NPCA submitted the following position to members of the House of Representatives ahead of floor debate the week of July 11, 2016.
NPCA expresses support for funding increases for the National Park Service (NPS) in the FY17 Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill. Unfortunately, this funding increase is paired with a number of environmentally damaging policy riders, both in the base bill and as possible amendments, to which NPCA is strongly opposed.
We commend appropriators and other bipartisan members for proposing strong NPS funding levels and—though we are disappointed with funding levels for the Land and Water Conservation Fund—would request support for this bill were it not for these additional, harmful policy proposals. Therefore, if these riders are not removed, and/or if additional riders damaging parks and their ecosystems are added on the House floor, we must urge opposition to this bill.
The funding increases for NPS represented in the bill would bring more staff to parks, enhance historic preservation and interpretation, help address the growing deferred maintenance backlog, introduce students to parks, and leverage important private dollars for the centennial challenge program that has been so successful the last two years—thanks to your support.
We are deeply discouraged that these commendable increases are buried in a bill that threatens park resources and our changing climate, all of which profoundly influence the health of park ecosystems. Among the riders in the base bill are efforts to undercut the definition of the waters of the United States and stream protection efforts important for the long-term protection of national park waters; efforts to undermine clean air and endangered species protections; efforts to weaken climate change policies; and an attack on the authority of presidents to use the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments.
To date, there are also many additional proposed policy riders that would harm parks and their visitors, wildlife and environments if ruled in order. We urge opposition to these damaging proposals.
For the health and well-being of America’s national treasures, the environment and climate on which they rely, and the long-term preservation of resources, we urge opposition to the FY17 Interior appropriations bill if these riders are not removed.
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Senior Director of Budget & Appropriations, Government Affairs