Rep. Paul Cook Introduces Bill to Punish Those Who Vandalize Our National Parks
WASHINGTON- Today, Rep. Paul Cook (R- Apple Valley) introduced HR 3176, the Protecting Our National Parks Act. This bill will punish those who vandalize our National Parks and other National Park Service land.
In recent years, vandalism has grown at our national parks, destroying ancient Native American petroglyphs, defacing boulders and other natural structures with graffiti, and looting irreplaceable natural treasures. The Protecting Our National Parks Act explicitly makes these behaviors into a crime. Current law does little to address vandalism on National Park Service land, as such crimes could only be prosecuted under code sections addressing embezzlement of office supplies or misappropriating government contracts. There is no law explicitly against vandalizing National Park Service land. This bill will change that by imposing penalties of up to ten years in prison, a $1,000 fine, and the cost of repairs for the park lands.
Cook said, “This year alone, vandalism has struck Joshua Tree, Yosemite, and Death Valley National Parks in California, Canyonlands and Zion National Park in Utah, and Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. A slap on the wrist or a fine doesn’t fit the crime of intentionally ruining our natural and historic treasures. It’s time we make a statement that our park lands are not a canvas for vandals to destroy, and this behavior will be met with the full force of the law.”