John Podesta, chairman of the left-leaning Center for American Progress, penned an op-ed for Politico on Thursday that blames the GOP for causing a government shutdown and closing off access to national parks.
The column highlights the economic costs of park closures and lays out a series of recommendations for Congress and the executive branch to strengthen America’s system of national parks.
Podesta urges Congress to keep funding levels for national park staff fully authorized during ongoing budget negotiations and recommends diverting a percentage of oil and gas revenues to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
He also asks the president to push Congress to approve a number of bills related to national parks and conservation and use executive authority to create two new national monuments, one in New Mexico and one in the San Gabriel Mountains of California.
Podesta’s op-ed came ahead of a speech given by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell on Thursday addressing the importance of national parks and the role of the Interior Department in carrying out the President’s climate action plan.