|OUR NATION'S PARKS|
A Forum with Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt
May 23, 1997
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Questions Sec. Babbitt answered in this forum:
Should cars be banned from national parks? How should forest fires be handled? Why are visits to the Grand Teton or the Grand Canyon so expensive? Does the federal government give mining companies sweetheart deals? Could special tax incentives provide money for the parks? Does the federal government promote clearcutting forests? What was Sec. Babbitt's best experience being part of a National Park Service firefighter? Viewer Comments
March 9, 1997:
Interesting coalitions have developed around the fight for rights to the water flowing down the Animus and the La Plata rivers in Colorado.
March 3, 1997:
Spencer Michels reports on efforts to rebuilt Yosemite National Parks after this year's devastating floods.
April 30, 1996:
Tom Bearden reports on efforts to restore the Colorado River's eco-system by flooding it.
Browse the NewsHour's index of environmental issues.
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Interior Sec. Bruce Babbitt
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Tom Chittenden of Vienna, VA, asks:
In the 1970's a special tax incentive was made available to encourage individuals and companies to preserve historic buildings. If a similar tax incentive were available to those who would make a legal commitment to donate, say $10 million over 5 years to the parks, it could be a powerful incentive. It could raise lots of money without any hint or possibility of commercialization. Would you comment on this?
Secretary Babbitt responds:
Tom -- that's an interesting idea, and I'm going to give it some thought, and talk about it with the folks in Congress that I've been working with on alternative funding mechanisms for the parks.
What we have right now is a terrible backlog of needs in the park system, and not a lot of money at the federal level to get caught up. Some years ago, Congress authorized the establishment of an independent organization called the National Park Foundation, to raise private dollars on a tax-deductible basis to help the parks. The Park Foundation is doing great work, and the tax deductibility helps, but obviously the more attractive it is for donors to give into the system, the better the returns would be.
I'm going to think about your proposal and look at those historic preservation incentives. I'm familiar with them. Lets see if there's a potential fit. Thanks for the advice.
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