National Emergency Medical Services Commemorative Work Act
STATEMENT OF PEGGY O’DELL, DEPUTY DIRECTOR FOR OPERATIONS, NATIONAL PARK SERVICE, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR, BEFORE THE SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND NATURAL RESOURCES, CONCERNING S. 2628, A BILL TO AUTHORIZE THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES MEMORIAL FOUNDATION TO ESTABLISH A COMMEMORATIVE WORK IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA AND ITS ENVIRONS, AND FOR OTHER PURPOSES.
March 17, 2016
Mr. Chairman, and members of the subcommittee, thank you for the opportunity to present the views of the Department of the Interior on S. 2628, a bill to authorize the National Emergency Medical Services Memorial Foundation to establish a commemorative work in the District of Columbia and environs, and for other purposes.
The Department supports S. 2628 that would authorize a memorial commemorating the commitment and service of the Emergency Medical Services profession. This proposal provides that no federal funds be used for establishing the memorial.
Although this proposal does not seek any exceptions to the Commemorative Works Act (CWA), 40 U.S.C. Chapter 89, it should be noted that this proposal to honor the commitment and service of the Emergency Medical Services profession does not fit the typical mold for commemoration. The concept of establishing a memorial to “commitment and service” is not explicitly described in the CWA. However, there is precedent for such commemoration: specifically, the National Peace Corps Memorial, which Congress authorized in 2014.
The CWA precludes a memorial to members of the EMS profession as a group because the memorialization of members of a group may not be authorized until after the 25th anniversary of the death of the last surviving member. Therefore, our support for this proposal is based upon our understanding that this memorial will recognize the “commitment and service” of the Emergency Medical Services profession, not the organization’s members.
At the September 15, 2015, meeting of the National Capital Memorial Advisory Commission, the Commission reviewed H.R 2274, the nearly-identical companion bill to S. 2628. It was the consensus of the Commission that the language within the bill addressed the provisions of the CWA that authorize works commemorating individuals or groups. We share the Commission’s support for the idea of commemorating the commitment and service of the Emergency Medical Services profession.
Finally, we support the provision of S. 2628 that provides that unspent funds raised for the construction of the memorial be provided to the National Park Foundation for deposit in an interest-bearing account as stated in 40 U.S.C. Section 8906(b)(3).
Mr. Chairman, this concludes my statement. I would be happy to answer any questions that you or other members of the subcommittee may have.