Hearing Considers Public Access to the Statue of Liberty

On September 18, the House Resources Committee’s National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands Subcommittee held a hearing on whether visitors to the Statue of Liberty should have access to the observation deck on the crown of the Statue. The Statue’s crown has been closed to the public since the terrorist attacks on New York City of September 11, 2001.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY), who represents sections of Brooklyn and Queens, has been trying for a number of years to pressure the National Park Service into restoring public access to the crown.

The Statue’s base, pedestal, and lower observation deck were reopened in August 2004. Until 1916, visitors were able to climb to the Statue of Liberty’s torch, but the practice was stopped for safety reasons.

National Park Service Deputy Director Daniel Wenk testified that his agency’s, “primary concerns about public access to the Statue of Liberty’s crown are safety and health concerns, not terrorism. While we can never completely eliminate all security risks, we are satisfied that the measures and operations put into place at this international icon address the security concerns raised by the events of September 11, 2001,” he said.