This morning, the House Natural Resources Committee will discuss the “National Energy Security Corridors Act”—but a better name for it would be the “Pipelines in National Parks Bill.” This bill picks up where a number of others have left off by running roughshod over the public process in pursuit of a one-sided approach to energy development on national public lands.
This bill requires that the Secretary of the Interior designate a minimum of ten “energy security corridors” in the next two years, even if demand for natural gas continues to decrease. It also specifically allows pipelines to be sited within National Parks and limits the amount of time the Secretary has to review pipeline proposals. What’s more, the bill does away with public review for these proposed pipelines—which means that, in many cases, farmers, ranchers and sportsmen and sportswomen whose livelihoods could be affected by these pipelines might be effectively silenced.
Why’s that a problem? Because westerners deserve a say as to what happens on their lands. When Congress passed a previous energy corridor mandate and tried to skirt public review, public outcry brought development to a halt. Westerners know what’s best for their lands, and they deserve the chance to speak up. These lands belong to all Americans—and some of them, like national parks, have been specifically set aside to ward off this very kind of invasion.
There are plenty of places across the West that are primed for development—but national parks aren’t that place. A full 95% of Americans agree—protecting and supporting National Parks is an important priority, which means leaders in Washington need to slow down and let the public get involved before they create another government mandate.