Senator Murkowski Stands Up for National Parks

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   September 30, 2003
Contact:   Craig Obey, NPCA, 202-454-3392


Senator Murkowski Stands Up for National Parks

Washington, DC - The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) today commended Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) for her leadership last week in supporting an amendment to the Department of Interior spending bill that would have slowed the White House’s plans to outsource more than half of staff positions in the National Park Service.

“If applied appropriately, outsourcing can be an outstanding tool for park managers. But the administration’s plan misuses this tool, taking an aggressive, top-down approach that ignores park needs,” said Thomas Kiernan, president of the nonpartisan NPCA. “Senator Murkowski stood up for historians, biologists, archaeologists, interpreters, and others who are critical to preserving Alaska’s treasured national parks and serving the public. We need her continued support.”

Despite bipartisan support, the Senate failed to approve the amendment. Sponsored by Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada), the amendment echoed bipartisan language in the House-passed bill. It would have paused for one year the administration’s aggressive plan and delayed funding to study outsourcing critical resource protection jobs at the Park Service and other land-management agencies until Congress could determine the costs and implications. Instead, the Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) that calls only for annual reports detailing the administration’s outsourcing activities.

“This battle is not over,” Kiernan added. “There will be other opportunities to raise this issue in Congress and with the public, including the upcoming conference between the House and Senate.”

Nearly 300 positions in Alaska’s national parks have been deemed inherently commercial and therefore, potentially subject to outsourcing.

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