Policy Update Jan 9, 2018

Position on H.R. 801 & H.R. 3133

NPCA submitted the following positions to the House Natural Resources Committee ahead of a markup scheduled for January 10, 2018.

H.R. 801: Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act – NPCA supports this bill to designate the Route 66 National Historic Trail. Since its establishment in 1926, Route 66 has been an emblem of 20th Century American culture, and a gateway to the national parks of the western United States. Linking Chicago and Los Angeles with Grand Canyon National Park, Petrified Forest National Park and other iconic landscapes, Route 66 provided an increasingly mobile public with unprecedented access to the Southwest’s shared treasures. In the process, the road itself became a destination. Route 66’s architecture and artifacts continue to spark interest in history and culture throughout the Midwest winding past the iconic Gateway Arch to the West at Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in St. Louis. The road itself was primary inspiration for the establishment of Mojave Trails National Monument, which contains the longest intact section of the historic highway. With sections preserved in both Petrified Forest National Park and Mojave Trails National Monument, the history of Route 66 is inextricably interwoven with that of our Southwestern and Midwestern national parks. Route 66 helped make the national parks what they are today. It is a treasure well worth celebrating and protecting.

H.R. 3133: Streamlining Environmental Approvals Act of 2017 – NPCA opposes this legislation, which would gut core provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) to fast-track seismic airgun surveys and other activities in the ocean that can harm marine mammals. The bill would gravely weaken the legal standards for issuing Incidental Harassment Authorizations (IHAs), prevent the regulatory agency from requiring almost any kind of mitigation, and require automatic approval of IHAs if the agency misses a series of tight deadlines. Many species of marine mammals spend their lives off the coast of national parks, and opportunities to view oceanic wildlife is a major draw for parks and coastal communities.