Policy Update Mar 14, 2016

Position on Presidential Mitigation Memorandum

NPCA submitted the following position to Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee ahead of a hearing on March 12, 2016, as well as to the House Natural Resources Oversight Subcommittee ahead of a hearing on February 24, 2016.

NPCA supports the November 3, 2015 Presidential Memorandum promoting the mitigation of impacts to natural resources from federal activities. As laid out in the National Park Service’s Organic Act and reiterated by the President in this Memorandum, the federal government has both a legal and a moral obligation to leave America’s natural resources unimpaired for future generations. It is a commitment that has guided the National Park Service for 100 years, resulting in a strong, growing national park system that is the envy of the world.

Yet national parks are only as healthy as the landscapes they are a part of. If the air, lands, water, and wildlife that surround and flow through national parks are polluted, fragmented, and otherwise impaired, the parks themselves are impaired just as surely as if these activities happened within their boundaries. Efforts of the National Park Service to protect parks can be undermined by incompatible development on adjacent federal lands, and, likewise, those seeking to develop natural resources on public lands can have their projects delayed due to lack of clear federal guidelines. The President’s efforts to ensure consistent policies across federal agencies to minimize harm and mitigate impacts will result in stronger national parks and the landscapes that surround them.

NPCA has long been a supporter of policies and plans that seek to identify and avoid areas of conflict in order to promote landscape connectivity. For example, NPCA supports the Bureau of Land Management’s Master Leasing Plans and Planning 2.0 efforts, science-backed planning that lowers long-term risks to the environment and reduces timelines for development. By encouraging agencies to adhere to a set of best practices for the mitigation of harmful impacts, the federal government can further its goal of leaving our natural resources, and our National Parks, in a better condition than when we inherited them.

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