STATEMENT OF CHRISTINA GOLDFUSS, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, CONGRESSIONAL AND EXTERNAL Relations, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S. 1866, A BILL TO PROVIDE FOR AN EXTENSION OF THE LEGISLATIVE AUTHORITY OF THE ADAMS MEMORIAL FOUNDATION TO ESTABLISH A COMMEMORATIVE WORK IN HONOR OF FORMER PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS AND HIS LEGACY.
July 23, 2014
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. 1866, a bill to provide for an extension of the legislative authority of the Adams Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in honor of former President John Adams and his legacy.
The Department supports S. 1866 with two amendments.
This bill would extend to December 2, 2020, the authorization for establishing a memorial in the District of Columbia or its environs to honor President John Adams and his legacy.
The authority to establish the John Adams memorial was originally enacted on November 5, 2001. The Adams Memorial Foundation (Foundation) requested that the subject of the commemoration be determined to be of preeminent and lasting significance to the nation so that the proposed memorial might be placed in Area I, a request that was considered favorably by the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission (NCMAC) in 2002 and recommended to Congress. Public Law 107-315, enacted on December 2, 2002, granted the Foundation the additional authority to seek a site within Area I for the memorial.
Authorizations under the Commemorative Works Act (CWA) have a seven-year sunset period, which extends from the date Area I authority is granted by Congress, to allow time to obtain a building permit and begin construction of a memorial. The Foundation was unable to select a site, design the memorial, receive the requisite approvals, or raise sufficient funds for the construction of the memorial by the expiration of its authority on December 2, 2009, seven years after the enactment of the Area I authority. Public Law 111-88 extended the Foundation's authority until September 30, 2010, and Public Law 111-169 further extended it until December 2, 2013.
With the additional seven years of legislative authority provided by S. 1866, the Foundation should be in a viable position to achieve site and design approvals as well as to raise the minimum 75 percent of the funds sufficient to build the memorial. Should the Foundation meet these thresholds, the Secretary of the Interior may exercise her authority under the CWA to grant an additional three-year administrative extension to allow the Foundation to finalize construction documents and raise the balance of necessary funding. The Department recognizes that the Foundation has worked diligently through the process of securing a site location within Area I, including appearing before the NCMAC on numerous occasions. The Area I approval by Congress in 2002 would continue to be valid under this proposed extension of authority. The Department is cognizant of the complexities involved in selecting a location for this memorial, and looks forward to continuing to work with the Foundation as it moves forward through this process.
P.L. 107-62 establishes an account for the deposit of excess funds with the Secretary of the Treasury. The Department recommends one amendment that would establish the account with the National Park Foundation consistent with Section 8906(b)(3) of the CWA, and similar to authorizing laws for other memorials. The Department also recommends the bill be amended to clarify the disposition of excess funds should the authority to establish the memorial lapse. We would be glad to work with the Subcommittee on these two amendments.
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 may have.