Conservation groups are asking federal land managers to avoid proposing oil and gas leases that undermine the appeal of nearby national parks and monuments.
They joined locals and even Utah’s Republican governor recently in complaining about proposed leases near Zion National Park. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management eventually put those parcels on hold earlier this month.
Now conservationists hope new parcels outside Dinosaur National Monument will also be deferred. They say visitors and local recreation economies should be protected from energy development even beyond park and monument boundaries.
“As the administration puts more emphasis on leasing for oil and gas, national parks are at risk of being injured,” says Nick Lund of the National Parks Conservation Association.
Conservation and business groups say more public discussion upfront would solve the problem.
But energy companies want it to be easier to develop oil and gas on public lands. And, in March, the Trump administration ordered federal agencies to streamline energy development.