|Above, Lower Yellowstone Fall. Photo by Armand Vaquer.|
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives have introduced a bill that would, if enacted, address the growing backlog of national park maintenance projects now estimated at $11.6 billion.
According to the Ripon Advance:
Revenue generated by energy production on federal lands would be used to address a maintenance backlog for U.S. National Parks that now exceeds $11 billion under a bipartisan, bicameral bill introduced by U.S. Sens. Cory Gardner (R-CO), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Steve Daines (R-MT).
“This bill is the largest investment in national parks in our nation’s history. This is not a Republican or Democrat issue, this is an American issue, and I think that the bipartisan body of lawmakers who put this bill forward is proof,” said U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who helped the lawmakers draft their proposal and who along with President Donald Trump has made fixing this issue a national priority.
U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), and Joe Manchin (D-WV) were among the original cosponsors who joined their colleagues in introducing the Senate proposal.
U.S. Reps. Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Kurt Schrader (D-OR) on March 7 introduced H.R. 5210, which would establish the National Park Restoration Fund, among other purposes. The bill has been referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.
If enacted, the proposal’s National Park Restoration Fund would pay for the high-priority deferred maintenance and critical infrastructure needs that currently exist at national parks around the country, including for buildings, trails, campgrounds and water systems, according to a summary provided by Sen. Gardner’s staff.
To read more, go here.