The House Natural Resources Committee today approved by unanimous consent H.R. 5987, a bipartisan bill introduced by Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04), Congressman Chuck Fleischmann (TN-03) and Congressman Ben Lujan (NM-03) to establish a Manhattan Project National Historical Park that will include facilities at Hanford, Washington, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Los Alamos, New Mexico. The Manhattan Project was an unprecedented top-secret program to produce an atomic bomb before Nazi Germany. The action by the Committee makes the bill eligible for consideration by the full House.
"Today's committee approval moves the Historical Park another step forward with our eye on enacting the bill into law before the end of this year. The goal of this bill is to officially declare the importance of preserving this history of the Manhattan Project, provide access to the public, and involve the unique abilities of the Park Service to help tell this story. By establishing this Park, we seek to fully open the doors to the American people, as well as the world, to provide enhanced public access to these facilities where history unfolded," said Committee Chairman Hastings.
Under the bill, the Manhattan Project National Historical Park must be established as a unit of the National Park System within one year. The bill specifies the facilities and areas at each of the three locations that are eligible for inclusion in the Park. Nearly all of these facilities and areas are already owned by the federal government and under the purview of the Department of Energy. The legislation requires coordination, planning and cooperation between the Park Service and the Department of Energy to ensure safe and secure access to these locations. Last year, a Congressionally-directed National Park Service study recommended a Park Unit that includes facilities at Hanford, Oak Ridge and Los Alamos.
Similar legislation, S. 3300, has been introduced in the Senate by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman. Senators Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Tom Udall and Lamar Alexander are also sponsors of the Senate legislation.