Just a day after the House voted largely along party lines to gut the Antiquities Act (222-201, with all but 10 Republicans approving and 3 Democrats crossing over to approve), a Texas Republican is looking at gutting the whole purpose of national parks by opening up the parks to oil and gas drilling.
Texas Congressman Wants National Parks Opened To Drilling http://t.co/Tn1mP81mFL
The Antiquities Act is the law that allows the President to designate lands for protection as a national monument or national park. It’s been used by 16 presidents since Teddy Roosevelt established the first national parks more than 100 years ago.
The Republican moves are absolutely asinine. These parks are part of our legacy and heritage, and these guys want to drill and spoil the very land that had been previously set aside in perpetuity.
As it is, drilling is going on in close proximity to the parks. On my drive through the area around Moab to Canyonlands Islands in the Sky District and Dead Horse Point State Park, there were signs of drilling everywhere (2003 image courtesy of Getty Images). There were pipelines being laid, and drilling rigs, which have to locate the oil before the pumps can be installed, were being erected at any number of vista points - and this is along the designated scenic byway (I’ll have to locate photos I took of the active drilling operations).