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National Parks Could Get More Maintenance Dollars From Congress

CalciteSprings_YellowstoneNPS_JimPeacoFlickr.jpg
Jim Peaco
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Yellowstone National Park | Flickr Creative Commons
The Senate is considering a bill that would provide $6.5 billion in funding toward deferred maintenance at national parks.

Bipartisan legislation before the Senate would finally designate congressional funds to take care of about $12 billion of deferred maintenance for national parks. 

 

The legislation that’s currently before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee would commit up to $6.5 billion to funding parks maintenance over the next five years. Those funds would come from fees on energy developers.  

Phil Francis with the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks supports the legislation. He says the typical way that Congress funds the national parks doesn’t match with America’s love for them. 

"It’s almost like, we’re buying a house and we’re saying, 'well we like this house and it’s really important for us, but we’re not going to maintain it adequately.' And that’s not a winning formula at all," said Francis. 

In national parks within Mountain West states, the maintenance backlog totals about $1.5 billion. The bill currently has no congressional co-sponsors from our region, but Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has voiced his support for the legislation. The Senate committee will take up the legislation this Wednesday.   

Find reporter Amanda Peacher on Twitter @amandapeacher.

Copyright 2018 Boise State Public Radio

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, Yellowstone Public Radio in Montana, KUER in Salt Lake City and KRCC and KUNC in Colorado.