March marks the anniversary of President Trump’s ‘energy dominance’ agenda and the much-needed reprioritization of oil and gas interests. After years of being stifled by taxpayer accountability, preservation of ecological and cultural assets, public planning processes, and concerns over theoretical ‘global warming,’ the oil and gas industry is FINALLY feeling valued (read: getting everything asked for). And today, as if to honor this anniversary, Secretary Zinke is offering oil and gas leases for sale, directly adjacent to the Bears Ears National Monument! Or, at least, what used to be the Bears Ears National Monument, before he boldly decided to shrink the monument by 85%.
Years of raking in upwards of $260 billion just hasn’t been enough for the industry, so you can bet that no one is more thrilled by the incredible vision of Secretary Zinke this past year in reshaping our public lands and shared history to include America’s newest landmark: oil rigs. Having removed extraneous regulations that required industry to survey these allegedly ‘treasured’ landscapes, industry is finally able to trust their guts. Who really knows what the 331 million people who visit our national parks per year care about? Maybe they don’t actually care if protected areas are shrunk; wildlife are displaced or completely wiped out; local economies are slashed by upwards of $12 billion; and noise and air pollution increase dramatically.
The 27 million acres of public lands the industry has already leased simply isn’t sufficient to satiate demand (nor the pocketbooks of executives)! While the oil and gas market is stagnating the industry is ONLY sitting on 8,000 permits and 16,000 unused leases (covering 14.4 million acres) – that’s not NEARLY enough! The obvious solution is to continue shrinking public parks to make way for even more private oil and gas interests.
For these reasons and more, the industry is so grateful to finally have [funded] allies in important places. The drought is over! The Bears Ears region will finally be home to cultural artifacts that really matter: oil and gas rigs.