Grassley, Issa Question National Park Service on Poor Planning, Inconsistencies Print
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Written by Grassley Press   
Thursday, 17 October 2013 07:03

WASHINGTON – Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., today questioned the National Park Service’s apparent lack of planning and inconsistent decisions that led to poor treatment of park patrons during the partial government shutdown.

“Our concern is that despite its critical role in maintaining some of our nation’s most cherished places, the NPS’s leadership is no longer living up to this mandate,” Grassley and Issa wrote to National Park Service director Jonathan B. Jarvis.  “NPS’s response to the partial government shutdown appears to be ad-hoc, inconsistent, and without sensible guidance to states, local communities, and the public at large.”

Grassley and Issa cited controversies involving the World War II memorial, Mount Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park and others as examples of weak leadership and inconsistent decision-making from the National Park Service that unnecessarily hurt the taxpaying public.   Some World War II veterans, for example, might not have another chance to visit their memorial on the National Mall.  Grassley and Issa also said it appears the National Park Service has failed to follow its own shutdown contingency plan, such as performing “activities essential to ensure continued public health and safety.”   Despite this allowance, the National Park Service has chosen not to collect trash from federal parks in Washington, D.C., prompting the mayor to take his own measures to prevent “the spread of vermin,” Grassley and Issa said.

Grassley and Issa asked the National Park Service for records and documents related to the shutdown, including shutdown plans and communications and documents on the ability of states and localities to fund the parks’ operation during a shutdown.

On Wednesday, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which Issa chairs, will hold a joint hearing with the House Natural Resources Committee to examine the National Park Service’s decision to barricade the World War II Memorial and other open-air memorials on the National Mall.  The hearing will be held at 9:30 a.m. in 2167 Rayburn House Office Building.  Jarvis, the National Park Service director, is scheduled to testify.  A complete witness list is available here.

The text of the Grassley-Issa letter is available here.

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