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Bishop: Interior’s Response to Management Failure at Effigy Mounds is Unacceptable


WASHINGTON, D.C., September 30, 2016 -

After correspondence and two staff briefings with the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the National Park Service (NPS) on the decades of systemic mismanagement of natural and cultural resources at Effigy Mounds National Monument (EFMO), the House Committee on Natural Resources is conducting further oversight. Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) released the following statement:

The destructive and deliberate desecration of  hallowed ground at Effigy Mounds National Monument is deeply disappointing. The National Park Service’s response has called into question the commitment and competency of NPS leadership – leadership that has been entrusted with protecting our most significant cultural and historical resources. A culture that produces systemic violations of federal law reflects a lack of leadership and accountability.

“Until just days ago, NPS did not require the most basic training on laws that its own policies task park managers with enforcing. The Committee’s initial oversight efforts reveal the NPS’s investigative response to be not only several years tardy, but deficient and haphazard in identifying core failures. Communications with the agency cast doubts on NPS leadership’s commitment, thoroughness and objectivity in addressing this failure of public trust. I will continue to pursue this matter until the NPS is forthcoming with answers.”

Background:

In 2016, the NPS drafted an after action review titled, “Strengthening Cultural Resources Stewardship in the National Park Service.” The review was initiated as a response to findings of serious mismanagement at EFMO that continued for over a decade between 1999 and 2010.

Released in April 2016, the after action review found that NPS failed to comply with both the National Historic Preservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act on many projects resulting in the desecration of protected American Indian burial sites in violation of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.

Chairman Bishop sent a letter to DOI Secretary Sally Jewell on August 30, 2016, requesting a briefing from DOI personnel to understand the scope of mismanagement and the Department’s efforts to restore accountability and transparency.  

Contact: Committee Press Office 202-226-9019

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