“These long-overdue reforms are crucial to safeguarding national parks and surrounding communities, landscapes and waterways from harmful oil and gas development" -- NPCA's Matt Kirby
Washington D.C. – The Bureau of Land Management today released a promising package of proposed updates for oil and gas leasing on hundreds of millions of acres of public land. The bureau’s common sense update reforms an antiquated oil and gas leasing system that has long favored the oil and gas industry, neglecting the climate and biodiversity crises in the process.
As the steward of the federal government’s mineral estate, the bureau oversees millions of acres of public land, with a staggering 90% currently open to oil and gas leasing. Twelve national parks have active oil and gas production, and thirty more parks face the potential for future extraction operations.
The updates could better protect threatened parks, like Carlsbad Caverns National Park, situated in one of the nation’s most active oil and gas regions, and Grand Teton National Park, which provides essential habitat and migration corridors for pronghorn and mule deer currently threatened by drilling operations.
For too long, taxpayers have carried the burden of environmental costs of oil and gas leasing, from cleanup to the impacts of biodiversity loss, irreparable damage to waterways, and climate change. The proposed rule begins to address this economic imbalance by updating bonding, leasing and royalty rates, signaling a shift that recognizes increased accountability.
“These long-overdue reforms are crucial to safeguarding national parks and surrounding communities, landscapes and waterways from harmful oil and gas development,” said Matt Kirby, senior energy and landscape conservation director at the National Parks Conservation Association. “Together with the BLM’s recent Public Lands Rule and last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, we’re seeing essential progress towards a balanced approach to managing and protecting America’s public lands.”
NPCA commends the public process outlined, which supports Tribal and community engagement. NPCA also strongly supports robust rules that reflect a commitment to national climate mitigation goals and prioritize the conservation of our beloved national parks and surrounding landscapes.
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About the 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 more than 1.6 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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