Lawmakers from both parties have put forward legislation to help restore America’s national parks. In 2016, Congress passed and President Barack Obama signed the National Park Service Centennial Act, which provided a mechanism to generate up to $50 million annually to address deferred maintenance at park sites. Congress is now considering other measures to partially fund an $11.9 billion repair backlog:
The Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act (H.R. 1225), bipartisan legislation introduced Feb. 14 by Representatives Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA), would direct federal funds each year for five years to help address deferred maintenance within our national parks and public lands.
The Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act would:
The House bill was referred to the Natural Resources and the Education and Labor committees. Its Senate companion bill was referred to the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Angus King (I-ME) introduced the Restore Our Parks Act Feb 14. This legislation would help NPS draw down its multibillion-dollar maintenance backlog.
The Restore Our Parks Act would:
The Senate bill was referred to the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Its House companion bill was referred to the House Natural Resources and Education and Labor committees.
Representatives Mike Simpson (R-ID) and Derek Kilmer (D-WA) introduced the Land and National Park Deferred Maintenance (LAND) Act, H.R. 1026, on Feb. 6. The bill would provide dedicated annual funding for 10 years to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and to address the deferred maintenance backlog within the NPS, other public lands agencies, and the BIE.
The deferred maintenance section of the act establishes a fund—the National Park Service and Related Agencies Maintenance and Revitalization Conservation Fund—that would provide $450 million a year for priority repairs on public lands. Revenue would break down as follows:
The act would encourage donations, prohibit funds from supplanting annual appropriations, and allow for money in the fund to be invested.
The LWCF section of the act would permanently reauthorize LWCF and provide $450 million a year for the program. The bill would prohibit land from being acquired using eminent domain. Revenue would break down as follows:
No less than 1.5 percent of funds would be allocated for improved access for sportsmen.
The legislation was referred to the House Natural Resources and Budget committees.