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> ST. FRANCIS DAM DISASTER

HR5357: Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial Act


113th CONGRESS

2d Session

H.R. 5357

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IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 31, 2014

Mr. McKeon introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Natural Resources

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A BILL

To authorize a national memorial to commemorate those killed by the collapse of the Saint Francis Dam on March 12, 1928, and for other purposes.

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

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SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the "Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial Act".

SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSES.

(a) Findings. — Congress finds the following:

(1) On March 12, 1928, the Saint Francis Dam located in the northern portion of Los Angeles County, California, breached, resulting in a flood resulting in the death of approximately 600 individuals.

(2) The residents of the Santa Clarita Valley, San Francisquito Canyon, Castaic Junction, Santa Clara River Valley, Piru, Fillmore, Bardsdale, Saticoy, and Santa Paula were devastated by the worst flood that the State of California has ever experienced.

(3) This disaster resulted in a tremendous loss of human life, property, and livelihood, and was surpassed in the 20th century only by the great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906.

(4) The dam's collapse may represent America's worst civil engineering failure in the 20th century.

(5) It is right to pay homage to the citizens who perished, were injured, or were dislocated in the flood, and to bring to light and educate the general public about this important historical event.

(6) The site is subject to the theft of historic artifacts, graffiti, and other vandalism.

(7) The site has important historic and environmental significance.

(8) It is appropriate that the site of the Saint Francis Dam and surrounding areas be designated a unit of the National Park System to commemorate this tragic event.

(b) Purposes. — The purposes of this Act are as follows:

(1) To establish a national memorial to honor the victims of the Saint Francis Dam disaster of March 12, 1928.

(2) To establish the Saint Francis Dam Advisory Commission to assist with consideration and formulation of plans for a permanent memorial to the victims of that disaster, including its nature, design, and construction.

(3) To permanently protect the historical scene of the Saint Francis Dam and educate the general public about this historic event.

(4) To authorize the Secretary of the Interior to coordinate and facilitate the activities of the Saint Francis Dam Advisory Commission, provide technical and financial assistance to the Saint Francis Dam Task Force, and to administer a Saint Francis Dam memorial.

SEC. 3. MEMORIAL TO HONOR THE VICTIMS OF THE SAINT FRANCIS DAM DISASTER.

There is established a memorial at the Saint Francis Dam site in the County of Los Angeles, California, to honor the victims of the Saint Francis Dam disaster of March 12, 1928, which shall be —

(1) known as the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial; and

(2) located within the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Monument.

SEC. 4. SAINT FRANCIS DAM ADVISORY COMMISSION.

(a) Establishment. — There is established a commission to be known as the "Saint Francis Dam Advisory Commission".

(b) Membership. — The Commission shall consist of 15 members, including the Director of the National Park Service, or the Director's designee, and 14 members appointed by the Secretary of the Interior.

(c) Term. — The term of the members of the Commission shall be for the life of the Commission.

(d) Chair. — The members of the Commission shall select the Chair of the Commission.

(e) Vacancies. — Any vacancy in the Commission shall not affect its powers if a quorum is present, but shall be filled in the same manner as the original appointment.

(f) Meetings. — The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairperson or a majority of the members, but not less often than quarterly. The Commission shall publish notice of the Commission meetings and agendas for the meetings in local newspapers in the vicinity of Los Angeles County and in the Federal Register. Meetings of the Commission shall be subject to section 552b of title 5, United States Code (relating to open meetings).

(g) Quorum. — A majority of the members serving on the Commission shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business.

(h) No Compensation. — Members of the Commission shall serve without compensation, but may be reimbursed for expenses incurred in carrying out the duties of the Commission.

(i) Duties. — The duties of the Commission shall be as follows:

(1) Not later than 2 years after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Commission shall submit to the Secretary of the Interior and Congress a report containing recommendations for the planning, design, construction, and long-term management of a permanent memorial at the dam site.

(2) The Commission shall advise the Secretary of the Interior on the boundaries of the Memorial site.

(3) The Commission shall advise the Secretary of the Interior in the development of a management plan for the Memorial site.

(4) The Commission shall consult and coordinate closely with the Saint Francis Dam Task Force, the State of California, and other interested persons, as appropriate, to support and not supplant the efforts of the Saint Francis Dam Task Force on and before the date of the enactment of this Act to commemorate the Saint Francis Dam disaster.

(5) The Commission shall provide significant opportunities for public participation in the planning and design of the Memorial.

(j) Powers. — The Commission may —

(1) make such expenditures for services and materials for the purpose of carrying out this Act as the Commission considers advisable from funds appropriated or received as gifts for that purpose;

(2) subject to approval by the Secretary of the Interior, solicit and accept donations of funds and gifts, personal property, supplies, and services from individuals, foundations, corporations, and other private or public entities to be used in connection with the construction or other expenses of the Memorial;

(3) hold hearings and enter into contracts for personal services;

(4) do such other things as are necessary to carry out this Act; and

(5) by a vote of the majority of the Commission, delegate such of its duties as it determines appropriate to employees of the National Park Service.

(k) Termination. — The Commission shall terminate upon dedication of the completed Memorial.

SEC. 5. DUTIES OF THE SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR WITH RESPECT TO MEMORIAL.

The Secretary may —

(1) provide assistance to the Commission, including advice on collections, storage, and archives;

(2) consult and assist the Commission in providing information, interpretation, and the conduct of oral history interviews;

(3) provide assistance in conducting public meetings and forums held by the Commission;

(4) provide project management assistance to the Commission for planning, design, and construction activities;

(5) provide programming and design assistance to the Commission for possible Memorial exhibits, collections, or activities;

(6) provide staff assistance and support to the Commission and the Saint Francis Dam Task Force;

(7) participate in the formulation of plans for the design of the Memorial, accept funds raised by the Commission for construction of the Memorial, and construct the Memorial;

(8) acquire from willing sellers the land or interests in land for the Memorial site by donation, purchase with donated or appropriated funds, or exchange; and

(9) administer the Memorial as a unit of the National Park System in accordance with this Act and with the laws generally applicable to units of the National Park System.

SEC. 6. ESTABLISHMENT OF NATIONAL MONUMENT.

(a) Establishment. — There is established as a national monument in the State certain land administered by the Secretary of Agriculture in Los Angeles County comprising approximately ____ acres, as generally depicted on the map entitled ____, and dated ___, to be known as the "Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial Monument".

(b) Purpose. — The purpose of the Monument is to conserve, protect, and enhance for the benefit and enjoyment of present and future generations the cultural, archaeological, historical, natural, wildlife, geological, ecological, watershed, educational, scenic, and recreational resources and values of the Monument.

(c) Management. —

(1) In general. — The Secretary of the Interior shall manage the Monument —

(A) in a manner that conserves, protects, and enhances the resources of the Monument;

(B) protects, preserves, and enhances the Memorial; and

(C) in accordance with —

(i) the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (43 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.);

(ii) this Act; and

(iii) any other applicable laws.

(2) Uses. —

(A) In general. — The Secretary of the Interior shall allow only such uses of the Monument that the Secretary determines would further the purpose described in subsection (b).

(B) Use of motorized vehicles. —

(i) In general. — Except as needed for administrative purposes or to respond to an emergency, the use of motorized vehicles in the Monument shall be permitted only on roads designated for use by motorized vehicles in the management plan.

(ii) New roads. — No additional roads shall be built within the Monument after the date of enactment of this Act unless the road is necessary for public safety or natural resource protection.

(C) Grazing. — The Secretary shall permit grazing within the Monument, where established before the date of enactment of this Act —

(i) subject to all applicable laws (including regulations) and Executive orders; and

(ii) consistent with the purpose described in subsection (b).

(D) Utility right-of-way upgrades. — Nothing in this section precludes the Secretary from renewing or authorizing the upgrading (including widening) of a utility right-of-way in existence as of the date of enactment of this Act through the Monument in a manner that minimizes harm to the purpose of the Monument described in subsection (b) —

(i) in accordance with —

(I) the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.); and

(II) any other applicable law; and

(ii) subject to such terms and conditions as the Secretary determines to be appropriate.

(E) Rights-of-way. — Subject to applicable law, the Secretary of the Interior may issue rights-of-way for watershed restoration projects and small-scale flood prevention projects within the boundary of the Monument if the right-of-way is consistent with the purpose of the Monument described in subsection (b).

(d) Management Plan. —

(1) In general. — Not later than 3 years after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of the Interior shall develop a management plan for the Monument.

(2) Consultation. — The management plan shall be developed in consultation with —

(A) interested Federal agencies;

(B) State, tribal, and local governments; and

(C) the public.

(3) Considerations. — In preparing and implementing the management plan, the Secretary of the Interior shall —

(A) consider the recommendations of the Santa Clarita Valley Historical Society on methods for providing access to, and protection for the St. Francis Dam Memorial site; and

(B) include a watershed health assessment to identify opportunities for watershed restoration.

(e) Incorporation of Acquired Land and Interests in Land. — Any land or interest in land that is within the boundary of the Monument designated by subsection (a) that is acquired by the United States shall —

(1) become part of the Monument; and

(2) be managed in accordance with —

(A) this Act; and

(B) any other applicable laws.

(f) Transfer of Administrative Jurisdiction. — On the date of enactment of this Act, administrative jurisdiction over the approximately ___ acres of land generally depicted as ___ on the map entitled ___, and dated ___, shall —

(1) be transferred from the Secretary of Agriculture to the Secretary of the Interior;

(2) become part of the Monument; and

(3) be managed in accordance with —

(A) this Act; and

(B) any other applicable laws.

SEC. 7. DEFINITIONS.

In this Act:

(1) Memorial. — The term "Memorial" means the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Memorial established by section 3.

(2) Monument. — The term "Monument" means the Saint Francis Dam Disaster National Monument established by section 6.

(3) State. — The term "State" means the State of California.

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