Originally published here
WASHINGTON – President Trump tonight during his State of the Union speech called for a new investment in the nation’s infrastructure. National parks have $11.3 billion in outstanding infrastructure repairs, including eroding trails, crumbling roads and aging historic structures.
Early outlines of the administration’s proposal reportedly includes significant rollbacks of the Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act. These are bedrock laws that protect water, air, wildlife and visitors in our national parks and other public lands.
The following is a statement by Theresa Pierno, President and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association:
“The president’s call to invest in our nation’s infrastructure should include our national parks. Our parks need billions of dollars in repairs, but that investment should not require damaging the very places this infrastructure plan could fix. That’s a non-starter for us and anyone who is serious about protecting our parks.
“National parks do not exist in a vacuum. Caring for our parks means not only fixing their roads and buildings, but also protecting their air, water, wildlife and lands. And yet, reports on the infrastructure proposal indicate the administration intends to dismantle bedrock conservation laws in the name of rebuilding. The administration argues that these rollbacks are necessary to expedite these projects. This is a false choice. To allow these rollbacks is to risk losing our natural, historical and cultural heritage our nation sought to preserve in the first place.
“Our parks need and deserve robust investments in their infrastructure, and there are proposals right now that would do that without taking away the very safeguards on which our parks depend. The National Park Service Legacy Act is a bipartisan, bicameral proposal that would make a substantial investment in our national parks without undermining protection for their visitors, water and wildlife. If the president and his administration are serious about fixing our parks, they should support this bipartisan legislation and encourage its passage.”