NPCA submitted the following position to members of the House of Representatives ahead of floor debate on fiscal year 2019 appropriations bills.
NPCA encourages the exclusion of anti-environmental riders from Fiscal Year 2019 (FY 19) appropriations bills or packages. For the health and preservation of America’s national treasures, the environment and climate on which they rely, and the long-term protection of resources, we urge members to vote against any additional committee or floor amendments which add anti-environmental riders to any appropriations bill. We are particularly concerned about the Energy and Water and Interior and Environment bills, as harmful anti-environmental riders may put the protection of our national parks in jeopardy.
NPCA is encouraged to see many national park priority issues and projects funded at improved levels. For instance, the account for Operation of the National Park System was increased by $50 million in the draft Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act; funding that will help with much needed maintenance and repairs.
In contrast, we are disappointed to see many harmful policy provisions proposed for FY 19 appropriations bills and urge these riders be stripped from the bills. For example, Section 108 of H.R. 5895 (Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act) and Section 431 of the draft Interior bill, repeals the Clean Water Rule which works to protect waterways that flow in and through our national parks.
Additionally, Section 117 of the draft Interior bill legislatively removes federal protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states, an action that NPCA opposes as it bypasses the Endangered Species Act delisting process and would impact wolves in national parks across the country.
NPCA urges members to pursue final appropriations bills or packages free of harmful riders, leaving our air, water, lands, oceans, wildlife and more off the negotiating table. We hope Congress will remain committed to focusing primarily on funding the agencies whose sole priority is to manage our natural resources and protect our health and the environment.
Efforts to attach environmentally damaging policy provisions only further threatens the appropriations process; we were grateful that the final Fiscal Year 2018 Omnibus Appropriations bill was largely free of many the proposed riders that would have threatened parks, their ecosystems, and the health of their visitors and wildlife. We hope this trend will continue for the FY 19 bills.
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Deputy Vice President, Government Affairs