Summary: S.243 — 109th Congress (2005-2006)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Passed Senate amended (07/26/2005)

National Heritage Areas Partnership Act - (Sec. 4) Establishes a system of National Heritage Areas through which the Secretary of the Interior shall provide technical and financial assistance to local coordinating entities to support the establishment, development, and continuity of the National Heritage Areas. Provides for such system to be composed of National Heritage Areas established by Congress before, on, or after enactment of this Act.

Directs the Secretary to: (1) ensure participation and assistance by units of the National Park System (NPS) located near or encompassed by National Heritage Areas in local initiatives for National Heritage Areas that conserve and interpret resources consistent with the approved management plan; and (2) work with National Heritage Areas to promote public enjoyment of NPs units and park-related resources.

Prohibits National Heritage Areas from being: (1) considered to be NPs units; or (2) subject to the laws applicable to such units.

Describes the Secretary's duties, including: (1) conducting studies to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating proposed National Heritage Areas; (2) providing technical and financial assistance for the development and implementation of management plans; (3) submitting annual reports; and (4) conducting an evaluation and submitting a report on the accomplishments, sustainability, and recommendations for the future of each designated National Heritage Area three years before the ending of federal funding for the area under this Act.

(Sec. 5) Specifies the criteria that the Secretary shall apply to determine the suitability and feasibility of designating proposed National Heritage Areas. States that designation of a National Heritage Area shall be: (1) by Act of Congress; and (2) contingent on the prior completion of a study and an affirmative determination by the Secretary that the area meets such criteria.

(Sec. 7) Sets forth requirements for National Heritage Area management plans. Instructs local coordinating entities to submit plans to the Secretary for approval. Prohibits a local coordinating entity from using federal funds authorized by this Act to implement an amendment until the Secretary approves the amendment.

(Sec. 8) Requires a local coordinating entity to submit annual reports to the Secretary for each fiscal year for which the entity receives federal funds under this Act.

Bars local coordinating entities from using federal funds authorized under this Act to acquire any interest in real property.

(Sec. 9) Specifies this Act's effect with regard to: (1) the provision of technical or financial assistance by other federal agencies; (2) the management or use of federal land by other federal agencies; and (3) specified private property and regulatory protections.

(Sec. 11) Permits the Secretary, upon request of a local coordinating entity, to continue to provide technical assistance to a National Heritage Area on the termination of the 15-year period for which assistance is provided under this Act.

Authorizes the Secretary to establish a grant program under which the Secretary provides grants (subject to specified conditions), on a competitive basis, to local coordinating entities for the conduct of individual projects at National Heritage Areas for which financial assistance has terminated. Requires submission of a list of the projects provided assistance.

(Sec. 12) Authorizes appropriations for studies and grants.

Terminates the authority of the Secretary to provide financial assistance to an individual local coordinating entity (excluding technical assistance and administrative oversight) 15 years after the initial receipt of the assistance by the local coordinating entity.

Limits to five percent the amount of funds that may be used by the Secretary for technical assistance, oversight, and administration.

Requires grant recipients to provide, as a condition of receiving a grant under this Act, matching funds from non-federal sources equal to the grant amount.