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                                                      Calendar No. 216
114th Congress    }                                     {       Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session      }                                     {      114-136

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



 
               JAMES K. POLK PRESIDENTIAL HOME STUDY 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. 1483]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the bill (S. 1483) to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of 
designating the James K. Polk Home in Columbia, Tennessee, as a 
unit of the National Park System, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill, as amended, do pass.
    The amendments are as follows:
    On page 3, line 13, insert ``and'' after the semicolon at 
the end.
    Beginning on page 3, strike line 14 and all that follows 
through page 4, line 6.
    On page 4, line 7, strike ``(7)'' and insert ``(5)''.

                                PURPOSE

    The purpose of S. 1483 is to direct the Secretary of the 
Interior to study the suitability and feasibility of 
designating the James K. Polk Home in Columbia, Tennessee, as a 
unit of the National Park System, and for other purposes.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    James K. Polk, the 11th president of the United States, 
lived in Columbia, Tennessee, from 1819 until 1824. Nominated 
as the first ``dark-horse'' presidential candidate, his program 
of westward expansion helped him win the election. True to his 
campaign pledge to serve a single term in office, he returned 
to Tennessee in 1849. President Polk died three months later. 
During his term of office, he led the nation through the 
Mexican War, completing the push to the Pacific Ocean.
    In 1961, the James K. Polk Home in Columbia, Tennessee, was 
designated as a National Historic Landmark. In April 2015, the 
National Park Service (NPS) completed a reconnaissance survey 
of the home and determined that the site warrants a special 
resource study to fully analyze the suitability, feasibility, 
and need for the NPS to manage the James K. Polk Home. The NPS 
recommended that Congress consider authorizing a special 
resource study for the site. The James K. Polk Home is the only 
surviving residence of President Polk.
    S. 1483 would authorize a special resource study of James 
K. Polk Home to evaluate its national significance, the 
suitability and feasibility for potential designation of the 
area as a unit of the National Park System, and the need for 
NPS management of the resource versus management by other 
public or private entities. The study is informational; 
Congress would still have to act on separate legislation to 
create a unit of the National Park System.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    S. 1483 was introduced by Senator Alexander on June 2, 
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. 1483 
favorably reported as amended.

                        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. 
1483, if amended as described herein.

                          COMMITTEE AMENDMENT

    During its consideration of S. 1483, the Committee adopted 
an amendment to strike certain language relating to contents of 
the study that is not applicable to the site, and accompanying 
conforming amendments.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 contains the short title, the ``James K. Polk 
Presidential Home Study Act.''
    Section 2 contains findings.
    Section 3 directs the Secretary of the Interior to conduct 
a special resource study of the James K. Polk Home and adjacent 
property in Columbia, Tennessee in accordance with section 
100507 of title 54, United States Code, which sets forth 
criteria for National Park Service special resource studies. 
Section 3(c) requires the study to: evaluate the national 
significance of the site; determine the suitability and 
feasibility of designating the site as a unit of the National 
Park System; include cost estimates for any necessary 
acquisition, development, operation and maintenance of the 
site; consult with interested government entities, private and 
non-profit organizations or other interested individuals; and 
identify alternatives for the management, administration and 
protection of the site. Section 3(d) requires the Secretary to 
submit a report that describes the findings and conclusions of 
the study and any recommendations to the House Natural 
Resources Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources 
Committee within three years after the funds are made available 
to carry out the study.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

S. 1483--James K. Polk Presidential Home Study Act

    S. 1483 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to study 
the suitability and feasibility of designating the home of 
James K. Polk in Columbia, Tennessee, as a unit of the National 
Park System (NPS). Based on information from NPS, CBO estimates 
that carrying out the proposed study would cost about $200,000; 
such spending would be subject to the availability of 
appropriated funds. Enacting S. 1483 would not affect direct 
spending or revenues; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures do 
not apply.
    S. 1483 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    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. 1483. 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. 1483, as ordered reported.

                   CONGRESSIONALLY DIRECTED SPENDING

    S. 1483, 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. 1483 
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 present the 
Department of the Interior's testimony regarding S. 1483, a 
bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to study the 
suitability and feasibility of designating the James K. Polk 
home in Columbia, Tennessee, as a unit of the National Park 
System, and for other purposes.
    The Department supports enactment of this legislation with 
amendments described later in this testimony. However, we 
believe that priority should be given to the 33 previously 
authorized studies for potential units of the National Park 
System, potential new National Heritage Areas, and potential 
additions to the National Trails System and National Wild and 
Scenic Rivers System that have not yet been transmitted to 
Congress.
    S. 1483 authorizes a special resource study of the James K. 
Polk home in Columbia, Tennessee. This study would determine 
whether this site meets the National Park Service's criteria 
for inclusion in the National Park System of national 
significance, suitability, and feasibility, and need for 
National Park Service management. The National Park Service 
recently conducted a reconnaissance survey that preliminarily 
evaluated the James K. Polk home and found that, because the 
site has the potential to meet the National Park Service's 
criteria for inclusion in the National Park System, further 
study was warranted.
    The study would also consider other alternatives for 
preservation, protection, and interpretation of the resources 
by the Federal government, State or local government entities, 
or private and non-profit entities. Alternatives might include, 
for example, the designation of the site as an affiliated area 
of the National Park Service, where the National Park Service 
would provide technical assistance to the site but not own or 
manage it. We estimate the cost of the study to range from 
$200,000 to $300,000, based on similar types of studies 
conducted in recent years.
    James Knox Polk was born in Mecklenberg County, North 
Carolina, on November 2, 1795. In 1806, at the age of eleven, 
he moved with his family to Tennessee, settling in what is now 
Maury County. Samuel Polk, his father, purchased three lots in 
the town of Columbia in 1816 and constructed a two-story brick 
house (the present Polk Home) on the corner of West Seventh 
Street and South High Street. Samuel and his wife Jane remained 
in the house until their deaths in 1827 and 1852, respectively.
    James K. Polk lived at the home after graduating from the 
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and for the next 
few years as he traveled to Nashville to read law with Felix 
Grundy. While living with his family and passing the bar in 
1820, Polk began a successful law practice in Columbia and 
campaigned for the state legislature. Though Samuel and Jane 
Polk's house in Columbia was only a short-term home for James 
K. Polk, it is the only extant residence associated with the 
eleventh President, besides the White House, and marks the 
beginning of his political career. He moved to a new home a few 
blocks away when he married Sarah Childress of Murfreesboro on 
January 1, 1824.
    The Polk Home in Columbia remained in the family until 1862 
and then changed owners several times before it was purchased 
by the State of Tennessee in 1929. At the same time, a 
descendant of the Polk family established the James K. Polk 
Memorial Association of Nashville and the James K. Polk 
Memorial Auxiliary of Columbia committed to ``operate, 
maintain, preserve, and restore'' the Polk Ancestral Home and 
properties, and also to ``perpetuate the memory of the eleventh 
President of the United States.'' The Memorial Association 
opened the home to the public in 1929.
    In 1937, the State acquired the adjacent lot to the south 
and reconstructed the kitchen outbuilding. In 1941, the State 
bought the next-door Sisters' House; an 1818 residence 
constructed by James K. Polk's brother-in-law and inhabited by 
two of his sisters and their families. Additional land was 
added to the site in 1953 and 1961, expanding the garden. In 
1961, the Polk home was designated a National Historic 
Landmark. In 2009, with private funding, the Memorial 
Association purchased an 1882 church on the same block and 
renovated the space into a state-of-the-art exhibit facility. 
The renovated church, Polk Presidential Hall, has hosted 
traveling and original exhibits related to the U.S. Presidency 
and American society and culture during the Polk period. Two 
privately owned commercial buildings remain on the same block 
as the Polk Home, between the Polk Presidential Hall and the 
reconstructed kitchen.
    Although the site is owned by the State (with the exception 
of Polk Presidential Hall), the Memorial Association still 
administers and operates the James K. Polk Home and Museum 
while owning and preserving over 1,300 artifacts and original 
documents directly relating to President Polk. The Memorial 
Association also offers educational programs on President Polk 
to regional and national audiences. The Association has an 
eight-member Board of Directors that employs one full-time 
professional Executive Director and one full-time Curator of 
Collections. Two paid docents staff the Sisters' House and 
provide house tours and educational programs for the 10,000 to 
20,000 annual visitors.
    S. 1483 includes certain requirements for the study which 
we recommend deleting. Specifically, we urge deleting section 
3(c)(5), which would require an analysis of the effect of 
designation as a unit of the National Park System on existing 
commercial and recreational activities, and on activities 
concerning energy production and transmission infrastructure, 
and on the authority of state and local governments to manage 
those activities. We also urge deleting section 3(c)(6), which 
would require an identification of any authorities that would 
compel or permit the Secretary of the Interior to influence or 
participate in local land use decisions or place restrictions 
on non-federal lands.
    The purpose of conducting a special resource study is to 
determine whether a resource meets the criteria for inclusion 
in the National Park System and, if it does not, to provide 
information on alternative means to protect the resource. We 
believe that the special resource study requirements under 
existing law result in a sufficient amount of information and 
analysis of the effects of including a resource in the National 
Park System. These additional requirements could potentially 
increase the cost of the study and the time required to 
complete it.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be 
pleased to answer any questions that 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. 1483, as 
ordered reported.

                                  [all]