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Senate subcommittee discusses national parks bill

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The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on National Parks held a hearing on July 11 to discuss the Restore Our Parks Act (S. 3172). The bill currently has 11 cosponsors, nine of which announced their support just before or after the hearing. “This would be the most significant piece of legislation in support of the national parks in over half a century,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tennessee, one of the original co-sponsors of the Restore Our Parks Act. The National Park Service currently has about $11.6 billion dollars in deferred maintenance projects across the country. Projects include everything from repairing roads, replacing outdated plumbing and restoring historic buildings. Congress and previous administrations have tried to address the backlog before, but the problem has continued to grow. The new bill combines elements of the National Park Service Legacy Act (S. 751) and the National Park Restoration Act (S. 2509). It would authorize up to $1.3 billion a year until 2023 to be put into a new National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund in order to address maintenance projects. Lena McDowall, deputy director of management and administration, said the money would come from 50 percent of the nonobligated revenue from federal [...]

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