Press Release Oct 31, 2019

BLM Plan Proposes Opening 1.2 Million Acres in California to Fracking, Threatening Parks and Monuments

Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area are among the public lands that could see oil and gas development nearby if the BLM’s plan advances. 

BAKERSFIELD – National parks, monuments and communities across nine central California counties are threatened by a final plan released today, that could open more than 1.2 million acres to oil and gas leasing. The National Parks Conservation Association, (NPCA) Central Valley Air Quality Coalition and Cesar Chavez Foundation are among the organizations denouncing the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for future fracking in the area.

Cesar E. Chavez National Monument, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks and Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area are among the public lands that could see oil and gas development nearby if the BLM’s plan advances. Such energy development could also result in cumulative air and climate impacts, harming neighboring communities already suffering from air pollution.

“The narrative around Sequoia National Park is increasingly shifting from towering trees to forests of oil rigs, as the BLM gambles with the health of parks and surrounding communities,” said Mark Rose, Sierra Nevada Program Manager for NPCA. “Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are two of the most polluted parks in the nation in terms of air quality, and this plan exacerbates those impacts. Even worse, the BLM refused to undertake even the most basic analysis of impacts with its plan.”

Spoiled Parks, a new report released by NPCA, identified Sequoia National Park as among the 12 most threatened in America from oil and gas development. The Trump administration’s aggressive energy policies are threatening to irreparably harm some of our country’s most cherished national parks.

“The San Joaquin Valley is one of the most polluted air basins in the United States, and Kern County arguably the most polluted county in the nation,” said Genevieve Gale, Executive Director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition. “As a result, Valley residents are more susceptible to asthma attacks, heart attacks, stroke, premature death, and the development of chronic heart and lung diseases. Additional pollution from expanded oil and gas operations will add insult to injury, adding toxic, smog-forming and particulate pollution to an already overburdened air basin.“

“We are opposed to the current administration’s amendment to a Land Management Plan which will now allow fracking near the Cesar Chavez National Monument,” said Paul S. Park, Senior Counsel at the Cesar Chavez Foundation. “Studies have shown that this can have a negative environmental impact and an increase in seismic activity to an historic area that has been designated a national landmark by the federal government.”

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About 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.