< Back to H.R. 3596 (104th Congress, 1995–1996)

Text of the Oil Region National Heritage Area Act

This bill was introduced on June 6, 1996, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jun 6, 1996 (Introduced).

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HR 3596 IH

104th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 3596

To provide for the establishment of the Oil Region National Heritage Area, and for other purposes.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

June 6, 1996

Mr. CLINGER (for himself and Mr. ENGLISH of Pennsylvania) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Resources


A BILL

To provide for the establishment of the Oil Region National Heritage Area, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Oil Region National Heritage Area Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.

    (a) FINDINGS- The Congress finds that--

      (1) the Oil Region of Northwestern Pennsylvania, with numerous sites and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and designated by the Governor of Pennsylvania as one of the State Heritage Park Areas, is a region with tremendous physical and natural resources and possesses a story of State, national, and international significance;

      (2) the single event of Colonel Edwin Drake’s drilling of the world’s first successful oil well in 1859 has affected the industrial, natural, social, and political structures of the modern world;

      (3) two national historic districts in Franklin and Titusville as well as 18 separate National Register sites are located within the State Heritage Park boundary;

      (4) The Allegheny River, which was designated as a component of the national wild and scenic rivers system in 1992 by Public Law 102-271, traverses the Oil Region and connects several of its major sites, as do some of the river’s tributaries such as Oil Creek, French Creek, and Sandy Creek;

      (5) the unspoiled rural character of the Oil Region provides many natural and recreational resources, scenic vistas, and excellent water quality for people throughout the United States to enjoy;

      (6) remnants of the oil industry, visible on the landscape to this day, provide a direct linkage to the past for visitors, as do the historic valley settlements, riverbed settlements, plateau developments, farmlands, and industrial landscapes;

      (7) the transformation of the region from an agrarian economy to one of the world’s first industrial economies and the site where many of the innovations used in the oil industry today were developed, was a direct result of the discovery of oil in the region;

      (8) the Oil Region also represents a cross-section of American history associated with Native Americans, frontier settlements, the French and Indian War, African-Americans and the Underground Railroad, and immigration of the Swedish and Polish, among others;

      (9) despite the efforts of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, local subdivisions of the Commonwealth, volunteer organizations, and private businesses, the cultural, national, and recreational resources of the region have not realized their full potential and may be lost without assistance from the Federal Government; and

      (10) many local, regional, and Commonwealth agencies, businesses, and private citizens have expressed an overwhelming desire to combine forces and work cooperatively to preserve and enhance the resources of the Oil Region State Heritage Park, and have completed the long-range plan for the Oil Region Heritage Park to that end.

    (b) PURPOSE- The purpose of this Act is to enhance a cooperative management framework to assist the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, its units of local government, and area citizens in retaining, enhancing, and interpreting the significant features of the lands, water, and structures of the Oil Region, in a manner consistent with positive economic impact and development for the benefit and inspiration of present and future generations in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States.

SEC. 3. DEFINITIONS.

    For purposes of this Act:

      (1) AREA- The terms ‘Area’ and ‘National Heritage Area’ mean the Oil Region National Heritage Area designated by section 4(a).

      (2) COMMISSION- The term ‘Commission’ means the Oil Region National Heritage Area Advisory Commission established by section 5.

      (3) COMMONWEALTH- The term ‘Commonwealth’ means the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

      (4) COMPACT- The term ‘Compact’ means an agreement described in section 6.

      (5) CORPORATION- The term ‘Corporation’ means the Oil Heritage Region Corporation, the management entity incorporated by the Corporation Bureau of the Pennsylvania Department of State on October 16, 1995, and activated effective January 4, 1996, to preserve historic and cultural resources of the Oil Region through the establishment, maintenance, and operation of the Oil Heritage Region.

      (6) GOVERNOR- The term ‘Governor’ means the Governor of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

      (7) PLAN- The term ‘Plan’ means a Management Plan described in section 10(b).

      (8) POLITICAL SUBDIVISION- The term ‘political subdivision’ means a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (including a county, city, township, water conservancy district, or special district) any part of which is located in the Area.

      (9) SECRETARY- The term ‘Secretary’ means the Secretary of the Interior.

SEC. 4. DESIGNATION OF OIL REGION NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- Upon publication by the Secretary in the Federal Register of notice that the Secretary has signed the Compact (pursuant to section 6) there is hereby designated in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the Oil Region National Heritage Area.

    (b) BOUNDARIES- The boundaries of the Area shall include those lands within the counties of Venango and Crawford in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, commonly known as the Oil Region, as depicted in the ‘Plan for the Oil Region Heritage Park’, dated March 1994. The ‘Plan for the Oil Region Heritage Park’ shall be on file and available for public inspection in the Office of the Director of the National Park Service, Washington, District of Columbia. As soon as practicable after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall publish in the Federal Register a detailed description and map of the boundaries of the Area.

    (c) ADMINISTRATION- The Area shall be administered in accordance with this Act.

SEC. 5. ESTABLISHMENT OF OIL REGION NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA ADVISORY COMMISSION.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- To assist in carrying out the purpose of this Act, there is established a Commission to be known as the ‘Oil Region National Heritage Advisory Commission’. The Commission shall consist of 13 members, appointed as follows:

      (1) 1 member appointed by the Secretary to represent the Department of the Interior.

      (2) 1 member appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture to represent the Department of Agriculture.

      (3) 4 members appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania, of which 1 represents the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and 3 represent agencies participating in the Pennsylvania State Heritage Park Interagency Task Force.

      (4) 7 members appointed by the Governor of Pennsylvania, subject to the concurrence of the United States Representative to the Congress from the Fifth Congressional District of Pennsylvania, to represent private and public interests from the principal communities in the Oil Region National Heritage Area.

    (b) TIME OF APPOINTMENTS- Appointments described in paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) shall be made not later than 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act.

    (c) DUTIES- The Commission shall serve in an advisory capacity to the Oil Heritage Region, Inc., the locally based private, nonprofit management corporation which will oversee the development of the Oil Region National Heritage Park, as described in the ‘Plan for the Oil Region Heritage Park’. The Commission shall confer with the Oil Heritage Region, Inc., on a regular basis regarding matters which involve State or Federal policy, technical assistance, and funding.

    (d) TERMS- Each member of the Commission shall be appointed for a term of 5 years, except as provided in subsection (e).

    (e) VACANCIES- Any vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the same manner in which the original appointment was made. Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the member’s predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of that term.

    (f) CHAIRPERSON- The Commission shall elect a chairperson from among its members. The term of office of the chairperson shall be 2 years.

    (g) QUORUM- A simple majority of Commission members shall constitute a quorum.

    (h) MEETINGS- The Commission shall meet at the call of the chairperson or a majority of its members, but not less than 2 times each year.

    (i) COMPENSATION- Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation.

    (j) TERMINATION- The Commission shall terminate 10 years after its initial meeting, unless the Secretary

elects to extend the duration of the Commission for an additional 5 years. In no event shall the duration of the Commission extend beyond 15 years.

SEC. 6. APPROVAL OF COMPACT.

    (a) SUBMISSION- The Area may be designated under section 4 only if the Corporation, within 180 days of the date of the enactment of this Act, submits to the Secretary for approval a proposed Compact for the Area signed by the Governor of Pennsylvania.

    (b) COMPACT-

      (1) IN GENERAL- The Compact submitted under this Act with respect to an area proposed for designation as a National Heritage Area shall consist of an agreement between the Secretary and the Governor of Pennsylvania. Such agreement shall define the area, describe anticipated programs for the area, and include information relating to the objectives and management of the area. Such information shall include, but need not be limited to, each of the following:

        (A) BOUNDARIES- A delineation of the boundaries of the proposed National Heritage Area.

        (B) MANAGEMENT ENTITY- An identification and description of the management entity that will administer the proposed National Heritage Area.

        (C) PARTNERS- A list of the initial partners to be involved in developing and implementing the Management Plan for the proposed Area, and a statement of the financial commitment of the partners.

        (D) GOALS, OBJECTIVES, AND CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK- A discussion of the goals, objectives, and cost of the proposed National Heritage Area, including an explanation of--

          (i) the conceptual framework, proposed by the partners referred to in subparagraph (C), for development and implementation of the Plan for the National Heritage Area; and

          (ii) the costs associated with the conceptual framework.

        (E) ROLE OF STATE- A description of the role of the State in which the proposed National Heritage Area is located.

      (2) CONSISTENCY WITH ECONOMIC VIABILITY- The Compact submitted under this Act with respect to an area proposed for designation under this Act shall be consistent with continued economic viability in the communities within the area.

      (3) PREPARATION OF COMPACT- The Compact submitted under this Act shall be prepared with public participation and in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.).

      (4) INITIATION OF ACTIONS- Actions called for in the Compact shall be initiated within a reasonable time after designation of the National Heritage Area and shall ensure effective implementation of the State and local aspects of the Compact.

    (c) APPROVAL, DISAPPROVAL, AND REVISIONS OF COMPACT- The Secretary shall approve or disapprove the Compact submitted under this Act. If the Secretary disapproves the Compact, the Secretary shall advise the Corporation and Commission, in writing, of the reasons for the disapproval and shall make recommendations for revisions of the Compact. The Secretary shall approve or disapprove a proposed revision to the Compact within 90 days after the date on which the revision is submitted to the Secretary.

SEC. 7. ADVICE BY SECRETARY.

    In accordance with the purpose of this Act, the Secretary may advise the Commonwealth and political subdivisions thereof, the Corporation, the Commission, nonprofit organizations, and other appropriate entities regarding suitable methods of recognizing and conserving thematically and geographically linked natural, historic, and cultural resources and recreational opportunities in the Area.

SEC. 8. WITHDRAWAL OF DESIGNATION.

    (a) IN GENERAL- The designation of the Area under this Act, after taking effect under section 4, shall continue unless--

      (1) the Secretary determines that--

        (A) the National Heritage Area no longer meets the criteria referred to in section 9;

        (B) the use, condition, or development of the Area is inconsistent with the criteria referred to in section 9, the Compact, or the Plan; or

        (C) the National Heritage Area is no longer supported by the residents of the Area (which may be demonstrated by a request from the Governor of Pennsylvania or a petition reflecting the interest of residents of the Area); and

      (2) after making a determination referred to in paragraph (1), the Secretary submits to the Congress notification that the designation of the Area under this Act should be withdrawn.

    (b) PUBLIC HEARING- Before the Secretary makes a determination referred to in subsection (a)(1) regarding the National Heritage Area, the Secretary or a designee shall hold a public hearing within the Area.

    (c) TIME OF WITHDRAWAL OF DESIGNATION- The withdrawal of the designation of the Area under this Act shall become final 90 legislative days after the Secretary submits to the Congress the notification referred to in subsection (a)(2) regarding the Area.

SEC. 9. CRITERIA.

    After designation under section 4, the Area shall retain its designation as a National Heritage Area only if the Area meets each of the following criteria:

      (1) ASSEMBLAGE OF RESOURCES- The Area is an assemblage of natural, historic, or cultural resources that--

        (A) together represent distinctive aspects of American heritage worthy of recognition, conservation, interpretation, and continuing use; and

        (B) are best managed as such an assemblage, through partnerships among public and private entities.

      (2) TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS, BELIEFS, OR FOLKLIFE- The Area reflects traditions, customs, beliefs, or folklife, or some combination thereof, that are a valuable part of the story of the Nation.

      (3) CONSERVATION OF NATURAL, CULTURAL, OR HISTORIC FEATURES- The Area provides outstanding opportunities to conserve natural, cultural, or historic features, or some combination thereof.

      (4) RECREATIONAL AND EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES- The Area provides outstanding recreational and educational opportunities.

      (5) THEMES AND INTEGRITY OF RESOURCES- The Area has an identifiable theme or themes, and resources important to the theme or themes retains integrity capable of supporting interpretation.

      (6) SUPPORT- Residents, nonprofit organizations, other private entities, and governments within the Area demonstrate support for designation of the Area and for management of the Area as appropriate for the designation.

      (7) AGREEMENTS- The principal organization and units of government supporting the designation are willing to commit to agreements to work in partnership to implement the Plan for the Area.

      (8) CONSISTENCY WITH ECONOMIC VIABILITY- The Plan is consistent with continued economic viability in the affected communities.

SEC. 10. MANAGEMENT PLAN.

    (a) SUBMISSION OF PLAN- No assistance or funding may be provided under this Act after the date which is 2 years after the designation of the Area under this Act unless the Corporation submits a Management Plan to the Governor and the Secretary on or before such date. Such submission shall include a written certification that the Plan has been endorsed or disapproved by the Commission.

    (b) CONTENTS OF PLAN- A Management Plan submitted under this Act for the Area shall present comprehensive recommendations for conservation, funding, management, and development of the Area. The Plan shall be prepared with public participation. The Plan shall take into consideration existing Federal, State, county, and local plans and involve residents, public agencies, and private organizations in the Area. The Plan shall include a description of actions that political subdivisions of the Commonwealth and private organizations are recommended to take to protect the resources of the Area. The Plan shall specify existing and potential sources of funding for the conservation, management, and development of the Area. The Plan also shall include the following, as appropriate:

      (1) An inventory of the resources contained in the Area, including a list of property in the Area that should be conserved, restored, managed, developed, or maintained because of natural, cultural, or historic significance of the property as it relates to the Area.

      (2) A recommendation of policies for resource management. Such recommendation shall consider and detail application of appropriate land and water management techniques, including development of intergovernmental cooperative agreements to manage the historical, cultural, and natural resources and the recreational opportunities of the Area in a manner consistent with the support of appropriate and compatible economic viability.

      (3) A program, including plans for restoration and construction, for implementation of the Plan by the management entity specified in the Compact for the Area and specific commitments, for the first 5 years of operation of the Plan, by the partners identified in the Compact.

      (4) An analysis of means by which Federal, State, and local programs may best be coordinated to promote the purpose of this Act.

      (5) An interpretive plan for the Area.

SEC. 11. TECHNICAL AND OTHER ASSISTANCE.

    (a) TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE- The Secretary may provide technical assistance to the Commonwealth, political subdivisions of the Commonwealth, or the Corporation regarding Plan revisions and implementation.

    (b) ASSISTANCE UNDER PROGRAM- If the Congress establishes a National Heritage Areas Program or similar program within the Department of the Interior to assist National Heritage Areas, the Oil Region National Heritage Area shall be eligible for the technical and grant assistance available to National Heritage Areas under such program.

SEC. 12. PRIVATE PROPERTY PROTECTION.

    (a) LIMITATION ON INCLUSION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY IN NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA- No privately owned property shall be included within the boundaries of the Area unless the government of the county, city, or township in which the property is located agrees to be so included and submits notification of such agreement to the Secretary. If, at any time after the designation of the Area, the government of the county, city, or township which submitted such notification requests to be removed from the Area, the Secretary and Governor shall revise the Compact for the Area to exclude the county, city, or township from the Area.

    (b) ACCESS TO PRIVATE PROPERTY- No provision of this Act shall be construed to require any private property owner to permit public access to such private property. No provision of this Act shall be construed to modify any provision of Commonwealth law with regard to public access to or use of private lands.

    (c) PARTICIPATION OF PRIVATE PROPERTY OWNERS IN OIL REGION NATIONAL HERITAGE AREA- No provision of this Act shall be construed to require any private property owner located within the boundary of the Area to participate in or be associated with the Area.

SEC. 13. LACK OF EFFECT ON LAND USE REGULATION.

    (a) LACK OF EFFECT ON AUTHORITY OF GOVERNMENTS- No provision of this Act shall be construed to modify, enlarge, or diminish any authority of the Federal Government, Commonwealth government, or political subdivisions of the Commonwealth to regulate any use of land as provided for by law or regulation.

    (b) LACK OF ZONING OR LAND USE POWERS OF ENTITY- No provision of this Act shall be construed to grant powers of zoning or land use to the management entity for the Area.

    (c) NO CONDITIONING OF APPROVAL AND ASSISTANCE BY SECRETARY ON LAND USE RESTRICTIONS- The Secretary may not, as a condition of approving the Compact or the determination of eligibility for technical assistance under this Act, require enactment or modification of land use restrictions.

SEC. 14. FISHING AND HUNTING SAVINGS CLAUSE.

    (a) NO DIMINISHMENT OF STATE AUTHORITY- The designation of the Area under this Act shall not diminish the authority of the Commonwealth to manage fish and wildlife, including the regulation of fishing and hunting within such Area.

    (b) NO CONDITIONING OF APPROVAL AND ASSISTANCE BY SECRETARY ON FISHING AND HUNTING RESTRICTIONS- The Secretary may not, as a condition of the approval of the Compact or the determination of eligibility for technical assistance under this Act, require limitations on fishing, hunting, or trapping, and neither the Secretary nor any other Federal agency may condition the receipt, in connection with the National Heritage Area status of the Area, of any other form of assistance from the Secretary or such agencies on such limitations.