House Subcommittee Chairman Wants No Washington Monument Fireworks

By Jim Burns | July 7, 2008 | 8:25 PM EDT

( - The Chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on the Interior Department wants Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt to reject plans to have fireworks attached to the scaffolding of the Washington monument during a New Year's Eve celebration.

Chairman Ralph Regula (R-OH) sent a letter to Babbitt expressing "grave concerns" about the plan.

"The Congress and private donors have collaborated in the multi-million dollar public and private effort to repoint and clean the Washington Monument. That project is barely completed and you plan to set off over 3,000 fireworks that will be between 4 and 10 inches from the face of the monument! In addition, I understand that there have been approvals for 40 barrels to be placed in the reflecting pool to support more fireworks. I believe there is serious potential to harm the monument under this plan and urge you to disapprove it immediately," Regula said in his letter to Babbitt.

Regula went on to say, "The Washington Monument is one of the most important symbols of the Nation's Capital, a monument to the father of our country and a symbol of our patriotism and democracy. A fireworks display attached to the monument is a desecration of the values inherent in our designation of such monuments."

A spokesman for Babbitt's office told that the Interior Secretary had no comment on Regula's letter. The spokesman also said the fireworks will go on as planned on New Year's Eve.

A spokesperson for Regula told on Monday that Regula still has not had a response to the letter from Babbit.