Press Release Jul 10, 2018

Lease Sale Near Great Sand Dunes National Park Temporarily Delayed

The Bureau of Land Management delayed the sale to allow for time to consult with Navajo Nation

DENVER, Colo. – Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) temporarily delayed a decision on the irresponsible proposal to allow oil and gas drilling steps from Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. BLM opted to place the process on hold to allow for time to consult with the Navajo Nation, which owns land in the area and formally requested a consultation on the sale scheduled for Sep. 6, 2018.

The parcels up for auction, comprising 18,000 acres, would be within one mile of the park’s east side. Oil and gas development on the lands would threaten air quality, noise and the park’s signature dark skies. The BLM originally allotted a miniscule 15-day public comment period in March to hear public concerns about the environmental impacts of the proposal.

Statement by Jerry Otero, Southwest Energy Program Manager for National Parks Conservation Association

“We are pleased that the BLM has taken a step back and recognized the importance of including purposeful engagement and consultation with stakeholders when considering these lease sales across the Southwest. The BLM has rushed lease sales to auction without a material public process as required. Today’s action to seek legitimate engagement and consultation with the Navajo Nation is a welcome reversal and we hope it signals that the interests and insights from key stakeholders and the public matter.

“We recognize that the delay is only temporary, so we must continue to fight to protect Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve and limit impacts from oil and gas development on this incredible landscape. The administration’s incoherent approach to energy development in this region is not smart or sustainable without consultation of native tribes and other community members.

“We are grateful that BLM has taken the Navajo Nation’s concerns seriously with the temporary delay and are optimistic that we can find common ground on this remarkable landscape.”

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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.