Rep. Schrader Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Help Restore & Rebuild Our National Parks

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Washington, D.C., March 7, 2018 | comments

Congressman Kurt Schrader (D-OR-05) , along with Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Angus King (I-ME), and Congressman Mike Simpson (R-ID-02), led a group of eight Senators and two Representatives today to introduce a bipartisan, bicameral bill that will use revenues from energy production on federal lands to help pay for the over $11 billion maintenance backlog at our national parks. The National Park Restoration Act will help restore and rebuild roads, buildings, campgrounds, trails and water systems in the country’s national parks for the next generation of visitors. 

“Oregonians have a genuine appreciation for the outdoors and our National Parks and recreation areas,” said Rep. Schrader. “Our ability to enjoy and appreciate that natural beauty is limited when upkeep on our federal lands isn’t sufficiently funded allowing critical maintenance to fall by the wayside. Not only does that impact our enjoyment of the land, but it poses serious risks to the protection of these areas and hurts our communities that rely on the economic benefit from visitors. Currently, our national parks are in dire need of maintenance with a more than ten billion dollar backlog. Our bill provides an innovative solution by creating the National Park Restoration Fund which will provide mandatory funding from unutilized resources already available to us, to bring that backlog down and ensure our National Park System is well and safely kept for generations to come.”

The National Park Restoration Act will:

  • Create the National Park Restoration Fund to provide mandatory funding for the high-priority deferred maintenance needs that support critical infrastructure and visitor services at our national parks.
  • Provide mandatory funding for the maintenance backlog on top of annual appropriations for operations and construction at the National Park Service.
  • The fund receives 50 percent of onshore and offshore revenues from energy production on federal lands over expected amounts that are not already allocated to other purposes.
  • Protect payments to states, the Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Reclamation Fund, and all other existing uses of onshore and offshore revenues. These existing uses will receive all of their funding before the National Park Restoration Fund receives any funding.

The backlog of infrastructure projects at our national parks can limit access and impair visitor experiences and recreation opportunities, and without additional funding, the backlog could continue to grow. The National Park Service (NPS) maintenance backlog is nearly four times what NPS receives in annual appropriations. In Fiscal Year 2017 the NPS’ deferred maintenance needs were $11.6 billion – that same fiscal year, NPS received $2.9 million in annual appropriations.

Congressman Schrader has been a staunch advocate for Oregon’s parks since his time in the Oregon Legislature. As Chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, he worked to secure money for Oregon’s parks and to ensure the money was spent on actual park maintenance rather than bureaucratic waste.

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