Don’t Drill Near National Parks

Target: Helen Hankins, State Director of the Colorado Bureau of Land Management

Goal: Stop leasing public lands near national parks for oil and gas drilling

A recent poll conducted by the Center for American Progress reveals that the public immensely favors conservation of  federal lands over drilling them. Yet, drilling is already occurring in 12 national park units around the country, while 30 more could have drilling within their borders in the future because they contain valid mineral rights. Furthermore, between March 31 and June 30, 2013, the Obama administration has leased 201,479 acres of public lands to oil and gas companies, while protecting no acres at parks, monuments, or wilderness areas. Oil and gas operations so close to national parks could have major negative impacts on their natural resources and visitors’ experiences.

Currently, this debate is taking place in Colorado. The state’s Bureau of Land Management will be auctioning off nearly 12,000 acres of public lands for oil and gas drilling in November. Most of those acres are located less than 10 miles from Mesa Verde, an iconic national park. Mesa Verde, once home to ancestral Pueblo peoples for about 700 years, is the largest archaeological preserve in the U.S. Land near the park was originally put up for lease in Feburary 2012, but was pulled after considerable public outcry, including criticism from the National Park Service. For some reason, these public lands are being offered again.

The Coalition of National Park Service Retirees recently argued that oil and gas drilling near the park could “further impair the already degraded air quality at Mesa Verde, harm important scenic values within the surrounding landscape and negatively affect the local economy, which depends greatly on the national park’s protected status. By signing this petition, you are condemning the Colorado Bureau of Land Management’s decision to lease public land near Mesa Verde for oil and gas drilling. This land should be admired for its beauty and historical value; it should not be exploited for mineral resources at the expense of environmental quality.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Ms. Hankins,

A recent poll reveals that the public immensely favors conservation of federal lands over drilling them. Yet, drilling is already occurring in 12 national park units around the country, while 30 more could have drilling within their borders in the future because they contain valid mineral rights. Oil and gas operations so close to national parks could have major negative impacts on their natural resources and visitors’ experiences.

Currently, this debate is taking place in Colorado. Your bureau will be auctioning off a considerable amount of land near Mesa Verde National Park for oil and gas drilling in November. Land near the park was originally put up for lease in Feburary 2012, but was pulled after considerable public outcry, including criticism from the National Park Service. For some reason, your bureau has decided to offer it again.

Conservation groups have argued that oil and gas drilling near the park could further impair the already degraded air quality, harm important scenic values within the surrounding landscape and negatively affect the local economy. I am condemning your bureau’s decision to lease public land near Mesa Verde for oil and gas operations. This land should be admired for its beauty and historical value; it should not be exploited for mineral resources at the expense of environmental quality.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: WineCountryInn via Wikimedia Commons

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Signatures

  • jeff hopkins
  • Yvonne Fast
  • Peggy Thomas
  • carol lucas
  • Salwah Koriya
  • MARCO PARRAVICINI
  • Ana Figueiredo
  • Jane Burgess
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