Fracking in National Parks Threatens the Environment and our Democracy

By: Arcadia Davies

National parks and other public lands are facing big risks as private companies seize new opportunities, under Trump’s administration, to drill on federal lands.

Since the first national park (Yellowstone) was signed into law in 1872 there have been efforts to privatize these lands for development, timber, and mining. With Trump as the President of the United States, there is now increased access to federal leases.

National parks and forests, wildlife refuges, and tribal territories are targeted because of the oil, gas, coal, and uranium that they possess.

Areas that were once protected under the Obama administration are now at risk. Trump said Obama has “[denied] millions of Americans access to the energy wealth sitting right under our feet.”

Trump’s advisors are looking to privatize Native American reservations, which hold approximately 1.5 trillion dollars in oil and gas, according to EcoWatch. The U.S. Department of Interior, which manages a majority of the public land, is now headed by Ryan Zinke, a climate change skeptic and coal mining advocate.

Trump’s recent Energy Independence Policy has lifted the ban on Federal Leasing for coal production and initiated the process to continue the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Drilling on these public lands means disrupting the natural ecosystems. The risks of fracking include increased air and noise pollution, roads and pipelines that damage the land for wildlife, and disturbance to surface and groundwater. These results can damage an ecosystem for decades.

fracking-graphic

In an interview with Dr. Kevin Armitage, a professor in the Western Program at Miami University, he addressed the many environmental threats that come from fracking. He then continued:

“There is an even larger issue with fracking on national parks, and that is the degradation of democracy itself.”

National Parks have always been available to all people. Tourism in national parks provides people from all demographics an experience to appreciate nature, and inspires a connection to the environment.

Congress founded the National Park Service to preserve the environment while enhancing tourism. Fracking threatens both.

By fracking on these lands we are turning a democratic institution into a private one. The people have an important voice in this issue and it is important that we speak out to protect our national parks.

We must protect our public lands for both the health of our environment and our democracy.

Images via Creative Commons.

GreenHawks Media

GreenHawks Media is Miami University’s first environmental publication. Our goal is to unite green initiatives on campus and in the community. We hope to make a difference in a journalistic fashion by spreading news and information as well as educating our readers. We would like to present GreenHawks Media as a central place for groups and individuals to share their ideas, concerns, and initiatives. Individually and in small groups, efforts are made to make a difference and promote change. While one person may have a concern, another is researching it and needs assistance. While one initiative is being made in a science department, a similar idea is being discussed in a local business. GreenHawks Media provides the opportunity for shared visions to come together. We are journalists, writers, photographers, and scientists. We are students. We are motivated to use media to contribute to the change that our generation needs to make in order to protect and understand the planet we call home.

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