Hearings for 2004 Budget for the National Park Service

Dear Coalition Friends:

Barring cancellation due to war in Iraq, the House Interior Appropriations Subcommittee will hold hearings on the 2004 budget for the National Park Service (NPS) this Wednesday, March 19th. Park Service Director Fran Mainella will be testifying. If your representative is a member of the subcommittee — MEMBERS ARE LISTED BELOW– now is the time to let him/her know your views about spending scarce public funds for the Park Service’s recent proposals, and especially the proposed tunnel at the Washington Monument.

For more background, see Washington Monument Threatened by Mall Construction. The Coalition has made the following points in our talks in recent weeks with subcommittee staff:

  •  The public and media across the country think the tunnel is a dumb idea and a waste of money. The NPS estimated cost of $29 million covers only the walled walkways and visitor/screening center. The as-yet unknown cost of the tunnel will be much more than that.
  •  No tunnel is needed because it doesn’t respond to the real threat.
  •  The tunnel poses a danger to visitors in the tunnel.
  •  There are better, simpler, cheaper alternatives that would secure the Monument without jeopardizing public safety.
  •  Engineers have stated that digging the tunnel through the Monument’s 120-year-old foundation could potentially undermine its stability.
  •  This is not a security emergency. Structural engineers and blast experts state that the Monument is secure now against blast, and the NPS and Park Police agree. The concrete barriers protect against a truck bomb and an individual with explosives could not damage the Monument’s 15-foot thick walls.
  •  The Park Service should start over and design security measures that will secure the Monument as well as protect visitors with minimal damage to the open character of the Monument grounds.

Wednesday March 19, 2003
INTERIOR Subcommittee (B-308 Rayburn House Office Building)
10:00am – National Park Service
To confirm the schedule go to: http://www.house.gov/appropriations/hearings/hearingthiswk.htm


Charles H. Taylor, North Carolina (Chairman)


Ralph Regula, Ohio


Jim Kolbe, Arizona


George R. Nethercutt, Jr., Washington


Zach Wamp, Tennessee


John E. Peterson, Pennsylvania (Vice Chair)


Don Sherwood, Pennsylvania


Ander Crenshaw, Florida



Norman Dicks, Washington (Ranking Member)


John P. Murtha, Pennsylvania


James P. Moran, Virginia


Maurice D. Hinchey, New York


John W. Olver, Massachusetts


The Senate Appropriations Committee will hear from Secretary of Interior Gale Norton on April 11. We’ll send more information closer to that date.


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