Politicians promising to shut down public lands to oil and natural gas development have it all wrong, that is if they’re serious about conservation. The 0.07 percent of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) public lands disturbed for oil and gas production can and ought to be used to improve our nation’s crumbling national parks. Just take a trip through Wyoming to Yellowstone National Park and you’ll see the two types of public lands both serve valuable purposes. That is what my family did.
It’s ironic that on the day that Notre Dame was engulfed the majority on the House Natural Resources Committee was holding a hearing on oil and natural gas development near Chaco Culture National Historical Park. The implication of Committee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), the Democrats on the committee, and the one-sided list of witnesses they had assembled was that oil and natural gas development near the park is threatening those cultural resources.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA) outlined her plan for public lands should she be elected president in 2020. First and foremost: a moratorium on all new BLM leasing for oil and natural gas development, which she says will be signed into action by executive order on her first day in office.
The media, in its rush to burnish its easy narrative on climate change, spun a D.C. District Court ruling that BLM did not conduct adequate greenhouse gas analysis as a failure of the Trump Administration to conduct greenhouse gas analysis. Yet the leases in question where from 2015 and 2016, even before Trump was a candidate.
BLM Deputy Director of Operations Michael Need testifies on the administration’s commitment to an “all of the above” energy approach, the economic benefits of onshore oil and natural gas production, and the agency’s growing renewables portfolio.
Few people realize the oil and natural gas industry is the major source of funding for conservation for decades. We should tell that story because we’re constantly bombarded by policies and bad press that assumes we’re bad actors. As a result, there are countless ways, from the Green New Deal to litigation against development, that politicians and environmental groups try to stop our industry.