Order Code RL33484 CRS Report for Congress Received through the CRS Web National Park Management Updated September 25, 2006 Carol Hardy Vincent, Coordinator, and Ross W. Gorte Specialists in Natural Resources Policy Resources, Science, and Industry Division Susan Boren Specialist in Social Legislation Domestic Social Policy Division Sandra L. Johnson Information Research Specialist Knowledge Services Group Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress National Park Management Summary The 109th Congress is considering legislation and conducting oversight on National Park Service (NPS) related topics. The Administration is addressing park issues through budgetary, regulatory, and other actions. Earlier Congresses and Administrations also have dealt with similar issues. While this report focuses on several key topics, others may be added if circumstances warrant. Historic Preservation. The NPS administers the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), which provides grants to states and other entities to protect cultural resources. Congress provides annual appropriations for the HPF, and views differ as to whether to retain the federal role in financing the fund. Legislation to reauthorize the HPF (S. 1378 and H.R. 5861) is being considered. Further, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation has issued a draft revision of its policy statement regarding treatment of burial sites, and the draft has been controversial. Maintenance Backlog. Attention has focused on the NPS’s maintenance backlog, estimated by DOI at between $5.80 billion and $12.42 billion for FY2005. Views differ as to whether the backlog has increased or decreased in recent years, and the NPS has been defining and quantifying its maintenance needs. H.R. 1124 and S. 886 seek to eliminate the NPS maintenance backlog and the annual operating deficit. Policy Revisions. The NPS has revised its service-wide management policies — one of the authorities governing decision-making on a wide range of issues. The final policies, issued August 31, 2006, dropped many of the proposed changes that were controversial. The House and Senate have held hearings on this issue, related NPS authorities, and broader management issues. Wild and Scenic Rivers. The Wild and Scenic Rivers System preserves freeflowing rivers, which are designated by Congress or through state nomination with Secretarial approval. The NPS, and other federal agencies with responsibility for managing designated rivers, prepare management plans to protect river values. Management of lands within river corridors is sometimes controversial, because of a variety of issues including the possible effects of designation on private lands and of corridor activities on the rivers. Legislation is pending to designate, study, or extend components of the system, and some of these measures have passed the Senate or House. Other Issues. Some other park management topics of interest to the 109th Congress are covered here. They relate to the competitive sourcing initiative, whereby certain NPS activities judged to be commercial in nature are subject to public-private competition; air quality at national park units; and security of park units, particularly at national icons and along international borders. This report replaces CRS Issue Brief IB10145, National Park Management, coordinated by Carol Hardy Vincent. It will be updated periodically. Contents Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Current Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Historic Preservation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Administrative Actions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Legislative Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Maintenance Backlog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Administrative Actions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Legislative Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Policy Revisions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Administrative Actions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Legislative Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Wild and Scenic Rivers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Background . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Administrative Actions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 Legislative Activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Other Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Competitive Sourcing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Regional Haze . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Security . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 For Additional Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 National Park Management Introduction The National Park System is perhaps the federal land category best known to the public. The National Park Service (NPS) in the Department of the Interior (DOI) manages 390 units, including 58 units formally entitled national parks and a host of other designations.1 The system has more than 84 million acres.2 The NPS has an appropriation of about $2.28 billion for FY2006. As of January 10, 2006, the agency employed 24,679 federal employees and used an additional 137,000 volunteers. An estimated 263 million people visited park units in 2004. The NPS statutory mission is multifaceted: to conserve, preserve, protect, and interpret the natural, cultural, and historic resources of the nation for the public, and to provide for their use and enjoyment by the public. The use and preservation of resources has appeared to some as contradictory and has resulted in management challenges. Attention centers on how to balance the recreational use of parklands with the preservation of park resources, and determine appropriate levels and sources of funding to maintain NPS facilities and to manage NPS programs. In general, activities that harvest or remove resources from units of the system are not allowed. The NPS also supports the preservation of natural and historic places and promotes recreation outside the system through grant and technical assistance programs. The establishment of several national parks preceded the 1916 creation of the National Park Service (NPS) as the park system management agency. Congress established the nation’s first national park — Yellowstone National Park — in 1872. The park was created in the then-territories of Montana and Wyoming “for the benefit and enjoyment of the people,” and placed “under the exclusive control of the Secretary of the Interior” (16 U.S.C. §§21-22). In the 1890s and early 1900s, Congress created several other national parks mostly from western public domain lands, including Sequoia, Yosemite, Mount Rainier, Crater Lake, and Glacier. In addition to the desire to preserve nature, there was interest in promoting tourism. Western railroads, often recipients of vast public land grants, were advocates of many of the early parks and built grand hotels in them to support their business. 1 Descriptions of the different designations are on the NPS website at [http://www. nps.gov/legacy/]. Brief information on each unit is contained in U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, The National Parks: Index 2001-2003 (Washington, DC: 2001). 2 This figure includes an estimated 79 million acres of federal land, 1 million acres of other public land, and 4 million acres of private land within unit boundaries. NPS policy is to acquire these nonfederal inholdings from willing sellers as funds are made available or to create special agreements to encourage landowners to sell. CRS-2 There also were efforts to protect the sites and structures of early Native American cultures and other special sites. The Antiquities Act of 1906 authorized the President to proclaim national monuments on federal lands that contain “historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest” (16 U.S.C. §431). Most national monuments are managed by the NPS. (For more information, see CRS Report RS20902, National Monument Issues, by Carol Hardy Vincent.) There was no system of national parks and monuments until 1916, when President Wilson signed a law creating the NPS to manage and protect the national parks and many of the monuments. That Organic Act provided that the NPS “shall promote and regulate the use of the Federal areas known as national parks, monuments, and reservations ... to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such manner and by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations” (16 U.S.C. §1). President Franklin D. Roosevelt greatly expanded the system of parks in 1933 by transferring 63 national monuments and historic military sites from the USDA Forest Service and the War Department to the NPS. The 109th Congress is considering legislation or conducting oversight on many NPS-related topics. Several major topics are covered in this report: historic preservation through the Historic Preservation Fund, which is administered by the NPS; the NPS maintenance backlog; an NPS review of agency policies; and management of wild and scenic rivers, which are administered by the NPS or another land management agency. Other issues addressed in brief are activities of the NPS under the President’s Competitive Sourcing Initiative, air quality at national park units, and security of NPS units and lands. While in some cases the topics covered are relevant to other federal lands and agencies, this report does not comprehensively cover topics primarily affecting other lands/agencies. For background on federal land management generally, see CRS Report RL32393, Federal Land Management Agencies: Background on Land and Resources Management, coordinated by Carol Hardy Vincent. Overview information on numerous natural resource issues, focused on resource use and protection, is provided in CRS Report RL32699, Natural Resources: Selected Issues for the 109th Congress, coordinated by Carol Hardy Vincent, Nicole T. Carter, and Julie Jennings. Information on appropriations for the NPS is included in CRS Report RL33399, Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: FY2007 Appropriations, coordinated by Carol Hardy Vincent and Susan Boren. Information on BLM and Forest Service lands is contained in CRS Report RL33596, Federal Lands Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service, coordinated by Ross W. Gorte and Carol Hardy Vincent. Several other NPS-related topics are not covered in this brief. Some of them, or other topics, may be added to this brief if events warrant. For example, how national park units are created and what qualities make an area eligible to be an NPS unit are of continuing interest. (For more information, see CRS Report RS20158, National Park System: Establishing New Units, by Carol Hardy Vincent.) Second, legislation has been considered in recent Congresses to study, designate, and fund particular National Heritage Areas (NHAs) as well as to establish a process and CRS-3 criteria for designating and managing NHAs. (For more information, see CRS Report RL33462, Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues, by Carol Hardy Vincent and David Whiteman.) Third, recent decades have witnessed increased demand for a variety of recreational opportunities on federal lands and waters. New forms of motorized recreation have gained in popularity, and the use of motorized off-highway vehicles (OHVs) has been particularly contentious. (For more information, see CRS Report RL33525, Recreation on Federal Lands, coordinated by Kori Calvert and Carol Hardy Vincent.) Fourth, the management of the NPS concessions program, which provides commercial visitor services, continues to receive oversight. Finally, the role of gateway communities in NPS planning and the impact of land uses on gateway communities have received increased attention. Current Issues Historic Preservation (by Susan Boren) Background. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA; P.L. 89-665, 16 U.S.C. §479) created a program of state grants for historic preservation under the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). The program has been expanded to include Indian tribal grants; grants for Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians; restoration grants for buildings at historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs); and Save America’s Treasures grants. The major purpose of the HPF program is to protect cultural resources. Administered by the National Park Service, the HPF provides grants-in-aid to states and territories for activities specified in the NHPA. These grants are funded on a 60% federal/ 40% state matching share basis. States carry out program purposes directly through State Historic Preservation Offices or through subgrants and contracts with public and private agencies, organizations, institutions of higher education, and private individuals. Under current law, 10% of each state’s annual allocation distributed by the Secretary of the Interior is to be transferred to local governments that are certified eligible under program regulation. Some Members of Congress support proposals to eliminate a federal government role in financing the HPF, leaving such programs to be sustained by private support. A case in point is the National Trust for Historic Preservation, for which permanent federal funding was eliminated in FY1998. Others assert that a federal role in supporting historic preservation is necessary and should be maintained. One example of a program receiving bipartisan support is the Save America’s Treasures program, currently funded under the HPF. The HPF, authorized by the National Historic Preservation Act Amendments of 2000 (NHPA; P.L. 106208), expired at the end of FY2005 but has continued to be funded. Administrative Actions. President Bush’s annual budget requests, including the request for FY2007, have recommended funding for a Preserve America program (previously established by Executive Order 13287). The program consists of competitive grants providing one-time assistance to encourage community preservation of cultural, historic, and natural heritage through education and heritage CRS-4 tourism. It serves as an adjunct to Save America’s Treasures. For FY2006, Congress provided that a portion of Save America’s Treasures funds could be allocated to Preserve America’s grants. The first round of Preserve America grants for FY2006 (totaling $3.5 million) was announced on March 9, 2006. Funds for Save America’s Treasures were first appropriated in FY1999 and used to restore such historic documents as the Star Spangled Banner, the Declaration of Independence, and the U.S. Constitution. These projects require a 50% cost share, and no single project can receive more than one grant from this program. The FY2007 Administration budget contained $71.9 million for the Historic Preservation Fund. It proposed shifting funding for National Heritage Areas to the HPF, as part of a new America’s Heritage and Preservation Partnership Program. Funding for Heritage Partnerships was proposed to be cut from $13.3 million in FY2006 to $7.4 million for FY2007. The Save America’s Treasures program would have been cut in half, from $29.6 million to $14.8 million, but the Preserve America grants would have doubled — from $5.0 million to $10.0 million. The establishment of the new program was not adopted by the House or the Senate Committee on Appropriations in H.R. 5386, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill for FY2007. (See “Legislative Activity,” below.) The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) was established as an independent agency by the NHPA to advise Congress and the President on historic preservation matters. The ACHP has issued a draft revision of its policy statement regarding treatment of burial sites (71 Fed. Reg. 13066, March 14, 2006). The policy guides federal agencies in making decisions about burial sites, human remains, and funerary objects encountered during reviews under §106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Section 106 requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties. The ACHP is revising its policies on the grounds that the current one no longer reflects its position, because since its issuance in 1988 there have been changes in law and regulations affecting how human remains and funerary objects are to be considered and treated. The draft policy has been controversial. It brings to the forefront issues of the power of the ACHP, the extent to which Indian tribes in particular are being accommodated, and whether the ACHP can make or is making final decisions in §106 reviews. The draft policy was open for public comment through July 28, 2006, and the ACHP is currently assessing the comments received for the development of a final policy. Legislative Activity. Most of the recent congressional action on historic preservation has been in appropriations, since the authorization typically has been for five-year periods (most recently through FY2005). P.L. 109-54 provided $72.2 million for HPF for FY2006. The FY2007 House-passed appropriation for HPF is $58.7 million, while the level reported by the Senate Appropriations Committee is $70.7 million. Both the House and the Senate Committee supported $35.7 million for grants-in-aid to states, $3.9 million for tribal grants, and $1.0 million for HBCUs. The House-passed bill contained $15.0 million for Save America’s Treasures, and $3.0 million for Preserve America. The Senate Appropriations Committee-reported bill contained $30.0 million for Save America’s Treasures, including not more than $10.0 million for Preserve America grants. (For more information on funding for historic preservation, see CRS Report RL33617, Historic Preservation: Background and Funding, by Susan Boren.) CRS-5 H.R. 5861 and S. 1378 seek to reauthorize the HPF (§108, NHPA) and to amend provisions pertaining to the operation of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Both bills would extend authority to fund the HPF through FY2015 through annual deposits of $150 million earned from oil and gas development from the Outer Continental Shelf . They also would make changes to the membership and operation of the ACHP. Further, the House bill provides that a certified local government that uses an eligibility determination to initiate local regulatory requirements must allow due process to property owners who might object to an eligibility determination on their property. It also seeks to protect applicants who must submit to §106 review from being required to fund surveys and studies to determine potential effects on historic properties that are beyond their identified area. The Senate bill was reported from committee on April 20, 2006 (S.Rept. 109-235) and the House bill was passed by the House on September 25, 2006. P.L. 109-234, the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Hurricane Recovery, includes $43.0 million for the HPF. Of those funds, $40.0 million would be to establish a specialized grants-in-aid program for the repair and rehabilitation of historic structures damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, particularly for those properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Grants would be directed to endangered historic properties in major disaster areas, including those within National Heritage Areas. A nonfederal match is not required, and no more than 5% of the funds may be used for administrative expenses. The remaining $3.0 million would be for §106 assistance. The President’s FY2006 supplemental request and the House-passed bill would have provided $3.0 million for the HPF for rehabilitation of historic structures. The Senate-passed bill would have provided $83.0 million for the HPF, an amount that exceeded the FY2006 appropriation for all of HPF’s programs ($72.2 million). On September 20, 2006, a subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Reform held oversight hearings on the effects of historic preservation on economic and community development, and on the implementation of the federal historic rehabilitation tax credit program administered by the National Park Service in partnership with the Internal Revenue Service and state historic preservation officers. A focus was on the benefits of historic preservation in community development, and in particular on how the state and federal tax credit programs have worked in partnership to enhance rehabilitation of properties and communities. Since the inception of the federal rehabilitation tax credit program in 1976, over $36 billion in private investment in historic buildings has been generated, involving over 32,000 approved projects.3 Some changes to this tax credit program are included in the Community Restoration and Revitalization Act (H.R. 3159/H.R. 659), which would allow an increased rehabilitation tax credit for certain low-income buildings. These bills have been referred to a House committee; there has been no further legislative action. 3 Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program: Recommendations for Making a Good Program Better, Report to the National Park System Advisory Board by the Committee on the Federal Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program. September, 2006. CRS-6 Maintenance Backlog (by Carol Hardy Vincent) Background. The NPS has maintenance responsibility for buildings, trails, recreation sites, and other infrastructure. There is debate over the levels of funds to maintain this infrastructure, whether to use funds from other programs, and how to balance the maintenance of the existing infrastructure with the acquisition of new assets. Congress continues to focus on the agency’s deferred maintenance, often called the maintenance backlog — essentially maintenance that was not done when scheduled or planned. DOI estimates deferred maintenance for the NPS for FY2005, based on varying assumptions, at between $5.80 billion and $12.42 billion with a mid-range figure of $9.11 billion. While the other federal land management agencies — the Forest Service (FS), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) — also have maintenance backlogs, congressional and administrative attention has centered on the NPS backlog. For FY2005, the FS estimates its backlog at $5.97 billion, while DOI estimates the FWS backlog at between $1.73 billion and $2.34 billion and the BLM backlog at between $0.39 billion and $0.47 billion. The four agencies together have a combined backlog estimated at between $13.88 billion and $21.20 billion, with a mid-range figure of $17.54 billion, according to the agencies.4 The NPS and other agency backlogs have been attributed to decades of funding shortfalls. The agencies assert that continuing to defer maintenance of facilities accelerates their rate of deterioration, increases their repair costs, and decreases their value. Administrative Actions. In FY2002, the Bush Administration proposed to eliminate the NPS backlog (estimated at $4.9 billion in 2002) over five years. The NPS budget justification for FY2007 states that, beginning with FY2002, “nearly $4.7 billion has been invested in deferred maintenance.”5 The figure reflects total appropriations for line items of which deferred maintenance is only a part. Specifically, according to the NPS, it consists of appropriations for all NPS facility maintenance, NPS construction, and the NPS park roads and parkway program funded through the Federal Highway Administration. It also includes fees used for maintenance. The National Parks Conservation Association claims that the Administration has supported little new money to address park maintenance, and is using “misleading” math to appear to be on track to eliminate the backlog.6 It further contends that national parks on average have about 2/3 of the funding they need, and that sufficient operating funds are necessary for stemming the growth of the backlog. It is uncertain if the NPS backlog has decreased, increased, or remained the same in recent years. For instance, while estimates of the backlog increased from an average of $4.25 billion in FY1999 to $9.11 billion in FY2005, it is unclear what 4 Estimates are from DOI and the FS, and reflect only direct project costs in accordance with requirements of the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board. 5 U.S. Dept. of the Interior, National Park Service, Budget Justifications and Performance Information, Fiscal Year 2007, p. overview-3 (Washington, DC: 2006). 6 National Parks Conservation Association, The Burgeoning Backlog: A Report on the Maintenance Backlog in America’s National Parks (May 2004), p. 6, available on the web at [http://www.npca.org/across_the_nation/visitor_experience/backlog/backlog.pdf]. CRS-7 portion of the change is due to the addition of maintenance work that was not done on time or the availability of more precise estimates of the backlog. Further, it is unclear how much total funding has been provided for backlogged maintenance over this period. Annual presidential budget requests and appropriations laws do not typically specify funds for backlogged maintenance, but instead combine funding for all NPS construction, facility operation, and regular and deferred maintenance. According to the DOI Budget Office, the appropriation for NPS deferred maintenance increased from $223.0 million in FY1999 to $311.1 million in FY2006, with a peak in FY2002 at $364.2 million.7 For FY2007, the Administration requested $208.1 million, a $103.0 million (33%) reduction from the FY2006 level and a $14.9 million (7%) reduction from the FY1999 level. The NPS has been defining and quantifying its maintenance needs. These efforts, like those of other land management agencies, include developing computerized systems for tracking and prioritizing maintenance projects and collecting comprehensive data on the condition of facilities — expected by the end of FY2006. Legislative Activity. H.R. 1124 and S. 886 seek to eliminate the annual operating deficit and maintenance backlog in the National Park System. They would create the National Park Centennial Fund in the Treasury, to be comprised of monies designated by taxpayers on their tax returns. If monies from tax returns are insufficient to meet funding levels established in the bill, they are to be supplemented by contributions to the Centennial Fund from the General Fund of the Treasury. For FY2006, there is to be deposited in the Centennial Fund $150.0 million, with an increase of 15% each year though FY2016. The Fund would be available to the Secretary of the Interior, without further appropriation, as follows: 60% to eliminate the NPS maintenance backlog, 20% to protect NPS natural resources, and 20% to protect NPS cultural resources. The Senate bill would terminate the fund on October 1, 2016. Under the House bill, after that date money in the Centennial Fund is to be used to supplement annual appropriations for park operations. The bills also would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to submit to Congress biennial reports on the progress of the NPS in eliminating its deficit in operating funds and the funding needs of national parks compared with park appropriations, among other issues. In addition, on May 10, 2005, a Senate subcommittee held a hearing on NPS funding issues, including the maintenance backlog. Policy Revisions (by Carol Hardy Vincent) Background. On August 31, 2006, the NPS issued new service-wide management policies that govern the way NPS managers make decisions on a wide range of issues (together with laws, regulations, and other authorities).8 The final policies appear to have met with broad support from earlier critics of an October 19, 2005 draft, although some recreation advocates prefer the emphasis of the draft over 7 U.S. Dept. of the Interior, Office of Budget, Internal Memorandum, Washington, D.C., received April 7, 2006. 8 The new policies are available on the NPS website at [http://home.nps.gov/applications/ npspolicy/index.cfm]. CRS-8 the final version. The process by which the policies were reformed was controversial. The NPS Management Policies were last updated in 2001 after a several-year internal and external review. Administrative Actions. The NPS, in a news release, cited varied reasons for initiating a revision of its management policies, namely legal, social, and technological developments since the issuance of the 2001 policies. With regard to legal issues, the agency notes new laws, executive orders, and regulations affecting park management. Social issues appear to include increased responsibilities for homeland security, population growth near parks, changes in park visitation, and a focus on strengthening community ties. Technological issues stem from developments that provide new ways to recreate in parks or reduce adverse affects on resources.9 According to an NPS spokesman, policy revisions also were undertaken because coverage of financial issues was needed, including on recreation fees, concession royalties, and Park Service donations, and because there was some support in Congress for a review of NPS management policies. The development of policy changes began with the preparation of draft changes by a senior DOI official. That initial, internal proposal was intended to promote inhouse discussion of management policies, according to DOI. Nevertheless, it was criticized by some park groups and environmentalists as shifting the NPS focus from preservation to recreation; removing protective limits on activities that might impair park resources, for instance, motorized recreation; eliminating the scientific underpinning of NPS management; giving too much control to local communities in managing park units; weakening protections for air quality, water, and wildlife; and increasing commercial development of park units. Further, some observers criticized DOI for initiating changes to NPS policies without notifying NPS employees and consulting with the public. That initial draft was reported by the press to have been opposed by the NPS’s seven regional directors. The agency subsequently convened a working group of 16 senior staff, who produced a new draft. That draft was to have been reviewed, including by the National Leadership Council — a group of senior park managers who set policy and overall direction for the NPS, before its publication. On October 19, 2005, the NPS published draft Management Policies (70 Fed. Reg. 60852), with a public comment period through February 18, 2006. Some park groups and environmentalists were concerned that changes would fundamentally alter park protections and potentially lead to damaging park resources. One muchdiscussed proposal sought to require “balance” between conservation and enjoyment of park resources, whereas the then-existing policy stated that “conservation is to be predominant” in conservation/enjoyment conflicts. This controversy illustrates a long-standing tension in the Park Service’s mission to protect park resources while providing for their use and enjoyment by the public. 9 National Park Service, news release of June 19, 2006, entitled Kempthorne: Park Management Policies Will Assure Legacy of Conservation, available on the NPS website at [http://home.nps.gov/applications/release/Detail.cfm?ID=681]. CRS-9 The NPS received approximately 45,000 comments, and made revisions to the draft policies based on these comments. The draft underwent further review, for example by the National Leadership Council. On June 19, 2006, the NPS issued revised draft management polices. That version was widely viewed as shifting park priorities back to preservation, and was thus generally supported by conservation interests. Some critics viewed the policies as favoring conservation over recreation, and thus as insufficiently allowing for public use and enjoyment of NPS lands and resources. Others viewed the policies as failing to address or resolve certain issues. After a final review and relatively minor revisions, the polices were made final on August 31, 2006. The final policies contain a list of underlying principles, including that the policies must “ensure that conservation will be predominant when there is a conflict between the protection of resources and their use” (p. iv). In testimony on June 20, 2006, the NPS Deputy Director outlined the “improvement” from the 2001 to 2006 policies, primarily changes in emphasis and clarity in many areas. They include a commitment to civic engagement, cooperative conservation, and improvements in workforce and business practices. Other changes involve additional guidance on relationships between parks and Native Americans, and recognition of the importance of clean air, clean water, and soundscapes. Still other changes involve new guidance on determining what is an appropriate or inappropriate use of parks, and management of uses to avoid impairment of resources.10 In testimony on July 25, 2006, the NPS Director further elaborated that the 2006 policies ensure that Americans will continue to enjoy national parks. Legislative Activity. House and Senate committees have held several hearings on park management policies. For instance, on November 1, 2005, a Senate subcommittee held a hearing on the draft policies. Witnesses expressed differing opinions on issues including the reasons the policies are being revised; the intent of the 1916 Park Service Organic Act regarding preservation and recreation; the extent to which the policies should emphasize recreation; the impact of proposed changes on park protections and the impairment standard; and whether the draft changes would blur or clarify how park employees are to manage resources. The NPS Organic Act and its implementation through daily park management were the subject of a December 14, 2005, House Resources subcommittee hearing. Witnesses offered different views on the intent of the NPS Organic Act, particularly with regard to preservation, use, and impairment of NPS resources. Witnesses also presented varying opinions on whether then-existing park management policies, or the proposed policy revisions, more accurately reflect the letter and intent of the Organic Act. Whether the management policies should be rewritten, and the proposed changes themselves, also were a matter of much debate. Some witnesses claimed that the NPS has limited access for recreation in recent years, in favor of preservation of resources, and suggested alternative approaches. In addition, at a 10 National Park Service, testimony of Stephen P. Martin, June 20, 2006, available on the website of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at [http://energy.senate. gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Testimony&Hearing_ID=1564&Witness_ ID=4235]. CRS-10 February 15, 2006, hearing, the subcommittee heard differing views from Administration and private witnesses as to whether park policies should be changed and whether the particular changes in the draft would be beneficial or detrimental. A June 20, 2006, Senate Energy and Natural Resources subcommittee took testimony from two witnesses on the revisions to park management policies, primarily the June 19, 2006, version. The NPS Deputy Director described the process for revising the policies, and differences between the 2001 and June 19, 2006, park policies (discussed above under “Administrative Actions”). A witness from the National Parks Conservation Association expressed general support for the June 19, 2006, version of the park policies, as apparently having “discarded the broad changes that caused so much national concern.”11 His testimony compared selected provisions of the 2001 policies with the June 2006 and earlier proposed revisions. A subcommittee of the House Resources Committee held a hearing on park management policies on July 25, 2006. In an opening statement, the subcommittee chairman expressed the concern of some Members that the June 19, 2006, policy proposals subordinate the enjoyment and use of park units to the conservation of resources. He expressed support for the October 2005 proposals as more accurately reflecting the mission of the NPS, and compared relevant provisions of that draft with the June 19, 2006, one. Further, the chairman outlined “failures” in the park system that were not addressed by the latest draft policies, including inconsistency in implementing construction requirements under the Americans with Disabilities Act and actions that the NPS should take to increase visitation.12 As the sole witness, the NPS Director provided an overview of the areas of emphasis of the June 19, 2006, draft policies, and also described the changes as an “improvement” over the 2001 policies. She summarized the process through which the NPS was developing revised policies.13 Congressional hearings have been held on park management issues other than the policy revisions. For instance, with regard to park management generally, a subcommittee of the House Government Reform Committee is in the midst of a series of oversight hearings on the role and management of park units. These hearings, being held throughout the country, are examining the issues facing the variety of park units in different areas of the country. They have encompassed diverse issues, including the adequacy of park budgets, backlog in maintaining NPS facilities, control of invasive species, nature and extent of visitor services, and protection of park resources. A report summarizing the critical issues discussed, together with recommendations, is anticipated at the conclusion of the hearings. 11 National Parks Conservation Association, testimony of Thomas C. Kiernan, June 20, 2006, available on the website of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources at [http://energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Testimony&Hearing _ID=1564&Witness_ID=2337]. 12 Opening Statement of Chairman Stevan Pearce, Subcommittee on National Parks, Committee on Resources, Oversight Hearing on NPS Management Polices, July 25, 2006. 13 National Park Service, testimony of Fran Mainella, July 25, 2006, available on the website of the House Committee on Resources at [http://resourcescommittee.house.gov/archives/ 109/nprpl/072506.htm]. CRS-11 Wild and Scenic Rivers (by Sandra L. Johnson) Background. The NPS manages 28 river units, totaling 2,826.3 miles, within the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. The system was authorized on October 2, 1968, by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (16 U.S.C. §§1271-1287).14 The act established a policy of preserving designated free-flowing rivers for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations, to complement the then-current national policy of constructing dams and other structures along many rivers. The act requires that river units be classified and administered as wild, scenic, or recreational rivers, based on the condition of the river, the amount of development in the river or on the shorelines, and the degree of accessibility by road or trail at the time of designation. Typically rivers are added to the system by an act of Congress, but they also may be added by state nomination with the approval of the Secretary of the Interior. Congress initially designated 789 miles of 8 rivers as part of the system. Today there are 164 river units with 11,357.7 miles in 38 states and Puerto Rico, administered by the NPS, other federal agencies, and several state agencies. Congress also commonly enacts legislation to authorize the study of particular rivers for potential inclusion in the system. The NPS maintains a national registry of rivers that may be eligible for inclusion in the system — the Nationwide Rivers Inventory (NRI).15 Congress may consider, among other sources, these NRI rivers which are believed to possess “outstandingly remarkable” values. The Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture are to report to the President as to the suitability of study areas for wild and scenic designation. The President then submits his recommendations regarding designation to Congress. Administrative Actions. Wild and scenic rivers designated by Congress generally are managed by one of the four federal land management agencies — NPS, FWS, BLM, and FS. Management varies with the class of the designated river and the values for which it was included in the system. Components of the system managed by the NPS become a part of the National Park System. The act requires the managing agency of each component of the system to prepare a comprehensive management plan to protect river values. The managing agency also establishes boundaries for each component of the system, within limitations. Management of lands within river corridors has been controversial in some cases, with debates over the effect of designation on private lands within the river corridors, the impact of activities within a corridor on the flow or character of the designated river segment, and the extent of local input in developing management plans. State-nominated rivers may be added to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System only if the river is designated for protection under state law, is approved by the Secretary of the Interior, and is permanently administered by a state agency. Management of state-nominated rivers may be complicated because of the diversity of land ownership. 14 The text of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act is available on the NPS website at [http://www.nps.gov/rivers/wsract.html]. 15 For further Information on the Nationwide Rivers Inventory, see the NPS website at [http://www.nps.gov/rtca/nri/]. CRS-12 Legislative Activity. Measures to designate, study, or extend specific components of the Wild and Scenic Rivers System are shown in the following table. The table includes bills that could involve management by the NPS or other agencies. Title Type Status Alaska Rainforest Conservation Act (designate and study rivers within the Chugach NF and designate rivers within the Tongass NF) Desig./ Study H.R. 1155 Introduced California Wild Heritage Act of 2006 (designate 22 river segments; study Carson River, East Fork, CA) Desig./ Study H.R. 5006 S. 2432 Introduced Introduced Eastern Sierra Rural Heritage and Economic Enhancement Act (designate segments of the Amargosa River in CA) Desig. H.R. 5149 S. 2567 Hearing Held Hearing Held Eightmile Wild and Scenic River Act (CT) Desig. H.R. 5885 S. 3723 Introduced Introduced Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River Act (AZ) Desig. H.R. 5957 S. 3762 Introduced Introduced Lower Farmington River and Salmon Brook Wild and Scenic River Study Act of 2005 (CT) Study H.R. 1344 S. 435 Passed House Passed Senate Mt. Hood Stewardship Legacy Act Lewis and Clark Mount Hood Wilderness Act (both to designate waterways in the Mt. Hood NF (OR)) Desig. H.R. 5025 S. 3854 Passed House Introduced Musconetcong Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (NJ) Desig. H.R. 1307 S. 1096 Passed House Passed Senate Northern California Coastal Wild Heritage Wilderness Act (Black Butte River segments) Desig. H.R. 233 S. 128 Senate Calendar Passed Senate Owyhee Initiative Implementation Act (ID) (to designate rivers in Idaho) Desig. S. 3794 Introduced Perquimans River Wild and Scenic River Study Act (NC) Study H.R. 4105 Introduced Rockies Prosperity Act (Title IV, to designate certain National Forest System watercourses in ID, MT, and WY) Desig. H.R. 1204 Introduced Taunton Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (MA) Desig. H.R. 3321 S. 2033 Introduced Introduced CRS-13 Title Type Status Upper White Salmon Wild and Scenic Rivers Act (WA) Desig. H.R. 38 S. 74 P.L. 109-44; Indef. Postponed Washington County Growth and Conservation Act (to designate segments of the Virgin River and its tributaries across federal land within and adjacent to Zion National Park, UT) Desig. S. 3636 H.R. 5769 Introduced Hearing Held Chamber-Passed Bills. The 109th Congress has enacted H.R. 38 (P.L 10944) to designate a portion of the White Salmon River (WA) as a component of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. Several other bills have passed the House or Senate, as discussed below. On December 16, 2005, the Senate passed S. 435, to direct the NPS to study a 40-mile stretch of the Farmington River and Salmon Brook (CT) for possible inclusion in the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System. As a result of reduced funding for the Rivers and Trails Studies program for FY2006, the NPS had requested that the date for submitting the study be changed from not later than three years following enactment to not later than three years after funds are made available. This change is included in the Senate-passed bill. Some river proponents objected to the delay in the start of the study. A companion bill, H.R. 1344, passed the House on September 25, 2006. Also on December 16, 2005, the Senate passed S. 1096 — the Musconetcong Wild and Scenic Rivers Act — to designate 24.2 miles of the river in northwestern New Jersey. The House passed a companion bill, H.R. 1307, on July 24, 2006. Both bills also provide for the designation of an additional 4.3 miles of the Musconetcong River as a recreational river, if the Secretary of the Interior determines that there is adequate local support. On July 24, 2006, the House also passed H.R. 5025, to designate 25 miles of waterways in the Mount Hood National Forest (OR) as additions to the Wild and Scenic Rivers System. A Senate companion bill, S. 3854, seeks to designate the same segments and additional ones for a total of 81 miles of waterways in the Mount Hood National Forest. The bill has been referred to committee. Both the House and Senate have passed companion legislation, H.R. 233 and S. 128, to designate segments totaling 21 miles of the Black Butte River (CA) as a wild or scenic river. Both bills also require the Secretary of Agriculture to report to Congress regarding a fire management plan for the segments and the cultural and historic resources in those segments. CRS-14 Other Issues Competitive Sourcing. (by Carol Hardy Vincent) The Bush Administration’s Competitive Sourcing Initiative seeks to expand on earlier programs to subject federal agency activities judged to be commercial in nature to public-private competition. The Administration’s goal is to save money through competition. For the NPS, areas of focus include maintenance, administration, and cultural resource positions. Rangers, fee collectors, and park guides are among those positions classified as either “inherently governmental” or “core to the mission,” and thus not subject to competitive review. Concerns include whether the initiative would save the agency money, whether it is being used to accomplish policy objectives by outsourcing particular functions, whether it would weaken the morale and diversity of the NPS workforce, and whether the private sector could provide the same quality of service. The NPS has long contracted many jobs to private industry. (For information on competitive sourcing generally, see CRS Report RL32017, Circular A-76 Revision 2003: Selected Issues, by L. Elaine Halchin.) The NPS competitive sourcing “green plan” covers competitive sourcing activities planned for FY2005-FY2008. During FY2006, the NPS planned to conduct a preliminary planning effort for 150 FTEs,16 four standard studies for 549.5 FTEs, and six streamlined studies for 255.5 FTEs, for a total of 955 FTEs during FY2006. For FY2007, the agency expects to review about 700 FTEs and subsequently to implement related efficiencies. (For information on competitive sourcing targets, see CRS Report RL32079, Federal Contracting of Commercial Activities: Competitive Sourcing Targets, by L. Elaine Halchin.) P.L. 109-54, the FY2006 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, placed a cap of $3.45 million on DOI competitive sourcing studies during FY2006, but did not specify the portion to be allocated to the NPS. The law also provided that agencies include, in any reports to the Appropriations Committees on competitive sourcing, information on costs associated with sourcing studies and related activities. The House, and the Senate Committee on Appropriations, included similar provisions for FY2007 in their versions of H.R. 5386, the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill for FY2007. These provisions originated out of concern that some agencies were spending significant sums on competitive sourcing where the Administration did not request or receive funds for this purpose, and were not providing Congress with complete information on costs and implications. P.L. 109-115 restricts competitive sourcing government-wide. Regional Haze. (by Ross W. Gorte) In 1977 amendments to the Clean Air Act, Congress established a national goal of protecting Class I areas — most thenexisting national parks and wilderness areas — from future visibility impairment and remedying any existing impairment resulting from manmade air pollution. (Newly designated parks and wilderness areas can be classified as Class I only by state 16 A full-time equivalent (FTE) is the “staffing of Federal civilian employee positions, expressed in terms of annual productive work hours” (U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Circular No. A-76 (Revised), p. D-5). CRS-15 actions.) The program to control this “regional haze” has several facets, including the development of state implementation plans and the imposition of Best Available Retrofit Technology (BART) on large sources of air pollution built between 1962 and 1977. (For a general description of the regional haze program, see CRS Report RL32483, Visibility, Regional Haze, and the Clean Air Act: Status of Implementation, by Larry Parker and John Blodgett). A related program, Prevention of Significant Deterioration, provides that permits may not be issued to major new facilities within 100 kilometers of a Class I area if federal land managers, such as at the NPS, allege that the facilities’ emissions “may cause or contribute to a change in the air quality” in a Class I area (42 U.S.C. §7457). DOI’s strategic plan (2004) contains two air quality goals for Class I areas, related to compliance with national ambient air quality standards and visibility objectives. At 68 park units, the NPS monitors one or more key air quality indicators, such as ozone, visibility, and atmospheric deposition, and reports annually on progress towards meeting air quality goals. The latest report (2005) examined data collected between 1995-2004. It concluded that of the reporting park units, 68% showed stable or improving air quality trends generally, 78% met national ambient air quality standards, and 100% met visibility goals. The agency expressed that meeting air quality goals is challenging because the NPS does not have direct authority to control pollution sources outside of park units. Nevertheless, NPS expects further improvement in meeting goals as regulations to reduce tailpipe emissions from motor vehicles and pollution from electric-generating facilities take full effect.17 In August 2006, the National Parks Conservation Association released a new report asserting that “air pollution is among the most serious and wide-ranging problems facing the parks today.... We’ve made some important advances ... but much more remains to be done.”18 The report includes 10 recommendations to improve air quality in the National Park System. Security. (by Carol Hardy Vincent) Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, the NPS has sought to enhance its ability to prepare for and respond to threats from terrorists and others. Activities have focused on security enhancements at national icons and along the U.S. borders, where several parks are located. The United States Park Police (USPP) have sought to expand physical security assessments of monuments, memorials, and other facilities, and increase patrols and security precautions in Washington monumental areas, at the Statue of Liberty, and at other potentially vulnerable icons. Other activities have included implementing additional training in terrorism response for agency personnel, and reducing the backlog of needed specialized equipment and vehicles. NPS law enforcement rangers and special agents have expanded patrols, use of electronic monitoring equipment, intelligence monitoring, and training in preemptive and response measures. The NPS has taken measures to increase security and protection along international borders and to curb illegal immigration and drug traffic through park borders. 17 See 2005 Annual Performance and Progress Report: Air Quality in National Parks, available on the NPS website at [http://www2.nature.nps.gov/air/Pubs/index.cfm]. 18 National Parks Conservation Association, Turning Point, p. 4, available on the web at [http://www.npca.org/turningpoint/Full-Report.pdf]. CRS-16 A June, 2005 report of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) examined the challenges for DOI in protecting national icons and monuments from terrorism, and actions and improvements the department has taken in response.19 GAO concluded that since 2001, DOI has improved security at key sites, created a central security office to coordinate security efforts, developed physical security plans, and established a uniform risk management and ranking methodology. GAO recommended that DOI link its rankings to security funding priorities at national icons and monuments and establish guiding principles to balance its core mission with security needs. (See [http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d05790.pdf].) Several 109th Congress hearings have been held on illegal border issues affecting federal lands along the northern and southern U.S. borders, including NPS lands. Hearings have addressed the adverse affects of such activities on federal lands, how to reduce harm from illegal border activities, efforts of various agencies to secure federal lands along the borders, and the demands on law enforcement personnel of the federal land management agencies. Illegal activities at issue have included drug trafficking, alien smuggling, money laundering, organized crime, and terrorism. Such activities are reported to have caused damage to federal lands, including by creating illegal roads, depositing large amounts of trash and human waste, increasing risk of fire from poorly tended camp fires, destroying vegetation and cultural resources, and polluting waterways. The effects on federal lands of border enforcement activities, in response to illegal immigration, also has been addressed. Some agency witnesses discussed the implementation of a recent memorandum of understanding between the Departments of Homeland Security, Interior, and Agriculture on initiatives to improve handling of illegal border activities and their impacts on federal lands. House and Senate bills pertaining to immigration reform and border security contain provisions affecting national park units along U.S. borders. For example, as passed by the House, H.R. 4437 would require an evaluation of security vulnerabilities on DOI lands along U.S. borders and would require the Secretary of Homeland Security to provide border security assistance on these lands. S. 2611, which has passed the Senate, calls for a study of the construction of physical barriers along the southern border of the United States, including their effect on park units along the borders. Among other provisions, S. 2611 also would increase customs and border protection personnel to secure park units (and other federal land) along U.S. borders; provide surveillance camera systems, sensors, and other equipment for lands on the border, with priority for NPS units; and require a recommendation to Congress for the NPS and other agencies to recover costs related to illegal border activity. Congress appropriates funds to the NPS for security efforts, and the adequacy and use of funds to protect NPS visitors and units are of continuing interest. Funds for security are appropriated through multiple line items, including those for the USPP and Law Enforcement and Protection. For FY2007, the President requested $84.8 million for the USPP, a 6% increase over FY2006 ($80.2 million). The House 19 Government Accountability Office, Homeland Security: Actions Needed to Better Protect National Icons and Federal Office Buildings from Terrorism, GAO-05-790 (DC: June 2005). CRS-17 and the Senate Committee on Appropriations approved this level in H.R. 5386, the FY2007 Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill. The President also requested $128.2 million for law enforcement, a 3% increase over FY2006 ($124.2 million). The amount approved by the House or the Senate Committee on Appropriations was not specified in H.R. 5386. For Additional Reading CRS Report RL32017, Circular A-76 Revision 2003: Selected Issues, by L. Elaine Halchin. CRS Report RL32833, Competitive Sourcing Legislation, by L. Elaine Halchin. CRS Report RL32079, Federal Contracting of Commercial Activities: Competitive Sourcing Targets, by L. Elaine Halchin. CRS Report RL32393, Federal Land Management Agencies: Background on Land and Resources Management, coordinated by Carol Hardy Vincent. CRS Report RL33596, Federal Lands Managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Forest Service, coordinated by Ross W. Gorte and Carol Hardy Vincent. CRS Report RL32667, Federal Management and Protection of Paleontological (Fossil) Resources Located on Federal Lands: Current Status and Legal Issues, by Douglas Reid Weimer. CRS Report RL33462, Heritage Areas: Background, Proposals, and Current Issues, by Carol Hardy Vincent and David Whiteman. CRS Report RL33617, Historic Preservation: Background and Funding, by Susan Boren. CRS Report RS22298, Historic Preservation: Federal Laws and Regulations Related to Hurricane Recovery and Reconstruction, by Douglas Reid Weimer. CRS Report RL33399, Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies: FY2007 Appropriations, coordinated by Carol Hardy Vincent and Susan Boren. CRS Report RL33531, Land and Water Conservation Fund: Overview, Funding History, and Current Issues, by Carol Hardy Vincent. CRS Report RS20902, National Monument Issues, by Carol Hardy Vincent. CRS Report RS20158, National Park System: Establishing New Units, by Carol Hardy Vincent. CRS-18 CRS Report RL32699, Natural Resources: Selected Issues for the 109th Congress, coordinated by Carol Hardy Vincent, Nicole T. Carter, and Julie Jennings. CRS Report RL33525, Recreation on Federal Lands, coordinated by Kori Calvert and Carol Hardy Vincent. CRS Report RL31149, Snowmobiles: Environmental Standards and Access to National Parks, by James E. McCarthy. CRS Report RS20702, South Florida Ecosystem Restoration and the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan, by Pervaze A. Sheikh and Nicole T. Carter. CRS Report RL32483, Visibility, Regional Haze, and the Clean Air Act: Status of Implementation, by Larry Parker and John Blodgett. CRS Report RL30809, Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and Federal Water Rights, by Pamela Baldwin. CRS Report RL31447, Wilderness: Overview and Statistics, by Ross W. Gorte.