"Once again, this administration has chosen to ignore concerns raised by the public when making decisions on our public lands" - Jerry Otero, Southwest Energy Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association
SALT LAKE CITY – Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) continued its trend of offering oil and gas leases near national parks and protected areas of cultural significance, finalizing sales today in southeast Utah near Hovenweep and Canyon of the Ancients National Monuments.
Leases are up for sale near Fort Laramie National Historic Site tomorrow and a miniscule 15-day public comment period is scheduled to begin on Thursday, March 22, around environmental impacts of a proposal to open 18,000 acres of land near Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve to development.
National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has protested lease sales near Hovenweep National Monument and Fort Laramie National Historic Site over the lack of consideration given to negative impacts of leasing and development on the parks’ natural resources, including areas of cultural significance and scenic vistas. The land within and connecting Hovenweep and Canyon of the Ancients National Monuments is home to more 6,000 documented archeological sites. This week’s BLM action adds to a growing list of leases occurring near national parks, which since the start of 2017 has included parcels auctioned Dinosaur National Monument and Great Basin National Park, and considered near Zion National Park, Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and others.
Statement by Jerry Otero, Southwest Energy Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association
“This is just the latest troubling move in the administration’s approach for managing energy development on public lands. Earlier this month, Interior Secretary Zinke cited negative impacts to cultural resources and the economic value of protecting lands near our national parks and treasured landscapes when he temporarily deferred sales near Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. That was the right decision, which only amplifies why sales at Hovenweep and Fort Laramie don’t make sense.
“Once again, this administration has chosen to ignore concerns raised by the public when making decisions on our public lands. This incoherent approach to ‘saving’ some lands while endangering others with equal cultural, recreational and historical values is not a sustainable way to manage energy development on our public lands.
“Oil and gas development and parks can coexist when the federal government works with communities to plan in a way that avoids conflicts. This has not been the case so far during the Trump administration. The administration should cancel these leases and commit to a more consistent, inclusive process that ensures responsible energy development and protection of our national parks.”
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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 members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s most iconic and inspirational places for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.
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