House Panel Passes National Park Service “Centennial Fund” Bill

The House Natural Resources Committee has cleared the National Park Centennial Fund bill (H.R. 3094, H. Rept. 110-795) for consideration by the House. The legislation establishes the National Park Centennial Fund and authorizes $30 million in annual spending from fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2018. The $30 million a year funding level for the next ten years is far below the $100 million per-year the Administration had initially requested for the program.

To offset the $30 million cost, the bill rescinded the contract authority of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. No more than 30 percent of amounts available from the Fund for any fiscal year may be spent on facilities construction projects that cost in excess of $5,000,000.

The administration’s Centennial Initiative, announced in 2007, proposed $3 billion in new funds for the National Park Service over the next ten years in time for the Park Service’s 100th anniversary in 2016. $1 billion of that amount is the “Centennial Commitment”—$100 million in additional annual appropriations for each of the next ten years. The other $2 billion would come from the “Centennial Challenge” – the challenge to individuals, foundations, and businesses to contribute at least $100 million annually to support signature programs and projects. Each year, $100 million in donations would be matched by $100 million of Federal funding from the National Park Centennial Challenge Fund.