Policy Update Oct 30, 2019

Position on Amendments to H.R. 3055, FY20 Appropriations Minibus

NPCA submitted the following positions to the Senate ahead of anticipated floor votes the week on October 28, 2019.

The underlying Interior and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development bills within the H.R. 3055 appropriations minibus make critical investments in our underfunded national parks and public lands transportation infrastructure, as well as numerous environmental programs that support their well-being.

Regarding the filed amendments we have identified to date as having relevance to our national parks:

Lee 1209: We understand it may be considered for a floor vote. We urge strong opposition to this amendment that undermined the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a critical program for protecting our national parks and other public lands from incompatible residential and commercial development.

Lee 1204: We also oppose this amendment that seeks to eviscerate National Park Service land acquisition. Land purchases from willing sellers are a critical tool for protecting our national parks and other public lands. We are concerned by the effort to strip land acquisition funding for other lands agencies and repeated attacks on the LWCF program, a successful tool that deserves more adequate and dedicated funding.

Blackburn 1153, 1154 and 1155: NPCA opposes these damaging amendments that would undermine needed funding across these appropriations bills. The National Park Service and the agencies that support their environment need more funding, not less.

Cornyn 1219: NPCA opposes this amendment, which could weaken the consultation process under the Endangered Species Act. The over 600 threatened and endangered species with habitat in national parks deserve a thorough and comprehensive review of activities that could impact their habitats and populations.

While there are several amendments that we support that would enhance protections for our environment (i.e. Sen. Markey’s amendment supporting protection of our coasts), we respect the effort to avoid inclusion of controversial policy riders. Hence, we are disappointed with the potential for consideration of the Lee LWCF amendment. However, we also appreciate that noncontroversial amendments supporting our national parks and related programs and environmental agencies may be included in the bill.

Schumer 1228: NPCA supports inclusion of this amendment supporting the National Heritage Area program, which provides for historic preservation and interpretation in communities across the country. Specifically, it provides needed extensions for the eligibility of Oil Region (PA) and National Aviation (OH) Heritage Areas to continue to receive federal funding and funding cap extensions for Erie Canalway (NY) and Last Green Valley (VT/MA).

Menendez 1199: NPCA supports inclusion of this amendment that directs funding to the Partnership Wild and Scenic Rivers program and similarly managed rivers.

Peters 1182: We support inclusion of this bipartisan amendment increases needed funding for EPA’s geographic programs that support clean water important to numerous national park units.

Blunt 1211: NPCA supports the inclusion of $500,000 to support the National Park Service’s 400 Years of African American History Commission.

Schumer 1227: NPCA supports inclusion of this noncontroversial amendment that would allow for a GAO study providing historic funding information on programs that impact nature-based active outdoor recreation.

In conclusion, we urge the opposition of these and any other poison pill amendments that would harm our parks or their environment, support inclusion of noncontroversial amendments that support our national parks and related programs and infrastructure, and passage of a clean, final bill that improves funding for our parks and their environment.