Sen. Alexander introduces bill to restore national parks

Sen. Lamar Alexander has introduced a bipartisan bill to help address the $11.6 billion National Park Service maintenance backlog.

The National Park Restoration Act would use revenues from energy production on federal lands to rebuild roads, buildings, campgrounds, trails and water systems in national parks across the country.

The Tennessee Republican said the main principle of the proposed legislation is to create an environmental benefit from an environmental burden.

“If you place a burden on the land, which energy exploitation does, then you ought to put a benefit on the land,” he said.

In fact, Alexander said the bill over 10 years could potentially eliminate the entire maintenance backlog in the national park system, including the $215 million backlog of projects in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

“That is the best news for Great Smoky Mountains National Park in a long time,” said Alexander, noting that several maintenance projects in the Smokies have been on hold due to lack of funding.

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