My name is Sarah Bransom and I am a retired National Park Service professional. I spent 32 years in federal service and now serve as a member of the executive council for the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks.
Since taking office, Rep. Joe Neguse has shown himself to be a tireless champion for the environment and the protection of our parks and public lands. In light of his strong record of support, I would like to urge him to cosponsor H.R. 3225, the Restoring Community Input and Public Protections in Oil and Gas Leasing Act.
Our current oil and gas leasing system is broken and continues to damage national parks across the country. In Colorado alone, the administration has put almost 270,000 acres of public land up for sale to the highest bidder, threatening places such as Rocky Mountain National Park, Dinosaur National Monument, and Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. They have done this under a leasing regime that has severely curtailed public comment, shortened protest period times, made environmental review optional, and waived aside concerns over impacts to wildlife habitats, cultural resources, and the protection of recreational lands.
H.R. 3225 would restore oil and gas leasing master plans, which bring stakeholders together to jointly determine the best way to manage federal lands and ensure that special places such as national parks are not harmed by development. It would also sustain public involvement in the leasing process, ensure transparency, and prohibit drilling on the doorstep of our national parks.
The legislation will likely be marked up in the House Natural Resources Committee in February, a committee on which Neguse serves. I hope that he will cosponsor and support this vital legislation, and help it move through the House of Representatives.