States Who Pay to Open National Parks Could be Paid Back if New Bill by Steve Daines Passes
After Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced last Thursday that states could reopen national parks by using state funds, Montana Governor Steve Bullock was asked if he would push to open the parks. At the time, Bullock said "Of course not," but now Congressman Steve Daines is trying to sweeten the deal by proposing a bill that would shift the tab to the federal government.
The preface to Daines' bill, H.R. 3286, sums up the mechanics of the bill nicely:
To direct the Secretary of the Treasury to reimburse States that use State funds to operate National Parks during the Federal Government shutdown, and for other purposes.
In an accompanying video announcement, Daines explained his justification for the bill:
"Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks not only represent an important part of Montana's heritage, they're an important driver of our state's economy," Daines said. "I am pleased that the Obama administration has finally relented and allowed individual states to get our national parks open again, it's unacceptable that a state like Montana can be forced to bear even more of a financial burden because of Washington's failures. My legislation will protect states and ensure they receive full compensation for their work to reopen our national park gates."
Daine's Protecting States, Opening National Parks Act began with 17 co-sponsors, including one democrat, but it is still unclear if the bill will ever make it out of the U.S. House.