Originally Posted by Tom Martin
Good point doStep. I just met with our northern AZ congressional Representative. She mentioned she is working with UT on legislative efforts to allow the states to fund Park units during a shutdown. There is little time to do this, as we only have till January 15th.
H.R. 3311 (Stewart, R-UT-2), to direct the Secretary of the Interior to enter into agreements with States to allow continued operation of facilities and programs that have been determined to have a direct economic impact on tourism, mining, timber, or general transportation in the State and which would otherwise cease operating, in whole or in part, during a Federal Government shutdown that is the result of a lapse in appropriations, and for other purposes.
We also talked about getting the business community, including Bill Parks at NRS, reimbursed for the funding they spent to help get the Grand Canyon open.
I can only encourage western river runners to do the same... yours, tom
That bill, known as the "PARCs" bill is one of the reasons I cannot ethically include him in this issue. Including him validates his authority which increases his currency. I hate that this situation is this politically complex but it is.
The PARC's bill has nothing to do with creating a functioning, sustainable NPS system. Its about eliminating the direct consequences of their actions regarding their budget ideology. Functionally and metaphorically, he is offering up a bandaid for us to use for the limb he helped chop off.
When you did dig into this issue you see the power structures. The Utah Legislature has been working for the last few years, and really for many decades, to underfund agencies. On top of that they are are working to forcefully transfer the lands those agencies maintain over to the state. This goal seems more viable when you chronically underfund the agencies that oversee them, i.e. back to square one.
I have no desire to support these legislative shenanigans. I do not believe this bill is viable in its current form as it conflicts with the Anti-Defeciency Act which explicitly restricts the ability of the federal government to enter into contracts/agreements exceeding the current years appropriations. As well, it seems to directly conflict with elements of the Constitution.
I am not willing to support these short term gains that hurt us in the long run. I have expressed that opinion to Stewart. If they want long term change, which is what I consider to be the difference between governance and politics, then they need to make legislative efforts at a broader level that affects more than just the parks that produce a tourist revenue that translates into taxes for their districts. You either fund all of the park units or none of them IMHO. Allowing these uber-cons to choose piecemeal which parts of the NPS system, and Executive Branch in general, to operate lacks foresight.
I may diverge from the average person here in this regard. I would rather face short term losses and fight for long term sustainability. I see his efforts and this bill as mutually exclusive with that goal. And January seems like a way to minimize harm to our community if that is the way the fight is heading. And that comes from someone who had their first GC trip in Jan.
I won't cc Stewart as it just provides ammunition (just look at all the hearing grandstanding during the shutdown) for a cause that is in conflict with my own. I will write a letter to him separately that addresses the harm he has done to the private and commercial communities in GCNP. I know he got the last email as I received a mailing from him today (hence why I brought up his name). I might try and cc someone else that is relevant to area but I need to do some research on that.
In the meantime, I will write a letter to those directly in charge of agency policy to see if they can make contingency plans that minimize harm to our community during these shutdowns. Unlike my congressman, I actually believe they care about our experiences and endeavors.
And if you want to see why I am actively fighting my reps then read these links and quotes from my regional officials:
"San Juan County Commissioner Phil Lyman said he was eager to assert county "jurisdiction" over
Natural Bridges National Monument and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area"
Gov Herbert requested Obama "hand over the keys" of the National Parks this week, not accidental language considering:
Herbert signs bill demanding feds relinquish lands in Utah | The Salt Lake Tribune
Iron County, my own, Sheriff Mark Gower:
“We will do it in an orderly and controlled manner, but we will do whatever is necessary to open those lands,” Gower said. When asked what he planned to do if met with resistance by the federal government, Gower said he still would open the federal lands. “I don’t want to use force or violence,” Gower said. “I don’t want it to get ugly, but at some point they are going to have to step aside.”