Restore our Parks and Public Lands Act

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by Peter Clerkin

These days, it seems like politicians cannot agree about anything. That’s because it’s convenient for the media to use a gridlock narrative as shorthand for the contrarian and obstinate behavior that defines how our elected representatives address a few big issues. However, a different, more nuanced picture emerges when one takes a closer look at the actual lawmaking process – the pursuit of positive change. Common Ground profiles members of opposing parties who are working together to advance issues important to hoteliers.

The Issue:
Addressing the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog at our National Parks.

Currently, there is a backlog of deferred maintenance on vital infrastructure at our national parks that will cost about $12 billion to repair. Our national parks help visitors connect with and understand our nation’s unique beauty, history, and wonder. They also help grow and sustain numerous small businesses which provide essential services such as lodging and hospitality in the gateway communities around the parks. A study commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trusts found that, if the funds are invested to address the backlog, over 110,000 jobs could be created, 36 percent of which would be in communities around the parks.

Common Ground:
In July 2018, U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) and Ranking Member Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) introduced the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act to establish the National Park Service and Public Lands Restoration Fund. Similar to the Restore Our Parks Act introduced in the Senate in June, this bill addresses the maintenance backlog by using federal energy development revenues to fund the repairs.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)
First Elected: 2002
“The idea of dedicating energy development funds to conservation goes back to the creation of the Land and Water Conservation Fund in 1964. I’m pleased to join Chairman Bishop to add overdue maintenance and repair work at national parks and public lands to the list of projects eligible for this dedicated funding. Chairman Bishop and I share a commitment to providing visitors, both now and in the future, a world-class parks system.”

Rep. Rob Bishop (R-UT)
First Elected: 2002
“Our parks are national treasures. Let’s start treating them that way. This bipartisan bill will put us on the path to improving our parks for future generations.”

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