Press Release Oct 10, 2019

Spoiled Parks: Top 12 National Parks Threatened by Trump Administration's Energy Agenda

Spoiled Parks explores how current leasing policies have scarred landscapes and threaten future harm to clean air, cultural heritage, wildlife and tourism economies.

WASHINGTON – A report released today by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) revealed 12 of America’s national parks most threatened by the Trump Administration’s aggressive energy policies on public lands. From Sequoia National Park to Chaco Culture National Historical Park, to Big Cypress National Preserve, Spoiled Parks explores how current leasing policies have scarred landscapes and threaten future harm to clean air, cultural heritage, wildlife and thriving tourism economies.

More than19 million acres of public land – an area larger than the state of West Virginia – have been offered for oil and gas leasing since the Trump administration took office. At the same time, the administration has drastically decreased opportunities for the public and key stakeholders, including the National Park Service, to have a voice in public land leasing decisions.

“The number and severity of actions this administration is taking against our public lands is putting our national parks in a situation from which they may never recover,” said Matt Kirby, Director of Energy and Landscape Conservation for NPCA. “We must act now to prevent oil wells in the Chaco Culture landscape, blocked migration routes for Grand Teton wildlife and polluted air for people who visit and live near Sequoia. These twelve national parks and all parks across the country deserve better.”

More than 45 of the over 100 actions by the Trump administration that threaten our national parks and public lands also directly benefit extractive industries, including oil and gas development. The rampant leasing of public lands for drilling, combined with the administration’s systematic gutting of environmental protections, is causing potentially irreparable damage to the national parks. Decisions made by the administration are not only impacting parks and surrounding landscapes today but also painting a bleak future.

The report also details policy recommendations including a call for increased protections in specific park landscapes; a stronger role for the National Park Service in leasing decisions on public lands; curbing fossil fuel extraction to mitigate the effects of climate change; and safeguarding existing environmental laws.

The 12 Spoiled Parks included in the report are:

  • Sequoia National Park (California)
  • Mesa Verde National Park (Colorado)
  • Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado)
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve (Colorado)
  • Dinosaur National Monument (Colorado/Utah)
  • Big Cypress National Preserve (Florida)
  • Carlsbad Caverns National Park (New Mexico)
  • Chaco Culture National Historical Park (New Mexico)
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park (North Dakota)
  • Hovenweep National Monument (Utah)
  • Canyonlands National Park (Utah)
  • Grand Teton National Park (Wyoming)

“The persistent level of oil and gas extraction permitted at the doorstep of Dinosaur National Monument is a case example of how not to treat a national park,” said Tracey Lynne Hart, former Range Management Specialist at the Bureau of Land Management. “As a former BLM employee, it is personally disheartening to see the agency disregard cumulative impacts and ignoring the clear threats to public health, climate, and the monument’s rare wilderness characteristic.”

“The future of wildlife migration into Grand Teton and Yellowstone National parks is dependent on the preservation of their historic travel corridors,” said Steve Iobst, former deputy superintendent of Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. “Today, massive levels of oil and gas leasing in southwest Wyoming threaten these routes and leasing in these critical areas needs to be stopped to protect our mule deer and pronghorn migrations.”

The full report and corresponding maps are available at www.npca.org/spoiledparks

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About the National Parks Conservation Association: For 100 years, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than 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/100.