Federal Eye: When Will We Get Inside Lady Liberty’s Head?

In what would be a reversal of current policy, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar seemed to all but reopen the Statue of Liberty’s crown to public access today, but said his department would wait for the results of a feasibility study due in April before taking action.

“As a U.S. senator and now as secretary of the interior, I believe the crown should be re-opened to the public if at all possible,” Salazar said during a visit to New York’s Liberty Island. “I am here today to tour the statue and promise to work hard with the National Park Service to explore all feasible alternatives to re-opening it.”

The Park Service closed the Statue of Liberty and nearby Ellis Island to the public following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The statue’s pedestal was reopened to the public in Aug. 2004. There is broad support in New York and New Jersey for granting full public access to Liberty’s crown, but the Park Service has deemed it risky especially since the narrow staircase to the crown — originally intended for maintenance workers, not visitors — might need reinforcement. Visitors also might have to sign a waiver in the future in order to enjoy the unrivaled view.

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