The lease sales next to Dinosaur National Monument and Great Basin National Park continue the Trump Administration’s troubling track record of leasing lands near national parks.
SALT LAKE CITY –Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) conducted oil and gas lease sales which included parcels alarmingly close to both Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and Great Basin National Park in Nevada. Development of these parcels could negatively affect the natural resources, recreation opportunities and scenic vistas sought out by hundreds of thousands of visitors that both of these parks provide.
The National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the State of Utah, conservation organizations, ranchers and local leaders have all cautioned about developing specific parcels adjacent to Dinosaur NM. Four of the parcels put up for sale today would fall within the direct view of the Quarry Visitor Center and the world-famous Carnegie Fossil Quarry. The BLM sold each of the five parcels of most concern for a total of just over $230,000.
“Oil rigs do not belong on the border of Dinosaur National Monument,” said Jerry Otero, Southwest Energy Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association. “The excessive industrial traffic that would result from development would negatively impact the region’s air quality, ultimately threatening local economies built on tourism to Dinosaur. Visitors to Dinosaur look forward to experiencing the rugged landscape during the day and the breathtaking skies at night, both of which are threatened with any nearby development.”
In Nevada, the BLM also auctioned off more than 388,000 acres of oil and gas leases, including several parcels very close to Great Basin National Park. NPCA has joined with The Wilderness Society in protesting the BLM’s issuance of these leases, because the agency did not adequately consider their impact on Great Basin National Park, and other sensitive environmental resources. None of the parcels near Great Basin NP were purchased at auction, meaning the lands are now available for non-competitive acquisition for a nominal fee.
“The lease sales next to Dinosaur National Monument and Great Basin National Park continue the Trump Administration’s troubling track record of leasing lands near national parks,” said Nicholas Lund, Senior Manager for Landscape Conservation at NPCA. “The offered parcels close to these parks have very little oil and gas potential, but the BLM insists on handing leases over to industry while ignoring the wishes of the public.”
Great Basin National Park, in east-central Nevada, protects stunning wilderness, mountains and forests representative of the unique Great Basin region. More than 140,000 visitors in 2016 enjoyed the park’s remote setting and famous night skies. These visitors contributed more than $8 million to the local economy last year, supporting 122 jobs.
Today’s lease sales are just two of the BLM’s proposed sales near national parks. For information about upcoming sales and how to voice concern, visit npca.org.
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About National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its 1.3 million supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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