by Jessica Goad
America’s national parks are undoubtedly some of our “best ideas.” They are unique places across our country where public lands are preserved for their natural, cultural, or historic value, as well as for the unique contributions they provide to local and regional economies and our national economic strength. This is why we have set aside national parks, national seashores, national memorials, and other places managed by the National Park Service for future generations.
Even though we have protected these national park units to allow them to achieve their full environmental, cultural, historical, and economic potential, threats to their preservation do arise. One of those threats today is the potential for future oil and gas development within national parks. We requested data from the National Park Service, which identified 42 park units where non-federal oil and gas drilling is or could be occurring in the future. Of these, 12 units currently have oil and gas operations within them, while 30 units may be threatened in the future with drilling. (see map above).
This data was compiled by the National Park Service by assessing three factors:
- The parks’ proximity to oil and gas resources
- Drilling activity already occurring near ...