A group of environmental organizations warned today that maritime drilling for the exploitation of oil put at risk the natural parks of the coastal areas of the United States.
The report, prepared by the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and the Council for the Defense of Natural Resources, reveals that at least 68 parks in 18 states suffer the negative consequences of this activity, following the latest measures by the President’s Government Donald Trump.
A situation that they qualify as “critical”, due to the economic and tourist impact that the National Parks have in these study areas with 84 million visitors in 2017.
The 18 affected states are: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Virginia and Washington.
Although traditionally these parks were granted the greatest legal protections in terms of conservation for public lands, for the first time in decades they are threatened by political actions.
“It is clear that parks can not be fully protected if industrial activities start, ” said NPCA senior vice president Mark Wenzler, who also expressed concern about “the government’s agenda based on lowering industry safety standards. of gas and oil. ”
The experts explained that, occasionally, accidents occur in some of these extractor plants that discharge waste harmful to the environment and whose consequences are maintained for years.
For example, in 2015, a broken pipeline in Santa Barbara (California) released 378,500 liters of oil through a drain into the Pacific Ocean, and cleanup work continues in the area today.
Naturalist organizations argue that the Trump Administration’s proposal to expand marine drilling directly affects waters and wildlife, and harms sectors such as tourism or fishing, which are also “very important” for communities.
According to the report, the economic impact of the industries derived from the activity in the coastal National Parks is of 5,700 million dollars and 59,517 direct jobs.
One of the authors of the text, the director of the conservation program of the NPCA, Nicholas Lund, also points out its impact on the gross domestic product of the country, with a contribution of 90,000 million dollars in 2015.
In January of this year, the Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, announced a measure to expand the territory on which prospecting can be conducted in order to find new deposits of oil or gas, covering most of the country’s coast.
The plan proposed by Zinke originally covered all possible costs for drilling, from the Atlantic and Pacific areas, through Alaska and Florida, although they later removed this area from the decree issued.
” This is another example of how this Administration prioritizes the profits of private industry over the needs of Americans; we have seen strong bipartisan opposition to this tremendously unpopular proposal and urge Secretary Zinke to rethink the measures”, Concluded Lund.
Environmental activists urged the government to use “common sense” to ensure that coastal National Parks remain protected for “future generations”. EFEverde