WASHINGTON – A proposed $1.3 trillion fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill released by congressional leaders this evening includes increased funding for national park repairs and wildfire management.
The proposal calls for a 9 percent increase for the National Park Service and includes at least $160 million more to address parks’ $11.6 billion repair backlog. The omnibus would also create a new funding mechanism for fighting wildfires so the Forest Service and the Department of the Interior will no longer have to repeatedly borrow money from other, non-fire priorities.
While the omnibus is largely free of the many policy riders or amendments that, if enacted, would jeopardize national parks’ water, wildlife and landscapes, a few riders included would undermine forest protections.
Below is a statement by Kristen Brengel, Vice President for Government Affairs, National Parks Conservation Association:
“The funding bill will provide a major boost for important road, bridge, and trail repair projects and for fixing historic sites– just as the National Park Service is preparing for another busy summer travel season.
“Yellowstone, Gettysburg, San Antonio Missions, Everglades and our entire National Park System need robust funding to provide inspiring experiences for visitors, make overdue repairs, and maintain long-term protections for these important places. This is a necessary investment with broad returns, and we hope this trend continues in next year’s bill.
“In addition, we are relieved that Congress was able to make bipartisan progress on fire funding, moving toward a permanent fix. However, we must not hamper this progress by pairing it with unnecessary policy changes.”
About National Parks Conservation Association Since 1919, the nonpartisan has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 1.2 million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.