Here's a surprise: Idaho Governor Dirk Kempthorne, President Bush's nominee to succeed Gale Norton as Interior secretary, likely will face questions about the ongoing rewrite of the National Park Service's Management Policies.
Representative Norman Dicks of Washington touched on that expectation during a discussion of the National Park Service's budget woes. The Democrat took a moment away from the budget discussions Wednesday to quiz NPS Director Fran Mainella on the state of the revisions.
"What is going on here?" he asked after citing a Denver Post editorial that called on Mr. Kempthorne to scrap the rewrite. "I think this is going to be a major issue in Governor Kempthorne's confirmation hearing."
Director Mainella, though, reiterated her long-standing belief that the uproar over the rewrite is nothing but a media manifestation and that nothing in the rewrite will open the parks to adverse impacts.
The NPS director added that during the coming weeks the proposed revisions, and public comment about them, will be digested by the Park Service's Career Leadership Team, which will craft yet another version that will be reviewed by NPS employees and the National Park Service Advisory Board. That review will lead to a final version ready for NPS and Interior Department approval, said Ms. Mainella.
While Congressman Dicks pressed the director to hold another public comment period on that final version before it's approved, she maintained that the Management Policies are an internal document. While she never directly answered his question about another public comment period, Director Mainella did say the agency would go over the evolving document with groups such as the National Parks Conservation Association.