Press Release Aug 14, 2015

NPCA Responds to Draft Moab Master Leasing Plan and EIS

Statement by David Nimkin, Southwest Senior Regional Director, National Parks Conservation Association

“National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) commends the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and stakeholders including the National Park Service on today’s release of the Draft Moab Master Leasing Plan (MLP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Master Leasing Plans reflect a thoughtful and inclusive process to plan first and lease later to protect sensitive landscapes and allow leasing in appropriate areas.

“While additional review will be needed to make a full assessment, at first glance, the draft MLP appears to uphold many of the scenic, ecological, and recreational values for the protection and continued enjoyment of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

“NPCA will closely examine elements of the plan that may adversely affect both the recreational uses and wilderness qualities within the planning area. Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and surrounding public lands are critical economic drivers for Moab and other nearby communities. In 2014 alone, the two national parks generated more than $175 million in visitor spending and supported thousands of jobs.

“The groundbreaking MLP planning process was created as a response to the controversial 2008 oil and gas drilling leases offered near Arches and Canyonlands National Parks that threatened to impair the recreational and scenic values of these national treasures. The Moab MLP serves as a landmark in this collaborative process, particularly for the BLM and Park Service, to strike a balanced approach between development and conservation.

“NPCA is pleased that the draft Moab MLP release was accompanied by the announcement of MLPs for other crucial public landscapes facing similar challenges: San Rafael Desert and Cisco Desert. We strongly urge the BLM to implement this focused planning tool around other national park sites in the southwest experiencing energy development pressures similar to Arches and Canyonlands.

“NPCA will continue to examine and engage in the Moab MLPs 90-day public comment period. We encourage all who care about Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, and the communities and public lands within and surrounding Moab area to participate.

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National Parks Conservation Association: Since 1919, the nonpartisan National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) has been the leading voice for 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.