Energy & Environment

House panel to vote on parks funding bill

A House committee will vote this week on a bipartisan bill that would direct some money from offshore and federal land oil production to improve parks and public land.

The House Natural Resources Committee, chaired by Rep. Rob Bishop (R-Utah), said it will consider the legislation Thursday. Passage would set the bill up for a potential full House vote.

Bishop and ranking member Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) introduced the bill in July, but the general idea has been pushed by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and lawmakers in both parties since at least early 2017.

Under the Restore Our Parks and Public Lands Act, half of the revenue brought into the federal government from energy production on federal land and offshore, that hasn't been dedicated to another purpose, would go into an account, with a limit of $1.3 billion per year.

That account would then pay for infrastructure at the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Education.

The bill is meant, in part, to address the NPS maintenance backlog, which now exceeds $11 billion.

The Trump administration is supportive of the idea of using energy revenue for park infrastructure, though Zinke has stopped short of fully endorsing the bill at issue.

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