An omnibus bill package that would have expanded the Gettysburg National Military Park has died in the United States Senate.
“This latest omnibus package is also stuffed full of costly programs and wasteful spending – the scope of which will impact people and jobs across the entire county,” ranking House Natural Resources Committee Republican Doc Hastings said in a press release.
Among many other things, the bill package included a bill introduced by Rep. Todd Platts, R-19, that would have expanded the boundaries of the Gettysburg National Military Park to include the Gettysburg Railroad Station on Gettysburg’s Lincoln Square and a 45-acre tract south of the battlefield, along Plum Run.
The bill package was passed by the House of Representatives earlier this year and Platts plans to reintroduce the bill when Congress reconvenes in 2011.
The Gettysburg Railroad Station is currently owned by the Borough of Gettysburg. The Borough hopes to sell the station to the National Park Service, but that cannot happen until the station is within the park service’s boundary.
Platts’ bill would have also placed 45 acres of farmland at the base of Big Round Top, near Plum Run in Cumberland Township, within the park’s boundaries. The land was donated to the park’s fundraising and management partner, the Gettysburg Foundation, in 2009, and the site abuts Park Service property.
In addition to expanding the Gettysburg National Military Park, the failed bill package would have:
- made the land and conservation fund law permanent. It is now scheduled to expire in 2015. The bill would not guarantee payments each year. Annual allocations would still be subject to appropriations bills. The law authorizes spending up to $900 million per year.
- Made clear what uses ski resorts may and may not provide on federal lands in the off-season. The ski industry asked Congress to provide specific authority so member resorts could offer additional services in the summer off-season.
- transferred 88,900 acres in the Valles Caldera of the Santa Fe National Forest to the National Park Service.
- included in the National Park System a site that includes remains of mammoths in Waco, Texas.
- designated a Susquehanna Gateway National Heritage Area in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster and York Counties to recognize the cultural, economic and political history of the Susquehanna River bed.
- allowed the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to sell lands cleared by all land management plans, not just plans completed prior to 2000, as the old law does. Under an existing law BLM may only sell lands cleared for disposition by land management plans completed prior to 2000. BLM has raised more than $100 million from the land sales. Most of that money is used for conservation and acquisition.
- designated a 62,000-acre monument in the San Juan National Forest in the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado.
- designated a 235,980-acre Rio Grande Del Norte National Conservation Area in Taos and Rio Arriba Counties.
- Designated as wild and scenic rivers a Molalla River in Oregon, an Illabot Creek in Washington, and an Elk River in West Virginia. It would expand a White Clay Creek designation in Delaware and Pennsylvania.
- Expanded the North Country National Scenic Trail by 1,400 miles from 3,200 miles to 4,600 miles in Minnesota.
- directed the General Services Administration to transfer property in Washington, D.C., for the establishment of a National Women's History Museum.