Pombo Committee Seeks to Commercialize National Parks, Sell off 15 Parks to Oil Industry, Developers

 
PRESS RELEASE
  FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date:   September 23, 2005
Contact:   Andrea Keller Helsel, NPCA, 202-454-3332


Pombo Committee Seeks to Commercialize National Parks, Sell off 15 Parks to Oil Industry, Developers

Washington, D.C. - Statement by Tom Kiernan, President, National Parks Conservation Association:

In an outrageous budget reconciliation draft obtained by the National Parks Conservation Association, Rep. Richard Pombo (R-11-CA), Chairman of the House Resources Committee (the most influential House committee on public lands issues), has outlined a plan to close 15 national parks and sell them off to oil and gas industries and private developers; demand that park vehicles and facilities be turned into billboards for commercial advertising; and sell commercial naming rights for park buildings, among other devastating proposals.

Like Mr. Hoffman’s recent rewrite of the National Park Service’s management policies, this is another fundamental attack on America’s national parks.

Congressman Pombo has proposed removing from the park system and selling for profit 15 national park sites, including several that honor Revolutionary War heroes, African American leaders, American Indian culture, magnificent Alaskan wilderness and wildlife, priceless archeological sites, and even the memorial to our greatest conservation president, Theodore Roosevelt. Closing these parks would rip significant pages from our American story, but could also devastate Native subsistence economies in Alaska, as well as affect local economies in other states that rely on visitors to these parks to generate annual tourism revenue.

These 15 parks make up approximately 23 percent of the total park system acreage—which is already only 2 percent of U.S. public lands.

Congress and the administration have a responsibility to protect our national heritage. Instead, Congressman Pombo seems prepared to put our American heritage on the auction block, insulting the American people and tarnishing the birthright of current and future generations.

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