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The head of the Department of Interior said this week that addressing maintenance and being “creative” with National Park Service sites, particularly in the West, would support the nation’s economic growth and revive a faltering infrastructure that did not serve visitors with “world-class” experiences.. Following a keynote question-and-answer to the Western Governors’ Association annual meeting in Vail, Colo., Interior Secretary David Bernhardt sat down with Western Wire staff to discuss the National Park Service maintenance backlog and the need to be flexible in light of future growth in park visits and wear-and-tear of park infrastructure.
Bernhardt told Western Wire that reporting from last week that appeared to indicate that Colorado Gov. Jared Polis’ assertion that Denver was “more likely” to land the relocated BLM staff and infrastructure than other candidates, like Grand Junction, was an oversimplification of a process the Interior Department, and the secretary in particular, was still conducting. “I do not think they [Denver] have a leg up, but here is the process we are going through,” Bernhardt said. “Basically, I’m asking a few questions. One, is this a necessary job, do we even need to really do this? Two, if it is a job that should be done, where is the best place on the planet to put it?”
A Trump administration push to make some forms of pipeline protests a federal crime, following similar state efforts, comes as incidents near oil and gas pipelines have risen in recent years. As Western Wire has previously reported, anti-pipeline protests have increased in visibility over the past several years, with protests, arrests, and convictions drawing national attention.
A bill to halt oil and gas development via a 10-mile exclusionary zone surrounding Chaco Culture National Historical Park drew opposition from local residents and the representative governments located nearby at a subcommittee hearing yesterday. H.R. 2181, sponsored by New Mexico’s Rep. Ben Ray Luján (D), calls for an end to oil and gas development and other mineral resource extraction in a 10-mile exclusionary zone surrounding the Chaco Culture park located in New Mexico.
New Mexico recently welcomed members of the U.S. House Natural Resources Committee as they held a field hearing in Santa Fe. The visiting federal lawmakers responded to our state’s hospitality by attacking and slandering New Mexico’s most important industry: oil and gas. Contrary to what these Washington politicians say, a sustainable and economically prosperous future for New Mexico means embracing oil and gas production in our state. Our record budget surplus and declines in methane make it clear that best way to continue on the path to a brighter future for our people is supporting what is already making this happen: responsible development of all of our resources, including oil and natural gas.
Governor Mark Gordon and the Wyoming Pipeline Authority became the latest to join the Western States Tribal Nations (WSTN) agreement this week, joining governments in the west to promote natural gas development produced in the region. WSTN formed after the release of an April report that detailed the abundance of natural gas resources in Utah’s Uinta and Colorado’s Piceance basins.
Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s decision to delay leasing near Chaco Culture National Historical Park after a visit to the site with U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich this week drew feelings of disappointment and frustration from Navajo who live nearby. Bernhardt ordered a one-year delay for oil and gas leasing on federal public lands as a result of his visit to Chaco Canyon earlier in the week.