The hearing was supposed to be about the number of jobs that oil and gas drilling create, and how they help out nearby communities. And while drilling does create some jobs, the panel today is glossing over the millions of jobs that are threatened by drilling on public lands.
Wild places – especially in the west – provide jobs and promote higher standards of living, and provide benefits that are measured in trillions of dollars.
Among the benefits from undeveloped areas like forests, parks, and wildlife refuges are:
- 6.1 million jobs in the outdoor recreation industry
- $646 billion in economic activity – and nearly $80 billion in federal, state, and local tax revenue
- Protected lands improve nearby property values - on average $436 per 10,000 acres greater than areas without protected land
- More than $1.6 trillion in ecosystem services – things like clean air and clean water that protected lands provide
“When you stack up the permanent benefits of protected lands against the boom and bust jobs of the oil and gas industry there’s really no contest.” said Dave Alberswerth, senior policy advisor for The Wilderness Society. “Unlike jobs and economic activity that run out when the oil or gas does, the benefits of protected lands are around forever.”