America’s public lands are supposed to be managed for many uses, including hunting, fishing, camping, and mountain biking, as well as conservation and wildlife protection. The outdoor recreation industry is one of the fastest growing in the country, and it alone generates $887 billion in consumer spending each year and supports 7.6 million jobs.[i] Yet, the oil and gas industry has rigged the system so effectively that development is habitually prioritized above any other use. That is why Secretary Zinke’s ongoing efforts to eliminate what common-sense protections do exist for hiking trails, big game herds, and drinking water – in a mindless pursuit for “energy dominance” – is such a grave threat to America’s public lands and economy.
This report explores different aspects of the public lands oil and gas program – ranging from access to corporate profits to hidden subsidies – and shows how thoroughly rigged the system is in favor of the oil and gas industry. What modest protections exist for America’s public lands and waters are now on the chopping block, as Secretary Zinke looks to provide his allies in the oil and gas industry with an even tighter grip on America’s natural heritage.