|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||April 21, 2005|
|Contact:||Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332|
McCain, Alexander, Lieberman, Salazar, Feinstein Announce Introduction of Parks Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. - At a press conference today, U.S. Senators John McCain (AZ), Lamar Alexander (TN), Joe Lieberman (CT), Ken Salazar (CO), and Dianne Feinstein (CA) announced the introduction of the National Park Centennial Act, a bill that would fund the needs of the national parks for the next decade. Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) and Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) sponsored the introduction of the Centennial Act in the U.S. House of Representatives in March.
“We applaud Sen. McCain, Sen. Alexander, Sen. Lieberman, Sen. Salazar, and Sen. Feinstein for their outstanding support of the national parks. Their sponsorship today of the bipartisan National Park Centennial Act means there is hope for making our national parks healthy by their centennial,” said Craig Obey, Vice President for Government Affairs with the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). “This legislation empowers Americans to contribute to the preservation of our national heritage and helps fix a chronic problem.”
If passed, the National Park Centennial Act would provide funding through the parks’ centennial in 2016 from a voluntary check-off on federal income tax returns and the general treasury. This critical funding would enable parks to address the multi-billion-dollar backlog of natural and cultural preservation needs and infrastructure repairs, including preserving historic buildings, maintaining visitor centers, and protecting the wildlife and natural and cultural resources that lure visitors from across the country and around the world.
A bipartisan group in the U.S. House of Representatives, led by Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) and Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), introduced the National Park Centennial Act (H.R. 1124) on March 3, 2005.
According to a poll conducted by Zogby International on behalf of NPCA in April 2005, 61% of likely voters expressed the likelihood to donate to the national parks if given the option to do so on their federal tax returns. The Zogby poll also revealed that 1 in 4 likely voters would be likely to donate $20 or more if given the option on their federal tax return. Using this data, and based on the number of tax returns filed in 2002, survey results indicate that millions of dollars could be realized annually with the addition of a voluntary check-off box benefiting the national parks on federal tax returns.
NPCA’s new report, Faded Glory: Top 10 Reasons to Reinvest in America’s National Park Heritage, points out that an annual operating shortfall of more than $600 million and a multi-billion-backlog of maintenance projects is crippling the national parks and limiting the ability of the Park Service to address poaching and drug smuggling, repair unsafe roads and trails, conduct wildlife research and monitoring, restore crumbling historic buildings, and provide sufficient educational programs for school groups and park visitors.
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