House Bill Would Strip Park Service’s Enforcement Power in Yukon Charley Preserve

A bill before the U.S. House would strip away the National Park Service’s power to enforce regulations on the waters of the Yukon Charley Preserve. Representative Don Young inserted language into an appropriations bill now being voted on in the House. The Park Service has had to apologize for trying to pull a man over in the currents of the Yukon River for a safety check.

Young’s anti-Park Service provision wasn’t popular among Democrats, and Representative Norm Dicks of Washington State floated an amendment to get Young’s issue stripped from the bill.

“We have people in the law enforcement area who make mistakes,” Dicks said. “But we don’t get rid of law enforcement, we don’t say we’re no longer going to protect people, the other people.”

Democrats also complained because it was policy language and this is a money bill. But Young fought back, and Wednesday evening, Dicks’ amendment was defeated and Young’s language against the Park Service was kept.

“Think about this very carefully. Do you want an agency that does not respect the rights of individuals because they work for the government? Does not respect the rights of history? I don’t think you do. I don’t think you do. So I’m asking that the amendment be defeated, asking for my colleagues to understand this is a big issue in my state. This is very very important. Not only to me but my people. People of the state who have been using that river for centuries,” Young said.

Young says he entire structure of who regulates the local waters should be changed.

The Republican-dominated house supported Young’s issue, including Representative Mike Simpson of Idaho.

“The problem is you say you’re trying to save Mr. Young from himself by offering this amendment, we’re trying to save the Park Service from itself and the actions that it’s taken,” Simpson said.

The House is continuing to vote on amendments to the Interior Appropriations bill Thursday.

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