Press Release Feb 27, 2015

BLM Resource Management Plan Misses the Mark, Puts Mesa Verde National Park at Risk

Statement by Vanessa Mazal, Colorado Program Manager for the National Parks Conservation Association

Background: The Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Tres Rios Field Office issued a Record of Decision on its Approved Resource Management Plan (RMP) on Friday, February 27.

“After years in the making, the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) believes that the BLM’s Tres Rios Field Office’s Resource Management Plan unfortunately misses the mark. By failing to uniformly require ‘best practice’ air quality-related measures for oil and gas permits, Mesa Verde National Park, an internationally recognized UNESCO World Heritage Site, is left with an uncertain future and at risk of negative impacts from current and future projects. Air pollution puts the archaeological structures and artifacts, wildlife, and visitors to Mesa Verde National Park at risk; not to mention residents of surrounding Four Corners communities. As one of our national treasures and as a Class I Airshed under the federal Clean Air Act, there are moral and legal obligations to protecting the air within this national treasure.”

“As with many scenarios, the whole is greater than the simple sum of its parts; while potential emission impacts from individual permits may not raise alarm for BLM planners, the cumulative air quality impacts from oil and gas development are taking a serious toll on the national park and the Four Corners region.“

“NPCA remains hopeful that BLM will seek the opportunity to ensure more reliable and improved air quality provisions through future proactive planning, as well as stringent implementation activities.”

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About National Parks Conservation Association
Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice in safeguarding our national parks. NPCA and its more than one million members and supporters work together to protect and preserve our nation’s natural, historical, and cultural heritage for future generations. For more information, visit www.npca.org.