S. 400

Susquehanna National Heritage Area Act

STATEMENT OF P. DANIEL SMITH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, EXERCISING THE AUTHORITY OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, CONCERNING S. 400, A BILL TO ESTABLISH THE SUSQUEHANNA NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA IN THE STATE OF PENNSYLVANIA, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.

February 14, 2018

Chairman Daines, Ranking Member King, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on S. 400, a bill to establish the Susquehanna National Heritage Area in the State of Pennsylvania, and for other purposes. 

The Department recognizes that the proposed Susquehanna National Heritage Area has been found to meet the National Park Service’s interim criteria for designation as a national heritage area.  However, in order to focus resources on reducing the National Park Service’s $11.6 billion deferred maintenance backlog and addressing other critical national park needs, funding for national heritage areas is not a priority in the Administration’s FY 2018 or FY 2019 budget.  Under these circumstances, we believe it would be unwise to designate a new national heritage area at this time.

Most of the language in S. 400 is standard for national heritage area designation legislation that Congress has enacted in the last decade.  However, the bill’s management plan requirements are missing some standard provisions.  

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

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