Hoeven: Senate Committee Advances Restore our Parks Act

Senator Helped Introduce Legislation, Urged NPS Deputy Director to Address TRNP Maintenance Needs

WASHINGTON – At a meeting of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee this week, Senator John Hoeven helped secure committee approval of the Restore Our Parks Act, bipartisan legislation he helped introduce to address deferred maintenance at National Park Service (NPS) facilities. The bill would use 50 percent of the excess revenues from energy development on federal lands to create a NPS Legacy Restoration Fund to resolve the maintenance backlog, which includes more than $50 million of maintenance in North Dakota, mostly consisting of road repairs.

Hoeven also spoke to NPS Deputy Director David Vela, who exercises the authority of Director, this week to advance maintenance priorities at Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP), dovetailing with the bill’s advancement. The senator stressed the need to repair the Scenic Loop Drive in the park’s South Unit, among other things. This builds on Hoeven hosting Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt in North Dakota last month, where he also highlighted TRNP’s maintenance needs and worked to advance the establishment of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library.

“Our national parks help preserve our history, heritage and landscapes, while also supporting local economies through opportunities for tourism and recreation,” said Hoeven. “Our legislation will help ensure NPS facilities and infrastructure are properly repaired and maintained. At the same time, we advanced this priority with Deputy Director Vela on behalf of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. Our efforts are all about providing an enjoyable and safe experience to visitors and reflecting the pride we have in these sites.”

The revenues to the NPS Legacy Restoration Fund already accrue to the federal government, and accordingly, the Restore Our Parks Act would require no new taxes and would not impact mineral and energy revenues that go to the states. The bill would also authorize the NPS to accept cash or in-kind donations to the restoration fund to encourage public-private partnerships. The fund would accrue an expected $6.5 billion over a five-year period.

The legislation aligns with Hoeven’s work on the Senate Appropriations Committee, through which he secured a $135 million increase in the Fiscal Year 2020 funding legislation to support construction, maintenance and new park units under the NPS. Hoeven helped secure the Interior funding bill’s passage in the Senate last month.