When I saw the headline that there was “Good news for National Parks” regarding the Great American Outdoors Act and possible permanent funding, I thought, “Wow, some good news? I really need some good news right about now!”

But my short-term memory isn’t totally shot (yet), and I recalled the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to offer 100,000 acres for oil and gas leasing this September right next to Canyonlands, Arches, Capitol Reef and Bears Ears.

So, on one hand, we’ve got the Department of the Interior promoting the “Great American Outdoors Act.” On the other, the Bureau of Land Management is willing to sacrifice thousands of acres right outside our local national parks for oil and gas development.

Sure, come and enjoy the parks; just ignore the flaring gas wells at the border.

The BLM lease in September is a sign of things to come. The extraction industry is having a hard time at the moment, but this won’t last long. Current stockpiles are dwindling, demand is up and the price of oil is rebounding. More drilling will follow unless we stay vigilant.

Imagine our National Parks surrounded by flaming gas and oil fields. It is important to resist this, just like we did with earlier leases proposed near Sand Flats. Connect with your favorite local environmental group for more actions you can take to derail this appalling trend.

Harry Holland

Castle Valley