Statement by NPCA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Craig Obey
“The National Parks Conservation Association strongly condemns the shortsighted display by the House of Representatives today in passing H.R. 1459, the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act or ‘EPIC’. In short, this bill spells an ‘epic’ repudiation of the conservation values associated with President Theodore Roosevelt and cherished and appreciated by Americans ever since. Virtually every president for more than a century has had the authority to designate national monuments, and three out of four monuments designated during that time are part of today’s National Park System.
“The Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Muir Woods, Statue of Liberty, the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad, and Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, Zion, Acadia, Fort Monroe, and Grand Teton are only a few of the treasures protected for future generations through the Antiquities Act. America does not need fewer such places for our children and grandchildren. It needs more.
“This is a sad day for our national parks, which are universally appreciated throughout our country and the world. The parks, including those added via the Antiquities Act, enjoy overwhelming public support, which makes action to reduce presidential authority to protect such places under the Antiquities Act all the more mystifying.
“As recently as October, all of America became more educated about the economic importance of national parks, in addition to their role protecting many of our most special and important places. The parks return $10 return for every dollar invested. The parks’ economic importance is so important that states donated funds to re-open several during the shutdown—nine of which were originally designated as monuments under the Antiquities Act.
“Such knowledge makes today’s bill passage particularly disappointing and frustrating to NPCA and more than 100 regional, national and international tourism, conservation, business, cultural heritage, and historic preservation organizations that banded together in opposition to H.R. 1459.
“On behalf of NPCA’s members who reside in communities across our country, we call on the Senate to reject this harmful legislation.”
About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.