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Calendar No. 735
108th Congress Report
2d Session 108-376
HIGHLANDS CONSERVATION ACT
September 28, 2004.--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 H.R. 1964]
The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was
referred the Act (H.R. 1964) to assist the States of
Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania in
conserving priority lands and natural resources in the
Highlands region, and for other purposes, having considered the
same, reports favorably thereon with an amendment and
recommends that the Act, as amended, do pass.
The amendment is as follows:
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 ``Highlands Conservation Act''.
SEC. 2. PURPOSES.
The purposes of this Act are--
(1) to recognize the importance of the water, forest,
agricultural, wildlife, recreational, and cultural resources of
the Highlands region, and the national significance of the
Highlands region to the United States;
(2) to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to work in
partnership with the Secretary of Agriculture to provide
financial assistance to the Highlands States to preserve and
protect high priority conservation land in the Highlands
(3) to continue the ongoing Forest Service programs in the
Highlands region to assist the Highlands States, local units of
government, and private forest and farm landowners in the
conservation of land and natural resources in the Highlands
SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.
In this Act:
(1) Highlands region.--The term ``Highlands region'' means
the area depicted on the map entitled ``The Highlands Region'',
dated June 2004, including the list of municipalities included
in the Highlands region, and maintained in the headquarters of
the Forest Service in Washington, District of Columbia.
(2) Highlands state.--The term ``Highlands State'' means--
(A) the State of Connecticut;
(B) the State of New Jersey;
(C) the State of New York; and
(D) the State of Pennsylvania.
(3) Land conservation partnership project.--The term ``land
conservation partnership project'' means a land conservation
(A) located in the Highlands region;
(B) identified by the Forest Service in the Study,
the Update, or any subsequent Pennsylvania and
Connecticut Update as having high conservation value;
(C) in which a non-Federal entity acquires land or an
interest in land from a willing seller to permanently
protect, conserve, or preserve the land through a
partnership with the Federal Government.
(4) Non-federal entity.--The term ``non-Federal entity''
(A) any Highlands State; or
(B) any agency or department of any Highlands State
with authority to own and manage land for conservation
purposes, including the Palisades Interstate Park
(5) Study.--The term ``Study'' means the New York-New Jersey
Highlands Regional Study conducted by the Forest Service in
(6) Update.--The term ``Update'' means the New York-New
Jersey Highlands Regional Study: 2002 Update conducted by the
(7) Pennsylvania and connecticut update.--The term
``Pennsylvania and Connecticut Update'' means a report to be
completed by the Forest Service that identifies areas having
high conservation values in the States of Connecticut and
Pennsylvania in a manner similar to that utilized in the Study
SEC. 4. LAND CONSERVATION PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS IN THE HIGHLANDS REGION.
(a) Submission of Proposed Projects.--Each year, the governors of the
Highlands States, with input from pertinent units of local government
and the public, may--
(1) jointly identify land conservation partnership projects
in the Highlands region from land identified as having high
conservation values in the Study, the Update, or the
Pennsylvania and Connecticut Update that shall be proposed for
Federal financial assistance; and
(2) submit a list of those projects to the Secretary of the
(b) Consideration of Projects.--Each year, the Secretary of the
Interior, in consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, shall
submit to Congress a list of the land conservation partnership projects
submitted under subsection (a)(2) that are eligible to receive
financial assistance under this section.
(c) Eligibility Conditions.--To be eligible for financial assistance
under this section for a land conservation partnership project, a non-
Federal entity shall enter into an agreement with the Secretary of the
(1) identifies the non-Federal entity that shall own or hold
and manage the land or interest in land;
(2) identifies the source of funds to provide the non-Federal
share under subsection (d);
(3) describes the management objectives for the land that
will ensure permanent protection and use of the land for the
purpose for which the assistance will be provided;
(4) provides that, if the non-Federal entity converts, uses,
or disposes of the land conservation partnership project for a
purpose inconsistent with the purpose for which the assistance
was provided, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior,
the United States--
(A) may seek specific performance of the conditions
of financial assistance in accordance with paragraph
(3) in Federal court; and
(B) shall be entitled to reimbursement from the non-
Federal entity in an amount that is, as determined at
the time of conversion, use, or disposal, the greater
(i) the total amount of the financial
assistance provided for the project by the
Federal Government under this section; or
(ii) the amount by which the financial
assistance increased the value of the land or
interest in land; and
(5) provides that land conservation partnership projects will
be consistent with areas identified as having high conservation
(A) the Important Areas portion of the Study;
(B) the Conservation Focal Areas portion of the
(C) the Conservation Priorities portion of the
(D) land identified as having higher or highest
resource value in the Conservation Values Assessment
portion of the Update; and
(E) land identified as having high conservation value
in the Pennsylvania and Connecticut Update.
(d) Non-Federal Share Requirement.--The Federal share of the cost of
carrying out a land conservation partnership project under this section
shall not exceed 50 percent of the total cost of the land conservation
(e) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be
appropriated to the Secretary of the Interior $10,000,000 for each of
fiscal years 2005 through 2014, to remain available until expended.
SEC. 5. FOREST SERVICE AND USDA PROGRAMS IN THE HIGHLANDS REGION.
(a) In General.--To meet the land resource goals of, and the
scientific and conservation challenges identified in, the Study,
Update, and any future study that the Forest Service may undertake in
the Highlands region, the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the
Chief of the Forest Service and in consultation with the Chief of the
National Resources Conservation Service, shall continue to assist the
Highlands States, local units of government, and private forest and
farm landowners in the conservation of land and natural resources in
the Highlands region.
(b) Duties.--The Forest Service shall--
(1) in consultation with the Highlands States, undertake
other studies and research in the Highlands region consistent
with the purposes of this Act, including a Pennsylvania and
(2) communicate the findings of the Study and Update and
maintain a public dialogue regarding implementation of the
Study and Update; and
(3) assist the Highland States, local units of government,
individual landowners, and private organizations in identifying
and using Forest Service and other technical and financial
assistance programs of the Department of Agriculture.
(c) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be
appropriated to the Secretary of Agriculture to carry out this section
$1,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2005 through 2014.
SEC. 6. PRIVATE PROPERTY PROTECTION AND LACK OF REGULATORY EFFECT.
(a) Access to Private Property.--Nothing in this Act--
(1) requires a private property owner to permit public access
(including Federal, State, or local government access) to
private property; or
(2) modifies any provision of Federal, State, or local law
with regard to public access to, or use of, private land.
(b) Liability.--Nothing in this Act creates any liability, or has any
effect on liability under any other law, of a private property owner
with respect to any persons injured on the private property.
(c) Recognition of Authority to Control Land Use.--Nothing in this
Act modifies any authority of Federal, State, or local governments to
regulate land use.
(d) Participation of Private Property Owners.--Nothing in this Act
requires the owner of any private property located in the Highlands
region to participate in the land conservation, financial, or technical
assistance or any other programs established under this Act.
(e) Purchase of Land or Interests in Land From Willing Sellers
Only.--Funds appropriated to carry out this Act shall be used to
purchase land or interests in land only from willing sellers.
PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE
The purpose of H.R. 1964 is to assist the States of
Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania in
conserving priority lands and natural resources in the
BACKGROUND AND NEED
The Northeastern Highlands is a geographic region that
encompasses over two million acres stretching from western
Connecticut across the Lower Hudson River Valley and northern
New Jersey into east central Pennsylvania. About 1.4 million
people live in the Highlands Region, which is adjacent to one
of the most populous metropolitan areas of the United States,
and is the source of the area's drinking water. The Highland
Region is also home to a number of endangered species and
H.R. 1964 extends the area considered in the 2002 Forest
Service update of the New York-New Jersey Highlands Region
Study into northwestern Connecticut and southwest into
Pennsylvania, and from the Delaware River, southwest to
Harrisburg and York, Pennsylvania.
The overall purpose of the Highlands Conservation Act is to
promote conservation of critical natural resources and priority
conservation lands identified in the Forest Service's update of
the New York-New Jersey Highlands Regional Study. The bill
would authorize $10 million annually over ten years in grants
to the affected states for land conservation partnership
projects, and $1 million annually over ten years for Forest
Service studies and technical assistance to private landowners
and local communities.
H.R. 1964 was introduced on May 6, 2003, by Congressman
Rodney Frelinghuysen for himself and others. The House of
Representatives passed H.R. 1964, as amended, by a voice vote
on November 21, 2003. The Subcommittee on Public Lands and
Forests held a hearing on H.R. 1964 on March 24, 2004 (S. Hrg.
108-531). A companion measure, S. 999 was introduced by Senator
Corzine and others on May 6, 2003. Similar language was also
adopted as a Senate amendment to H.R. 1964, the Healthy Forests
Restoration Act. The bill passed the Senate, as amendment on
October 30, 2003, although the Highlands title was not included
in the conference report. At its business meeting on September
15, 2004, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered
H.R. 1964 to be favorably reported with amendments.
The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in
open business session on September 15, 2004, by a unanimous
voice vote, of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate
pass H.R. 1964, if amended as described herein.
During the consideration of H.R. 1964, the Committee
adopted an amendment in the nature of a substitute deleting
section 2 (containing congressional findings) and renumbering
the following sections. It replaces the written description of
the area with a map indicating the boundaries of the Highlands
region. It also directs and authorizes the Forest Service to
complete a study for those lands that have been added in the
States of Connecticut and Pennsylvania and It clarifies the
process under which areas within the Highlands region are to be
recommended to the Secretary of the Interior for acquisition.
Finally, the amendment includes standard language authorizing
Section 1 provides the short title.
Section 2 states the purposes, which include authorizing
the Secretary of the Interior to provide financial assistance
to the States of Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and
Pennsylvania to preserve and protect high priority conservation
lands in the Highlands Region.
Section 3 defines key terms used in the bill.
Section 4 (a) directs the Governors of the States of
Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania to annually
submit proposed partnership projects to the Secretary of the
Interior for Federal financial assistance.
Subsection (b) directs the Secretary of the Interior, in
consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture, to annually
submit a list of partnership projects to Congress that are
eligible to receive financial assistance.
Subsection (c) describes the conditions for eligibility.
Subsection (d) directs that the Federal share of any
project shall not exceed 50 percent of the total costs.
Subsection (e) authorizes up to $10,000,000 annually to be
appropriated from the general fund of the Treasury for land
conservation projects identified in the section.
Section 6 authorizes the Secretary of Agriculture to
provide technical and financial assistance to the affected
States, local units of government and others, using technical
and financial assistance programs of the Department of
Agriculture, including undertaking other studies and research.
Further, it authorizes the appropriations of $1,000,000
annually to carry out this section.
Section 7 directs that funds appropriated under the Act
shall be used to purchase lands or interests only from willing
sellers. It directs that private land owners are not compelled
to permit public access, or modify any provision of Federal,
State, or local law with regard to public access. Additionally,
the section directs that nothing in the Act shall be construed
to modify any authority of Federal, State, or local government
to regulate land use.
COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS
The following estimate of costs of this measure has been
provided by the Congressional Budget Office.
H.R. 1964--Highlands Conservation Act
Summary: H.R. 1964 would authorize the appropriation of $11
million annually for fiscal years 2005 through 2014 for land
preservation in the highlands area of the eastern United
States. Most of this funding would be used by the Department of
the Interior (DOI) to provide grants to four specified states:
Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut. The
eligible states would use the grant funds to acquire land or
other real property interests. About $1 million annually would
finance U.S. Forest Service activities in the highlands area.
CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 1964 would cost $44
million through 2008 (and an additional $66 million over the
2009-2014 period), assuming appropriation of the authorized
amounts. Enacting the bill would not affect revenues or direct
H.R. 1964 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA)
and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal
Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated
budgetary impact of H.R. 1964 over the 2004-2008 period is
shown in the following table. The costs of this legislation
fall within budget function 300 (natural resources and
By fiscal year, in millions of dollars--
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Authorization level...................................... 0 11 11 11 11
Estimated outlays........................................ 0 11 11 11 11
Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the
amounts authorized will be appropriated for each fiscal year.
Of the $11 million authorized for each year, $10 million would
be used by DOI for matching grants to finance land protection
projects in the eligible states. The remaining $1 million would
be used by the Forest Service to continue its research of the
area and its assistance to the four states. No specific amounts
were appropriated for these purposes for fiscal years 2003 and
2004. Estimated outlays are based on historical spending
patterns for similar programs.
Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 1964
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or
tribal governments. Enacting this legislation would benefit the
states of Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania
because it would authorize federal assistance for conservation
projects in those states. Any costs they might incur to comply
with the conditions of that assistance would be voluntary.
Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Deborah Reis; Impact
on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Marjorie Miller; and
Impact on the Private Sector: Selena Caldera.
Estimate 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 H.R. 1964.
The bill is not a regulatory measure in the sense of
imposing Government-established standards or significant
economic responsibilities on private individuals and
No personal information would be collected in administering
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal
Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the
enactment of H.R. 1964.
On September 11, 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 H.R. 1964. These
reports had not been received when this report was filed. The
testimony provided by the Department of the Interior at the
Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1964 follows:
Statement of David Tenny, Deputy Undersecretary, Natural Resources and
Environment, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear
before you today in order to provide the Department's views on
H.R. 1964 The Highlands Conservation Act, S. 2180 to direct the
Secretary of Agriculture to exchange certain lands in the
Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests in the State of Colorado
and S. 433 The Clearwater Basin Project Act. I am accompanied
today by, Marcus Phelps, Highlands Coordinator of the Forest
Service Northeastern Area.
H.R. 1964, the Highlands Conservation Act would authorize
the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture
to work with States, local units of government, and private
landowners in the conservation of lands and natural resources
in the Highlands region of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey,
The Department defers to the Department of the Interior for
general views on the bill but would like to offer several
comments on section 6 of the bill as well as a brief discussion
regarding the Department's previous and ongoing work within the
H.R. 1964 directs the Secretary of Agriculture, acting
through the Chief of the Forest Service and in consultation
with the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service,
to continue to assist the Highlands States, local units of
government, and private forest and farm landowners in the
conservation of lands and natural resources in the Highlands
region. H.R. 1964 would authorize appropriations of $1,000,000
to the Secretary of the Agriculture for each of fiscal years
2005 through 2014 to carry out this section.
At the direction of Congress, in 1992, the USDA Forest
Service completed the New York-New Jersey Highlands Regional
Study that characterized the water resources, wildlife habitat,
outdoor recreation opportunities, and agricultural resources in
the region. This study identified lands with important resource
values such as the Sterling Forest located near Tuxedo, NY.
At the direction of Congress, the Forest Service updated
the New York-New Jersey Highlands Regional Study in 2002. The
original study area was expanded from the Hudson River eastward
to the New York-Connecticut border. The Update identifies a
number of many important natural resources in the Highlands,
and the effect of existing patterns of land use change on these
resources. Some key findings from the 2002 Update include:
The Highlands adjoin a metropolitan area of more
than 20 million people.
More than 11 million people rely on the Highlands
More than 14 million people visit the Highlands
each year for recreational opportunities.
5,200 acres per year of land was developed between
1995 and 2000.
Almost 40 percent, 540,000 acres, are considered
to have high conservation value. Nearly half of these lands are
currently in some type of permanent conservation arrangement,
such as an easement or under a nonprofit land trust holding.
Approximately 100,000 acres considered to have
high conservation value have a high likelihood of change.
Forty two of the 51 existing Hydrologic Unit Code
11 watersheds (which have an average area of about 50 square
miles) presently have 10 percent or less impervious surface
cover (a significant indicator of water quality). Depending on
the rate of land use change, the number of Hydrologic Unit Code
11 watersheds with less than 10 percent or less of impervious
surface cover could fall from 42 to about 9 to 18 in the next
The future population in the New Jersey-New York
Highlands could increase by 26 to 48 percent in the next 30
years, based on our analysis.
In addition to updating the 1992 Study, Congress directed
the Secretaries of Agriculture and the Interior to jointly
develop a set of recommendations identifying ways that Federal
government can work with State, local and non-profit partners
to address important resource issues, based on the findings of
the 1992 Study and 2002 Update.
Our efforts to address these findings continue in the New
York and New Jersey portions of the Highlands region through a
Forest Service staff position established to coordinate and
implement conservation strategies, and the ongoing support of
an internet mapping system at Rutgers University to provide
direct access to study data and maps. Also, a recent regional
meeting held at the Lautenberg Visitor Center in what is now
the Sterling Forest State Park in Tuxedo, New York, brought
together, for the first time, representatives of the various
Federal agencies involved with the Highlands region to share
information and identify ways to improve inter-agency
communication and coordination.
Over the past 10 years, the Forest Legacy program has
protected 3444 acres with $4,200,000 in Federal funds that has
leveraged over $14,000,000 in non-federal funds in New Jersey
and New York. Over the last five years, the Forest Legacy
program has provided $14,300,000 of funding that is expected to
protect over 8,700 acres in the New Jersey Highlands and to
leverage over $32 million of state and private partner funds
for land conservation. In addition, the Forest Service has
provided assistance to private landowners, nonprofits and State
and local governments, through a range of Forest Service non-
regulatory, cooperative programs of more than $1,000,000 toward
land conservation activities in those two states. These include
technical and financial assistance to states and communities
and landowner assistance for management planning and
implementation of conservation practices.
I want to bring to the Committee some issues that the
Department has identified with H.R. 1964 that may require
further consideration by the Committee.
First, the legislation covers a four-state region. The
Department's efforts to date have concentrated on the 1.5
million acre New York-New Jersey portion of the region, and
have only generally characterized the resource values and
boundaries of the Pennsylvania and Connecticut portions of the
Highlands. More thorough consideration and inventory of the
resource values in Pennsylvania and Connecticut is needed. In
addition, the committee may wish to consider adding language
that would direct the Secretaries to prepare a map to delineate
the Highlands Conservation Area and eliminate any uncertainty
regarding the area within projects would be eligible for
To our knowledge, the bill does not authorize any activity
by the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture that is
not already authorized under current law. USDA could designate
the Highlands area as a high priority within existing
authorities to permit its agencies to address resource issues
in the Highlands region. The bill's targeting of technical
assistance, financial assistance, and land conservation
projects could require USDA to determine the priority of these
activities relative to other high-priority programs or projects
that may rely on the same funding source.
Statement of Robert W. McIntosh, Associate Regional Director for
Planning and Partnerships, Northeast Region, National Park Service,
Department of the Interior
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to present the
views of the Department of the Interior on H.R. 1964, a bill to
assist the States of Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and
Pennsylvania in conserving priority lands and natural resources
in the Highlands Region, and for other purposes.
The Highlands Region, comprising more than 2 million acres
in one of the most urbanized sections of the country, contains
numerous natural and cultural resources worthy of protection.
It is a water supply source for over 11,000,000 persons,
provides critical habitat to a wide variety of plant and animal
species, and is the site of many historic events that have
shaped our nation including significant actions related to the
American Revolution. It is also an area rapidly experiencing
the impacts of urbanization.
The Highlands Region also contains units of the National
Park System including Morristown National Historical Park,
Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, and the Delaware Water
Gap National Recreation Area; designated Wild and Scenic Rivers
including the Upper Delaware and Farmington Rivers; and two
designated national heritage areas--The Hudson River Valley
National Heritage Area and the Delaware and Lehigh National
Heritage Corridor. The National Park Service has enjoyed long-
standing partnerships with the States and many of the
governments and organizations in this region.
The Department of the Interior (Department) looks forward
to continuing this productive relationship with the U.S.
Department of Agriculture, the four states, local governments,
and many present and new partners in the Highlands Region as
we, together, strive to protect natural, historic, and cultural
resources. We believe, however, that the goals of the bill can
be best achieved through existing public and private
partnerships between the Federal government, the States, local
jurisdictions and the private sector, without earmarking funds
from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) Act.
On June 17, 2003, the Department testified before the House
Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation, and Public Lands on
H.R. 1964. During that testimony, the Department indicated that
it would defer to the position of the USDA, who was the lead
agency in H.R. 1964, as introduced. We also cited concerns
about cost and identified a number of existing programs that
could meet the needs of the Highlands Region. During markup,
H.R. 1964 was amended in several ways, including designating
the Department rather than the USDA as the lead agency. For
these and other reasons discussed below, the Department does
not support this bill. We continue to defer to the USDA
regarding provisions of the bill affecting the Forest Service.
The Highlands Region has been the subject of many past
studies described in the bill that document its important
natural and cultural resources. In 1992, the Forest Service
completed its initial study of a portion of the Highlands
Region as described in the bill, which was authorized by the
1990 Farm Bill. The study supported land stewardship and
watershed-based planning activities, identified voluntary and
non-regulatory means to protect important areas, fostered
public awareness of the region's resources, and identified
priority areas for protection. In 2000, under Representative
Frelinghuysen's leadership, Congress recognized the need to
revisit the study's findings and authorized an update in Public
Law 106-291. The Forest Service completed the update in 2003
with the National Park Service providing comments on the draft
report. The draft report is the product of extensive public
participation across the Highlands Region, including
involvement by members of the working group from over 120
municipalities, non-profit groups, private groups, and citizens
in 12 counties as well as other Federal agencies and members of
Congress requested that at the conclusion of the update,
the Secretaries of Agriculture and Interior report on how they
will work together to implement the recommendations of the
study. In the draft report, three recommendations are provided
for a continued Federal role in the Highlands Region including
supporting the stewardship of the Highlands Region, ensuring
the availability of science-based information, and partnering
in local land stewardship activities. This report is currently
pending interagency review.
As we mentioned in our previous testimony, we see many
opportunities for participation in the Highlands Region through
existing programs of the Department. Projects within the region
may qualify for Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance and
Wild and Scenic Rivers assistance, and the LWCF, among others.
Through our Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program,
we are working with local groups along the Delaware and Hudson
Canal to create a 220-mile network of trails (including water
trails), scenic railroads, and scenic byways. H.R. 1964 would
authorize appropriations of $100 million from the LWCF, or from
the general funds of the Treasury, over 10 years beginning in
FY 2005. We believe that financial assistance to the region
should continue through existing authorities of the Department.
For example, the Department has made LWCF grants available to
the four States totaling over $46.6 million between 2000 and
2003. Through the LWCF program, Rockaway Township in the
Highlands Region in the State of New Jersey recently acquired
294 acres of land adjacent to the Wildcat Ridge Wildlife
Management Area for trails, low impact recreation, and to
protect open space inhabited by endangered species including
the threatened Bald Eagle.
We have consistently opposed earmarking the state grant
portion of LWCF because it circumvents state authority for
determining its own priorities for use of fund monies through
the comprehensive statewide outdoor recreation planning
process. It potentially affects the amounts available to the
other states that rely on this program. Significant protection
can be accomplished through grants to the states as they choose
to prioritize acquisitions and projects in the Highlands Region
under the current provisions of Section 6 of the LWCF Act. We
also would have concerns if the funds for this bill came from
the general funds of the Treasury because we are trying to
focus our resources on taking care of our current
responsibilities in our national parks.
This concludes my testimony. I would be pleased to answer
any questions the Committee may have this bill.
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 made by the act H.R. 1964 as ordered