[Senate Report 110-118]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]



                                                       Calendar No. 251
110th Congress                                                   Report
                                 SENATE
 1st Session                                                    110-118

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PIEDRAS BLANCAS HISTORIC LIGHT STATION OUTSTANDING NATURAL AREA ACT OF 
                                  2007

                                _______
                                

                 June 28, 2007.--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. 276]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 276) to designate the Piedras Blancas 
Light Station and the surrounding public land as an Outstanding 
Natural Area to be administered as a part of the National 
Landscape Conservation System, 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. 276 is to designate the Piedras Blancas 
Light Station and 18 acres of surrounding public land as an 
Outstanding Natural Area to be administered by the Bureau of 
Land Management as a part of the National Landscape 
Conservation System.

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    Piedras Blancas is located in San Luis Obisbo County on 
California's central coast, just north of San Simeon (Hearst 
Castle), approximately halfway between Los Angeles and San 
Francisco. The point is a Spanish name for the white rock 
outcropping located just off the end of the point. In the early 
1870's, this location was chosen to fill the gap between the 
lighthouses at Point Conception and Point Sur.
    The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse was completed in 1875. A two 
story Victorian style dwelling was completed later that year. 
The original tower was 115 feet tall and housed a first-order 
Fresnel lens. A fog signal building and additional keeper's 
dwelling were added in 1906.
    The Piedras Blancas lighthouse was operated by employees of 
the U.S. Lighthouse Service until 1939, when the Coast Guard 
assumed command. Structural damage to the tower and new 
technology eventually replaced many of the functions of the 
lightkeepers as the light station became automated. The Coast 
Guard subsequently relinquished control and management of the 
Piedras Blancas Light Station to the Bureau of Land Management 
on October 12, 2001. The site is listed on the National 
Register of Historic Places.
    H.R. 276 would designate the lighthouse and the surrounding 
18 acres of public land as an Outstanding Natural Area, 
following a similar 1980 designation in Oregon for the Yaquina 
Head Outstanding Natural Area.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 276, sponsored by Representative Capps, passed the 
House of Representatives by a voice vote on March 5, 2007. 
During the 109th Congress, a similar measure was considered in 
the House, H.R. 3534, also sponsored by Rep. Capps. That bill 
passed the House of Representatives by a voice vote on 
September 25, 2006. However, no further action occurred in the 
Senate prior to the sine die adjournment of the 109th Congress.
    The Subcommittee on Public Lands and Forests held a hearing 
on H.R. 276 on May 3, 2007. At its business meeting on May 23, 
2007, the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources ordered 
H.R. 276 favorably reported, without amendment.

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in an 
open business session on May 23, 2007, by a unanimous voice 
vote of a quorum present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 
276.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1(a) provides the short title, the ``Piedras 
Blancas Historic Light Station Outstanding Natural Area Act of 
2007.''
    Subsection (b) defines key terms used in the Act.
    Section 2 contains congressional findings.
    Section 3(a) establishes the Piedras Blancas Historic Light 
Station Outstanding Natural Area on 18 acres of public land in 
San Luis Obispo County, California, to be administered by the 
Secretary of the Interior.
    Subsection (b) references the official boundary map for the 
Outstanding Natural Area and directs that the map be kept on 
file and available for public inspection in Bureau of Land 
Management offices in Washington, D.C. and California.
    Subsection (c) directs the Secretary to manage the 
Outstanding Natural Area as part of the National Landscape 
Conservation System, and shall allow only those uses that 
further the purposes of the Outstanding Natural Area. The area 
is also to be administered under the Federal Land Policy and 
Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) and other 
applicable laws.
    Subsection (d) withdraws the land included within the 
Outstanding Natural Area from the public land laws, mining and 
mineral leasing and geothermal leasing laws.
    Section 4(a) directs the Secretary to manage the 
Outstanding Natural Area in a manner that conserves, protects, 
and enhances the unique and nationally important historical, 
natural, cultural, scientific, educational, scenic, and 
recreational values of the area.
    Subsection (b) directs the Secretary to allow only such 
uses of the Outstanding Natural Area that the Secretary finds 
are likely to further the purposes for which the area is 
established.
    Subsection (c) requires the Secretary to complete a 
comprehensive management plan for the area not later than three 
years after the date of enactment. The purpose of the plan is 
to provide long-term management guidance for the public lands 
within the boundary of the Outstanding Natural Area, including 
interpretation of, and public education about the historic 
light station. The plan is to be developed with full public 
participation, including consultation with appropriate Federal, 
State, and local governmental agencies.
    Subsection (d) authorizes the Secretary to enter into 
cooperative agreements with appropriate Federal, State, and 
local agencies to better implement the management plan and to 
continue successful partnerships with the Heart San Simeon 
State Historical Monument.
    Subsection (e) authorizes the Secretary to allow 
appropriate research activities consistent with the purposes 
for which the Outstanding Natural Area is established.
    Subsection (f) authorizes the Secretary to acquire State 
and private lands within the boundaries of the Outstanding 
Natural Area by donation, exchange, or purchase from a willing 
seller.
    Subsection (g) provides that any lands or interests therein 
adjacent to the Outstanding Natural Area acquired by the United 
States after the date of enactment shall be added to and 
administered as part of the area.
    Subsection (h) clarifies that nothing in this Act or the 
management plan for the Outstanding Natural Area shall be 
construed to restrict or preclude military or commercial 
overflights.
    Subsection (i) clarifies that nothing in this Act shall be 
construed to preclude or otherwise affect coastal border 
security operations or other law enforcement activities.
    Subsection (j) recognizes the past use of the Outstanding 
Natural Area by Indians and Indian tribes for traditional 
cultural and religious purposes and directs the Secretary to 
ensure continued access for such purposes.
    Subsection (k) is a savings clause that designation of the 
Outstanding Natural Area is not intended to create a protective 
perimeter or ``buffer zone'' around the area.
    Section 5 authorizes the appropriation of such sums as are 
necessary to carry out this Act.

                   COST AND BUDGETARY CONSIDERATIONS

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

                                                      May 31, 2007.
Hon. Jeff Bingaman,
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 H.R. 276, the Piedras 
Blancas Historic Light Station Outstanding Natural Area Act of 
2007.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contacts are Deborah 
Reis and David Reynolds.
            Sincerely,
                                                   Peter R. Orszag.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 276--Piedras Blancas Historic Light Station Outstanding Natural 
        Area Act of 2007

    H.R. 276 would establish the Piedras Blancas Historic Light 
Station Outstanding Natural Area on 18 acres of federal land in 
San Luis Obispo County, California. The legislation would 
require the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to develop a 
comprehensive management plan for the area within three years. 
Based on information from the agency, CBO estimates that the 
cost to develop a plan and manage the federal land would total 
less than $100,000 annually over the 2008-2012 period, assuming 
the availability of appropriated funds.
    Enacting H.R. 276 could affect direct spending by 
withdrawing the 18 acres from programs to develop natural 
resources. According to BLM, however, the land currently 
generates no significant receipts and is not expected to do so 
over the next 10 years. Therefore, we estimate that the 
proposed withdrawal would have an insignificant effect on 
offsetting receipts (a credit against direct spending). 
Enacting the legislation would not affect revenues.
    H.R. 276 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 contacts for this estimate are Deborah Reis 
and David Reynolds. 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 H.R. 276. 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. 276, as ordered reported.

                        EXECUTIVE COMMUNICATIONS

    The testimony provided by the Bureau of Land Management at 
the May 3, 2007 Subcommittee hearing on H.R. 276 follows:

  Statement of Jim Hughes, Acting Director, Bureau of Land Management

    Thank you for inviting me to testify on H.R. 276, the 
Piedras Blancas Historic Light Station Outstanding Natural Area 
Act which would designate the Piedras Blancas Light Station as 
an Outstanding Natural Area (ONA) within the BLM's National 
Landscape Conservation System (NLCS). The Department supports 
H.R. 276.


                               background


    The 18-acre Piedras Blancas Light Station sits on the 
coastal side of California scenic route 1 (California Coastal 
Highway) near Hearst Castle halfway between Los Angles and San 
Francisco. It is an active lighthouse which began continuous 
operation in 1875 and is on the National Register of Historic 
Places. Formerly run by the Coast Guard, it has been managed by 
the BLM since 2001. Today, in addition to its safety role, the 
Light Station is a beacon of community support and activism.
    The proposed Piedras Blancas Historical Light Station ONA 
is adjacent to the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, 
administered by NOAA. The designation of the Piedras Blancas 
Light Station would provide a compatible and valuable shore-
based presence for this important national treasure and promote 
historical and educational opportunities consistent with the 
NLCS.
    Community partnership and an active volunteer force have 
allowed the BLM to begin the important work of restoration of 
the light station. Over 80 volunteers are actively involved in 
Piedras Blancas projects contributing 8,000 hours of service 
over each of the last three years. With strong local community 
support our partners include: The Friends of the Piedras 
Blancas Light Station, Hearst San Simeon Historic Monument, 
California State Parks, the Central Coast Maritime Museum, the 
Cambria Historical Society and a wide-range of other federal, 
state and local government agencies. In addition, monthly tours 
of the light station are being conducted in conjunction with 
Hearst Castle.


                                h.r. 276


    H.R. 276 recognizes both the historical significance of the 
Piedras Blancas Light Station and the community support for its 
preservation. By designating the light station as an 
Outstanding Natural Area, the bill follows in the footsteps of 
the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area Along the Oregon 
coast established by Congress in 1980. In order to safeguard 
the buildings and public lands immediately surrounding them the 
bill provides protections for the area while encouraging and 
enabling active community support and involvement. In addition, 
the bill recognizes the importance of administering this area 
for educational, scientific uses as well as for traditional 
Native American purposes.
    Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of H.R. 
276. I will be happy to answer any questions.

                        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 Act H.R. 276, as 
ordered reported.