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                                                       Calendar No. 672
110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 2d Session                                                     110-320

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



 
NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD NETWORK TO FREEDOM AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2007

                                _______
                                

                 April 10, 2008.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                        [To accompany H.R. 1239]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 1239) to amend the National Underground 
Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998 to authorize additional 
funding to carry out the Act, and for other purposes, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the Act do pass.

                                Purpose

    The purpose of H.R. 1239 is to increase the authorization 
ceiling for the operation of the National Underground Network 
to Freedom program, and to reduce the authorization for the 
Underground Railroad grant program.

                          Background and Need

    The National Underground Network to Freedom program was 
authorized by Congress in 1998 (Public Law 105-203) to 
coordinate and facilitate Federal and non-Federal activities to 
commemorate, honor, and interpret the history of the 
Underground Railroad. The law authorizes the Secretary of the 
Interior to produce and disseminate educational materials, 
enter into agreements to provide technical assistance to a 
variety of public and private entities in the United States, 
Mexico, Canada, and the Caribbean, and to create a symbol for 
the network. The network was to include both units and programs 
within the National Park Service and other entities outside the 
Service that had a verifiable connection to the Underground 
Railroad story.
    Since the program was established, 328 sites, programs, and 
facilities in 30 States and the District of Columbia have been 
included in the Network to Freedom. Through this program, the 
National Park Service coordinates preservation and education 
efforts nationwide, integrating local historical sites, 
museums, and interpretive programs into a mosaic of community, 
regional, and national stories of the Underground Railroad.
    H.R. 1239 would increase the authorization for operating 
the program from its current annual level of $500,000 to $2 
million, and reduce the authorization for related grant 
programs from $2.5 million annually to $500,000.

                          Legislative History

    H.R. 1239, sponsored by Congressman Hastings, passed the 
House of Representatives by a voice vote on July 23, 2007. S. 
1709 was introduced by Senators Biden and others on June 27, 
2007. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on both 
bills on September 27, 2007. (S. Hrg. 110-266.)
    At its business meeting on January 30, 2008, the Committee 
on Energy and Natural Resources ordered H.R. 1239 favorably 
reported, without amendment.

                        Committee Recommendation

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on January 30, 2008, by a voice vote of a 
quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 1239.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1 contains the short title, the ``National 
Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Amendments Act of 
2007.''
    Section 2 amends Public Law 105-203 (16 U.S.C. 469l et 
seq.) to authorize $2 million annually for the National 
Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program, authorized in 
section 3 of that law. The section authorizes $500,000 annually 
for the grant program authorized in section 4 of that Act, a 
reduction from the current $2.5 million annual authorization.

                   Cost and Budgetary Considerations

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

H.R. 1239--National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Amendments 
        Act of 2007

    Summary: H.R. 1239 would authorize the appropriation of 
$2.5 million a year to carry out activities of the National 
Underground Railroad Network to Freedom, a program administered 
by the National Park Service (NPS) that is dedicated to the 
preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of Underground 
Railroad history. Under the legislation, $2 million of the 
amounts authorized for each year would be spent on NPS projects 
and $0.5 million would be provided to nonfederal entities for 
historic preservation of eligible sites.
    Assuming appropriation of the authorized amount, CBO 
estimates that implementing H.R. 1239 would cost between $2 
million and $3 million annually over the 2009-2013 period. 
Enacting the legislation would have no effect on direct 
spending or revenues.
    H.R. 1239 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 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 1239 is shown in the following table. 
The costs of this legislation fall within budget function 300 
(natural resources and environment).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      By fiscal year, in millions of
                                                 dollars--
                                 ---------------------------------------
                                   2009    2010    2011    2012    2013
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Authorization Level.............       3       3       3       3       3
Estimated Outlays...............       2       3       3       3       3
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
legislation will be enacted before the start of fiscal year 
2009 and that the authorized amount will be appropriated for 
each year.
    The Network to Freedom encompasses over 250 programs, 
sites, and partners in 27 states and the District of Columbia. 
H.R. 1239 would amend the National Underground Railroad Network 
to Freedom Act to authorize the appropriation of $2.5 million 
per year to carry out activities under the program. For fiscal 
year 2008, NPS received an appropriation of about $1 million 
for those activities.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 1239 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on state, local, or 
tribal governments.
    Previous CBO estimate: On July 18, 2007, CBO transmitted a 
cost estimate for H.R. 1239 as ordered reported by the House 
Committee on Natural Resources on June 28, 2007. The two pieces 
of legislation are identical, and the cost estimates are the 
same.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal costs: Matthew Pickford; 
Impact on state, local, and tribal governments: Melissa 
Merrell; Impact on the private sector: Amy Petz.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, 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. 1239. The Act 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 H.R. 1239, as ordered reported.

                   Congressionally Directed Spending

    H.R. 1239, as reported, does not contain any 
congressionally directed spending items, limited tax benefits, 
or limited tariff benefits as defined in rule XLIV of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate.

                        Executive Communications

    The testimony provided by the National Park Service at the 
September 27, 2007 Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 1239 follows:

 Statement of Daniel N. Wenk, Deputy Director, National Park Service, 
                       Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear 
before your committee to present the views of the Department of 
the Interior on S. 1709 and H.R. 1239, bills to amend the 
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998. 
Both bills would adjust the authorized funding levels for the 
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program and 
for the associated grant program. S. 1709 would also require a 
minimum number of staff for the program.
    The Department supports enactment of H.R. 1239 as passed by 
the House. We support increasing the authorization ceiling for 
operation of the National Underground Railroad Network to 
Freedom program and decreasing the authorization for the 
associated grant program, as both H.R. 1239 and S. 1709 would 
do. However, we object to requiring a minimum number of staff 
for the program, as S. 1709 would do. That provision was also 
included H.R. 1239 as introduced, but H.R. 1239 was amended to 
remove that provision before it was passed by the House.
    The Network to Freedom program was authorized by Congress 
in 1998 through Public Law 105-203 to coordinate and facilitate 
Federal and non-Federal activities to commemorate, honor, and 
interpret the history of the Underground Railroad--the story of 
extraordinary actions of ordinary men and women working in 
common purpose to free a people. The law calls for producing 
and disseminating educational materials, entering into 
agreements to provide technical assistance to a variety of 
public and private entities in the United States, Mexico, 
Canada, and the Caribbean, and creating a symbol for the 
network. The network was to include both units and programs 
within the National Park Service and other entities outside the 
Service that had a verifiable connection to the Underground 
Railroad story.
    Since the program was established, 328 sites, programs, and 
facilities in 30 States and the District of Columbia have been 
included in the Network to Freedom. Through this program, which 
is national in scope but managed from the Midwest Regional 
Office, the National Park Service coordinates preservation and 
education efforts nationwide, integrating local historical 
sites, museums, and interpretive programs into a mosaic of 
community, regional, and national stories of the Underground 
Railroad.
    In 2000, Congress authorized the Underground Railroad 
matching grants program through Public Law 106-291 to provide 
support for preservation of buildings and other structures and 
related research to members of the network. Funds for these 
matching grants have been appropriated three times--$250,000 in 
Fiscal 2002; $295,800 in Fiscal 2005, and $375,000 in Fiscal 
2006. In total, 52 grants have been awarded for projects. 
Several projects involved stabilizing and preserving historic 
buildings, such as Eleutherian College in Indiana, Constitution 
Hall in Topeka, Kansas, Mayhew Cabin in Nebraska, and the 
Oswego School District Public Library in New York. Other 
projects focused on expanding research in support of site 
interpretation, such as the archeological survey at John Rankin 
House in Ohio, or education, such as the ``Discovering New 
Bedford's Underground Railroad History'' program in 
Massachusetts, a cooperative project among three local 
partners.
    Through its establishment, the Network to Freedom has 
brought traditional National Park Service strengths in 
preservation, interpretation, and planning to new communities. 
The program carries the message about the cultural and historic 
aspect of national parks directly to communities of color and 
opens the door for public participation in the expansion and 
design of the program at a grassroots level. The program has 
become an essential part of our ongoing effort to enhance 
diversity in our parks and programs.
    The Network to Freedom's work with outside partners led to 
the establishment of Friends of the Network to Freedom in 2006. 
The Friends group will work to raise funds to support 
cooperative projects, but the funding will not substitute for 
regular operations funding.
    H.R. 1239 and S. 1709 would increase the authorization 
ceiling for operating the Network to Freedom program from 
$500,000 annually, the amount that was set in the 1998 law, to 
$2 million. Along with increasing the funding level, S. 1709 
would require the Secretary to appoint at least eight full-time 
equivalent staff to carry out the program. In addition, both 
bills would reduce the authorization ceiling for the 
Underground Railroad grant program from $2.5 million annually, 
the amount set in the 2000 law, to $500,000.
    When the Network to Freedom program was first authorized, 
it appeared that $500,000 annually would be sufficient to 
operate the program. However, with the addition of the grant 
program, the growth of the network to more than 300 members, 
and nine years worth of increases in pay and other fixed costs, 
the program could justify more than $500,000 a year in 
subsequent budget requests. NPS is spending $487,000 in FY 
2007. An authorization ceiling of $2 million would enable the 
Administration to request, and Congress to appropriate, 
additional funding for this program, subject to overall NPS 
priorities and the availability of funds.
    For the grant program, we believe it is appropriate to 
reduce the authorization ceiling from $2.5 million annually to 
$500,000. In the seven years of its existence, Congress has not 
appropriated any amount larger than $375,000 for grants. With 
the amounts provided, program staff has been able to provide 
grants to nearly all network members who have sought them and 
who have also been able to raise the necessary matching funds.
    S. 1709 would require NPS to increase the staff of Network 
to Freedom program from six to eight. We do not believe it is 
appropriate to establish a minimum staffing requirement in law. 
The National Park Service needs to have the flexibility to 
determine appropriate staffing based on program needs and 
available funds. Establishing a minimum number of staff in law 
could hinder efforts to achieve management efficiencies. If the 
committee acts on S. 1709, we recommend striking Section 2, as 
was done in the House-passed version of H.R. 1239.
    In addition, we do not support providing for funds 
appropriated pursuant to this authorization to remain available 
until expended for operations funding, as S. 1709 would do. 
Allowing such funding to be available until expended would 
establish budgetary treatment for this program that is 
different from all other operations funding in the National 
Park Service. We do support allowing funding for grants to be 
available until expended, as S. 1709 would also do. If the 
committee acts on S. 1709, we recommend amending Section 3 to 
make this distinction. H.R. 1239, as passed by the House, does 
not provide for funding to be available until expended for 
either type of spending.
    Mr. Chairman, that concludes my testimony and I am prepared 
to answer any questions that you or other members of the 
committee might have at this time.

                        Changes in Existing Law

    In compliance with paragraph 12 of rule XXVI of the 
Standing Rules of the Senate, changes in existing law made by 
the Act H.R. 1239, as ordered reported, are shown as follows 
(existing law proposed to be omitted is enclosed in black 
brackets, new matter is printed in italic, existing law in 
which no change is proposed is shown in roman):

                           Public Law 105-203


AN ACT To establish within the United States National Park Service the 
National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program, and for other 
                                purposes

                         Approved July 21, 1998

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``National Underground 
Railroad Network to Freedom Act of 1998''.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


SEC. 3. NATIONAL UNDERGROUND RAILROAD NETWORK TO FREEDOM PROGRAM.

    (a) In General.--The Secretary of the Interior (in this Act 
referred to as the ``Secretary'') shall establish in the 
National Park Service a program to be known as the ``National 
Underground Railroad Network to Freedom'' (in this Act referred 
to as the ``national network''). Under the program, the 
Secretary shall--
          (1) produce and disseminate appropriate educational 
        materials, such as handbooks, maps, interpretive 
        guides, or electronic information;
          (2) enter into appropriate cooperative agreements and 
        memoranda of understanding to provide technical 
        assistance under subsection (c); and
          (3) create and adopt an official, uniform symbol or 
        device for the national network and issue regulations 
        for its use.
    (b) Elements.--The national network shall encompass the 
following elements:
          (1) All units and programs of the National Park 
        Service determined by the Secretary to pertain to the 
        Underground Railroad.
          (2) Other Federal, State, local, and privately owned 
        properties pertaining to the Underground Railroad that 
        have a verifiable connection to the Underground 
        Railroad and that are included on, or determined by the 
        Secretary to be eligible for inclusion on, the National 
        Register of Historic Places.
          (3) Other governmental and nongovernmental facilities 
        and programs of an educational, research, or 
        interpretive nature that are directly related to the 
        Underground Railroad.
    (c) Cooperative Agreements and Memoranda of 
Understanding.--To achieve the purposes of this Act and to 
ensure effective coordination of the Federal and non-Federal 
elements of the national network referred to in subsection (b) 
with National Park Service units and programs, the Secretary 
may enter into cooperative agreements and memoranda of 
understanding with, and provide technical assistance to--
          (1) the heads of other Federal agencies, States, 
        localities, regional governmental bodies, and private 
        entities; and
          (2) in cooperation with the Secretary of State, the 
        governments of Canada, Mexico, and any appropriate 
        country in the Caribbean.
    [(d) Appropriations.--There are authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this Act not more than $500,000 for 
each fiscal year. No amounts may be appropriated for the 
purposes of this Act except to the Secretary for carrying out 
the responsibilities of the Secretary as set forth in section 
3(a).]

SEC. 4. PRESERVATION OF HISTORIC SITES OR STRUCTURES.

    (a) Authority To Make Grants.--The Secretary of the 
Interior may make grants in accordance with this section for 
the preservation and restoration of historic buildings or 
structures associated with the Underground Railroad, and for 
related research and documentation to sites, programs, or 
facilities that have been included in the national network.
    (b) Grant Conditions.--Any grant made under this section 
shall provide that--
          (1) no change or alteration may be made in property 
        for which the grant is used except with the agreement 
        of the property owner and the Secretary;
          (2) the Secretary shall have the right of access at 
        reasonable times to the public portions of such 
        property for interpretive and other purposes; and
          (3) conversion, use, or disposal of such property for 
        purposes contrary to the purposes of this Act, as 
        determined by the Secretary, shall result in a right of 
        the United States to compensation equal to all Federal 
        funds made available to the grantee under this Act.
    (c) Matching Requirement.--The Secretary may obligate funds 
made available for a grant under this section only if the 
grantee agrees to match, from funds derived from non-Federal 
sources, the amount of the grant with an amount that is equal 
to or greater than the grant. The Secretary may waive the 
requirement of the preceding sentence with respect to a grant 
if the Secretary determines that an extreme emergency exists or 
that such a waiver is in the public interest to assure the 
preservation of historically significant resources.
    [(d) Funding.--There are authorized to be appropriated to 
the Secretary for purposes of this section $2,500,000 for 
fiscal year 2001 and each subsequent fiscal year. Amounts 
authorized but not appropriated in a fiscal year shall be 
available for appropriation in subsequent fiscal years.]

SEC. 5. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.*

    (a) Amounts.--There are authorized to be appropriated to 
carry out this Act $2,500,000 for each fiscal year, to be 
allocated as follows:
          (1) $2,000,000 is to be used for the purposes of 
        section 3.
          (2) $500,000 is to be used for the purposes of 
        section 4.
    (b) Restrictions.--No amounts may be appropriated for the 
purposes of this Act except to the Secretary for carrying out 
the responsibilities of the Secretary as set forth in this Act.

    *Note: The changes in law take effect at the beginning of 
the fiscal year immediately following the date of enactment of 
this Act.