[Senate Report 111-322]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]

                                                       Calendar No. 608
111th Congress                                                   Report
 2d Session                                                     111-322




               September 27, 2010.--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. 685]

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, to which was 
referred the Act (H.R. 685) to require the Secretary of the 
Interior to conduct a special resource study regarding the 
proposed United States Civil Rights Trail, and for other 
purposes, having considered the same, reports favorably thereon 
without amendment and recommends that the Act do pass.


    The purpose of H.R. 685 is to authorize the Secretary of 
the Interior to conduct a special resource study to evaluate a 
range of alternatives for protecting and interpreting sites 
associated with the struggle for civil rights in the United 

                          BACKGROUND AND NEED

    There are numerous sites across the United States 
associated with historic events of the civil rights movement of 
the 1950s and 1960s, such as Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in 
Birmingham, Alabama, Tougaloo College in Mississippi, and the 
F.W. Woolworth Building in Greensboro, North Carolina. 
Approximately 50 of these sites, located in 20 different 
states, have been nominated for listing in the National 
Register of Historic Places. Many are managed by state or local 
agencies and organizations committed to their preservation and 
interpretation. H.R. 685 would authorize a special resource 
study that would assess the sites' importance and value to the 
nation's history.
    H.R. 685 would also provide Congress with recommendations 
for the creation of a National Civil Rights Trail System, 
composed of civil rights movement sites. A National Civil 
Rights Trail System would link sites with common signage, maps, 
and educational materials; improve public awareness; and 
facilitate the study of their importance in history.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 685, introduced by Representative Clay, passed the 
House of Representatives by a voice vote on September 29, 2009.
    Companion legislation, S. 1802, was introduced by Senator 
Burris on October 20, 2009. The Subcommittee on National Parks 
held a hearing on both bills on May 19, 2010. At its business 
meeting on July 21, 2010, the Committee on Energy and Natural 
Resources Committee ordered H.R. 685 favorably reported without 

                        COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION

    The Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, in open 
business session on July 21, 2010, by a voice vote of a quorum 
present, recommends that the Senate pass H.R. 685.

                      SECTION-BY-SECTION ANALYSIS

    Section 1 contains the short title, the ``United States 
Civil Rights Trail Special Resource Study Act of 2009''.
    Section 2(a) directs the Secretary of the Interior 
(Secretary) to conduct a study to identify and evaluate sites 
associated with the struggle for civil rights to determine the 
suitability and feasibility of protecting and interpreting the 
sites, including alternatives for potential addition of some or 
all of the sites to the National Trail System.
    Subsection (b) directs the Secretary to conduct the study 
in consultation with appropriate Federal, State, or local 
government entities.
    Subsection (c) directs the study to be conducted in 
accordance with section 8 of Public Law 91-383, which sets 
forth requirements for National Park Service studies.
    Subsection (d) directs the Secretary to utilize existing 
studies and agencies, organizations, and partnerships already 
interpreting and preserving various areas associated with the 
civil rights movement, focusing on 1954 through 1968, in 
conducting the study to identify sites for potential inclusion 
in a National Civil Rights Trail. This subsection also directs 
the Secretary to consider alternatives for preservation and 
interpretation of the sites by Federal, State, or local 
government entities or any other interested individuals, and to 
identify the costs estimates associated with the range of 
    Subsection (e) requires the Secretary to submit the study 
and any recommendations to the House and Senate authorizing 
committees no later than 3 years after the date funds are made 


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

H.R. 685--United States Civil Rights Trail Special Resource Study Act 
        of 2009

    H.R. 685 would direct the Secretary of the Interior to 
conduct a special resource study to evaluate ways of protecting 
and interpreting sites related to the civil rights movement in 
the United States. Based on information provided by the 
National Park Service and assuming the availability of 
appropriated funds, CBO estimates that conducting the study 
would cost about $500,000 over the next three years. Enacting 
the legislation would not affect revenues or direct spending; 
therefore pay-as-you-go procedures do not apply.
    The bill 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.
    On September 23, 2009, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for 
H.R. 685 as ordered reported by the House Committee on Natural 
Resources on September 10, 2009. The two versions of 
legislation are similar, and CBO estimates their costs would be 
the same.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Deborah Reis. 
The estimate was approved by Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.


    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. 685.
    The Act is not a regulatory measure in the sense of 
imposing Government-established standards or significant 
economic responsibilities on private individuals and 
    No personal information would be collected in administering 
the program. Therefore, there would be no impact on personal 
    Little, if any, additional paperwork would result from the 
enactment of H.R. 685.


    H.R. 685, 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 Department of the Interior on 
H.R. 685 at the May 19, 2010, National Parks Subcommittee 
hearing follows:

 Statement of Stephen E. Whitesell, Associate Director, Park Planning, 
    Facilities, and Lands, National Park Service, Department of the 

    Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, thank you for 
the opportunity to appear before you today to present the 
Department of the Interior's views on S. 1802 and H.R. 685, 
legislation to require a study of the feasibility of 
establishing the United States Civil Rights Trail System.
    The Department supports S. 1802 as introduced, and H.R. 685 
as passed by the House, which are substantially identical. 
However, we feel that priority should be given to the 45 
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 River System that have not yet been 
transmitted to Congress.
    S. 1802 and H.R. 685 authorize the Secretary of the 
Interior to conduct a special resource study in order to 
evaluate a range of alternatives for protecting and 
interpreting the sites associated with the movement to secure 
racial equality for African-Americans in the United States in 
the 1950s and 1960s, including alternatives for potential 
additions to the National Trails System. We estimate that the 
cost of this study will range from $500,000 to $750,000, given 
the large number of sites across multiple states which must be 
included in the study.
    The struggle for civil rights has been a hallmark in the 
development of the United States from its earliest fight for 
independence from Great Britain during the 1770s and 1780s 
through the passage of the landmark 1964 Civil Rights Act 
guaranteeing all Americans the right to vote and prohibiting 
discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national 
origin. The movement leading up to the passage of the Act was 
filled with violent confrontations that challenged the very 
foundation of our country, yet it also represented the highest 
aspirations of its citizens.
    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was the most comprehensive 
civil rights legislation in the history of the United States 
and its provisions serve as major themes of the civil rights 
story both before and after the Act's passage. The Department 
recognizes that events, places, and individuals important in 
the civil rights story should be celebrated and commemorated in 
a way that helps the public understand and appreciate the 
significance of the era. Many civil rights-related sites have 
been identified and are currently recognized within the 
National Park System, the National Trails System, and as 
National Historic Landmarks, such as those commemorating the 
life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and well-known events such as 
the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School and the 
1965 Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March.
    In 1999, Congress authorized the Secretary to conduct a 
theme study related to civil rights sites on a multi-state 
level. The National Park Service, in partnership with the 
Organization of American Historians, prepared the civil rights 
framework study to assist the National Park Service in 
identifying and prioritizing those areas of history significant 
in illustrating the civil rights story. The study, Civil Rights 
In America: A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites, was 
transmitted to Congress on June 2, 2009.
    The study identified broad themes within the civil rights 
story, as well as the events, persons, and places that 
represent those themes, and assessed the degree to which 
related sites are represented and recognized. These themes 
include equal education, public accommodation, voting, housing, 
equal employment, criminal injustice, immigrant rights, and 
American Indian civil rights. The study did not assess the 
feasibility or suitability of inclusion of particular sites 
into the National Trails System, the National Park System, or 
as National Historic Landmarks. S. 1802 and H.R. 685 would 
allow the National Park Service to assess sites specifically 
associated with the struggle for African-American racial 
equality from 1954-1968, which touches on most, but not all, of 
these broad themes.
    The study also recommended that the National Park Service 
complete four National Historic Landmark theme studies to 
recognize, promote, and protect civil rights-related sites and 
their relationship to the civil rights story's chronology, 
historic themes, and how various minorities are represented. 
National Historic Landmark theme studies are an effective way 
of assessing whether or not places are nationally significant 
in American history. They provide a historic context within 
which to evaluate properties, and identify places that should 
be studied for national designation.
    S. 1802 and H.R. 685 both provide for the proposed study to 
build upon this and other existing studies and reports. If 
enacted, this legislation can serve as a keystone piece in the 
ongoing work of understanding the issues, preserving the place, 
and telling the stories of the struggle to ensure civil rights 
for all Americans.
    Mr. Chairman, this concludes my testimony. I would be glad 
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 Act H.R. 685, as 
ordered reported.