STATEMENT OF KATHERINE H. STEVENSON, ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR , CULTURAL RESOURCE STEWARDSHIP AND PARTNERSHIPS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS AND PUBLIC LANDS, HOUSE COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES CONCERNING H.R. 4503 TO PROVIDE FOR THE PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION OF HISTORIC BUILDINGS AT HISTORICALLY WOMENíS PUBLIC COLLEGES OR UNIVERSITIES.

September 7, 2000


Thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interiorís views on H.R. 4503, which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to make matching grants totaling up to $14 million annually from FY 2001 through FY 2005 to historically womenís public colleges and universities to preserve and repair buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Under this bill, the grants to historically womenís public colleges and universities would be made under the authority of Section 101 of the National Historic Preservation Act. While the goal of this legislation is admirable, we must oppose H.R. 4503.

We are supportive of efforts to preserve significant historic buildings on the campuses of historically womenís colleges and universities. The Administration certainly recognizes that these are important national historic treasures worthy of our care and attention.

However, because budgetary constraints limit appropriations from the Historic Preservation Fund, we cannot support legislative earmarks that could effectively take funding away from grants to states and Indian tribes and divert it to these specific purposes. Additionally, condition assessments have not been completed for the seven womenís colleges and universities cited in the bill. There are other, equally worthy projects, as well as numerous other historic buildings in need of assistance for deferred repairs.

We also do not support earmarking funds for specific target sites, such as this bill does for the Mississippi University for Women, the Georgia College and State University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, the Winthrop University in South Carolina, the University of Montevallo in Alabama, the Texas Womenís University, and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. There is important flexibility and adequate authority already built into the National Historic Preservation Act for special initiatives that can address a broad range of needs. We do not support earmarking funds because it restricts that capability to identify and address the most pressing needs.

During the 104th Congress the National Park Service testified in opposition to H.R. 1172, a similar bill that earmarked funds for the preservation and restoration of historic buildings at historically black colleges and universities. However, Congress authorized funding for specific historically black colleges and universities in Public Law 104-333. In order to carry out the intent of Congress in enacting this law, the Administration has included funding in its annual budgets since that law was passed.

H. R. 4503 would authorize appropriations from the Historic Preservation Fund of not more than $14,000,000 annually beginning in fiscal year 2001 and ending in fiscal year 2005. In each of those fiscal years the amount appropriated would be divided equally among the seven institutions noted above. We are unaware of any needs assessment that identifies these seven schools to the exclusion of others. We are likewise unaware of any assessment that supports the funding amounts allotted to each school.

Funding for this bill would be subject to the Administrationís budgetary priorities consistent with the Budget Enforcement Act of 1990.

This concludes my prepared testimony, Mr. Chairman. I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.