Policy Update Jul 13, 2021

NPCA position on legislation before the House Natural Resources Committee

NPCA shared the following position ahead of a legislative hearing held by the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee scheduled for July 14th, 2021.

H.R. 820 - New Philadelphia National Historical Park Act: NPCA supports this legislation, which would create the proposed New Philadelphia National Historical Park. It is the first known town in the U.S. planned and legally registered by an African-American and its significance is well-documented by the National Park Service. No original buildings or structures are visible above ground, but the site has excellent archaeological integrity. Its historical and archaeological significance was recognized in 2005 by inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places and in 2009 by its designation as a National Historic Landmark.

H.R. 1154 – The Great Dismal Swamp NHA Study Act: NPCA supports this legislation, which would authorize the Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with the states, to study the suitability and feasibility of designating the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area in Virginia and North Carolina. This heritage area, once designated, would represent the distinctive aspects of people and cultures that have often been overlooked or deliberately ignored. The Great Dismal Swamp was home to Native American tribes and a refuge for Africans and then African Americans who resisted enslavement through flight, evasion, and force on the Underground Railroad. The addition of these stories and resources to the National Heritage Area program will benefit community partners, the states of Virginia and North Carolina, and the nation by enhancing our understanding of the influence of the natural environment on the cultural and historic folkways of the region’s inhabitants.

H.R. 2497 –Amache National Historic Site Act: NPCA supports this bipartisan legislation, which would establish the Amache National Historic Site. This bill presents the unique opportunity to share and learn from a time in American history that has largely been forgotten: the unconstitutional imprisonment of 7,567 Japanese Americans at the Granada Relocation Center, or Amache, in Southeast Colorado. The designation of this site is the first step toward a telling a more inclusive history of America and honoring the heroic survivors and descendants within the Amache community. The longstanding and heroic efforts of Amache survivors, descendants, and other community leaders to share this story are the reason why it remains alive today. While the story of Amache is first and foremost the story of its survivors and descendants to tell, it is also the story of the Town of Granada’s courage to keep this flame alive. Considering the current scourge of anti-Asian American Pacific Islander hate crimes, our country needs places like this more than ever to ensure that these lessons of the past are learned and remembered.

H.R. 3113 - MAPLand Act: NPCA has serious concerns about the lack of definitions for roads and trails in this legislation. These definitions are critically important when managing public lands. Each land management agency has regulations that determine what is considered a road and trail designated as open for public use. These designations are required to uphold land management agencies’ duties to conserve and preserve natural and cultural resources on parks and public lands while providing public use. The legislation risks making data available that could result in violating agencies’ laws, policies and regulations as well as damage to sensitive natural and cultural resources. NPCA cannot support this legislation as it is currently written and urges further clarity before the bill is considered for final passage.

H.R. 3764 – Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act: NPCA strongly supports this legislation, which harnesses the power of oceans to provide solutions to the climate crisis. Rising temperatures, melting glaciers, flooding, shoreline erosion, sea-level rise, extreme storms, coral bleaching and more are impacting America’s national parks today, altering iconic landscapes, ecological processes, cultural resources, infrastructure assets and recreational opportunities. This legislation contains important provisions that will protect and restore the ecological integrity and resiliency within our 88 coastal national parks, where natural landscapes and historical and cultural structures are on the front lines of climate change impacts. The Ocean-Based Climate Solutions Act will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing renewable offshore energy sources while preventing the expansion of offshore oil exploration and drilling; protect the ocean’s natural ability to store carbon by conserving coastal blue carbon ecosystems; and promote marine protected areas, sustainable fisheries management, pollution reduction, ocean habitat restoration, and ocean planning.