Senate, House Far Apart on Economic Stimulus Funding for National Parks

The Senate and House appropriations committees are far, far apart in how much money they'd like the national parks to get via an economic stimulus package.

As of today the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives are miles and miles apart over how they view the needs and worthiness of the National Park System when it comes to crafting an economic stimulus bill for the country.

According to the National Parks Conservation Association, an $825 billion stimulus bill approved Tuesday by the Senate Appropriations Committee holds only about $800 million for the national parks, while a similar measure recently passed by the House Appropriations Committee contains $2.25 billion for the parks.

(Is the House Committee's largess more than coincidence in light of the fact that committee's chair, Rep. David Obey, is the father of Craig Obey, the vice president of governmental affairs for the NPCA, which in December pointed to $2.5 billion worth of park projects?)

NPCA President Tom Kiernan lamented the Senate committee's shortage in funding park work.

"The lower Senate number misses an historic opportunity to create thousands of meaningful jobs while at the same time beginning the process of restoring our National Park System in time for its upcoming centennial. Our economic studies show that every federal dollar spent on the national parks generates at least four dollars in economic benefit to the public, and the National Park System can put Americans to work in the next 18 months at levels far above the $800 million provided by the Senate," said Mr. Kiernan.

"There is no question the higher House number makes sense for family visitors today and generations yet to come. We look to the new administration and Congress to support our national parks to the fullest extent possible, and restore our national legacy for the benefit of our children and grandchildren."

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has estimated that the National Park System has a maintenance backlog of nearly $9 billion.

Projects cited by the NPCA in justifying a large stimulus package for the parks include $1 million to repair the failing sewage system at Cuyahoga Valley National Park, $10 million for repairs at the historic Fort Jefferson at Dry Tortugas National Park, $9 million for repairs to roads and parking lots at Acadia National Park, $21.35 million for the ongoing rehabilitation of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at Glacier National Park.

Comments

As usual the folks in Washington can't get anything right. Lets cut back on the parks that are used on a regular basis and are already hurting! I'm so disgusted with the dog and pony show that's going on there.

I have nothing against sending more money to the national parks. But the stimulus package is supposed to be to create jobs, presumably in all types of work, not just construction workers.

The debt service alone from the stimulus will cost about $347 billion over the next 10 years.

Yep. That's $347 billion in interest. Stimulating indeed.

Full article and link to Congressional Budget Office letter here.

Jobs will be created for more than just construction workers when construction projects are funded on federal lands. This will create more management level jobs within the NPS and will help to provide work to a variety of different contractors that work with the NPS in environmental planning, engineering services, biological and cultural resources monitoring, and any other jobs that would support these activities.

Don't count on the Obama administration helping the parks. As I wrote before the election, Obama/Biden have TWO national park units (one is a trail only) in their home states, so they probably have never or seldom visited a park. McCain and Palin on the other hand, have 36 national parks between them, and both are big "fans" of our parks. As a governor and executive of state, Sarah Palin deals with state/federal issues regarding the national park units on a daily basis. If nothing else, she knows that fully funding the NPS units in Alaska would help her state and it's people tremendously.
So, no doubt that McCain/Palin would have been the ticket to better funding for the NPS.
Just watch...out of 819 billion, you will see ZILCH for the NPS.
$335 million for STD prevention is more important to congressional democrats:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2009/jan/29/economic-stimulus-bills-allot-millions-for-std-pre/
Now...who did y'all vote for??