WASHINGTON, D.C. — A bill to reduce the backlog of deferred maintenance in Acadia and other national parks passed the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday.
It calls for providing the National Park Service (NPS) with up to $6.5 billion over the next five years to address maintenance needs in America’s national parks, monuments and historic sites. That would roughly cut in half the $12 billion nationwide backlog, which includes about $65.8 million worth of projects in Acadia.
At the top of Acadia’s deferred projects priority list is replacement of the maintenance building at park headquarters, which is too small, inefficient and structurally unsound.
“The maintenance building … is literally going to have a roof collapse if we don’t get after replacing it,” Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider said earlier this year.
The bill passed by the Senate committee this week, titled the Restore Our Parks Act, was introduced last year by Maine U.S. Senator Angus King and three of his colleagues. It would give the NPS $1.3 billion for repair and construction projects in each of the next five years.
According to the bill’s language, the money would come from government revenues “from oil, gas, coal or alternative or renewable energy development on federal land and water …”
A nearly identical bill is making its way through the House of Representatives.