Editor’s note: National Parks supporters last week applauded the unanimous approval by a House committee of a bill to set up a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that would include Oak Ridge. Here are statements from two supporters.
Ron Tipton, senior vice president of policy for the National Parks Conservation Association
The National Parks Conservation Association applauds the bipartisan House and Senate support for preserving of our country’s history, through the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act. Today’s announcement provides another positive step forward, as the House Natural Resources Committee unanimously approved the bipartisan bill introduced by Committee Chairman Doc Hastings, Congressman Ben Lujan, and Congressman Chuck Fleischmann.
These national park sites will provide unparalleled opportunities to improve public understanding of the Manhattan Project, the legacy of the United States’ splitting of the atom, and the national and global impacts associated with harnessing the atom.
With nearly 30 million annual visitors, our 401 national park sites are tremendous economic generators. In addition to tourism-related economic benefits to Hanford, Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, and surrounding communities, preserving the Manhattan Project National Historical Park sites would save the U.S. Department of Energy approximately $100 million currently projected to be spent to destroy buildings important to telling the Manhattan Project story.
With a small percentage of our national parks currently dedicated to interpreting science and technology, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park would help enhance our National Park System—particularly as we look to its 2016 centennial celebration.
Clarence Moriwaki, president of the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial Association
Just as the National Park Service has done an extraordinary job to share the sad American chapter of Japanese American incarceration at Manzanar National Historic Site, I believe that they will do the same to tell the complex history of the Manhattan Project. The National Park Service has an important job in the United States, and protects glorious, beautiful places, promotes patriotism, and tells stories of American struggle, courage, mistakes, and tragedy. I applaud Washington’s Congressman Doc Hastings and Senator Maria Cantwell for their continued leadership on the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act, and urge for its successful passage in the House and Senate.