Target: Cliff Stearns, former representative (R-FL)
Goal: Tell Tea Party members of Congress not to sell off our national parks for drilling.
During the government shutdown, national parks, like many other establishments, were closed to the public. Somehow, oil and gas drillers were exempt and carried on their destructive and environmentally harmful practices. Hikers, families and wildlife watchers looked on in agony as the nation’s national and iconic landscapes were fracked and uprooted, and now the Tea Party is proposing to sell off national parks to big oil and gas companies.
Former Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida recently said in a town meeting that “We don’t need more national parks in this country. We need to actually sell off some of our national parks.”
Stearns mistakenly believes that national parks add to the ever increasing debt ceiling but, the truth is, they serve as a continual stream of wealth. In 2010, the Florida Everglades National Park provided over 2,000 jobs and generated nearly $140 million dollars in revenue solely from visitor spending. According to the National Park Service, America’s parks are responsible for generating $31 billion dollars and over 258,000 jobs.
Not only do national parks serve as prosperous wells of wealth, they are historic landscapes that everyone should have the right to experience. Whether you’re on a family vacation or taking a hike, national parks are sublime panoramas that serve and benefit the environment while preserving the nation’s heritage.
Sadly, Stearns isn’t the only right-wing politician dismissing the importance of national parks:
- Rep. Michele Bachmann stated recently that she’d consider drilling for oil in the Florida Everglades
- Rep. Jason Chaffetz proposed selling 3.3 million acres of public land to big oil and gas companies
- Rep. Richard Pombo supports mining in national parks and land near Yellowstone and Saguaro
- Former presidential candidates Mitt Romnen, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul all agreed that selling national parks is a fantastic idea.
As budget negotiations loom, national parks are sadly on the table. To imagine America without its parks is inconceivable. By signing this petition you’ll tell right wing politicians that selling our national parks is the worst idea ever considered, and stand up to protect these historic, iconic and beautiful landscapes.
Dear Cliff Stearns,
The absurd idea of selling national parks for profit will not only hurt the American people, but the environment will suffer exponentially. National parks not only generate revenue and provide jobs, but they are historic landmarks that serve families, hikers and wildlife. Hundreds, if not thousands of family vacations take place at national parks, hikers have trekked the expansive terrain of the Yosemite and Grand Canyon for decades, and there are countless species of animals that depend on national parks to survive. Simply put, our parks sustain life, whether you like it or not, and selling them off solely to make money is disheartening.
As budget negotiations loom, please take some time out to reconsider the long-term damage selling national parks to support drilling for oil and gas will do to our economy and, most importantly, our biosphere. If we are to move towards sustainability and save our world from fracking and drilling, selling national parks is obviously not the right move to make.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: kconnors via morguefile