NPS Employees Say Parks Are In Danger

WASHINGTON – Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., issued the following statement Thursday in reaction to a Campaign to Protect America’s Lands survey of National Park Service employees:

“Two years ago, President Bush told the American public: ‘Good stewardship of the environment is not just a personal responsibility, it is a public value.’ He specifically said he was committed to protecting the parks, calling them ‘works of God.’

“The President has not lived up to his words. The results of this survey should be like an alarm ringing in our heads, telling us that the National Parks are being seriously endangered by this Administration’s policies. The people on the front lines are saying that conditions at parks are deteriorating, rather than improving. They are telling us that politics trumps science in decision-making. And they report that their work to protect the parks is being devalued by this Administration. “According to the survey, 76 percent of Park Service employees rate NPS leadership as fair or poor, while 85 percent give a fair to poor rating to the Interior Department. Further, 88 percent expressed concern that Park Service decisions were influenced by politics and special interests rather than professional experience or science. “The Secretary of the Interior and the Director of the Park Service should listen to park employees, who see on a daily basis, what is actually happening. The Administration must focus attention on the problems the employees have identified rather than catering to special interests that want to drill for oil beneath National Park Service administered lands or win a lucrative contract. The employees are people, who in the words of one survey participant are ‘more interested in the environment than in making a buck. We believe in the sanctity of the place, the need for wilderness as a healing salve for the soul…’ We must heed their voices if we are to insure the preservation and God-given beauty of these parks for future generations.”