northern land route used during the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation from its homelands in the southeast to Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma).  The trail is administered by the NPS.

The Indian Removal Act of 1830 mandated the removal of all Indian tribes from east of the Mississippi River to lands west of Arkansas and Missouri.   Of the Five Civilized Tribes, the Cherokee were perhaps the most successful at resisting the Act’s implementation.  But their fate was sealed in 1838 when the U.S. government was determined to complete the Removal.  The roundup began in May, as thousands of Cherokee families were brought by force to nearby military forts or camps, and subsequently marched to the principal emigration depots at Ross’s Landing or Fort Cass in Tennessee, or Fort Payne in Alabama. From there, they either walked overland or rode river steamboats, flatboats, and keelboats to Indian Territory.  By the spring of 1839, nearly the entire Cherokee Nation, comprising some 16,000 individuals from all levels of society, had been removed west.

The 1992 Comprehensive Management and Use Plan for the Trail of Tears NHT identified the need to study two additional major routes of Cherokee Removal, the Bell and Benge Routes in the states of Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma as possible additions to the existing trail.  Both of these routes are included in S. 1970.  Subsequently, the Cherokee Nation, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, the Trail of Tears Association, and other trail supporters have urged the NPS to include additional important routes of Cherokee Removal in Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. These routes lead from the many removal forts established by the military during the roundup of the Cherokee to the major embarkation sites from which the Cherokee people left on their tragic journey to Indian Territory.  The roundup of the Cherokee is a major part of the story of the Trail of Tears, and it is not adequately represented by the current trail.

The Department recognizes the importance of telling the complete story of the Trail of Tears.  Updating the feasibility and suitability study would cost approximately $175,000.  Also, the NPS estimates that it would require an additional $295,000 per year to adequately provide funding for staff, travel, supplies, and other costs to administer the new routes.

Historic trails cross public and private lands, and the intent of the National Trails System Act is one of respecting private property rights.  In so doing, the development of strong partnerships is critical to administering and managing the historic trails and achieving preservation of trail resources and interpretation of the trail to the public.  The Trail of Tears NHT demonstrates the results of this type of effort.

Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to comment.  This concludes my prepared remarks and I will be happy to answer any questions you or other committee members might have.

STATEMENT OF JOHN PARSONS, ASSOCIATE REGIONAL DIRECTOR FOR LANDS, RESOURCES AND PLANNING, NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, SENATE COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S.J. RES. 28, APPROVING THE LOCATION OF THE COMMEMORATIVE WORK IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HONORING FORMER PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER

February 16, 2006

Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the Department of the Interior’s views on S.J. Res. 28, a joint resolution approving the location of the commemorative work in the District of Columbia honoring former President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The Department strongly supports enactment of S.J. Res. 28.  The Administration transmitted a similar proposal to Congress on January 31, 2006.

This joint resolution would approve the location of a proposed memorial to Dwight D. Eisenhower in Area I of the District of Columbia and its environs.  Legislation authorizing the Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial Commission to establish this memorial on Federal lands in the District of Columbia or its environs was signed into law on January 10, 2002.

The Commemorative Works Act governs the establishment of memorials.  It sets forth strict requirements for locating a memorial in the central monumental core of the Capital City, which is designated as “Area I.”  After seeking the advice of the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission, the Secretary of the Interior determines that the subject of the memorial is of preeminent historical and lasting significance to the Nation.  The Secretary must then notify Congress of the determination that the memorial should be located in Area I.  The location of the commemorative work in Area I is authorized only if the recommendation is approved by law within 150 calendar days after the Secretary’s notification is received by Congress.

Dwight D. Eisenhower served with distinction in the United States Army as Supreme Allied Commander of the Army in Europe, Commander of Allied Forces landing in North Africa, the General of the Army, and as Commander of NATO forces.  General Eisenhower left military service to become the 34th President of the United States in 1952.  Among President Eisenhower’s accomplishments were the establishment of the interstate highway system and the completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway.  He also established the Federal Aeronautics Administration, and his interest in space led to the creation of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  He established the United States Information Agency and made the Voice of America a principal component of that agency.  His strong belief in education and his social and economic advantages led to the creation of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare the predecessor agency to today’s Departments of Education and Health and Human Services.

Mr. Chairman, the National Capital Memorial Commission met on March 1, 2002, to consider the appropriateness of placing this memorial on a site within Area I, and unanimously endorsed this proposal to the Secretary.  The Secretary has recommended authorization of a location in Area I.  However, under the Commemorative Works Act, the location will be deemed authorized only if the recommendation is approved within150 days of February 2, or by July 2, 2006.  We, therefore, urge timely and favorable action on S.J. Res. 28.
That concludes my prepared testimony and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.