National Park Service Retirees on President Trump’s Meeting with Oil Executives

Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks Says Bernhardt is Prioritizing Former Clients Oil Interests, Over the Safety and Health of National Parks Employees

WASHINGTON, DC — Today, President Donald Trump met with oil company executives at the White House to discuss falling oil prices resulting from a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and the coronavirus outbreak.

The meeting comes as the US Department of Interior continues to lease public lands to the oil and gas industry, despite a near-complete national shutdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has also refused to listen to experts calling on him to shut down America’s National Parks, encouraging the public to visit national  parks by waiving entrance fees. These policies have turned America’s National Parks into potential epicenters of coronavirus infections – resulting in at least seven NPS employees being exposed and testing positive to the disease, and forcing national parks to make independent decisions to close.

Phil Francis, executive chairman of the Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks, explained:

 “With reports that more than 700,000 Americans have lost their jobs, and more than 1000 people may die today as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is revealing that this administration is entertaining the requests of the oil and gas industry instead of looking out for the health and safety of our national parks and agency staff.

 “This administration has refused to postpone oil and gas lease sales, suspend ongoing public comment periods, or delay new policy proposals.

“Make no mistake – this meeting further proves that the current administration, including the Department of the Interior, cares less about America’s public lands, the ongoing health crisis posed by keeping America’s National Parks open, and the National Park Service employees who have been put at risk because of this decision – than they do about their former business partners and friends in the oil and gas industry.”

The Coalition to Protect America’s National Parks represents over 1,800 retired, former and current employees of the National Parks Service.

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