Washington, D.C. — A small group of lawmakers on the right-most fringe of the Republican Party is working hand in hand with the Trump administration to wage an unprecedented attack on the country’s national parks and monuments.
A new issue brief from the Center for American Progress shines a spotlight on this group of 19 members of Congress—dubbed the “2017 congressional anti-parks caucus”—and shows how they are encouraging the administration’s attacks on national monuments while they sell out parks and public lands to the highest bidder at the expense of the American people. The brief comes as Trump plans to visit Utah next month to announce the largest elimination of protected areas in U.S. history.
From endorsing bills that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil drilling to sponsoring legislation that blocks a president’s authority to protect public lands, anti-parks lawmakers are ignoring public opinion to push extreme policies, the brief says.
“The anti-parks caucus in Congress is working with the Trump administration to push an unpopular and damaging agenda,” said Jenny Rowland, lead author of the brief. “These attacks are jeopardizing the future of our national parks, forests, wildlife refuges, and other cherished public lands in the West.”
To determine membership in the anti-parks caucus, CAP considered several factors, including one’s sponsorship or introduction of anti-parks legislation; use of the Congressional Review Act to overturn rules that protect taxpayers and public health; and written or verbal statements that support anti-parks legislation or values.
The brief also found that members of the caucus are often affiliated with the tea party, represent districts that are not competitive, or come from states or districts in which President Donald Trump won the 2016 election by a wider-than-average margin.
Read the brief: “The Congressional Anti-Parks Caucus in Power” by Jenny Rowland and Kyle Cornish.
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