Republicans Question Why Parks Shut Down

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Members from both parties are pointing fingers at each other over the national parks shutdown.

A bipartisan House hearing came after the Competitive Enterprise Institute requested public records on who made the decisions to close national parks and why.

Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings, R-Wash., expressed his dismay over the consequences of the shutdown.

"The actions of the Obama administration have sullied our great national parks system," Hastings said.

But Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said the hearing was simply unnecessary.

"This hearing is a sideshow, it's political theatre," DeFazio said.

Republican lawmakers questioned why it took 10 days for the Department of the Interior to allow states to cover the expense of re-opening parks. They cited specific examples of the barricades at the World War II Memorial and the National Mall, both open-air exhibits.

"The National Park Service has closed facilities, such as the World War II Memorial, that are more expensive to close than to leave open," said Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy & Environment at CEI, said.

The parks remained accessible during the 1995-1996 government shutdown.

Park Services Director Jonathan Jarvis said measures were taken to protect these national icons.

"Throughout the shutdown, we have worked diligently to try and ensure that no Honor Flight group, veteran, or their family has been turned away from visiting the veterans' memorials," Jarvis said.

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