Policy Update Jul 8, 2015

Position on Amendments to H.R. 2822

NPCA submitted the following positions on amendments to the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act being considered by the House of Representatives in July 2015.

Hardy Amendment – Blocking New National Parks

NPCA opposes this amendment, as it prohibits the President’s use of the Antiquities Act in several western states. For over one hundred years the Antiquities Act has been used as a bipartisan conservation tool – protecting some of our most prized national parks that were first designated national monuments, including the Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree and Olympic National Parks. With the exception of the Organic Act of 1916, no law has had more influence over the protection of nationally significant resources within the National Park System.

The Hardy amendment prohibits the President from designating monuments for specific federal lands known for their spectacular scenery and cultural resources. This could hamper future preservation of these places by prohibiting the use of this major conservation tool.

Newhouse Amendment (#19) – Impeding Gray Wolf Recovery in the Pacific NW

NPCA opposes this amendment because it could impede recovery efforts for the gray wolf in Pacific Northwest states with suitable habitat, including national park land. Recovery efforts should be based on the best available, peer-reviewed science, not politics. Wolves perform a crucial role in maintaining wildlife diversity and ecosystem function. This amendment could limit the Department of the Interior and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service from providing strong protections for wolves based on best available, peer-reviewed science.

Pearce Amendment – Preventing Fair Compensation for Public Resources

NPCA opposes this amendment, as it seeks to prevent taxpayers from receiving fair compensation for the extraction of public resources, including the wasteful burning or venting of methane gas from wells on public land. The air quality and visitor experience at national park sites throughout the Southwest, including at Mesa Verde National Park and Chaco Culture National Historical Park, are currently being harmed by the uncompensated waste of methane gas from wells on adjacent lands.

Grijalva Amendment – Allowing Department of the Interior to complete revision of the Stream Buffer Zone rule

NPCA supports this amendment that would allow the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement within the Department of the Interior to complete revision of regulations that opened up streams to damaging and polluting practices of surface coal mining. Federal courts have recently overturned the rulemakings put forward under the previous administration, and this provision would ensure the agency’s ability to respond to the court’s ruling. Several national parks that have surface mining in their headwaters—such as Big South Fork NRRA, Little River Canyon National Preserve, New River Gorge National River, and the Obed Wild and Scenic River—are at risk without these revisions.

Lawrence Amendment (#13) – Allowing Implementation of Hydraulic Fracturing Rule

NPCA supports this amendment that would allow the Bureau of Land Management to continue implementation of its newly-finalized hydraulic fracturing rule. This common-sense rule updates BLM regulations regarding well integrity, wastewater management and chemical disclosure standards for the first time in 30 years. The BLM rule will better protect water that flows into national parks next to hydraulic fracturing operations.