Secretary Zinke in Zion to highlight infrastructure needs

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    To highlight new legislation sponsored by Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, and Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., with endorsements by dozens of lawmakers of both political parties, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke met with  Interior officials and Utah’s congressional delegation in Zion National Park Monday to press the need to fix aging national park infrastructure and do it without adding to the federal deficit. The bill would invest $6.5 billion over five years to fix park infrastructure nationwide, reported the Salt Lake Tribune.

    “The experience should be five star,” Zinke said. “It should be one where people come to our parks, enjoy the beauty, the majesty of our greatest holdings. It’s mandatory spending, but it’s fiscally responsible because if you don’t get to the infrastructure today, it’s a liability to the future. It’s going to cost more tomorrow.”


    Across the National Park Service’s 417 units, which saw 331 million visits last year, deferred maintenance has become a crisis. Utah’s share of the backlog is $292 million, ranking it 10th among the states, well behind neighboring Wyoming and Arizona. Zion’s share is $65 million and growing.

    The measure would tap $1.3 billion a year from energy revenue streaming in from public lands, whether from oil, gas, wind or solar. Parks account for a big majority of the maintenance backlog among all federal land agencies. The Bureau of Land Management, which administers far more territory, accounts for just $2 billion, in contrast with the parks’ $12 billion.

    According to a 2017 report by the Congressional Research Service, paved roads accounted for about half the parks’ backlog. Other big items included buildings ($2 billion), trails ($489 million), water systems ($275 million), and campgrounds ($74 million).

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    Dana Murphy

    AGREED! Well said. Thank you. Kamwick

    Dana Murphy

    My comment was to Kamrick.

    Kamwick

    This looks like a wolf in sheep’s clothing type of situation. Zinke may pretend to be a beneficent “supporter”of our national parks, but look at his history and you will know where his true loyalties lie. This is not a smear, his own actions and statements clearly show it.

    Teddy Roosevelt would be turning over in his grave.

    Notice there are no details on any limits for “energy development”?

    What this means is that the highest bidder for oil and gas drilling will be able to cozy up to the local powers that be, and then have a free for all with the true costs going to the environment.

    “New sheriff in town”?

    More like the Sheriff of Nottingham.

    Phil McCraken

    So, Secretary Zinke wants to tap 1.2 billion per year from the monies generated from energy, etc., derived from public lands, to address the needs of our National Parks. And he wants to give more control to each individual Park’s administration to deal with their needs, and not have to deal with the dysfunctional bureaucrat baloney in Washington D.C.

    And, the best part, not add to the national debt, but rather use funds generated from public lands resources, to be put directly back into the very public lands we all use and greatly cherish.

    Further, there is non partisan bills in the house to move this forward. Do you all see, the veil has started to lift, we the people should, and are beginning to take back, what is ours. The National Parks are truly a national treasure, and there is a new sheriff in town, and his name is Secretary Zinke.

    Refreshing isn’t it, when common sense, starts to take hold.