|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||May 23, 2007|
|Contact:||Blake Selzer, Legislative Director, National Parks Conservation Association, 202.454.3380|
House Proposal a Grand Slam for National Parks
National Parks Conservation Association Praises House Budget for Addressing Critical Needs
"The House proposal is a grand slam for our national parks," said NPCA President Tom Kiernan. "The House has provided record funding for national parks, putting rangers back in the parks to protect resources and educate and inspire visitors. It will also provide funds to protect land threatened by development and jump-start the Centennial Initiative. We now look to the U.S. Senate to ensure this victory for America's heritage."
The House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee provided $2.5 billion for the National Park Service, an increase of $228 million above FY07. That amount exceeds the Administration's request by $153 million. The total meets the Administration's request to put 3,000 seasonal rangers back in the parks, through an operations increase of approximately $200 million. It also provides $25 million above the Administration's request for Park Service federal land acquisition, so that national parks can acquire lands threatened by development. In addition, the subcommittee went the extra mile to include $50 million to begin funding the Administration's proposed new Parks Centennial Initiative.
NPCA estimates that national parks now suffer from a chronic, $800-million annual operating shortfall.
"The national parks owe a debt of gratitude to Chairman Dicks for his extraordinary leadership. This proposal is an excellent down payment on what must be a multi-year, multi-pronged effort to restore the national parks before their centennial in 2016," Kiernan added. "Taking care of our national parks should be a national priority."
Earlier this year, 87 members of the U.S. House of Representatives and 40 U.S. Senators signed bipartisan letters to their appropriations committees seeking additional funding for national parks in the fiscal year 2008 budget.