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                                                        Calendar No. 40
108th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                     108-25

======================================================================
 
                  RIM OF THE VALLEY CORRIDOR STUDY ACT

                                _______
                                

                 March 19, 2003.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 347]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred to the bill (S. 347) to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a joint 
special resources study to evaluate the suitability and 
feasibility of establishing the Rim of the Valley Corridor as a 
unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, 
and for other purposes, having considered the same, reports 
favorably thereon with an amendment and an amendment to the 
title and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
    1. Strike out all after the enacting clause and insert in 
lieu thereof the following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Rim of the Valley Corridor Study 
Act''.

SEC. 2. RIM OF THE VALLEY CORRIDOR STUDY.

    The Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture 
shall conduct a joint resource study of the lands, waters, and 
interests of the area comprising the Rim of the Valley Corridor in 
Southern California, as depicted on the map entitled ``Santa Monica 
Mountains Conservancy Zone--Rim of the Valley Corridor Parklands and 
Open Space'' and dated July 30, 2002, to evaluate a range of 
alternative for protecting resources, including the suitability and 
feasibility of establishing the area as a unit of the Santa Monica 
Mountains National Recreation Area. The Secretaries shall consult with 
appropriate State, county and local government entities in conducting 
the study.

SEC. 3 AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    There are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be 
necessary to carry out this Act.

    2. Amend the title so as to read: ``A bill to direct the 
Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to 
conduct a joint resource study to evaluate the suitability and 
feasibility of establishing the Rim of the Valley Corridor as a 
unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, 
and for other purposes.''.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of S. 347 is to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a joint 
resources study to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of 
establishing the Rim of the Valley Corridor as a unit of the 
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    S. 347 directs the Secretary of the Interior and the 
Secretary of Agriculture to study the Rim of the Valley 
Corridor, the escarpment of the San Gabriel Mountains in 
southern California primarily within the Angeles National 
Forest, as a possible addition to the Santa Monica Mountains 
National Recreation Area. The Santa Monica Mountains N.R.A. is 
the largest urban unit of the National Park System, comprising 
more than 150,000 acres near Los Angeles.
    The Rim of the Valley Corridor contains parts of an 
endangered habitat area, the Mediterranean chaparral ecosystem. 
Nearby mountains also provide notable recreation opportunities 
and a haven from the noise and commotion of the Los Angeles 
Basin. The State of California has adopted the Rim of the 
Valley Master Plan submitted by the Santa Monica Mountain 
Conservancy, but State and local efforts to protect the area 
have been hampered by a lack of financial resources and 
resource management expertise.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 347 was introduced by Senator Feinstein on February 11, 
2003. Similar legislation, S. 2571, was introduced by Senator 
Feinstein during the 107th Congress. The Subcommittee on 
National Parks held a hearing on S. 2571 on July 18, 2002. At 
its business meeting on July 31, 2002, the Committee on Energy 
and Natural Resources ordered S. 2571, as amended, favorably 
reported.
    The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on S. 347 
on March 4, 2003. At the business meeting on March 12, 2003, 
the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 347, 
as amended, favorably reported.

                       COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on March 12, 2003, by a unamimous vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 347, if 
amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During the consideration of S. 347, the Committee adopted 
an amendment in the nature of a substitute which eliminates the 
congressional findings and clarifies that the National Park 
Service is to conduct a ``resource study'' instead of the 
``special resource study'' authorized in the bill. A special 
resource study is typically reserved for actions that may lead 
to designation of a new unit of the National Park System. A 
resource study is performed for other types of actions such as 
expanding an existing park unit. The Committee also adopted an 
amendment to the title.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 titles the bill the ``Rim of the Valley Corridor 
Study Act.''
    Section 2 directs the Secretary of the Interior and the 
Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a joint resource study, 
sets forth requirements and criteria for conducting the study 
and consultation with affected governmental entities.
    Section 3 authorizes the appropriations of such sums as are 
necessary to carry out this Act.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                    Washington, DC, March 13, 2003.
Hon. Pete V. Domenici,
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. 347, the Rim of the 
Valley Corridor Study Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Megan 
Carroll.
            Sincerely,
                                        Douglas Holtz-Eakin
                                                          Director.
    Enclosure.

S. 347--Rim of the Valley Corridor Study Act

    S. 347 would direct the Secretary of the Interior and the 
Secretary of Agriculture to study the suitability and 
feasibility of adding certain federal lands to the Santa Monica 
Mountains National Recreation Area in California. Based on 
information from the Department of the Interior, CBO estimates 
that the proposed study would cost about $500,000 in 2004, 
assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. Enacting S. 
347 would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    S. 347 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Megan Carroll. 
This estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, 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. 347. 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 the 
enactment of S. 347, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    On February 26, 2003, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior and the Office of Management and Budget setting 
forth Executive agency recommendations on S. 347. These reports 
had not been received at the time the report on S. 347 was 
filed. When the reports become available, the Chairman will 
request that they be printed in the Congressional Record for 
the advice of the Senate. The testimony provided by the 
National Park Service at the Subcommittee hearing follows:

 Statement of de Teel Patterson Tiller, Acting Associate Director for 
 Cultural Resources, National Park Service, Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the 
Department's views on S. 347, a bill to direct the Secretaries 
of Interior and Agriculture to conduct a joint special 
resources study to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of 
establishing the Rim of the Valley Corridor, in the Los Angeles 
region, as a unit of Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation 
Area.
    The Department supports this bill with the minor 
clarification provided in this testimony. We believe that this 
study will provide a good opportunity to explore partnerships 
with a wide range of state, local, private, and other federal 
entities for the purpose of protecting and interpreting 
important natural and cultural resources.
    On July 18, 2002, the Department testified on S. 2571, a 
similar bill that would have directed the Secretary of the 
Interior to study the Rim of the Valley for addition to Santa 
Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. In our testimony, we 
recommended that the bill be amended to make the study a joint 
study between the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture and 
we suggested that the provision that established a 17-member 
advisory commission was unnecessary. At the committee markup, 
S. 2571 was amended incorporating the department's suggestions. 
S. 347 is identical to S. 2571 as it was amended in the 107th 
Congress.
    S. 347 directs the Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture 
to conduct a joint Special Resource Study of the Rim of the 
Valley Corridor in Southern California. S. 347 further requires 
that the study evaluate the suitability and feasibility of 
establishing the area as a unit of the Santa Monica Mountains 
National Recreation Area. The Secretaries are directed to use 
the criteria for study of areas for inclusion in the National 
Park System and to consult with appropriate State, county, and 
local governments. The study is estimated to cost approximately 
$500,000.
    The National Park Service generally conducts special 
resource studies to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of 
an area to become a new unit of the National Park System. We 
understand that the intent of this bill is not to establish a 
new park, but rather to study the Rim of the Valley as a 
potential addition for Santa Monica Mountains National 
Recreation Area. As such, we suggest that ``Special Resource 
Study'' be replaced with ``resource study'' in all places where 
it appears in the bill. We would be happy to work with the 
subcommittee staff to develop any additional clarifying 
language that may be required.
    The study would assess habitat quality, access to urban 
open space, low-impact recreation and educational uses, 
wildlife and habitat restoration and protection and watershed 
improvements along the Rim of the Valley corridor surrounding 
the San Fernando and La Crescenta Valleys. This corridor 
consists of portions of the Santa Monica Mountains, Santa 
Susanna Mountains, San Gabriel Mountains, Verdugo Mountains, 
San Rafael Hills and the connector to Los Padres, Angeles, and 
San Bernardino National Forests, which provide notable 
recreation opportunities close to the Los Angeles basin.
    In addition to natural and recreational opportunities, the 
area also includes properties found on the National Register of 
Historic Places. Old stagecoach stops and images of the Wild 
West still exist. Amtrak's Coast Starlight line travels past 
many of these rich cultural and natural motifs. The area 
supports a diverse system of plants and animals, including 26 
distinct plant communities and more than 400 vertebrate 
species.
    As the largest urban park area in the National Park System, 
the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area includes 
153,750 acres and provides recreational opportunities for 
approximately 530,000 visitors annually. During the 25 years 
since the national recreation area was authorized by Congress, 
this unit has become a model of collaboration of many local, 
state, and federal public land managers, as well as many 
private property owners--all working together as stewards of 
the scenic, natural, cultural, and recreational resources.
    Recognizing the limitation of federal resources for 
acquiring and managing additional lands, the study would have 
to examine a number of alternatives for protecting significant 
areas of open space in the Rim of the Valley Corridor, 
including those that involve minimal cost to the federal 
government. With the study area encompassing 491,518 acres, the 
study would emphasize public-private partnerships. Given the 
large size and the diversity of stakeholders in the area, the 
study undertaken by the National Park Service would involve 
extensive outreach with members of the public, private 
landowners, and local governments. It would likely entail 
extended comment periods, and extensive analysis.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony. I would be happy 
to answer any questions you or any members of the subcommittee 
may have.

                        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 the bill S. 347, as ordered 
reported.