Policy Update Sep 7, 2017

Position on H.R. 3354, Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act

NPCA submitted the following position to the House of Representatives ahead of expected floor debate and votes starting the week of September 4, 2017.

NPCA urges members to oppose H.R. 3354 and consider our positions on various amendments to Division A.

NPCA is chiefly concerned with the funding levels in the underlying bill. The cut to the operation of our national parks only further challenges the National Park Service’s already limited ability to protect park resources and keep up with maintenance and visitor needs. Moreover, the alarming and deep cut to federal land acquisition funds in the underlying bill would undermine the Park Service’s ability to protect specific park parcels from incompatible commercial or residential development. Over the last five years, there has been a 19 percent increase in visitation but an 11 percent reduction in staff which further cripples the agency’s ability to support our national parks and treasures. The National Park Service needs and deserves increased funding to ensure park resources, local economies and visitor experience are preserved and protected.

Amendments to Division A

Rules Order No. Sponsor NPCA Position NPCA Position Statement
9 Cicilline (RI) Support NPCA supports this amendment to increase operations funding for national parks. These funds could support enhanced staffing for routine and small maintenance projects, provide resources for scientific work, accommodate record visitation or meet other needs.
11 Heck, Denny (WA), Turner (OH), Blumenauer (OR), Smith, Adam (WA), Courtney (CT), Keating (MA) Support NPCA supports this amendment to increase funding to the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF). HPF was created by Congress in 1976 to provide funding to State Historic and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO and THPO). SHPOs and THPOs are the boots on the ground in the effort to preserve the nation’s historic and cultural resources. They identify and document historic sites, provide technical assistance, training and guidance to communities engaging in federal preservation projects (including National Register of Historic Places nominations) and provide competitive grants to identify and rehabilitate historic structures.
36 Beyer (VA) Support NPCA supports this amendment because it would strike a dangerous provision that exempts certain discharges of dredged or fill material from Army Corps’ permitting under the Clean Water Act. The Act already exempts these kinds of activities from such permits, but requires permitting when the impacts to waterways would be more harmful.
37 Beyer (VA), Esty (CT) Support NPCA supports this amendment because it would strike a dangerous and undemocratic provision that aims to shield the Trump administration’s repeal of the Clean Water Rule and the drinking water protections it provides from public and legal scrutiny. For example, the administration could ignore Clean Water Act and Administrative Procedure Act requirements to meaningfully consider public comment. It could also interfere with the courts’ ability to review if the withdrawal is “arbitrary or capricious,” and would impair implementation, compliance, and enforcement of the Clean Water Act itself.
38 Ellison (MN), Polis (CO), Lee, Barbara (CA), Cartwright (PA), Lipinkski (IL) Support NPCA supports this amendment to strike an anti- environmental provision from the bill, removing delays to the right to safer air quality. Delaying ozone standards lengthens the time it takes to get to clean air toour parks and communities. Seventy-five percent of our most iconic parks have air quality that’s periodically unhealthy, with 36 out of 48 parks having at least “moderate” ozone levels at times, meaning that pollution makes the air unhealthy to breathe for some populations. We must ensure new ozone standards are swiftly and properly implemented.
39 Lowenthal (CA), Peters, Scott (CA), Carbajal (CA), Langevin (RI), Beyer (VA), Pingree (ME), Bonamici (OR), Lieu (CA) Support NPCA supports this amendment to ensure implementation of the National Ocean Policy. The National Park System protects some of the nation’s most beautiful coastlines and islands. The National Ocean Policy helps ensure that our coastal parks, local communities, and other stakeholders can plan for healthy coastlines and strong economies.
43 Young, Don (AK) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment that would withdraw critical rules regulating non-subsistence hunting in Alaska. This amendment would cause an unnecessary legal conflict between the State of Alaska and the National Park Service over wildlife management. The National Park Service does not allow aggressive sport-hunting practices including spotlighting denning bears and cubs as they hibernate. The agency clarified this in an open, public process last year resulting in a regulation. This amendment will not serve the public, it will only set back efforts to clarify appropriate National Park Service jurisdiction.
50 Goodlatte (VA), Perry (PA), Thompson, Glenn (PA), Shuster (PA) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment as it limits EPA’s key authority to protect clean water in the 64,000-square mile Chesapeake Bay watershed which spans six states and the District of Columbia. This authority is critical to ensure full Clean Water Act protections for over 18 million residents and to the success of the historic federal-state collaboration to restore the Chesapeake Bay.
51 LoBiondo (NJ), Beyer (VA) Support NPCA supports this amendment to limit seismic airgun testing and surveys that threaten the health of marine mammals that live off the Atlantic Coast’s national parks and the endangered sea turtles that nest on at some of our most iconic national seashores like Cape Hatteras.
55 Blackburn (TN) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment to further cut funding for the National Park Service and other critical agencies and programs that protect their environment. Underfunded and understaffed national parks deserve more funding, not less.
57 Carbajal (CA) Support NPCA supports this amendment that will protect Pacific coastal parks, like Channels Islands National Park and Point Reyes National Seashore, from new drilling off their coastlines.
63 Pearce (NM) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment to prevent the implementation of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane waste rule. This rule is necessary to curb methane waste across the West, including on lands adjacent to national parks. Methane leakage, venting, and flaring not only threatens national park air quality and harms scenic night skies, but costs taxpayers’ money.
65 McEachin (VA) Support The Department of the Interior just concluded a thorough multi-year process to establish a new Five- Year Plan that ensures coastal natural resources, wildlife, and local tourism economies are protected. It is a waste of time and money to undertake another planning effort that rebukes the thousands of public comments provided to the administration.
66 Grothman (WI) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment to block the latest life-saving ozone standards entirely, threatening millions of vulnerable Americans – children, the elderly and asthmatics. Delaying ozone standards is unacceptable and means dirty air stays around longer in our parks and communities. Quite simply, poor air quality is at odds with American values of clean, healthy outdoor air and protecting people, plants and animals from the harms of pollution.
67 Lamborn (CO) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment that could significantly impact the recovery of listed species if the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service fails to meet its obligation to complete a 5-year review of the species’ status as required by the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This amendment would leave many species in an uncertain state, as they would retain their ESA status, but all federal funding for recovery efforts, law enforcement efforts, and consultations would be blocked.
70 Emmer (MN), Nolan (MN) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment as it the environmental review process currently being conducted by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management regarding harmful sulfide-ore copper mining within the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness and Voyageurs National Park. The amendment threatens the decision-making process already in motion to consider a 20-year mineral withdrawal within the Superior National Forest of public lands in the Rainy River watershed that lie upstream of two federally- protected areas, the Boundary Waters and Voyageurs. Both areas are primarily water-based and would be threatened by any pollutants from mining activities in this watershed given all waters drain toward their waters.
72 Smith, Jason (MO), Gianforte (MT) Oppose Congress included citizen suit provisions in the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and the ESA to ensure enforcement of critical public health and environmental protections, when agencies failed to act. NPCA opposes this amendment to disallow the recovery of legal fees for settlements and would prevent many communities from being able to get legal representation to enforce these laws, potentially leading to more polluted air and toxins in our drinking water.
73 Mullin, Markwayne (OK) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment to undermine the EPA’s methane rules. These rules represent a bold step forward toward reducing methane pollution that impairs our air, lands, water, and wildlife, all of which must remain healthy to sustain America’s national parks. The release of methane from oil and gas production drives climate change, changing park ecosystems and threatening the resources protected by the parks.
75 Polis (CO) Support NPCA supports this amendment to ensure EPA regional offices remain open to support the protection of our air, water, and lands through the enforcement of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and other important environmental laws. EPA offices across the country are critical to the protection and defense of national park resources within and beyond their borders.
76 Polis (CO) Support NPCA supports this amendment to ensure federal lands are not transferred to private owners in a manner that may violate any relevant federal laws such as the Antiquities Act. This amendment serves to keep public lands in public hands.
77 Norman (SC) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment to reduce EPA’s budget by $1.9 billion. Such unrealistic underfunding will only increase risks to public health and safety, while also impairing EPA’s support of our national park’s clean air, clean water, visitor safety and more.
79 Speier (CA), Denham (CA) Oppose NPCA opposes this amendment to discard a nearly 15-year long effort by the NPS to ensure all recreationists can enjoy the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Golden Gate is the only national park unit that allows off-leash dog walking and this plan limits it to specific areas in order to provide recreation opportunities for all visitors. Visitors enjoy walking, horseback riding, and mountain biking in the second most visited national park unit in the country that has the best views of the Golden Gate bridge and surrounding historical sites. Preventing the implementation of this plan will cast aside over a decade of public input and put other Golden Gate natural resources at risk.