National Parks Conservation Association Urges Senate to Protect National Parks from Climate Change and Support Local Economies

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   October 28, 2009
Contact:   Kathleen O'Neil, National Parks Conservation Association, 202.419.3717


National Parks Conservation Association Urges Senate to Protect National Parks from Climate Change and Support Local Economies

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources National Parks Subcommittee will hear testimony on the greatest challenge facing our national parks: disruptions due to climate change. The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) will also submit written testimony documenting these impacts occurring throughout the National Park System, and the steps needed to protect them as climate change advances.

National parks and their wildlife are already seeing increasing temperatures, drought, fires, and flooding that threaten the coral reefs of Biscayne National Park to the grizzlies of Yellowstone. Insect pests are thriving due to warmer winters and drought-stressed trees in Great Smoky Mountains and Rocky Mountain National Parks. As temperatures rise in higher altitudes, animals are being driven upward in elevation and are running out of places to live.

“Our national parks are counting on Congress to commit the resources necessary to protect them from the effects of climate change,” said Mark Wenzler, director of clean air and climate programs for NPCA. “Fortunately, climate legislation currently before Congress provides an historic opportunity to safeguard our national parks and wildlife from destructive impacts.”

These natural systems are also the foundations of healthy communities and economies across the country. Keeping rivers, forests, deserts, alpine regions, wetlands and other natural systems healthy helps maintain $730 billion in economic activity generated by outdoor recreation, allows us as a nation to support nearly 6.5 million related jobs – one in 20 across the U.S. economy. This activity also generates $88 billion in state and federal tax revenue. National parks themselves generate at a minimum, more than four dollars in value for every tax dollar invested, and support $13.3 billion in local, private sector activity and more than a quarter of a million private sector jobs.

Some of the legislation before Congress could not only protect parks’ natural resources from climate change, but would also provide communities near the parks with new opportunities for economic growth. Investing in national parks, particularly in the protection and restoration of habitats, can put Americans to work and preserve their uniqueness for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.

For more information about climate change and our national parks, click here.

To view NPCA's written testimony, click here

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