The Latest: Pence promotes plan to reduce $12B parks backlog

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YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — The Latest on Vice President Mike Pence's visit to Yellowstone National Park (all times local):

3:20 p.m.

Vice President Mike Pence is using a visit to Yellowstone National Park to promote a plan to whittle away the more than $12 billion repair-and-maintenance backlog in parks across the U.S.

Pence spoke Thursday at Old Faithful, the first national park's most famous geyser, in an appearance with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

The Billings Gazette reports Pence helped haul and nail lumber with a work crew repairing a boardwalk near the geyser. He spoke about the Trump administration's proposal to commit half of all leasing royalties on federal land to the backlog of needed repairs for roads, trails and buildings.

The measure to use money from energy leases is in the Interior Department's budget request after failing to pass Congress last year. Pence calls it an idea whose time has come.


9:15 a.m.

Vice President Mike Pence and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt are visiting Yellowstone National Park.

They plan to tour Old Faithful Thursday before Pence speaks to employees about rebuilding infrastructure in U.S. national parks.

The visit comes a day after Pence appeared in Billings to campaign for Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines and speak about combating Montana's methamphetamine problem.

The vice president heard stories of violence and child abuse linked to meth as he spoke with treatment providers, law enforcement, tribal officials and recovering addicts in Billings.

Daines, a first-term senator, is running for re-election next year. Helena Mayor Wilmot Collins is the first Democrat to run against him.

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