U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources filled in at a hearing today for National Parks Subcommittee Chair Mark Udall of Colorado who was fighting wildfires back home. Courtesy/ECA
The Energy Communities Alliance (ECA) will testify today before the Subcommittee on National Parks, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, United States Senate, in support of S.3300, a bill to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico and Hanford, Washington. ECA supports establishing a three-unit National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and Hanford as recommended by the National Park Service Special Resource Study.
ECA Chair Mayor Thomas Beehan from the City of Oak Ridge, TN will present the ECA testimony to the Subcommittee. In his oral testimony, Mayor Beehan will stress “all three of our communities are united in our support for the passage of this bill,” adding, “this legislation is about giving current and future generations a better understanding of this indisputable turning point in world history. It is easy for those of us who live in the communities of Oak Ridge, Los Alamos and the Tri-Cities to say that the Manhattan Project changed the world…The Manhattan Project is an incredible story that deserves to be preserved and told.”
ECA included five recommendations for the Subcommittee including:
- Establish the Park Now to Honor Our Manhattan Project Veterans. There is unanimity among the three communities that the Park should be established in the near term in order to honor our Manhattan Project and Cold War veterans.
- Protect ongoing Missions of DOE. We support legislative language that protects the ongoing missions of DOE, and recognize the need for appropriate flexibility in the partnership among the stakeholders.
- Authorize User/Entrance Fees. Although the legislation should recognize DOE’s responsibility to maintain its assets, authorization for a modest entry/user fee should be included to assist in the long term stewardship of non-DOE-owned assets.
- Donations authority should be broad. We want to ensure that the National Park is permitted to accept both personal property and financial donations to support the park and the tours of the sites. The bill should include language that “The Secretary may accept, hold, administer, and use gifts, bequests, and devises (including real and personal property, labor and services), for the purpose of preserving and providing access to, historically significant resources relating to the Department.”
- Allow inclusion of Nationally Significant Sites. We need flexibility to permit the NPS to work with communities to be able to add sites that are nationally significant and suitable for inclusion in the Historic Park.
The ECA Executive Board also expressed their strong support for the bill. ECA Immediate Past Chair, Richland Councilmember Bob Thompson stated, “The Historical Park is culmination of a lot of people’s hard work both in the communities and nationally. The leadership of our Congressional members and Senators from our sites along with the partnership between U.S. Department of Energy and U.S. National Park Service will make this a reality.”
ECA Treasurer, Los Alamos Councilor Fran Berting added, “We are here today because the cities, counties, historical societies, citizens groups, librarians, scientific groups and others have come together from all walks of life to support this national historical park.”
ECA Vice Chair, Aiken County Councilman Chuck Smith remarked, “All communities should support this legislation as it teaches the lessons of America and identifies an important moment in our history” and ECA Secretary, Eddy County Commission Chair Roxanne Lara stated, “When I think of Los Alamos, Oak Ridge and Hanford, I think of the history and the beginning of important scientific activities and a story that should be shared across the country.”
ECA is the non-profit organization of local governments which host, or are adjacent to DOE sites. A full copy of the testimony can be found on our website www.energyca.org. For further information contact Allison Doman, Deputy Executive Director of ECA at 202-828-2423 or Allison@energyca.org.