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U.S. Department of the Interior - Office of Congressional and Legislative Affairs
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H.R. 5958 - Parks and Lands Bills




STATEMENT OF VICTOR KNOX, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS AND PUBLIC LANDS OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATURAL RESOURCES REGARDING H.R. 5958, A BILL TO NAME THE JAMAICA BAY WILDLIFE REFUGE VISITOR CONTACT STATION OF THE JAMAICA BAY WILDLIFE REFUGE UNIT OF GATEWAY NATIONAL RECREATION AREA IN HONOR OF JAMES L. BUCKLEY.

JUNE 28, 2012

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 5958, a bill To name the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Contact Station of the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge unit of Gateway Nation Recreation in honor of James L. Buckley.

The National Park Service believes there should be a strong association between the park and the person being commemorated, and that at least five years should have elapsed since the death of the person.This basic principle has been in place at least since 1988, as reflected in our National Park Service Management Policies.Therefore, the Department cannot support H.R. 5958.

In 1938 New York City Parks Commissioner Robert Moses proposed protecting Jamaica Bay's waters and wildlife, and developing water-based recreation.In 1948, the Bay was transferred to the management of NYC Department of Parks.With the creation of Gateway National Recreation Area in 1972, the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge became the only wildlife refuge in the National Park System.The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Contact Station is eligible for LEED certification, the first in the National Park Service's Northeast Region.The Visitor Contact Station was completed in 2007 and incorporated portions of an older contact station into the new building.

James Lane Buckley, a former United States Senator from New York was born in New York City, March 9, 1923.He went to school in Millbrook, New York, and graduated from Yale University in 1943; he received his law degree from Yale in 1949.He enlisted in the United States Navy in 1942 and was discharged with the rank of lieutenant in 1946.He was elected to the United States Senate in 1970 and served from January 3, 1971, to January 3, 1977.Buckley introduced landmark legislation enacted by Congress to protect student records, the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act and the Protection of Pupil Rights Act, which requires parental consent prior to administration of student surveys on any of eight sensitive topics.

Senator Buckley served as the under secretary for Security, Science, and Technology, United States Department of State from 1981-1982.Other high points of his career include president, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Inc. 1982-1985; and federal judge, United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit 1985-1996.These varied roles render him perhaps the only living American to have held high office in all three branches of the federal government.

Senator Buckley is currently a resident of Sharon, Connecticut.

National Park Service Management Policies 2006 state that the National Park Service will discourage and curtail commemorative works, especially commemorative naming, except when Congress specifically authorizes them or there is a compelling justification for the recognition, and the commemorative work is the best way to express the association between the park and the person, group, event, or other subject being commemorated.While Senator Buckley was a co-sponsor of the bill to create the Gateway National Recreation Area, and spoke in support of the resources of the refuge, we do not believe there is sufficient association between him and the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center to merit renaming the Visitor Center at this time.

Mr. Chairman this concludes my statement and I will be happy to answer any questions that members of the committee may have.