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                                                      Calendar No. 204
114th Congress     }                                    {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session       }                                    {      114-124

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



 
                        NATIONAL PARK ACCESS ACT

                                _______
                                

               September 9, 2015.--Ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

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

                              R E P O R T

                         [To accompany S. 145]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 145) to require the Director of the 
National Park Service to refund to States all State funds that 
were used to reopen and temporarily operate a unit of the 
National Park System during the October 2013 shutdown, having 
considered the same, reports favorably thereon without 
amendment and recommends that the bill do pass.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 145 is to require the Director of the 
National Park Service to refund to States all State funds that 
were used to reopen and temporarily operate a unit of the 
National Park System during the October 2013 shutdown.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    The Anti-Deficiency Act (31 U.S.C. 1341) prohibits Federal 
agencies and their officers and employees administering public 
lands from making or authorizing any expenditure or obligation 
before Congress appropriates sufficient funds for the 
expenditure or obligation. As a result, federal agencies have 
had to suspend most non-essential functions when Congress has 
failed to appropriate the funds needed to pay for those 
functions.
    From October 1 through October 16, 2013, there was a lapse 
in appropriations for the Federal government. During this 
period, most of the Federal government was closed, including 
lands administered by the National Park Service. The closure of 
these Park Service sites impacted nearby communities that rely 
on visitor spending to help local economies. For this reason, 
at the request of certain states, the National Park Service 
entered into individual agreements with Arizona, Colorado, New 
York, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah to temporarily reopen 
several national park sites in those states with donated funds 
from the states.
    Approximately $2 million in total was donated by the states 
under the agreements for the operation of national park sites 
in these six states. The national park sites reopened included: 
Grand Canyon National Park (AZ); Mount Rushmore National 
Monument (SD); Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National 
Park, Canyonlands National Park, Capital Reef National Park, 
Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, Natural 
Bridges National Monuments, and Glen Canyon National Recreation 
Area (UT); Great Smoky Mountains National Park (TN); Rocky 
Mountain National Park (CO); and Statue of Liberty National 
Monument (NY).
    Although the funding resolution that reopened the Federal 
government (Public Law 113-46) retroactively funded the Park 
Service for operations during the government shutdown, 
including the time during which the 13 sites were operated with 
state-donated funds, the National Park Service has been unable 
to reimburse the states because it has no legal authority to 
make the reimbursements. S. 145 would provide the legal 
authority to reimburse the states.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    In the 113th Congress, Senators Flake, Udall of Colorado, 
Alexander, McCain, Bennet, Lee, Hatch, and Corker introduced a 
similar bill, S. 2104, on March 11, 2014. The Subcommittee on 
National Parks held a hearing on the bill on July 23, 2014 (S. 
Hrg. 113-493), and the Committee reported the bill on a voice 
vote on December 10, 2014 (S. Rept. 113-298).
    In the House of Representatives, Representatives Gardner, 
Franks, Duncan, Gosar, Roe, Blackburn, Bishop, Chaffetz, and 
Tipton introduced a similar bill, H.R. 4353, on April 1, 2014.
    S. 145 was introduced by Senators Flake, Alexander, Bennet, 
Corker, Gardner, Lee, McCain, Hatch, and Thune on January 12, 
2015. The Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on the 
bill on June 10, 2015.
    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources met in open 
business session on July 30, 2015, and ordered S. 145 favorably 
reported.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in 
open business session on July 30, 2015, by a majority voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass S. 
145.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 contains the short title, the ``National Park 
Access Act.''
    Section 2 contains findings.
    Section 3 directs the Director of the National Park Service 
to refund to each state all funds that were used to reopen and 
temporarily operate national park units during the October 2013 
shutdown. The refunds are to be paid from appropriations made 
to the National Park Service after the enactment of this Act.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

S. 145--National Park Access Act

    S. 145 would require the National Park Service (NPS) to 
reimburse states for funds they donated to the federal 
government to operate certain national park units during the 
period of lapsed appropriations that occurred from October 1, 
2013, to October 16, 2013.
    Governors of six states (Arizona, Colorado, New York, South 
Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah) signed agreements with the 
Department of the Interior to donate about $3.6 million to 
operate 13 national park units. When the appropriations for the 
National Park Service were enacted on October 17, 2013, about 
$1.6 million of the unspent donations were returned to the 
states. Based on information provided by NPS and assuming 
appropriation of necessary amounts, CBO estimates that 
implementing S. 145 would cost about $2 million--an amount 
equivalent to the states' donations that were spent to operate 
national park units during that period.
    Enacting S. 145 would not affect revenues or direct 
spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    S. 145 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. The 
bill would repay the states of Arizona, Colorado, New York, 
South Dakota, Tennessee, and Utah for funds they provided to 
the federal government as part of agreements to reopen certain 
national parks during the government shutdown in October 2013.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Marin Burnett. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, 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. 145. 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. 145, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 145, as ordered 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 
June 19, 2015, National Parks Subcommittee hearing on S. 145 
follows:

Statement of Victor Knox, Associate Director, Park Planning, Facilities 
      and Lands, National Park Service, Department of the Interior

    Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to appear 
before you today to provide the Department of the Interior's 
views on S. 145, a bill to require the Director of the National 
Park Service to refund to States all State funds that were used 
to reopen and temporarily operate a unit of the National Park 
System during the October 2013 shutdown.
    S. 145 requires the Director of the National Park Service 
to reimburse each State that provided funds to open and 
temporarily operate a unit (or units) of the National Park 
System in October 2013, when there was a lapse in 
appropriations for most Federal government activities. The bill 
specifies that the reimbursement shall be carried out using 
funds appropriated for the National Park Service after 
enactment of this legislation. We estimate that the cost of 
reimbursing the States would be approximately $2 million.
    From October 1 through October 16, 2013, the National Park 
Service, along with other bureaus and offices of the Department 
of the Interior, implemented a shutdown of our activities due 
to a lapse in appropriations. Under the closure determination 
and notice issued by the Director of the National Park Service, 
and consistent with applicable law, the National Park Service 
closed and secured all 401 national parks across the country, 
suspended all activities, and furloughed more than 20,000 
National Park Service employees.
    In response to the economic impacts that the park closures 
were having on many communities and local businesses, as the 
shutdown entered a second week, Secretary Jewell announced that 
the Department would consider agreements with Governors who 
indicated an interest and ability to fully fund National Park 
Service personnel to reopen specified national parks in their 
States. Six States--Arizona, Colorado, New York, South Dakota, 
Tennessee, and Utah--signed donation agreements with the 
Department to open a total of 13 park units that are all 
significant contributors to tourism in the States where they 
are located. State donations under these agreements totaled 
approximately $3.6 million. Once these agreements were signed 
and the funds were transferred, the National Park Service 
reopened the national parks in accordance with the specific 
agreements.
    Under the terms of the agreements, the States donated to 
the National Park Service lump sum payments in advance to cover 
the cost of operating the parks for a specific number of days. 
Further, these agreements stipulated that funds donated and 
used to re-open the parks could not be returned to the States. 
The employees who returned to work in these parks during the 
shutdown were paid for these days out of the funds donated by 
the States. When Congress passed a continuing resolution 
providing appropriations for the first three and a half months 
of FY 2014 on October 16, 2013, the National Park Service was 
able to resume operations on October 17, 2013, and stop 
charging employee time against the funds that had been donated 
by the States.
    Once the shutdown ended, the National Park Service 
immediately began the process of reimbursing the six States for 
the portion of donated funding that was not expended to operate 
the parks, which totaled approximately $1.6 million. However, 
the National Park Service does not have the authority to 
reimburse States for the portion of funding that was expended 
(approximately $2 million); an act of Congress is needed for 
that. S. 145 would provide that authority. We would like to 
point out that, as written, the source of funds for repayment 
will be derived from appropriations made after the enactment of 
this bill, not from funds received by the parks in FY14 or 
FY15.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony, and I would be 
happy to answer any questions you or other 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. 145, as ordered 
reported.

                                  [all]