|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE|
|Date:||March 10, 2006|
Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332
New Interior Secretary Must Fulfill President’s Pledge to National Parks
The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) wishes Secretary Gale Norton well in her new endeavors.
According to a recent Harris Poll, national parks top the list of federal programs, such as Medicare and Social Security, which the American people support. It is important that the administration nominates and Congress confirms a new secretary who shares this respect and commitment to our national parks.
We hope and expect that the new secretary will fulfill President Bush’s pledge to eliminate the maintenance and resource protection backlog and “restore and renew” our national parks. In March 2005, the Congressional Research Service estimated that the backlog now totals $4.5 to $9.7 billion; research shows that the parks’ chronic annual operating shortfall, which preceded this administration, exceeds $600 million annually.
Additionally, the new secretary should set aside the department’s deeply flawed effort to rewrite the protective Management Policies that govern our national parks. The American public and many members of Congress have requested that this process be abandoned and strong Management Policies remain in place to ensure that our national treasures endure for generations of Americans to come.
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