Del Norte Tea Party Patriots

Liberty in the Northwest

20 November
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Senator Coburn speaks out on our National Parks

Today, I’d like to share with you the introductory letter to Senator Coburn’s report, Parked!  How Congress’ Misplaced Priorities are Trashing our National Treasures.  It does a very thorough job of detailing the ongoing problems our National Parks are experiencing, due to the failed policies of a distant federal landlord.
“Perhaps more than any other part of the federal government, our National Park System has become the symbol of Washington, DC dysfunction. These cherished national treasures, which were entrusted to the National Park Service to be preserved and protected, have instead been neglected or abused for political gamesmanship.

“Long before the government shutdown and sequestration, congressional shortsightedness and bureaucratic mismanagement were already plaguing our national parks. Barricaded parks across the country exposed the calamity in Washington in 2013, but the National Park System has long been a microcosm of the irresponsible and misplaced priorities within the entire federal budget. Just as important programs like Medicare and Social Security have been raided for decades to pay for politicians’ pet projects, Washington has also plundered the National Park Service budget to create new parks and programs with little national significance. And as the lack of budget discipline has driven up the national debt and jeopardized the solvency of retirement programs and our nation’s future, the misplaced priorities within the parks budget are endangering the care of the very sites we all revere.

“Our elected representatives have been too focused on their own parochial political interests to see the state of disrepair that has befallen some of our greatest national treasures. For example, the National Mall-clearly visible from the Capitol and White House- has become a national disgrace, trampled on and worn out.

 “Politicians would rather take credit for creating a new park in their community than caring for the parks that already exist. There is, after all, no ribbon cutting ceremony for taking out the trash, fixing a broken railing or filling a pothole.

“But failing to conduct maintenance endangers the longevity of our parks and experience of their visitors. Last year alone, the National Park Service delayed more than a quarter billion dollars in much needed maintenance projects, adding to the $11.5 billion maintenance backlog already threatening the health, safety, and accessibility of park visitors.

 “The ever growing maintenance cost has not stopped those in Washington from adding new parks, programs, and property to the Park Service. This year, mere days after sequestration supposedly caused the delay in the opening of and shorter hours at national parks, the President single-handedly established three new National Park units. Likewise, Congress spent $57 million to purchase more property for the parks-some land for nearly $1 million per acre. No one would purchase a new car while ignoring a leaking ceiling or broken pipes in their own home, but that is essentially what Washington is doing with our national parks.

“The decaying of our National Parks is the physical manifestation of Washington’s misplaced priorities. Much like the accrual of our $17 trillion national debt over time, the build-up of deferred care of national park lands is the direct result of Washington’s out-of-control spending addiction that puts off doing what is necessary for doing what is self-serving. Whether it be the uncertainty of future U.S. treasury markets or the tenuous state of a corroded water pipe and an aging utility system, the unsustainable trajectory of deficits and deferrals make it only a matter of time before all will experience failure.

“This report, PARKED! How Congress’ Misplaced Priorities Are Trashing Our National Treasures, exposes how Washington is failing to properly maintain our most enduring and esteemed sites and symbols and where your tax dollars intended for these parks is being spent instead. It also provides commonsense recommendations to ensure that those parks and memorials with true national significance are given the care they deserve so their beauty and significance to our history is preserved for future generations.

Sincerely,

Tom A. Coburn, M.D.

U.S. Senator”

 
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