Drill in Kentucky's Big South Fork National Recreation Area
National Park Service
With the news that the Interior Department will allow drilling in a proposed wilderness area in southern Utah's Desolation Canyon, it makes one wonder.
A recent report by the Center for American Progress revealed that in fact 42 threatened national parks - 12 where oil and gas drilling is currently happening and 30 where it could be in the near future.
Infographic by Center for American Progress
Among the threatened wild places are iconic American lands, including:
- Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming
- Mesa Verde and Great Sand Dunes National Parks in Colorado
- Santa Monica Mountains National Park in California
- Glen Canyon National Park in Arizona
- Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico
- Everglades and Gulf Islands National Parks in Florida
- Chaco Canyon National Park in New Mexico
- Arches and Canyonlands National Parks in Utah
- Glacier National Park in Montana
- Dinosaur National Monument in Colorado
The sad reality is that all public lands, including national parks and wildlife refuges, are potentially open to oil and gas leasing, unless they are designated as “Wilderness" - the highest form of land protection given by the government.
Even remarkable places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are threatened every year as oil and gas companies lobby Congress to allow energy development in. The Wilderness Society and other conservation groups have fought off those yearly attacks on the Refuge, but rest assured they will continue until the coastal plain of the Arctic Refuge is finally designated as wilderness.
President Obama's record on public lands has favored oil and gas drilling above conservation. In fact the Obama administration has leased 2.5 more lands to oil and gas drilling than it has set aside for conservation.
While several national parks and wildlife refuges have already been opened to drilling, including Ohio's Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Florida's Big Cypress National Preserve and Colorado's Baca National Wildlife Refuge to name a few, it's not too late to save the other iconic American lands that have yet to be spoiled.
Which lands are potentially at risk from oil and gas drilling plans?
- national parks and monuments
- lands adjacent to national parks and monuments
- national wildlife refuges
- national forest lands