Policy Update May 11, 2021

Position on the nomination of Radhika Fox as Assistant Administrator for Water at the EPA

NPCA sent the following letter to Senators on the Environment and Public Works Committee ahead of a hearing scheduled for May 12th, 2021. 

We write to urge you to support the nomination of Radhika Fox as Assistant Administrator for Water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Our national parks are symbols of conservation, historic preservation and our shared heritage. In the last four years, as we witnessed weakened protection for cultural resources, wildlife, air and waterways, the highest level of protection was not afforded to these incredible places. We can and must do better. The Biden-Harris Administration must address climate change head-on, ensure the federal government – and the park system – is welcoming to diverse communities and reverse damaging policies that put at risk the water, air, wildlife and other resources that make our parks world-renowned.

No other federal agency outside the park service itself has as much role to play in protecting the air and water of our national parks as the U.S. EPA. The Office of Water has a particularly important job ensuring that all Americans have clean water to fish and swim and safe, affordable water to drink. The protections the assistant administrator for water oversees are particularly sensitive to our national parks. The assistant administrator will decide whether to review and overturn a disastrous decision to delegate wetland permitting authority to the state of Florida, which threatens Big Cypress National Preserve in the greater Everglades ecosystem. She will have to decide how to protect the sensitive land, water, and wildlife in and around Lake Clark and Katmai national parks in Alaska from egregious mine proposals. She must implement President Biden’s executive order requiring EPA to review and revise rules that eliminate Clean Water Act protections for streams and wetlands across the country, like those near Indiana Dunes National Park or Chaco Culture National Historical Park.

We believe that Ms. Fox is well qualified to lead EPA in tackling these issues. She has shown a respect for local and regional needs and an understanding of the importance of building local solutions to complicated problems. We also respect her willingness to tackle big, complicated issues and appreciate her collaborative style when doing so. NPCA values leaders like Ms. Fox that listen to all stakeholders when tackling tough issues, like she did when leading the U.S. Water Alliance. During her time there, she brought diverse interests together, such as agriculture and conservation groups, to build support for holistically addressing our nation’s infrastructure challenges, including lifting the role parks play in local solutions. Building authentic, trusting relationships is something she has done throughout her career; these are skills that will be critical in dealing with the many important issues facing our nation’s waterways.

EPA’s Office of Water plays an important role in protecting and preserving the stories our parks tell. We look forward to working with Ms. Fox to ensure the best future for our national parks.