Drilling in National Parks

Deregulated Oil and Gas drilling in National Parks? What!

Congress has wasted no time attacking environmental protections.They are like the foxes in the hen house licking their chops not knowing which to attack first. Congressman Gosar (R-Ariz) pounced. He introduced resolution H.J. Res.46 to repeal the National Parks Service’s “9B” rules, which basically require oil companies to have a detailed plan prior to beginning to drill and adhere to set safety standards while drilling in park lands.

I was surprised to find out there was any drilling on park lands. Apparently more than 40 national parks have what’s called “Split Estate” designation. That means the surface lands belong to the National Parks, mineral rights below to private companies. The 9B rule also asks the company to put up a reasonable bond for reclamation and restoration of land to cover damage created by that company. Previous to the 9B rule, a $200,00 bond amount was all that was required. Cost for capping abandoned wells, clean up for blown out wells, and other damage on federal lands was at the taxpayers’ expense often amounting to millions. The oil companies just walked away.

Repealing 9B takes away all authority of the National Park Service to oversee the protection of the park and wildlife from drilling outcomes. Without the 9B rules oil companies can build their own roads into the parks to reach their mineral deposits. Big Cypress National Reserve had an 11-mile road bulldozed right through the middle of it by an oil company prior to the 9B rules. Jobs Jobs Jobs! Gosar chants as his reason for the need to do this.

9B has never disallowed drilling of mineral leases. It has only demanded that the authority of the Park Service be respected as they do their job of protecting our parks for future generations. Oh! Almost forgot to mention. Congressman Gosar has received $250K as contributions from Big Oil and . . . wait for it . . . He’s just been appointed to chair the house subcommittee on energy and minerals. Wake UP! Call [Virginia 5th District] Congressman [Tom] Garrett, 202-225-4711, email him. Demand that he not support H.J. Res. 46. (repealing the National Park Services 9 B rules.)

Jeanne Wall
Slate Mills, VA

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