Alexander Says Trump Administration Is Making Restore Our Parks Act A Priority

Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Senator Lamar Alexander
Senator Lamar Alexander

Senator Lamar Alexander on Wednesday received a commitment from Interior Secretary David Bernhardt that the Restore our Parks Act – legislation that would cut in half the maintenance backlog at our national parks and help restore our 418 national parks so Americans can enjoy them – is a priority of the Trump Administration.

He said, “Secretary Bernhardt told me today that passing the Restore our Parks Act, which I introduced with Senators Portman, Warner, and King, is a priority of the Trump Administration. The Restore Our Parks Act would be the biggest help to the National Park Service in 50 years – it would cut in half the maintenance backlog at our national parks and help restore our 418 national parks so Americans can enjoy them.

This is especially important to Tennessee, because our state is home to one of America’s greatest treasures – the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which is the most visited national park in the country and welcomed a record-setting 11.4 million visitors in 2018. The legislation is supported by a bipartisan group of senators and representatives, the Trump Administration and more than 100 conservation groups. When an idea this good – fixing our national parks for future generations – gets this much bipartisan support, it’s going to happen sooner or later, and it is my hope we pass the legislation as soon as this year.”

Senator Alexander introduced the Restore Our Parks Act with U.S. Senators Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), and Angus King (I-ME) on Feb. 14. The legislation would establish the “National Park Service Legacy Restoration Fund” to reduce the nearly $12 billion maintenance backlog in our national parks by allocating existing revenues the government receives from on and offshore energy development. This funding would come from 50 percent of all revenues that are not otherwise allocated and deposited into the General Treasury not to exceed $1.3 billion each year for the next five years.

Senator Alexander discussed the Restore Our Parks Act with Secretary Bernhardt at today’s Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies hearing to review the U.S. Department of Interior’s fiscal year 2020 budget request. Senator Alexander also asked the secretary about a study to evaluate including the Polk Home in Colombia, Tennessee, into the National Park System. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, which became law earlier this year, included legislation directing the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a special resource study to evaluate including the Polk Home in the National Park System. Once the study is completed, the Secretary will report the conclusions and recommendations to Congress, and Congress will then have to pass a new law to add the Polk Home to the National Park System.

Senator Alexander said, “President James K. Polk’s home in Columbia, Tn., is a national treasure that should be protected for generations to come. The home is currently protected by a very dedicated group of volunteers, but they are quickly running out of resources. In April 2015, a reconnaissance survey was completed by the National Park Service at my request. I then introduced legislation to authorize that special resource study, and earlier this year, that legislation became law. The reconnaissance survey said the ‘James K. Polk Home is conclusively nationally significant,’ and I agree. We must preserve sites like President Polk’s Home for future generations. I was glad to hear Secretary Bernhardt commit to me today that he will complete this study, so we can take the next step in protecting this historic site”


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Joint Enforcement Efforts Stop Bear Poaching

More Than 100,000 Volunteers Will Pitch In And Improve Parks Sept. 28 For National Public Lands Day


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Outdoors

1 Injured In Marina Fire On Kentucky Lake; 4 Houseboats Sink, 6 Other Boats Damaged

The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency responded to a call about a houseboat fire which spread to a marina on Sunday, Sept. 15, around 10:30 a.m. The fire occurred at Leatherwood Marina located on Kentucky Lake. The houseboat fire resulted in one injury. The injured victim was flown to Vanderbilt with burns to his legs and is expected to be released. The fire spread to multiple ... (click for more)

Joint Enforcement Efforts Stop Bear Poaching

Monroe County Wildlife officers along with USDA Forest Service Officers from the Cherokee National Forest have closed a bear baiting case. The Forest Service and TWRA work closely when dealing with issues on the South Cherokee Wildlife Management Area, which is part of the Cherokee National Forest. A bear bait site was located and documented in 2016 in the Cherokee National Forest, ... (click for more)

Breaking News

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Car Accident On Lee Highway Causes Vehicle To Crash Into Hotel

A car accident on Lee Highway caused a gold van to leave the road, crash into an SUV in a hotel parking lot and then into two hotel rooms, structurally damaging the building. The incident happened just after 3 p.m. Wednesday at the In Town Suites on Lee Highway. Both hotel rooms were empty at the time of the incident. A total of 12 surrounding rooms were evacuated as a precaution. ... (click for more)

Opinion

Let The Water Company Pay The Bill - And Response

Tennessee American breaks a line and 35,000 people lose water for three days. Well they don’t exactly admit they broke it, they were working on it a few feet away and it just broke….so they say. One half of TAWC service area is out of water three days and nights, hospitals canceling surgery, schools closed and opened and then sending the children home, businesses shut down, government ... (click for more)

Gregg Gentry Says He Was Not At Meeting On Nurse Pay

Regarding Mr. Exum's claim in his Sept. 12 column that Erlanger Chief Administrative Officer Gregg Gentry attended his Sept. 4 meeting with Kevin Spiegel is not accurate. Mr. Gentry said he was not at this meeting. (click for more)