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                                                       Calendar No. 415
105th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE

 2d Session                                                     105-217
_______________________________________________________________________


 
      NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD NETWORK TO FREEDOM ACT OF 1997

                                _______
                                

                 June 12, 1998.--Ordered to be printed

_______________________________________________________________________


  Mr. Murkowski, from the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 887]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 887) to establish in the National Park 
Service the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom 
program, and for other purposes, having considered the same, 
reports favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that 
the bill do pass.

                         purpose of the measure

    The purpose of S. 887 is to establish in the National Park 
Service the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom 
program.

                          background and need

    The Underground Railroad was perhaps the most dramatic 
protest action against slavery in United States history. It was 
a clandestine operation that began during the colonial period, 
which later became part of organized abolitionist activity in 
the 19th century, reaching its peak in the period 1830-1865. 
The story of the Underground Railroad is one of individual 
sacrifice and heroism in the efforts of enslaved people to 
reach freedom from bondage.
    The phenomenon known as the Underground Railroad involved 
both a deep personal commitment and defiance of certain laws. 
The Underground Railroad was neither ``underground'' nor a 
``railroad''. Usually scholars describe it as a loosely 
constructed network of routes, that originated in the South, 
intertwined throughout the North, and extending into Canada. 
Escape routes, however, were not restricted to the North, they 
also extended into the western territories, Mexico, and the 
Caribbean.
    The underground railroad operations relied heavily on 
secret codes as railroad jargon alerted ``passengers'' when 
travel was safe. Runaways usually commuted either alone or in 
small groups, and were occasionally assisted by black and white 
``conductors'' who risked their lives to escort runaways to 
freedom. By definition, this activity was clandestine, so 
information about sites and routes was kept secret or not 
widely distributed. After slavery was abolished, the story of 
the Underground Railroad was kept alive by oral tradition and 
written works, including personal accounts, and historic 
documentation. Although the history of the Underground Railroad 
has been described in several publications, information about 
the current condition of sites and structures has been limited. 
Many of these sites and structures, especially in urban areas, 
have been demolished or substantially changed since the Civil 
War.
    Despite its historical significance, the Underground 
Railroad has not been officially recognized in any fashion. In 
1990, Congress passed legislation directing the Secretary of 
the Interior, through the National Park Service, to conduct a 
study of options for commemorating the Underground Railroad. 
The study, completed in 1996, focused on the sites, routes, and 
other resources that remain throughout the Nation. The study 
focused on those sites that are available for public 
appreciation and education. The Underground Railroad was found 
to be nationally significant and suitable for inclusion in the 
National Park System. In addition, the study found a few 
elements of the story are represented in existing NPS units and 
other sites, but many important resource types of sites in the 
underground network of sites are not adequately represented or 
protected. Some sites have very high potential for 
preservation, visitor use, and interpretation. No single site 
or route completely reflects the complete story of the 
Underground Railroad or its related activities. The story and 
resources involve networks composed of a number of different 
types of facilities and regions rather than specific individual 
sites and trails.
    The study concluded that a variety of partnership 
approaches would be most appropriate for the protection and 
interpretation of the Underground Railroad. These partnerships 
could include the Federal, State, and localgovernments along 
with a variety of private sector involvement.
    Sites in danger of being lost or destroyed were identified 
in the study and concern was expressed that other sites have 
yet to be located and documented. The study also noted that 
despite a tremendous amount of interest in the Underground 
Railroad, little organized coordination and communication 
exists among interested individuals and organizations.
    The study documented 380 sites, including 27 sites of the 
National Park System that could have a direct interpretive 
relationship with the Undergound Railroad story, and another 55 
park units that could have African-American history 
associations. Thirty-one existing National Historic Landmarks 
are associated in some manner with the Underground Railroad 
story through the sub-themes of abolitionism, slavery and 
plantation life and ethnic communities. Finally, a list of 42 
potential new National Historic Landmarks with association to 
the Underground Railroad story have been identified.

                          legislative history

    S. 887 was introduced by Senator Moseley-Braun and Senator 
DeWine on June 11, 1997 and referred to the Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources. Since introduction the following 
cosponsors were added: Senators Durbin, Specter, Murray, 
Sarbanes, D'Amato, Snowe, Collins, Biden, Dodd, Moynihan, Robb, 
Lugar, Kennedy, Bond, Abraham, Ford, Faircloth, Warner, Hagel, 
Boxer, Torricelli, Lautenberg, Wellstone, Chafee, and Santorum. 
The Subcommittee on National Parks, Historic Preservation and 
Recreation held a hearing on S. 887 on March 24, 1998.
    At its business meeting on May 13, 1998, the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 887 favorably reported.

            committee recommendation and tabulation of votes

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on May 13, 1998, by a unanimous vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 887. The 
rollcall vote on reporting the measure was 20 yeas, 0 nays, as 
follows:
        YEAS                            
Mr. Murkowski
Mr. Domenici
Mr. Nickles \1\
Mr. Craig
Mr. Campbell
Mr. Thomas
Mr. Kyl
Mr. Grams \1\
Mr. Smith
Mr. Gorton
Mr. Burns \1\
Mr. Bumpers
Mr. Ford
Mr. Bingaman
Mr. Akaka
Mr. Dorgan \1\
Mr. Graham \1\
Mr. Wyden
Mr. Johnson
Ms. Landrieu

    \1\ Indicates voted by proxy.

                      section by section analysis

    Section 1 designates the bills short title as the 
``National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 
1997''.
    Section 2(a) gives a brief history of the underground 
railroad and the role it played in bridging the divides of 
race, religion, and nationality. This section discusses the 
Underground Railroad Advisory Committee's study and its 
findings. The Advisory Committee found that many of the sites 
are in imminent danger of being lost or destroyed; no single 
site or route completely reflects the Underground Railroad; 
establishment of a variety of partnerships with federal, state, 
local, and private sector would be the approrpriate way to 
preserve and protect the Underground Railroad.
    Subsection 2(b) states the purpose of the bill in 
recognizing the importance of the Underground Railroad and the 
sacrifices made by those involved. This section authorizes the 
National Park Service to coordinate and facilitate both Federal 
and non-Federal activities of the Underground Railroad.
    Section 3(a) directs the Secretary of the Interior to 
establish in the National Park Service a program known as the 
``National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom'' (National 
Network). The bill directs the Secretary to produce and 
disseminate necessary educational materials; enter into 
agreements to providetechnical assistance to other Federal, 
State, local, and private entities; and create a uniform symbol and 
associated regulations for use of symbol.
    Subsection 3(b) states that the National Network includes 
any existing National Park Service unit or any other Federal, 
State, local or private property pertaining to the National 
Network that is included and determined to be eligible for 
inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places.
    Subsection 3(c) authorizes the Secretary to enter into 
cooperative agreements and memorandums of understanding to 
provide technical assistance to other Federal, State, local, 
private entities, or with the governments of Canada, Mexico, or 
any other appropriate country in the Caribbean to ensure 
effective coordination of the National Network.
    Subsection 3(d) authorizes appropriations of $500,000 for 
1998, and $1,000,000 for each year thereafter.

                   cost and budgetary considerations

    The following estimate of costs of this measure has been 
provided by the Congressional Budget Office:

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                      Washington, DC, May 20, 1998.
Hon. Frank H. Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
U.S. Senate, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for S. 887, the National 
Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1997.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                         June E. O'Neill, Director.
    Enclosure.

               congressional budget office cost estimate

S. 887--National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1997

    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that the National Park Service (NPS) would spend less 
than $500,000 in fiscal year 1998 and about $1 million annually 
in subsequent years to carry out the requirements of S. 887. 
This legislation would not affect governmental receipts or 
direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures would not 
apply. S. 887 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995 
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    S. 887 would require the NPS to establish a program to be 
known as the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom. 
In order to implement this program, the NPS would produce and 
distribute educational materials, create and adopt an official 
symbol for the network, and provide technical assistance to 
other interested entities. Also for this purpose, the bill 
would authorize the agency to execute cooperative agreements or 
memoranda of understanding with such entities, including 
private organizations, other nations, and federal, state, or 
local government agencies. Finally, the bill would authorize 
appropriations to carry out these activities of $500,000 for 
fiscal year 1998 and $1 million for each year thereafter.
    Based on information provided by the NPS, CBO estimates 
that the agency would spend about $500,000 to create the 
network in the first several months following enactment. This 
work would include basic planning, developing educational 
materials and interpretive exhibits, and coordinating federal 
activities with those of other interested groups or 
individuals. The NPS would use the $1 million authorized for 
each year beginning with 1999 to manage the network and provide 
assistance to other parties under cooperative agreements.
    The staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. The 
estimate was approved by Robert A. Sunshine, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

                      REGULATORY IMPACT EVALUATION

    In compliance with paragraph 11(b) of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee makes the following 
evaluation of the regulatory impact which would be incurred in 
carrying out S. 887. The bill is not a regulatory measure in 
the sense of imposing Government-established standards or 
significant economic responsibilities on private individuals 
and businesses.
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
privacy.
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from 
enactment of S. 887, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    On May 14, 1998, the Committee received the following 
legislative report from the Department of Interior and the 
Office of Management and Budget setting forth agency 
recommendations on S. 887.

                        Department of the Interior,
                                   Office of the Secretary,
                                                    Washington, DC.
Hon. Frank H. Murkowski,
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Natural Resources,
Senate Dirkson Office Building, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: On Wednesday, May 13, the Committee is 
scheduled to mark up S. 887, the National Underground Railroad 
Network to Freedom Act of 1997, which would establish the 
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program within 
the National Park Service (NPS).
    The Department strongly supports S. 887.
    Public Law 101-628 directed the Secretary of the Interior, 
through the NPS, to conduct a study of alternatives for 
commemorating and interpreting the underground railroad. The 
study was completed and transmitted to Congress on February 7, 
1996. The underground railroad was found to be nationally 
significant.
    S. 887 provides a structure to identify and commemorate the 
activities of the underground railroad and would promote public 
education of this part of American history. The bill would 
allow the NPS, working in partnership with other public 
agencies and the private sector, to raise community awareness 
of the value of the remaining sites and to coordinate a 
regional approach to the presentation of historic sites and the 
interpretation of the underground railroad story.
    The underground railroad was an activity of long duration 
and had wide geographic sweep. While some aspects of the 
underground railroad story are represented in NPS units and 
sites, for the most part such sites are outside the National 
Park System. S. 887 allows the NPS to enhance interpretation at 
existing sites and to identify other sites, some of which are 
in danger of being destroyed.
    The Office of Management and Budget advises that there is 
no objection to the presentation of this report from the 
standpoint of the Administration's program.
            Sincerely,
                                    Nancy K. Hayes,
                                 Acting Assistant Secretary
                                       for Fish Wildlife and Parks.

                        CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, the Committee notes that no 
changes in existing law are made by S. 887, as ordered 
reported.