Rep. Mike Quigley Leads Congressional Visit to Acadia National Park
Today, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05), Chair of the Sustainable Energy & Environment Coalition, concluded a three-day climate change tour of Acadia National Park in Maine. Quigley led four members of the Sustainable Energy and Environment Coalition, including Representatives Chellie Pingree (ME-01), Annie Kuster (NH-02), and Nanette Barragán (CA-44), on the sixth Climate Change Tour. During the visit, members met with Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider and National Park Service staff and scientists, as well as Schoodic Institute President and CEO, Nick Fisichelli. The group discussed the threat of climate change at America’s national parks and National Park Service efforts to help Acadia adapt to new conditions.
“Every step of this week’s tour made it clearer than ever that we are experiencing the impacts of climate change right now. If we don’t act soon and decisively, the next generation will not have the same national treasures to visit that we do today,” said Quigley. “From the beauty of Acadia’s coastline to its native vegetation, we stand to lose too much if our nation fails to tackle the climate crisis. That’s why it is so important that we pass President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, including his critical initiatives on climate change. After seeing the beauty of Acadia it has never been more obvious to me that climate action cannot wait.”
“The recent hurricanes, wildfires, and floods that caused nationwide havoc serve as an alarming wake-up call: Climate change is real, and it’s happening before our eyes. As we saw over the last three days, the climate crisis is affecting our beautiful national parks and the irreplaceable species that inhabit these areas,” said Pingree. “As Chair of House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee, I have advocated for greater federal investment to preserve our parks and public lands as officials grapple with extreme weather changes caused by the climate crisis. As one of the 10 most visited national parks in the country, Acadia needs our support to remain a place where generations of Americans can continue to appreciate its unique natural beauty. It is critical that Congress take immediate, comprehensive action to address the climate crisis.”
At the conclusion of the trip, Quigley announced his intention to re-introduce the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act, which would restore Obama-era guidance banning the sale of single-use plastic in national park facilities, where possible. He originally introduced this bill back in 2017 and re-introduced in 2019 after a visit to Yellowstone National Park.
“This week was an incredible chance to marvel at the magnificence of Acadia, while also serving as a critical reminder of the threat that plastic pollution can pose to these national treasures,” said Quigley. “Too often, single use plastics end up polluting national parks and clogging our waterways. I am reintroducing this common sense and flexible ban on single-use plastic to ensure that our natural wonders are around for generations to come.”
In 2017, the Trump administration reversed Obama-era guidelines that allowed the National Park Service to ban the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in parks where possible. As a result of the original ban on plastic water bottles, 23 out of 417 national parks, including Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, implemented restrictions on bottled water sales and national parks experienced real success in reducing plastic waste. Zion National Park in Utah alone eliminated the sale of 60,000 water bottles, or 5,000 pounds of plastic waste, by installing bottle-filling stations and selling affordable reusable bottles in their concession stands.
Quigley’s filmed remarks during the visit are available HERE.
Photos from Quigley’s visit are available HERE.
Acadia National Park is a 47,000-acre Atlantic coast recreation area primarily on Maine's Mount Desert Island. The members were invited by the Schoodic Institute and used the trip to learn more about the changing environmental impacts at Acadia, including what needs to be done to save our National Parks for future generations.
This was Rep. Quigley’s sixth climate change tour. He has previously visited Everglades National Park, Indiana Dunes National Park, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone National Park, and Shenandoah National Park.