|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||October 5, 2006|
Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332
Congress Asks President for "Considerable Increase" In Funding For National Parks
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today praised the 37 U.S. Senators and more than 100 members of the U.S. House of Representatives that this week asked President Bush to provide significant new funding for America’s national parks.
"These letters illustrate the strong, bipartisan support in Congress for increased funding for the critical needs of our national parks, just as the Administration is preparing the national parks’ fiscal year 2008 budget,” said NPCA President Tom Kiernan.
In these unprecedented letters from each chamber to the president, members of Congress said “we must provide the parks with the federal investment needed to restore the luster of these national gems… We respectfully urge you to include a considerable increase in the National Park Service budget you submit to Congress for fiscal year 2008, and initiate a sustained, 10-year effort [to restore the parks].”
Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) and Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) sponsored the letter in the U.S. Senate, which was signed by 37 members in total, and delivered last week to the White House. Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) and Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) sponsored a House letter to the president this week, which was signed by a total of 105 members of Congress. Members of congressional leadership signed both letters.
Last month, NPCA released new analysis indicating that the shortage of federal funding for the national parks had grown from $600 million to more than $800 million over the last five years.
In August, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne announced a 10-year National Parks Centennial Challenge, which NPCA believes has the potential to provide significant new funding and attention to park needs by the 100th birthday of the park system in 2016.
“We look forward to working with Secretary Kempthorne, the Administration, and Congress to see this important commitment carried through, starting with next year’s budget, so that our country finally can restore the faded glory of America’s national parks,” Kiernan added.