Blog Post Tom Kiernan Apr 25, 2013

National Parks Deserve to Be Protected from Oil and Gas Development

National Parks and Hydraulic Fracturing by NPCA, report cover

Theodore Roosevelt was our greatest conservation president. President Roosevelt’s boundless vision and determination resulted in a system of national parks that is the envy of the world, and has been called “America’s Best Idea.” Ironically, his namesake national park, which includes his North Dakota homestead, is currently facing a threat that could permanently degrade a patch of land that was supposed to be protected in perpetuity.

Across the nation, an oil and gas boom is taking place, largely through the utilization of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to extract oil and natural gas from shale formations buried deep beneath the surface. Wells have sprouted up on the outskirts of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and many more are planned there and across the nation, including near other National Park Service-managed lands like Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, and the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area. But with this rapid boom, the negative impacts of large scale oil and gas development on national parks has largely been ignored. That is why the National Parks Conservation Association has released a new report on how fracking for oil and gas near national parks is already impacting these treasured places, and how impacts could increase unless we act now.

National Parks and Hydraulic Fracturing: Balancing Energy Needs, Nature, and America’s National Heritage is a comprehensive report on what large-scale oil and gas development adjacent to national parks does and could mean for these parks and the people who love and visit them. It details the known and suspected impacts of fracking on the environment, including harm to air, water, and wildlife—the things that make our national parks so special. It also provides five case studies that analyze national parks that are already in the middle of the oil and gas fracking boom: Theodore Roosevelt National Park, Glacier National Park, Grand Teton National Park, Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River and Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area and Obed Wild and Scenic River.

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