1994 Scorecard Vote
In 1965, Congress passed the Concessions Policy Act to regulate private companies that provide food, lodging, and other services to National Park visitors. The law was based on the premise that Parks are remote areas that attract few visitors; as a result, it includes financial incentives designed to attract concessionaires, including low franchise fees, long-term contracts, and favorable terms for renewing contracts.
Over the last three decades, however, there has been a boom in National Park visitation that has both fueled the growth of nearby communities and boosted profits for Park concessionaires. In 1992, for example, concessionaires grossed $650 million, but paid an average of only 2.75 percent of that back to the federal government. These trends -- along with growing concerns over commercial development inside parks, and concerns about the power of monopoly concessionaires to interfere with Park Service management decisions -- prompted Congress to propose reforms.
In the House, one provision of the National Parks Concession Reform Policy Act (S. 208) gave the Secretary of the Interior greater control over commercial development inside National Parks. The provision codified into law and existing Park Service policy that gives the Secretary the power to determine if certain new facilities are needed in parks, or whether adequate facilities already exist or can be feasibly developed by private interests outside the park in nearby communities.
In a move opposed by environmentalists concerned about commercial development in parks, Rep. Austin Murphy (D-PA) offered an amendment to delete this provision. On July 28, 1994, the House rejected the Murphy amendment by a vote of 148 - 274 (1 member voted "present"). NO is the pro-environment vote.
The House later approved the reform bill.