Salazar: National Park Service Criticism ‘Wrongheaded.’

Decision Makers 2009, Secretary of Interior Department, Ken Salazar 5/15/2009, 10:51:13 AM
©2007Richard A. Bloom
Alex Brown
Oct. 10, 2013, 11:30 a.m.

Former In­teri­or Sec­ret­ary Ken Salaz­ar took a swipe Thursday at Re­pub­lic­ans who have called out the Na­tion­al Park Ser­vice for shut­down clos­ures they claim are polit­ic­ally mo­tiv­ated. “It’s wrong­headed and un­fair that there are some Re­pub­lic­ans who are tar­get­ing the Na­tion­al Park Ser­vice,” Salaz­ar said. “The ap­proach that’s be­ing taken by cri­ti­ciz­ing the pub­lic ser­vants who are do­ing their jobs here is wrong­headed.”

Salaz­ar, who held the po­s­i­tion for four years un­der Pres­id­ent Obama, spoke on a Cen­ter for Amer­ic­an Pro­gress press call along with Lynn Scar­lett, deputy In­teri­or sec­ret­ary un­der Pres­id­ent George W. Bush. Scar­lett also offered sup­port to In­teri­or em­ploy­ees who have taken heat dur­ing the shut­down. “We need to hon­or the rules and give en­cour­age­ment to the fed­er­al em­ploy­ees who need to abide by the rules,” she said.

Two GOP-led House com­mit­tees are plan­ning a hear­ing next week to ques­tion the Na­tion­al Park Ser­vice on how the shut­down has been con­duc­ted.

Salaz­ar also re­jec­ted the piece­meal ap­proach put for­ward by Re­pub­lic­ans to fund some as­pects of gov­ern­ment, in­clud­ing the na­tion­al parks. Con­gress should fund “not some of it — all of it,” Salaz­ar said.

The shut­down is hav­ing an im­pact on en­ergy de­vel­op­ment, Salaz­ar said, es­pe­cially on the Gulf Coast. Some drilling per­mits have slowed, and leas­ing auc­tions have been can­celed. “The soon­er Con­gress moves to fund the gov­ern­ment, the bet­ter off it’s go­ing to be for the en­ergy fu­ture of the coun­try.”

The former of­fi­cials also lamen­ted set­backs to hunters, va­ca­tion­ers, and tri­bal com­munit­ies on fed­er­al land. “There’s a lot of frus­tra­tion among the pub­lic that many of their fa­vor­ite places are closed,” Scar­lett said.

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