Interior-Environment Bill Reopens America's National Parks
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This week, the House will consider the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill as a standalone measure. This bill funds the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. Passing it will ensure that America’s National Parks can fully reopen.
Because of the Trump Shutdown, some of the most important activities funded in the Interior-Environment bill have ground to a halt. The shutdown has also led to serious impacts:
National Parks Unsafe, Filled With Garbage. All services for visitors to National Park Service sites – such as visitors’ centers, interpretative programs, and restrooms – have been suspended. Many Parks are overflowing with uncollected garbage, while curtailed law enforcement staffing is putting visitors’ safety at risk. In addition, the Smithsonian Institution and the National Gallery of Art have closed.
Environmental Inspections Stopped. The Environmental Protection Agency has halted inspections at drinking water systems, hazardous waste management, and chemical facilities, potentially jeopardizing community safety.
House Democrats’ bill, which is virtually identical to legislation that has already passed the Senate on a 92-6 vote, will reopen these agencies and stop some the worst impacts of the Trump Shutdown on families, businesses, and communities.
It provides $35.9 billion in discretionary funding, $6 billion above the President’s budget request and $601 million above the FY2018 enacted level. The legislation will fully fund the Department of the Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, and related agencies through September 30.
The bill rejects President Trump’s proposed $1.9 billion budget cut to the Environmental Protection Agency. It also rejects more than $1 billion in proposed cuts to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Bureau of Indian Education, and Indian Health Service
In addition, the bill rejects President Trump’s proposed elimination of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Finally, it rejects the administration’s proposal to completely eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).