H.R. 4049, Ashland Breakwater Light Transfer Act, as amended

H.R. 4049

Ashland Breakwater Light Transfer Act, as amended

Sponsor
Rep. Sean Duffy

Date
November 17, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, November 17, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 4049, the Ashland Breakwater Light Transfer Act, as amended, under suspension of the rules.  H.R. 4049 was introduced by Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) on February 11, 2014 and was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee, in addition to the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.  The bill was marked up by the Natural Resources Committee on June 19, 2014 and was ordered reported by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4049 adjusts the boundary of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore in Wisconsin to include the lighthouse known as Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light.  H.R. 4049 authorizes the transfer of ownership of the lighthouse from the Coast Guard to the National Park Service (NPS), but ensures that the Coast Guard retains jurisdiction of the surrounding waters.

Background

The Ashland Harbor Breakwater Light, which was built in 1915, sits on the shore of Lake Superior in Wisconsin.[1]  “In May 2012, the Coast Guard announced its intent to dispose of the Ashland Light under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act (NHLPA).  The NHLPA, enacted in 2000 . . . provides a public process for the disposal of Federally owned historic light stations by allowing them to be transferred at no cost to Federal agencies, State and local governments, nonprofit corporations, educational agencies, and community development organizations.  The first step is the determination of the property as ‘excess to service requirements’ by the U.S. Coast Guard and its identification as a historic structure.  This determination is reported to the General Services Administration and notice is given that applications may be made for the structure.  If an application is accepted, the lighthouse is simply transferred to the applicant subject to compliance with requirements to maintain the light and make it available to the public.  No public or private entity, aside from the NPS, expressed interest in obtaining and maintaining the Ashland Light through the NHLPA process.  However, as the Ashland Light is not within the existing [Apostle Islands National Lakeshore] park boundary, a boundary adjustment is needed to clarify that the property will be administered as part of the park.”[2]  Upon enactment of H.R. 4049, “the NPS would manage all of the nationally significant historic lights in the region . . . .”[3]

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[1] Statement of Victor Knox, Associate Director of Park Planning, Facilities and Lands, National Park Service, before the Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Concerning H.R. 4049 (June 10, 2014).
[2] Id.
[3] Id.

Cost

According to CBO estimates, implementing H.R. 4049 would not significantly impact the federal budget.  The bill would not affect direct spending or revenues.

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.