American Hiking Society | Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks| Grand Canyon Trust National Parks Conservation Association | Park Rangers for Our Lands | Sierra Club
Oppose Senator Barrasso’s Pipeline Amendment to S. 2012
January 28, 2016
The above groups are the leading voices of the American people in protecting our National Park System from harmful side-effects of oil and gas development. On behalf of our millions of members and supporters nationwide, we write to urge you to oppose Sen. Barrasso’s Amendment #3031 to S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015.
This amendment would strip the requirement for Congressional approval for natural gas pipelines constructed across units of the National Park System.
The continued health of national parks depends upon careful stewardship of their resources. Oil and natural gas pipelines are utilities that could cause an impairment to national parks and therefore were not included in the list of public utilities that receive Secretarial approval under the Mineral Leasing Act and the National Park Service’s administrative regulations. The threat of rupture and explosion posed by natural gas pipelines requires that their construction through our most prized public lands gain Congressional approval.
The federal government should only allow private companies to seek easements across national park lands for gas pipelines when all other options are exhausted. In the few cases where this “last resort” is reached, or in situations where national parks actually provide a more environmentally-friendly routing solution than other lands, Congress and conservation organizations have supported legislation allowing the exception of oil and gas pipeline construction. But the ability to make these decisions publicly and thoughtfully is critical to national park protection. The Mineral Leasing Act provides a logical and effective path for oil and gas pipeline easements as it is currently written. The federal government should not allow the blanket use of national parks for gas pipelines, as would result from this amendment.
Thank you for your consideration of our concerns. Please vote no on Amendment #3031.
Peter Olsen – Vice President for Programs & Government Relations
American Hiking Society
Laura Belleville – Director of Conservation
Appalachian Trail Conservancy
Maureen Finnerty – Chair
Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks
Ethan Aumack – Conservation Director
Grand Canyon Trust
Nicholas J. Lund – Landscape Conservation Manager
National Parks Conservation Association
Ellis Richard – Founding Member
Park Rangers for Our Lands
Natalie Mebane – Associate Washington Representative