Watchdog to Gianforte in New Ads: Oil, Gas & Coal Don’t Mix with Our Parks

Western Values Project Action announced that digital advertisements will begin running in Montana, targeting Congressman Greg Gianforte as he may be the pivotal vote on legislation that would require oil, gas, and coal development on public lands to address critical national parks maintenance with zero guarantees of actual funding. The buy is part of a $50,000 campaign that will run over the next three months.

“Instead of addressing the long-running national park maintenance backlog in a straightforward, transparent way, Congressman Gianforte would rather try to sell us a bill of goods on a misleadingly named bill that would give the keys to our public lands to oil, gas and coal corporations,” said Western Values Project Action Executive Director Chris Saeger. “We aren’t going to stand by and let Congressman Gianforte trade away the public lands where we hunt and fish and write a blank check to special interests to allow irresponsible development for something Congress should address without destroying these places.”

Under this legislation, Congress would be handing these lands to special interests – putting our Western communities at risk. The ads tell Rep. Gianforte to put public lands first and to stand up to Secretary Zinke and Washington insiders and ask people to sign a petition to Rep. Gianforte, telling him to condemn irresponsible attacks on our public lands. View the ads here and here.

The legislation, which is supported by the Trump administration and Secretary Zinke, does not guarantee any additional revenue to address critical maintenance needs at our national parks nor does it provide a lasting long-term revenue stream to keep America’s most cherished places beautiful. Instead it would hand over the keys to special interests and corporations, giving them a blank check for irresponsible development on our finite public lands.

Under the misleadingly named National Park Restoration Act, the only additional revenue available to address the $11 billion national park maintenance backlog, 10 percent of which is for critical needs, would require oil, gas, and coal revenues to exceed $7.8 billion in 2018 and rising to $9.4 billion by 2024. The catch is that the only time in recent history that oil and gas revenues have exceeded $7.8 billion was in 2014 when the price of a barrel of oil spiked to $112. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Congressman Gianforte is a member of the House Natural Resources Committee and could be the pivotal vote on this anti-public lands legislation.

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