Senate Confirms Gale Norton as Secretary of the Interior

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   January 30, 2001
Contact:   Andrea Keller, NPCA, 202-454-3390


Senate Confirms Gale Norton as Secretary of the Interior

Washington - "Our national parks are in desperate need of attention," says Thomas Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA). "The parks have suffered from years of understaffing, underfunding, and a lack of attention to park resources-- in a word, from neglect. President Bush during his campaign promised to fund and restore the parks properly and to ensure the survival of park natural resources, such as endangered species. We are counting on Ms. Norton to fulfill President Bush's promise."

In his only environmental campaign statement, George W. Bush last September promised to increase park funding by $4.9 billion over the next five years in an effort to improve park maintenance and protection of cultural artifacts and natural resources.

Analyses by NPCA, the National Park Service (NPS), and more than 50 graduate students from leading U.S. business and policy schools show that park operating budgets need to be increased by at least 35 percent to protect the plants, animals, and historic objects that were the impetus for park creation. Natural resource protection and visitor interpretation are the most underfunded parts of national park management.

Other serious threats to parks include abuse by snowmobiles and Jet Skis and development in Alaska's national parks. "NPCA also wants to see the new administration continue recent Park Service efforts to increase ethnic and cultural diversity among park visitors and staff," Kiernan says. "America's national parks and NPS staff should more fully reflect the face of America than they have in the past. We are looking to Ms. Norton for leadership and commitment on this important issue."

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