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                                                        Calendar No. 12
109th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                      109-5

======================================================================



 
                 ATCHAFALAYA NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA ACT

                                _______
                                

               February 16, 2005.--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. 204]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 204) to establish the Atchafalaya 
National Heritage Area in the State of Louisiana, reports 
favorably thereon without amendment and recommends that the 
bill do pass.

                         PURPOSE OF THE MEASURE

    The purpose of S. 204 is to establish the Atchafalaya 
National Heritage Area in the State of Louisiana.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Atchafalaya River flows out of the Red and Mississippi 
Rivers in central Louisiana, and then flows southward, west of 
the Mississippi, 170 miles to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the 
way, it forms the largest river swamp in the United States, and 
provides outstanding habitat for a diverse array of fish and 
wildlife, including over two hundred species of birds.
    The basin drained by the Atchafalaya River spans thirteen 
parishes in south-central Louisiana. The area is strongly 
associated with the Cajuns, descendants of the French-speaking 
Acadians who settled in the area after they were expelled from 
Nova Scotia (originally called Acadia) in the latter part of 
the eighteenth century. The cultural complexity of the region 
has created a rich tapestry of history, customs, traditions, 
architecture, music, language, and food of national 
significance.
    The State of Louisiana formally designated the Atchafalaya 
River Basin as the Atchafalaya Trace Heritage Area in 1997 in 
recognition of the area's rich natural, scenic, cultural, and 
historic resources. The State established a commission to 
``preserve, enhance, protect, and interpret'' the area's 
resources and heritage, to develop an integrated natural, 
scenic, cultural, and historical resource management plan for 
the area, and to obtain Federal recognition of the area as a 
National Heritage Area.
    The Atchafalaya River Basin contains a nationally distinct 
landscape arising from patterns of human activity shaped by 
geography. Its history, culture, and natural and recreational 
resources are of national significance. Federal recognition of 
the area as a National Heritage Area will enable the National 
Park Service to assist the State of Louisiana and citizen 
groups in preserving, protecting, and interpreting nationally 
important resources for the benefit of all Americans, without 
the need to acquire or manage those resources.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 204 was introduced by Senators Landrieu and Vitter on 
January 31, 2005. During the 108th Congress, the Committee 
considered identical legislation, S. 323. S. 323 was introduced 
by Senators Landrieu and Breaux on February 5, 2003. The 
Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 323, as 
amended, favorably reported (S. Rept. 108-294) on September 15, 
2004. S. 323, as amended, passed the Senate by unanimous 
consent on September 15, 2004. S. 323 was referred to the House 
Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation and Public Lands on 
September 20, 2004. The text of S. 323 was incorporated into S. 
Amdt. 4085 to S. 1521, which passed the Senate by unanimous 
consent on December 7, 2004. The House of Representatives did 
not consider the bill prior to the sine die adjournment of the 
108th Congress.
    During the 107th Congress, the Committee on Energy and 
Natural Resources, Subcommittee on National Parks considered 
similar legislation, S. 2899. That bill was favorably reported 
by theCommittee on October 4, 2002. The text of S. 2899 was 
adopted as part of a substitute amendment to H.R. 695, legislation 
authorizing numerous heritage areas. H.R. 695, as amended, passed the 
Senate by unanimous consent on November 19, 2002, but was not 
considered prior to the sine die adjournment of the 107th Congress.
    At a business meeting on February 9, 2005, the Committee on 
Energy and Natural Resources ordered S. 204 favorably reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an 
open business session on February 9, 2005, by a unanimous voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 
204.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 entitles this bill the ``Atchafalaya National 
Heritage Act.''
    Section 2 defines key terms used in the Act.
    Section 3 establishes the Atchafalaya National Heritage 
area and describes the parishes within the State of Louisiana 
to be included in the boundary. This section also designates 
the Atchafalaya Trace Commission as the coordinating entity and 
describes the composition of the commission.
    Section 4(a) provides the local coordinating entity with 
the authority to use funds for preparing, updating and 
implementing the management plan. The funds may be used for 
making grants, entering into cooperative agreements and 
contracts for goods and services and hiring and compensating 
staff.
    Subsection (b) establishes the duties of the local 
coordinating entity, including implementing the management 
plan, adopting bylaws, reporting accomplishments and 
expenditures and the undertaking of initiatives that advance 
the Heritage Area.
    Subsection (c) prohibits the local coordinating entity from 
using Federal funds received under this Act to acquire real 
property.
    Subsecton (d) requires that the coordinating entity hold 
quarterly public meetings.
    Section 5 requires the local coordinating entity to prepare 
a management plan for the Heritage Area and sets forth the 
elements of the plan.
    Subsection (d) sets forth requirements and deadlines for 
the submission, approval or disapproval, and amendment of the 
proposed management plan and is self-explanatory.
    Section 6 states that this Act does not grant any Federal 
agency regulatory authority and will have no effect on the 
authority of any local, State or Federal government to regulate 
land use or environmental quality designations as provided for 
by law.
    Section 7 requires that the coordinating entity submit an 
annual report that describes the accomplishments, income and 
expenditures of the coordinating entity.
    Section 8 authorizes $1 million to be appropriated to carry 
out this Act, with not more than $1 million appropriated for 
any given fiscal year. The Federal share may not exceed 50 
percent of the total cost of any activity. The Committee notes 
that the remaining share, provided by the local coordinating 
entity, may include both non-Federal funds and in kind goods 
and services.
    Section 9 terminates the authority of the Secretary to 
assist the local coordinating entity 15 years after the date of 
enactment.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

                                                 February 14, 2005.
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. 204, the Atchafalaya 
National Heritage Area Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                               Douglas Holtz-Eakin.
    Enclosure.

S. 204--Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Act

    S. 204 would establish the Atchafalaya National Heritage 
Area (NHA) in Louisiana. The bill would designate the 
Atchafalaya Trace Commission as the local coordinating entity 
for the proposed NHA. The commission would be responsible for 
developing and implementing a management plan for the 
protection, development, and management of cultural and other 
resources of the area. Finally, the legislation would authorize 
the appropriation of $10 million, not to exceed $1 million 
annually, for financial assistance to the commission over the 
next 15 years.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 204 would cost $10 million over 
the next 10 to 15 years. Such amounts would be used to cover a 
portion of the costs of planning, establishing, operating, and 
interpreting the heritage area. Enacting S. 204 would have no 
effect on revenues or direct spending.
    S. 204 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 Deborah Reis. 
The estimate was approved by Peter H. Fontaine, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.
                                ------                                

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                     Washington, DC, June 22, 2004.
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. 323, the Atchafalaya 
National Heritage Area Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Deborah Reis.
            Sincerely,
                                      Elizabeth M. Robinson
                               (For Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Director).
    Enclosure.

S. 323--Atchafalaya National Heritage Area Act

    S. 323 would establish the Archafalaya National Heritage 
Area (NHA) in Louisiana. The bill would designate the 
Atchafalaya Trace Commission as the local coordinating entity 
for the proposed NHA. The commission would be responsible for 
developing and implementing a management plan for the 
protection, development, and management of cultural and other 
resources of the area. Finally, the legislation would authorize 
the appropriation of $10 million, not to exceed $1 million 
annually, for financial assistance to the commission over the 
next 15 years.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amounts, CBO 
estimates that implementing S. 323 would cost $10 million over 
the next 10 to 15 years. Such amounts would be used to cover a 
portion of the costs of planning, establishing, operating, and 
interpreting the heritage area. Enacting S. 323 would have no 
effect on revenues or direct spending.
    S. 323 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 Deborah Reis. 
The 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. 204. 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. 204, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    On February 9, 2005, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources requested legislative reports from the Department of 
the Interior setting forth executive views of S. 204. These 
views had not been received at the time this report 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.

                        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. 204 as ordered 
reported.