Saturday, January 09, 1999

Mt. McKinley name safe for this session

Regula sniffs at change to 'Denali'

The Associated Press

        WASHINGTON — William McKinley's best friend in Congress has done him a favor. Again.

        At the beginning of every session, Rep. Ralph Regula submits legislation making sure that the name of the 20,320-foot Alaskan summit remains Mount McKinley, after the president from Ohio.

        That doesn't sound like pressing national business, but it's because of Mr. Regula that rechristening North America's highest peak stays off the government's agenda.

        The Alaska Legislature asked for a new name in 1975.

        The national park all around Mount McKinley was renamed Denali, or “the great one” in the language of some native Alaskan tribes, but a compromise preserved the McKinley name.

        Alaska's request to make the mountain match the land around it gets stalled by Mr. Regula's biennial bills because the U.S. Board on Geographical Names, which must OK any name change, steers clear of anything pending before Congress.

        Mr. Regula doesn't have to steer his bill through a hearing, negotiate for Senate support or do anything more than submit the proper paper in the proper format. Just having a live bill is enough to keep any Denali partisans at bay.

        Before the Republican lawmaker came up with that strategy, Alaska's request was blocked by a congressional resolution introduced by the Ohio delegation, which united behind the honor accorded the president who was born in Niles, Ohio.

        “Aside from my parochial interest, it's ridiculous to change the name of a landmark such as this,” Mr. Regula said. “Maybe we'll get a permanent solution someday.”

        Mr. Regula represents the congressional district that sent McKinley, also a Republican, to Washington in 1877. McKinley was assassinated in 1901. The mountain was given his name in 1896, the year he was first elected president.

        As the 106th session of Congress opened this week, Mr. Regula also submitted legislation that would switch the government to a two-year budget cycle.

        Elsewhere in the Ohio delegation:

        • Rep. James Traficant, a Democrat, reintroduced his bill to rename the naval facility in Gricignano d'Aversa, Italy, known as the Naples Support Site, as the Thomas M. Foglietta Support Site, after the former congressman who became ambassador to Italy.

        • Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, said the first bill of his new career would block the federal government from getting a share of the tobacco settlement money. “The states are the ones that won the lawsuit,” he said.

        • Sen. Mike DeWine, R-Ohio, said the first bill he intends to introduce would change the way penalties are handled in cases of anticompetitive dumping, or selling something in the United States for less than it costs to make. It's an issue relevant to the current debate over increased imports of low-priced foreign steel.


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