Robert Emmet Park Act of 2017
STATEMENT OF P. DANIEL SMITH, DEPUTY DIRECTOR, EXERCISING THE AUTHORITY OF THE DIRECTOR OF THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, CONCERNING H.R. 1500, A BILL TO REDESIGNATE THE SMALL TRIANGULAR PROPERTY LOCATED IN WASHINGTON, DC, AND DESIGNED BY THE NATIONAL PARK SERVICE AS RESERVATION 302 AS “ROBERT EMMET PARK,” AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
February 14, 2018
Chairman Daines, Ranking Member King, and members of the Subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the Department of the Interior’s views on H.R. 1500, a bill to redesignate the small triangular property located in Washington, D.C., and designated by the National Park Service as reservation 302 as “Robert Emmet Park,” and for other purposes.
The Department does not object to H.R. 1500. The bill would rename a site in the District of Columbia under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service (NPS), and known as Reservation 302, as “Robert Emmet Park.” The site contains the statue of Irish patriot Robert Emmet. The bill would also authorize the NPS to produce signage related to the history of Robert Emmet and the statue. The cost of the redesignation and signage would be a minimal amount that would be absorbed within existing budgets.
At the October 4, 2016, meeting of the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission, the Commission reviewed H.R. 4564, a bill introduced in the 114th Congress which is identical to H.R. 1500, to consider whether the bill adhered to the Commemorative Works Act (CWA). The Commission did not reach consensus on a position on the renaming. They were also not clear if the CWA applied to the naming of parks within the area covered by the CWA.
Although the Department does not object to naming Reservation 302 for Robert Emmet, we note that the statue is still owned by the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which could move it to another location at any time. If that happened, the park would lose the symbol for which it was named, yet it would continue to retain the designation “Robert Emmet Park.”
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be pleased to answer any questions you or other members of the Subcommittee may have.