House Panels to Meet on Uproar Over Park Closings

Wednesday, 09 Oct 2013 07:44 PM

By Cathy Burke

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Amid a growing uproar over closed parks and monuments, two House committees will hold a hearing to air GOP allegations that blocked access during the government shutdown is politically motivated, The Hill reported Wednesday.

Republicans on both sides of Capitol Hill are bashing Interior Department decisions to shutter Washington-area monuments, and parks and federal lands across the nation.

"Their actions suggest a pattern of decision-making based on politics rather than prudence," Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., said in announcing the hearing for next Wednesday.

The Natural Resources Committee and the Oversight and Government Reform Committee will hold a joint hearing titled "As Difficult As Possible: The National Park Service’s Implementation of the Government Shutdown."

"Across the country, Americans are deliberately being denied access to open-air memorials and national parks — places that are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year," said Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash.

Hastings noted the Clinton administration didn’t close the sites during the 1995-96 shutdown.

"They are forcing private businesses to close and are selectively choosing which high-profile sites to close off and which to keep open," Hastings said.

Republicans have especially highlighted closure of the World War II Memorial in Washington, although the Interior Department is allowing access to the site.

NPS Director Jonathan Jarvis said recently that memorials normally open 24 hours a day had to be shuttered because he didn’t have the staff to properly monitor them.

"Open-air doesn’t mean it takes care of itself," Jarvis said on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" last week.

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