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Benjamin C.
Democrat MD

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  • Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions

    by Senator Benjamin L. Cardin

    Posted on 2015-02-12

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    CARDIN: S. 518. A bill to require States to establish highway stormwater management programs; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.



    Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, today I come to the floor to discuss the introduction of my latest legislative proposal to better control the harmful and volumes of polluted stormwater that is generated from our Nation's Federal aid highways. Highway stormwater is a growing threat to water quality, aquatic ecosystems and the fish and wildlife that depend on the health of these ecosystems. Moreover, the high volumes and rapid flow of stormwater runoff from highways and roads poses a very serious threat to the condition of our Nation's water and transportation infrastructure as well as personal property particularly in urban and suburban communities.

    The Environmental Protection Agency has recognized that pollution from point sources have been steadily declining since the enactment of the Clean Water Act. Likewise, we have seen reductions in pollution from certain non-point sources like agriculture which are attributable in part to the success of a wide variety of USDA Natural Resource Conservation Service Programs and farming innovations in soil conservation and nutrient pollution management.

    One non-point source sector where we are unfortunately seeing an increasing impact on water quality is from impervious surface that create rapidly moving high volumes of untreated polluted stormwater that rush off of road surfaces, erode unnatural channels next to and ultimately underneath roadways comprising the integrity of roadway infrastructure, and increases the stress on storm sewer systems shortening the useful life of this infrastructure and ultimately lead to the discharge of untreated pollution that is carried off roadways and into our lakes, rivers, streams, and coastal waters.

    [[Page S993]] Impervious surfaces include most buildings and structures, parking lots and of course the nearly 9 million lane miles of roads across our country. The total coverage of impervious surfaces in an area is usually expressed as a percentage of the total land area.

    The coverage increases with rising urbanization. In rural areas, impervious cover may only be 1 percent or 2 percent, however road surfaces comprise 80 percent-90 percent of a rural area's total impervious surfaces. In residential areas, impervious surface coverage ranges between 10 percent in low-density subdivisions to over 50 percent in more densely developed communities, where the composition of the impervious surface area coverage works out to be 50 percent roads. In dense urban areas, the impervious surface area is often over 90 percent the total land area, with roads comprising 60 percent-70 percent of that coverage.

    According to EPA, urban impervious cover, not just roads, in the lower 48 adds up to 43,000 square miles--an area roughly the size of Ohio. Continuing development adds another quarter of a million acres each year. Typically two-thirds of the cover is pavement, roads and parking lots, and \1/3\ is buildings.

    According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, impervious surfaces compose roughly 17 percent of all urban and suburban lands in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The greatest concentration of impervious surfaces in the bay watershed is in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Areas of DC, Maryland and Virginia. The Virginia Tidewater area, Philadelphia's western suburbs, and Lancaster, PA, are also regions in the watershed where impervious surfaces are greater than 10 percent of the total land area.

    Rainfall on hard surfaces like roads and highways has a very destructive and turbulent affect on nearby waterways and infrastructure. For example, the rain events that occur over a week long period at the end of April brought nearly 8 inches of rain to the Baltimore-Washington region. The urban runoff from roads in Baltimore caused an embankment above the CSX railroad track along East 26th Street, between St. Paul and Charles Street, to collapse. Fortunately no one was injured though homes had to be evacuated for more than a month, nearly a dozen parked cars were destroyed and moreover movement of freight along CSX railroad was disrupted for more than a week. This event shows just how destructive and disruptive poorly managed stormwater from transportation infrastructure can be.

    Some may chalk this up to a freak storm of unusually large proportion. It's true this storm was unusual, but so were the polar vortexes and all of the snow New England and Buffalo received this winter, and 2013's 3-mile wide tornado in Alabama, the ongoing drought in California. ``Unusual'' weather seems to becoming a lot more usual. As extreme weather events triggered by our changing climate become more frequent it is imperative that we incorporate better designs into our infrastructure to be better handle these types of events.

    Under the Clean Water Act, stormwater is considered a non-point source and there are no requirements that stormwater be collected or treated. The exception being for localities where in order to meet the standards set in an MS4, Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System, permit a region may include its transportation infrastructure in its MS4 permit.

    However, in most cases stormwater that falls on roadways washes oil, grease, asbestos brake-dust, nitrogen deposits from tailpipe emissions, trash, road salt and de-icing agents, and sediment into nearby waterways. Highway stormwater runoff is most often not treated or adequately managed.

    While these organic and inorganic contaminants are legitimate threats to water quality, the greater concern with roadway runoff is the sheer volume and rapid flow rate in which stormwater leaves these hard surfaces and enters our waterways. Flows and volumes that cause roads to collapse in Baltimore.

    Roads are designed for stormwater to flow off of the driving surface quickly, for safety reasons. When stormwater rushes off of road surfaces into storm drains it is usually piped straight into the nearest river or stream without removing contaminants, detaining any of the volume, or slowing down the flow. This creates an enormously destructive set of circumstances for our waterways.

    Another example of the destructive force that persistent unmitigated and poorly managed highway runoff can have on the condition and safety of highway infrastructure is in Mobile Alabama along Highway 131 in the Joe's Branch Watershed. The Mobile Bay Estuary Program, part of the National Estuaries Program, in coordination with Alabama Department of Transportation is having to spent millions of dollars to reinforce a highway embankment to keep the highway from slipping down a hill and into the Joe's Branch Creek, restore the hydrology of the river, and help protect private property from the dangerous erosion that's been caused by poorly managed stormwater from Highway 131.

    The Mobile Bay Estuary Program described the problem this way: ``In the Joe's Branch watershed, on the property of Westminster Village adjacent and parallel to Highway 131, a head cut stream is eroding at an accelerating rate, an ominous condition as ALDOT prepares to undertake improvements to the highway. Identified as a high priority stabilization area in the D'Olive Creek, Tiawasee Creek and Joe's Branch Watershed Management Plan, MBNEP has submitted a funding request to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management on behalf of its partners in Spanish Fort, Daphne, ALDOT and Westminster Village to undertake restoration of the stream using a cutting-edge technology called Regenerative Step Pool Storm Conveyance.'' The four entities involved are spending large amount money to repair a problem caused by stormwater damage that could have been prevented at a lower cost by incorporating better stormwater mitigation facilities into the design of the highway.

    These high-volume/high-speed flows also hasten the deterioration of water infrastructure. A 2001 study on the erosive power of urban stormwater flows examined how excessive stormwater volumes and flow rates off of urban surface infrastructure caused more than $1 million in roadway and water infrastructure damage in the Cincinnati metropolitan areas in Ohio and Kentucky in a single year.

    While there are serious water quality concerns with not adequately controlling roadway infrastructure runoff, there are serious infrastructure costs, that are ultimately passed on to taxpayers and ratepayers, that can be avoided if transportation authorities do more to control and manage stormwater runoff with the infrastructure assets they manage and build.

    The increased incidence of flash flooding events that occur even during seemingly mild and routine storm events is a direct result of the growing percentage of impervious land cover in urban and suburban communities. Replacement of the ``greenscapes'' that are lost to pavement is essential to restoring hydrological balance to our urban and suburban communities and impaired watersheds.

    According to USGS: an inch of rain on one square foot of pavement produces 1.87 gallons of stormwater, Scaled up, 1 inch of rain on one acre would produce 27,150 gallons of stormwater. Using FHWA design standards for interstate highway lane and shoulder widths, 12 feet per lane, 10 foot right shoulder, 2x, 4 foot left shoulder, 2x, 10 miles of a four lane interstate highway generates nearly 2.5 million gallons of polluted stormwater for every inch of rain. To put that into perspective for the Potomac and Anacostia River Watersheds: The Capital Beltway, not including its 48 interchanges, generates nearly 30 million, 29,920,946, gallons of polluted stormwater for every inch of rain that falls on the 64 mile 8 to 12 lane interstate highway loop. It is volumes of stormwater like that which cause dangerous streambank erosion.

    Gillies Creek is an urban waterway located East of Downtown Richmond. It is a tributary of the James River which flows into the Chesapeake Bay. Gillies Creek is surrounded by industrial and residential development and also receives stormwater from State highway 33, Interstate 64, US 60, and hundreds of city streets including Stony Run Parkway which directly adjacent to the creek for several miles.

    [[Page S994]] The banks and bed of this creek have eroded so badly as urban development around the creek has added more impervious surfaces to the watershed that streambed sheering has created cliffs more than 10 feet tall at spots along the creek. Trees supporting the bank continually fall into the creek and nearby roadways and other infrastructure as well as homes and business are at risk. Reducing the impacts of the storms by mitigating the flow and volume of stormwater in this watershed will protect against further erosion and save the cost of repair and eventual replacement of the assets located along this endangered creek.

    The aim of this legislation is to improve highway designs to better manage stormwater to avoid the costly damage that poorly managed stormwater causes to infrastructure and nearby streams, rivers and coastal waters.

    I held a hearing on this issue in the Water and Wildlife Subcommittee on May 13, 2014. I heard many ideas from both the minority and majority witnesses that were invited to present testimony at this hearing. I listened to the concerns of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and I have incorporated provisions into this bill that should alleviate concerns they may have had with previous attempts to better control highway stormwater.

    My bill's approach to highway runoff management is one that I hope my colleagues of both parties can support. First of all it put States in the driver's seat for developing hydrological analysis and implementation of best management practices to control highway runoff. The objective of the legislation is to control and manage flow and volume of stormwater from highways not to treat runoff in order to meet water quality standards. By taking this sort of approach we avoid EPA's involvement in the process. Lastly, States would only need to apply these procedures to new construction on major reconfiguration projects that significantly increases the amount of impervious surface in the project area.

    Title 23 of the U.S. Code states: ``transportation should play a significant role in promoting economic growth, improving the environment, and sustaining the quality of life'' through the use of ``context sensitive solutions.'' In 2008, the Government Accountability Office issued a report examining key issues and challenges that needed to be addressed in the next reauthorization of the transportation bill. That report highlighted the clear link between transportation policy and the environment. With 985,139 miles of federal aid highways stretching from every corner of the US, polluted highway runoff is no small problem facing our Nation's waters. I would urge my colleagues to join me trying to address this problem facing America's waterways and infrastructure.

    Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: S. 518 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 ``Highway Runoff Management Act''.

    SEC. 2. FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY RUNOFF MANAGEMENT.

    (a) In General.--Chapter 3 of title 23, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: ``Sec. 330. Federal-aid highway runoff management program ``(a) Definitions.--In this section: ``(1) Covered project.--The term `covered project' means a reconstruction, rehabilitation, reconfiguration, renovation, major resurfacing, or new construction project on a Federal- aid highway carried out under this title that results in-- ``(A) a 10-percent or greater increase in impervious surface of the aerial extent within the right-of-way of the project limit on a Federal-aid highway or associated facility; or ``(B) an increase of 1 acre or more in impervious surface coverage.

    ``(2) Erosive force.--The term `erosive force' means the flowrate within a stream or channel in which channel bed or bank material becomes detached, which in most cases is less than or equal to the flowrate produced by the 2-year storm event.

    ``(3) Highway runoff.--The term `highway runoff ', with respect to a Federal-aid highway, associated facility, or management measure retrofit project, means a discharge of peak flow rate or volume of runoff that exceeds flows generated under preproject conditions.

    ``(4) Impacted hydrology.--The term `impacted hydrology' means stormwater runoff generated from all areas within the site limits of a covered project.

    ``(5) Management measure.--The term `management measure' means a program, structural or nonstructural management practice, operational procedure, or policy on or off the project site that is intended to prevent, reduce, or control highway runoff.

    ``(b) State Highway Stormwater Management Programs.-- ``(1) In general.--Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section, each State shall-- ``(A) develop a process for analyzing the erosive force of highway runoff generated from covered projects; and ``(B) apply management measures to maintain or restore impacted hydrology associated with highway runoff from covered projects.

    ``(2) Inclusions.--The management measures established under paragraph (1) may include, as the State determines to be appropriate, management measures that-- ``(A) minimize the erosive force of highway runoff from a covered project on a channel bed or bank of receiving water by managing highway runoff within the area of the covered project; ``(B) manage impacted hydrology in such a manner that the highway runoff generated by a covered project is below the erosive force flow and volume; ``(C) to the maximum extent practicable, seek to address the impact of the erosive force of hydrologic events that have the potential to create or exacerbate downstream channel erosion, including excess pier and abutment scour at bridges and channel downcutting and bank failure of streams adjacent to highway embankments; ``(D) ensure that the highway runoff from the post- construction condition does not increase the risk of channel erosion relative to the preproject condition; and ``(E) employ simplified approaches to determining the erosive force of highway runoff generated from covered projects, such as a regionalized analysis of streams within a State.

    ``(c) Guidance.-- ``(1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this section, the Secretary, in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall publish guidance to assist States in carrying out this section.

    ``(2) Contents of guidance.--The guidance shall include guidelines and technical assistance for the establishment of State management measures that will be used to assist in avoiding, minimizing, and managing highway runoff from covered projects, including guidelines to help States integrate the planning, selection, design, and long-term operation and maintenance of management measures consistent with the design standards in the overall project planning process.

    ``(3) Approval.--The Secretary, in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall-- ``(A) review the management measures program of each State; and ``(B) approve such a program, if the program meets the requirements of subsection (b).

    ``(4) Updates.--Not later than 5 years after the date of publication of the guidance under this subsection, and not less frequently than once every 5 years thereafter-- ``(A) the Secretary, in consultation with the heads of other relevant Federal agencies, shall update the guidance, as applicable; and ``(B) each State, as applicable, shall update the management measures program of the State in accordance with the updated guidance.

    ``(d) Reporting.-- ``(1) In general.--Except as provided in paragraph (2)(A), each State shall submit to the Secretary an annual report that describes the activities carried out under the highway stormwater management program of the State, including a description of any reductions of stormwater runoff achieved as a result of covered projects carried out by the State after the date of enactment of this section.

    ``(2) Reporting requirements under permit.-- ``(A) In general.--A State shall not be required to submit an annual report described in paragraph (1) if the State-- ``(i) is operating Federal-aid highways in the State in a post-construction condition in accordance with a permit issued under the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.); ``(ii) is subject to an annual reporting requirement under such a permit (regardless of whether the permitting authority is a Federal or State agency); and ``(iii) carries out a covered project with respect to a Federal-aid highway in the State described in clause (i).

    ``(B) Transmission of report.--A Federal or State permitting authority that receives an annual report described in subparagraph (A)(ii) shall, on receipt of such a report, transmit a copy of the report to the Secretary.''.

    (b) Clerical Amendment.--The analysis for chapter 3 of title 23, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following: ``330. Federal-aid highway runoff management program.''.

    [[Page S995]] ______ By Mr. CARDIN (for himself, Ms. Mikulski, Mr. Coons, Mr. Carper, and Mr. Warner): S. 519. A bill to amend the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 to permanently reauthorize the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

    Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, authorized under P.L. 105-312 in 1998 and reauthorized by P.L. 107-308 in 2002, the Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network helps several million visitors and residents discover, enjoy, and learn about the special places and stories of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. Today, I am introducing legislation to permanently authorize this successful 17-year-old program.

    For visitors and residents, the Gateways are the ``Chesapeake connection.'' The network members provide an experience of such high quality that visitors indeed connect to the Chesapeake emotionally as well as intellectually, and thus to the Bay's conservation. Through more than 160 of these sites, the Gateways Network partner sites and water trails enable visitors to experience the authentic Chesapeake.

    The Chesapeake Bay is a national treasure. The Chesapeake ranks as the largest of America's 130 estuaries and one of the Nation's largest and longest fresh water and estuarine systems. The Atlantic Ocean delivers half the bay's 18 trillion gallons of water and the other half flows through over 150 major rivers and streams draining 64,000 square miles within 6 states and the District of Columbia. The Chesapeake watershed is among the most significant cultural, natural and historical assets of our Nation.

    The Chesapeake is enormously vast and diverse--to the extent that it is impossible to experience all the culture, history and natural beauty in any one place. That is why the gateways program is designed to connect and use the scores of existing public resources to collaborate on presenting the many chapters and tales of the bay's story. Visitors and residents go to more places for more experiences, all through a coordinated Gateways Network.

    Beyond simply coordinating the network, publishing a map and guides, and providing standard exhibits at all Gateways, the National Park Service has helped gateways with matching grants and expertise for several hundred high-quality projects, developing sites to provide fishing, boating, and viewing access to the bay and its major tributaries. This is a great deal for the bay--it helps network members tell the Chesapeake story better and inspires people to care for this National Treasure, in addition to supporting local, State, and national water trails--and it's a good deal for the Park Service. It serves all 170+ gateways and their 10 million visitors. No other National Park can provide such a dramatic ratio of public dollars spent to number of visitors served.

    With the National Park Service's expertise and support, gateways have made significant progress in their mission to tell the Bay's stories to their millions of members and visitors, extend access to the Bay and its watershed, and develop a conservation awareness and ethic. It is time to not only reauthorize the Chesapeake Gateways and Watertrails program, but make the annual $3 million reauthorization for this program permanent. It is my hope that the Congress will act quickly to adopt this legislation.

    Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: S. 519 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 ``Chesapeake Bay Gateways and Watertrails Network Reauthorization Act''.

    SEC. 2. PERMANENT REAUTHORIZATION.

    Section 502(c) of the Chesapeake Bay Initiative Act of 1998 (16 U.S.C. 461 note; Public Law 105-312) is amended by striking ``for'' and all that follows through the period at the end and inserting ``for each fiscal year.''.

    ______ By Mr. CARDIN: S. 520. A bill to amend the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act to reauthorize the Act; to the Committee on Environment and Public Works.

    Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, today I am introducing the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act. More than half of the bird species found in the U.S. migrate across our borders and many of these spend our winter in Central and South America. This bill promotes international cooperation for long-term conservation, education, research, monitoring, and habitat protection for more than 350 species of neotropical migratory birds. Through its successful competitive, matching grant program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service supports public-private partnerships in countries mostly in Latin America and the Caribbean. Up to \1/4\ of the funds may be awarded for domestic projects.

    This legislation aims to sustain healthy populations of migratory birds that are not only beautiful to look at but help our farmers by consuming billions of harmful insect and rodent pests each year, providing pollination services, and dispersing seeds. Migratory birds face threats from pesticide pollution, deforestation, sprawl, and invasive species that degrade their habitats in addition to the natural risks of their extended flights. Birds are excellent indicators of the health of an ecosystem. As such, it is troubling that, according to the National Audubon Society, half of all coastally migrating shorebirds, like the Common Tern and Piping Plover, are experiencing dramatic population declines.

    The Baltimore Oriole, the State bird of Maryland and one whose song brightens all of the Northeastern U.S., has steadily declined in population despite being protected by federal law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the State of Maryland's Nongame and Endangered Species Conservation Act. Likewise, the iconic Red Knot bird, whose legendary 9,000 mile migration centers on a stopover in the Mid-Atlantic states, is decreasing in population quickly. Threats to these beloved Maryland birds are mainly due to habitat destruction and deforestation, particularly in the Central and South American countries where the birds winter. In addition, international use of toxic pesticides ingested by insects, which are then eaten by the birds, has significantly contributed to this decline. Conservation efforts in our country are essential, but investment in programs throughout the migratory route of these and countless other migratory birds is critical. This legislation accomplishes this goal.

    The Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act has a proven track record of reversing habitat loss and advancing conservation strategies for the broad range of neotropical birds that populate the United States and the rest of the Western hemisphere. Since 2002, more than $50.1 million in grants have been awarded, supporting 451 projects in 36 countries. Partners have contributed an additional $190.6 million, and more than 3.7 million acres of habitat have been affected.

    This legislation is cost-effective, budget-friendly, and has been a highly successful Federal program. This simple reauthorization bill will make sure that this good work continues.

    Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: S. 520 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, SECTION 1. REAUTHORIZATION OF NEOTROPICAL MIGRATORY BIRD CONSERVATION ACT.

    Section 10 of the Neotropical Migratory Bird Conservation Act (16 U.S.C. 6109) is amended to read as follows: ``SEC. 10. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

    ``(a) In General.--There is authorized to be appropriated to carry out this Act $6,500,000 for each of fiscal years 2015 through 2020.

    ``(b) Use of Funds.--Of the amounts made available under subsection (a) for each fiscal year, not less than 75 percent shall be expended for projects carried out at a location outside of the United States.''.

    ______ By Mr. CARDIN (for himself and Ms. Mikulski): S. 521. A bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of President Station in Baltimore, Maryland, and for [[Page S996]] other purposes; to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

    Mr. CARDIN. Mr. President, today marks an important day in history as our Nation continues to honor the sesquicentennial of the Civil War. There are many landmarks in my hometown of Baltimore that are significant to Civil War history, which I believe are in the Nation's interests to protect for future generations. As our Nation pays tribute to this trying time in our Nation's history, I am proud to reintroduce the President Street Station Study Act, which would initiate the process for preserving one such landmark in the heart of Baltimore. President Street Station played a crucial role in the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, the growth of Baltimore's railroad industry, and is a historically significant landmark to the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

    The station was constructed for the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Baltimore, PW&B, Railroad in 1849 and remains the oldest surviving big city railroad terminal in the United States. This historical structure is a unique architectural gem, arguably the first example and last survivor of the early barrel-vault train shed arches, also known as the Howe Truss. The arch-rib design became the blueprint for railroad bridges and roofs well into the 20th century and was replicated for every similarly designed train shed and roof for the next 20 years.

    The growth of President Street Station and the PW&B railroad mirror the expansion of the railroad industry throughout the country in the latter half of the 19th century. This station played an essential role in making Baltimore the first railroad and sea-rail link in the nation and helped the city become the international port hub it is today.

    In its heyday, President Street Station was the key link connecting Washington, D.C. with the northeast States. Hundreds of passengers traveling north passed through this station and, by the start of the Civil War, Baltimore had become our Nation's major southern railroad hub. Not surprisingly, the station played a critical role in both the Civil War and the Underground Railroad.

    Perhaps the most famous passenger to travel through the station was President Abraham Lincoln. He came through the station at least four times, including secretly on his way to his first inauguration in 1861. President-elect Lincoln was warned by a PW&B private detective of a possible assassination plot in Baltimore as he transferred trains. While it is unclear if this plot existed and posed a serious threat, Lincoln nevertheless was secretly smuggled aboard a train in the dead of night to complete his trip to Washington.

    Just a few months later, President Street Station served as a backdrop for what many historians consider to be the first bloodshed of the Civil War. The Baltimore Riot of 1861 occurred when Lincoln called for Union volunteers to quell the rebellion at Fort Sumter in Charleston. On this day in history, April 19, 1861, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania volunteers were met and attacked by a mob of secessionist and Confederate sympathizers. The bloody confrontation left four dead and 36 wounded. As the war continued, the Station remained a critical link for the Union. Troops and supplies from the north were regularly shuttled through the station to support Union soldiers.

    It is well known that Maryland was a common starting point along the Underground Railroad and that many escaped slaves from Maryland's Eastern Shore plantations were destined for Baltimore and the President Street Station to travel north to freedom. Last year, Congress acted to honor Maryland's own Harriet Tubman, the Underground Railroad's most famous ``conductor'' by enacting the Harriet Tubman National Historical Parks Act, establishing the first set of National Historical Parks to commemorate the life of an African American woman. While Harriet Tubman personally led dozens of people to freedom, her courage and fortitude also inspired others to find their own strength to seek freedom. President Street Station was indeed a station on this secret network. Prior to emancipation in 1863, several renowned escapees, including Frederick Douglass, William and Ellen Craft, and Henry ``Box'' Brown, traveled through the Station, risking their lives for a better and freer life.

    Others' journeys for a better life also passed through President Street Station. From its beginning and into the 20th century, Baltimore was both a destination and departure point for immigrants. New arrivals from Ireland, Russia, and Europe arriving on the eastern seaboard traveled by way of the PW&B railroads to the west.

    For decades, President Street Station has long been recognized as having an important place in history: In 1992, it was listed on the National Register of Historic places and the city of Baltimore has dedicated it a local historical landmark. For many years it served as the Baltimore Civil War Museum, educating generations of people about the role Maryland and Baltimore played in the Civil War and the early history of the city. In recent years, the museum, run by dedicated volunteers from the Maryland Historical Society and Friends of President Street Station, have struggled to keep the station's doors open and keeping the station's character true to its historical roots. The area around President Street Station has changed dramatically over the decades, but the Station has worked to preserve its place in place in history. It has been many years since trains passed through the President Street Station and it is clear that today the best use for this building is to preserve the building and use it to tell station's American story.

    President Street Station is an American historical treasure. This bill authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study of President Street Station to evaluate the suitability and feasibility of establishing the Station as a unit of the National Park Service. President Street Station, a contributor to the growth of the railroad, and a vital player in the Underground Railroad, Lincoln Presidency and Civil War, is part of this history. I urge my colleagues to join me in giving this station the recognition it deserves and support this bill.

    Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the Record.

    There being no objection, the text of the bill was ordered to be printed in the Record, as follows: S. 521 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 ``President Street Station Study Act''.

    SEC. 2. DEFINITIONS.

    In this Act: (1) Secretary.--The term ``Secretary'' means the Secretary of the Interior.

    (2) Study area.--The term ``study area'' means the President Street Station, a railroad terminal in Baltimore, Maryland, the history of which is tied to the growth of the railroad industry in the 19th century, the Civil War, the Underground Railroad, and the immigrant influx of the early 20th century.

    SEC. 3. SPECIAL RESOURCE STUDY.

    (a) Study.--The Secretary shall conduct a special resource study of the study area.

    (b) Contents.--In conducting the study under subsection (a), the Secretary shall-- (1) evaluate the national significance of the study area; (2) determine the suitability and feasibility of designating the study area as a unit of the National Park System; (3) consider other alternatives for preservation, protection, and interpretation of the study area by the Federal Government, State or local government entities, or private and nonprofit organizations; (4) consult with interested Federal agencies, State or local governmental entities, private and nonprofit organizations, or any other interested individuals; and (5) identify cost estimates for any Federal acquisition, development, interpretation, operation, and maintenance associated with the alternatives.

    (c) Applicable Law.--The study required under subsection (a) shall be conducted in accordance with section 8 of Public Law 91-383 (16 U.S.C. 1a-5).

    (d) Report.--Not later than 3 years after the date on which funds are first made available for the study under subsection (a), the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources of the Senate a report that describes-- (1) the results of the study; and (2) any conclusions and recommendations of the Secretary.

    ______ By Mr. BROWN (for himself, Ms. Stabenow, Mr. Wyden, Mr. Casey, Mr. Reid, Mr. Durbin, Ms. Baldwin, Mr. Bennet, Mr.

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