January 8th National Memorial Act
STATEMENT OF MICHAEL A. CALDWELL, ACTING ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, PARK PLANNING, FACILITIES, AND LANDS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE HOUSE NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, FORESTS, AND PUBLIC LANDS, CONCERNING H.R. 250, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR TO ESTABLISH THE JANUARY 8TH NATIONAL MEMORIAL IN TUCSON, ARIZONA, AS AN AFFILIATED AREA OF THE NATIONAL PARK SYSTEM, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
OCTOBER 14, 2021
Chairman Neguse, Ranking Member Fulcher, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today to present the views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 250, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to establish the January 8th National Memorial in Tucson, Arizona, as an affiliated area of the National Park System, and for other purposes.
The Department would recommend deferring any action on the portions of H.R. 250 that authorize an Affiliated Area of the National Park Service or any role for the Secretary of the Interior until a study has been completed. The Department does not have a position on the portions of the bill that would authorize the construction of a January 8th National Memorial with private funds on non-Federal land.
H.R. 250 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to establish the January 8th Memorial as an affiliated area of the National Park System and to develop a General Management Plan for the Memorial in consultation with Pima County. The bill would also direct Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation to transfer any funding the Foundation has raised to Pima County for the construction of the memorial on Pima County property. Finally, the bill would authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide technical assistance and enter into cooperative agreements with Pima County for the purposes of providing financial assistance with the marketing of the Memorial.
The January 8th National Memorial is intended to memorialize the tragic events of January 8th, 2011, when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’ “Congress on your Corner” event became the site of a mass shooting that resulted in the deaths of six people and the injury of thirteen others, including Congresswoman Giffords. The January 8th Memorial is intended to be a tribute to those who died that day, but also to the local, national, and international response to the tragedy. The Tuscon January 8th Memorial Foundation will raise funds for the construction of the memorial by Pima County on County lands.
The Department appreciates the desire of the bill’s sponsor to bring greater recognition to the events of January 8, 2011; however, we have no basis for knowing whether the proposed site meets the criteria for inclusion in, or affiliation with, the National Park System, as a study has not been completed for the site. Prior to consideration for inclusion in, or affiliation with, the National Park System in any form, the NPS has historically recommended that Congress authorize a study of a given area or site to determine if it meets the criteria for national significance, suitability, and feasibility that are applied when considering other potential additions to the system.
We would be happy to work with the sponsor and the Committee on how to incorporate these sites into our study process.
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.