Once again a group of lawmakers is speaking up for the future of our public lands and public health as the House today passed legislation to put our parks back on track.
Washington, DC – Today, the United States House of Representatives passed a package of bills including the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal year 2020 that, if enacted, would provide needed relief for the National Park Service and other agencies that support our parks’ wildlife, clean air and water that have long been underfunded. The bill increases funding for the National Park Service by $167 million, funding that will produce jobs, address overdue maintenance needs across the Park System, and enhance the experience of the 330 million people who visit these places every year.
Statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association:
“For far too long, the Park Service has struggled with shoestring budgets, nearly $12 billion in needed repairs and too few rangers. Our parks deserve better and so do the American people. Today’s passage speaks to this need and is a big step in the right direction.
“Once again a group of lawmakers is speaking up for the future of our public lands and public health as the House today passed legislation to put our parks back on track. We commend Representatives Betty McCollum and David Joyce for their leadership in championing a bill that would provide critical funding for our national parks, and the visitors and local communities that rely on them, free of harmful amendments to undermine park resources and the laws they depend on. This increased investment in our parks would put more park rangers back to work, help fix our parks crumbling trails, roads and facilities, and safeguard the very things the Park Service was created to protect.
“Now it’s up to the Senate and the Administration to support these investments with passage of a final bill and avoid another devastating government shutdown. Congress must continue to make our national parks a priority and adequately fund the agencies that protect our public lands, wildlife, the air we breathe and water we drink.”
Key provisions included in the bill:
- Proposes to bring more than 500 desperately needed rangers and other staff back to parks.
- Includes a $53.4 million increase for Park Service federal land acquisition that would protect places like Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, Petersburg National Battlefield, and other park units from incompatible development.
- Provides a $1.5 million increase for the National Heritage Area program that offers opportunities for historic preservation and interpretation in communities across the country.
- Maintains recent increases to address the Park Service’s $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog.
- Provides strict oversight of Park Service funding reprogramming, an issue experienced during the recent government shutdown and the reorganization of the Department of the Interior.
- Ensures our national parks and public lands along the U.S.-Mexico border remain under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior and protected in perpetuity for the American people.
- Protects Chaco Culture National Historical Park from new oil and gas development on neighboring federal public lands.
- Prohibits expanding offshore drilling, and related activities, in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and along Florida’s coastlines, protecting 58 coastal national parks from the impacts of oil and gas drilling.
More information on the bill can be found here.
About National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.3 million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org/100.
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