The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Public Lands and Environmental Regulation rallied support today to honor America’s atomic history with the establishment of Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
The bill sponsored by Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) and Reps. Chuck Fleischmann (R-Tenn.) and Congressman Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) would establish the park with facilities in Hanford, Wash., Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Los Alamos, N.M.
“There are many historical, economic and tourism development organizations in each of the communities that have helped lead the way in preserving this piece of our nation’s history,” Hastings said. “They are doing a tremendous job communicating the important role this park can play in telling the story of efforts during the Second World War to accomplish an unprecedented, and many thought, impossible, industrial and scientific achievement – to construct a nuclear weapon and counter threats of similar development by Nazi Germany.”
Witnesses at a hearing today, including local community leaders and the National Park Service, all spoke in favor of the bill. The departments of Interior and Energy also support the project.
“The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will create jobs and provide an economic development benefit for all three communities,” testified Mayor Steve Young of Kennewick, Wash. “We have unanimity with our sister communities in Oak Ridge and Los Alamos that the Park should be established in the near term in order to honor our Manhattan Project and Cold War veterans.”
“I would like to stress that all three of our communities are united in our support for the passage of this bill,” said Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan. “We should work to open this park while some of the Manhattan Project Veterans are still alive and able to see their work recognized by our nation.”
Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) have reintroduced the companion bill in the Senate.
“As Americans, we have a special obligation to preserve and protect our heritage, and the Manhattan Project National Historical Park will ensure that all Americans learn about the significance of the Manhattan Project and how it continues to shape our history,” Alexander said last month.