Oil leases threaten national parks

By By Brian Trick

By Brian Trick

Utah is home to five national parks, the third most of any state in the country. Utah is also home to an estimated 12 to 19 billion barrels of “tar sand” oil, the most of any state in the nation.

Recently, the Bureau of Land Management rezoned land bordering or adjacent to three Utah national parks. The BLM will be auctioning this land on Dec. 19 to interested investors in the newly profitable demand for tar sands.

Tar sands, also known as oil sands, are a mixture of sand, water, clay and bitumen. Bitumen is a type of oil that is excavated through strip mining.

Recently, a rejuvenated effort to mine bitumen in Utah has put environmentalists on edge, but this is not the first time Utah has faced the prospect of stripping the environment.

In the 1960s, the debate over what natural resources could be extracted from national parks became very apparent to Utahns, as a similar scenario in Capital Reef National Park was eventually abandoned. Capital Reef is rich in coal and tar sand oil. In 1982,The National Park Service released an eerily foreshadowing statement regarding the resources of Capital Reef:

“In today’s market, none of these resources represents a commercial deposit; yet, the growing pressure on our known resources insures that any or all of them will become significant in the future.”

The pressure is here, we all felt it this summer as gas prices soared past $4 a gallon.

However, mining the area will cause serious damage. It would turn the surrounding area into something resembling a scene from “Blade Runner,” an apocalyptic zone. It may just be bordering acreage, but one bad house brings the entire neighborhood down. If it takes a company turning our national parks into nothing more than New Jersey for us to take action and rally behind alternative fuels, then so be it. We deserve to see the destruction first-hand.

The United States is facing an energy crisis much more difficult than any financial crisis, and it will only get worse. We’ve been putting up with this crisis for years, and still no real effort is being made to solve it. If it takes three Utah national parks being strip mined and polluted beyond recognition for the United States to realize it has a problem, then so be it, but I’m selling my house now, before the whole neighborhood goes.

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Brian Trick

Willus Branham