GOP and Dem senators unite to save our national parks

  • Published on March 8th, 2020

On March 4th, Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Cory Gardner (R-CO) introduced an important bill that would address the growing National Park Service deferred maintenance backlog and provide full, permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). It is well past time to restore and repair our national parks and we are thankful for the leadership of Senators Manchin and Gardner!

 

By Rev. Mitch Hescox
Evangelical Environmental Network

LWCF, created in 1964, is a bipartisan effort to protect our natural resources and provide recreational opportunities for all Americans. National and local parks, trails, and even ball fields have been preserved in every single state thanks to LWCF.

The fund was designed to utilize revenue from offshore oil and gas leasing, yet Congress has continued to use those funds for other projects that don’t contribute to the conservation of vital resources. Today, Senators Manchin and Gardner have offered a path forward that would finally use these funds to protect God’s creation by providing $900 million per year to LWCF.

We are so thankful that this effort also addresses the deferred maintenance backlog in our national parks. America is blessed to have over 400 national park sites, but crumbling roads to leaky water systems in many of them mean that these special places are in need of repair and restoration. In all, the current backlog for these repairs totals approximately $12 billion. It is vital that we restore our parks so that the nearly 300 million annual visitors can have a safe, enjoyable, and sacred experience. The bill introduced today would dedicate $6.5 billion to public lands infrastructure over 5 years, and we support this effort to preserve God’s good creation. We want to thank Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Warner (D-VA) for their work on the Restore Our Parks Act which has helped pave the way for this latest bill.

Americans deserve safe and functional public lands, and we thank these senators for their leadership. EEN continues to oppose President Trump’s consistent efforts to undermine live-saving and critical environmental standards. Despite a proposed 97% cut to LWCF in his most recent budget, we are thankful that he has voiced his support for this bill. We call on all Senators to join this critical effort and urge President Trump to uphold his commitment by signing this bill into law.

(Originally appeared at CreationCare, the website of the Evangelical Environmental Network.)

About the Author

EEN is a biblically based ministry dedicated to the care of God's creation. EEN is made up of both individual members who believe in and support our vital ministry and major evangelical organizations who work with EEN to help equip, educate, disciple, network, and mobilze the church for the care of God's creation. Creation-care means caring for all of God's creation by stopping and preventing activities that are harmful (e.g. air and water pollution, species extinction), and participating in activities that further Christ's reconciliation of all of creation to God. Doing creation-care fills us with the joy that only comes from doing the will of God.
    Shares