3 LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES HONORED FOR VOTING TO PROTECT NATIONAL PARKS 100% OF TIME, 2 OTHER SD REPS SCORE ZEROS

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Photo: Clark Bunting, NPCA President and CEO, Rep. Susan Davis, and Craig Obey, NPCA Senior VP, Government Affairs

July 17, 2015 (San Diego)—When it comes to protecting national parks, the partisan divide between our local Congressional representatives is as wide as the Grand Canyon.

Three of San Diego’s Congressional members were honored with the Friends of the National Parks Award from the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association for their contributions to protection and enhancing America’s national parks. Congressional members Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas all voted to support national parks 100% of the time on bills tracked by the NPCA. California’s two Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, also scored 100%.  All five of these legislators are Democrats.

By contrast, San Diego’s two Republican Congressmen, Duncan D. Hunter and Darrell Issa, each scored 0%, voting against every measure to protect national parks that the NPCA tracked in the last Congressional session. That included five measures that passed the House of Representatives, three of which were opposed by the NPCA.

Measures passed with help from Hunter and Issa include bills to weaken clean water protections and cleanup of water pollution impacting 50% of national parks, severely weaken the President’s ability to protect natural and cultural treasures through the Antiquities Act, and remove protections for wildlife on waterways in national parks including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Cape Hatteras Seashore. They also voted against a disaster relief bill to restore hurricane damage to national parks and historic treasures and against a bill to protect historic battlefields.

“I’m truly honored to receive the Friend of the National Parks Award,” said Davis. “We have a moral obligation to sustain and preserve our historical landmarks for generations to come. I want to extend my sincere appreciation to the NPCA for its dedication and contributions to our National Parks.”

“This diverse group of representatives and senators from across the aisle and country used their votes during the 113th Congress to stand up for the natural, scenic, educational, historical and recreational opportunities that our parks provide,” said NPCA President and CEO Clark Bunting. “As the National Park System’s centennial approaches, it’s imperative that these champions fight for an increase in park funding, promote land conversation and reduce the impacts of climate change on national parks.”

This year, NPCA tracked votes for three national park-related votes in the Senate and five in the House of Representatives.

Below are the House bills tracked:

H.R. 5078, Waters of the U.S. Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014

09/09/2014

On September 9, 2014, the House of Representatives voted on and passed H.R. 5078, the Waters of the United States Regulatory Overreach Protection Act. This bill would block attempts to clarify which waterways are protected by the Clean Water Act. Half of all national park waters are impaired and polluted--this clarity would help efforts to clean them up and protect them. A 'no' vote is the correct vote.

Oppose

Passed

H.R. 1459, Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act

03/26/2014

On March 26, 2014, the House of Representatives voted on and passed H.R. 1459, the Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act. This bill would severely weaken the ability of the president to protect important natural and cultural treasures through the Antiquities Act, which has been of paramount importance to the development of the National Park System. A 'no' vote is the correct vote.

Oppose

Passed

H.R. 2954, The Public Access and Lands Improvement Act

02/06/2014

H.R. 2954 is a package of bills damaging to public lands. Specifically, NPCA opposed provisions to remove protections at Cape Hatteras National Seashore (Title V) and Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks (Title VII). The Cape Hatteras provision would overturn a multi-year public process that achieved balance between sea turtle and shorebird protection and beach driving. The National Park Service should be allowed to continue their balanced and successful management of Cape Hatteras National Seashore. The Yellowstone and Grand Teton provision revokes the current, protective National Park Service rules and could lead to unregulated non-motorized boating on roughly 7,500 miles of rivers and streams in Yellowstone and Grand Teton. The bill attempts to elevate the wishes of one user group over others who visit and appreciate the parks, and seeks to direct an outcome without regard to sound scientific analysis and cost. A 'no' vote is the correct vote.

Oppose

Passed

H.R. 1033, American Battlefield Protection Program Amendments Act of 2013

04/09/2013

This bill authorized the American Battlefield Protection Program which will identify the location of the most important and endangered Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and Civil War battlefields and provide preservation partners, via the National Park Service, with the funds and technical expertise to save these places for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations. A 'yes' vote is the correct vote.

Support

Passed

H.Amdt.5 to H.R. 152, Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013

01/15/2013

On January 15, 2013, the House approved H.Amdt.5 to H.R. 152 which included critically needed funds of $398 million for the National Park Service to rebuild parks and historic treasures and $360 million to better rebuild coastal habitat and infrastructure in national parks and refuges after Hurricane Sandy. H.R. 152, as amended, went on to become Public Law 113-2. A 'yes' vote is the correct vote.

Support

Agreed To

   

 

On the Senate side, the group tracked three bills with a better success rate; both Senate bills opposed by the NPCA failed, while a measure supposed by the NPCA was approved.

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Sen. Coburn motion on H.R. 3979

12/12/2014

Senator Coburn's motion would have struck Title 30 from H.R. 3979. Title 30 included the most significant expansion of the National Park System in nearly three decades. It included the establishment of seven new national park sites, the expansion of nine national park sites, the extension of 15 National Heritage Areas, and provided protection to the North Fork Flathead River Valley in Montana. A 'no' vote is the correct vote.

Oppose

Failed

S.Amdt.93 to S.Amdt.26 to H.R. 933

03/20/2013

This amendment to the 2013 Continuing Resolution would have cut $8.1 million from the National Heritage Area program and shifted $6 million to the National Park Service Operations account. Eliminating funding for the National Heritage Areas program is not the answer to the agency's funding woes and furthermore, the amendment would have reduced the National Park Service's overall budget by $2.1 million. A 'no' vote is the correct vote.

Oppose

Failed

H.R. 152, Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013

01/28/2013

On January 28, 2013, the Senate approved H.R. 152 which made supplemental appropriations to improve and streamline disaster assistance for Hurricane Sandy. The bill included $398 million for the National Park Service to rebuild parks and historic treasures and $360 million to better rebuild coastal habitat and infrastructure in national parks and refuges. A 'yes' vote is the correct vote.

Support

Passed

   

 


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Comments

Good idea

This is why we need more funding - we don't have enough reporters or volunteers for all the stories that need research and followup.  If any readers want to make a donation dedicated to this purpose we will gladly dig deeper and reach out to all 5 Congressional reps at least to see what they say. That said, it's not unusual to get no response; sometimes legislators don't want to have to explain certain votes.

Representatives voting on National Parks

I'm wondering if the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association knows why the Representatives of both political parties each voted the way they did. I'd love to know why "the partisan divide between our local Congressional representatives is as wide as the Grand Canyon" from sources other than a government printed publications or large, slanted news organizations. That would be a superb follow-up article by the East County Magazine to detail the reasoning from the involved individuals behind the decisions reached for us, the local readers.