Inspector General Report the Latest Instance of Secretary Bernhardt’s Mismanagement of Public Lands During the Coronavirus Crisis
WASHINGTON, D.C. – A new report issued by the Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General (IG) today finds that the National Park Service (NPS) appears to have misled Interior’s internal watchdog on the agency’s preparedness to reopen parks during the coronavirus pandemic. On May 7, 2020, NPS told the IG’s office it had developed guidance to send to parks on reopening; but according to the report, the IG discovered that NPS didn’t distribute COVID-19 guidance to parks until three weeks later, on May 28, 2020.
In response, spokesman for Accountable.US Chris Saeger issued the following statement:
“The mismanagement of our national parks during the coronavirus pandemic by the Trump administration has been utterly reckless. That Interior has had to lie about the park service’s lack of preparedness to even the Inspector General shows how dangerous and irresponsible Interior leadership has been.”
In dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, the Interior Department ignored the advice of health experts by hastily opening national parks during the crisis, and even waived entrance fees, leading to overcrowded parks and putting workers and visitors at risk. Interior has also refused to make public how many of its employees have been infected with COVID-19.
Read the full Office of the Inspector General report here.