Alexander: House Moving Forward on National Park Restoration Act

Posted on March 20, 2018

WASHINGTON, March 20, 2018 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said today’s House hearing on the National Park Restoration Act is a welcomed first step on legislation that “could provide the largest new funding for national parks in decades.”

“Earlier this month, I and Senator King (I-Maine) introduced bipartisan legislation along with five other senators and two representatives that will help restore and rebuild our national parks by helping pay for the $11.6 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks – including buildings, campgrounds, trails and waters systems. Here’s how it will do this: the legislation will use revenues from energy production on federal lands to provide mandatory funding for the maintenance backlog at our national parks. This is a well-established conservation principle: taking some of the money created by an environmental burden and using it for an environmental benefit,” Alexander said. “This is something that everyone who cares about our national parks – which documentary maker Ken Burns calls, ‘America’s best idea’ – should welcome and support, and I’m glad to see the House is moving forward on this legislation, which could provide the largest new funding for national parks in decades. With the president’s support and bipartisan support in the House and Senate, I’m hopeful this legislation will become law this year, and we can get started on addressing the maintenance backlog." 

Today, the House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands held a hearing on the National Park Restoration Act. Alexander is the sponsor of the Senate version of the bipartisan legislation, which he introduced on March 7 with Senators King (I-Maine), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) and Representatives Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) and Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.). Representatives John Garamendi (D-Calif.), Colleen Hanabusa (D-Hawaii), and Will Hurd (R-Texas) are also cosponsors of the House version of the legislation. Alexander has said the bill has “unprecedented support” from the White House as it is the first time a president has recommended using revenues from energy development on federal lands as mandatory funding for national park maintenance.

The National Park Restoration Act:

  • Creates 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.
  • Provides 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. 
  • Protects 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.