Chair Pingree Statement at Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the National Park Service Hearing
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), Chair of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the National Park Service Hearing:
This afternoon we will be hearing from the 19th National Park Service Director, Mr. Charles F. “Chuck” Sams about the fiscal year 2023 budget request for the National Park Service. He is accompanied by Jessica Bowron, the National Park Service Comptroller.
Director Sams, welcome. We are so pleased to have you before the Subcommittee today. You’ve come to the Park Service at a critical time for the agency, which has been without a permanent director for six years.
During that period, the Service has faced some significant challenges, including record visitation to the parks, the Covid-19 pandemic, and the positive, but nonetheless challenging, ramp-up of the construction program to implement the Great American Outdoors Act.
I commend the career staff for their commitment and dedication, which kept the agency on track.
Our focus for today’s hearing is the President’s $3.6 billion dollar request for the National Park Service, an increase of $346 million or 10.6% above the FY 2022 enacted level.
Notable increases include:
- $228 million for tackling climate change, conserving our natural resources, and using science to inform decision making,
- $148 million to increase staff capacity throughout the parks; and
- $48 million for advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities.
These are important investments that will better enable the National Park Service to understand and adapt to the significant challenges it faces in the 21st century so that it can meet its mission for future generations.
Director Sams, I’m eager to hear about your vision for the National Park Service, to learn about what you believe are the most critical needs, and to gain a better understanding of how we in Congress can help support the National Park Service so that millions of people can continue to enjoy these majestic natural and cultural resources.
I would now like to yield to our Ranking Member, Mr. Joyce, for his opening remarks.