The SECURE American Energy Act only endangers public lands

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As the Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. 

Robert Bishop has taken every opportunity to sell or lease our public lands to the highest bidder, destroying our landscapes and robbing future generations of their opportunity to experience and recreate in the outdoors.

Bishop’s SECURE American Energy Act is just more of the same — it would give handouts to corporate polluters and special interests at the expense of our irreplaceable public landscapes and wildlife that Americans of all stripes — including hikers, bikers, climbers, sportsmen and campers — depend on and seek out for recreation and enjoyment.

At its core, the SECURE American Energy Act doubles down on President Trump’s reckless “energy dominance” agenda, rubber-stamping his mission to lease America’s public lands and oceans to corporate polluters, at the expense of our environment and outdoor recreation opportunities. Not only does this act obstruct the public’s right to participate in the management of our shared public lands, it ignores established science by eliminating science-based evaluation of the potential harm drilling would cause to important outdoor recreation and care deeply about our public lands and the opportunities they have to spend in the outdoors. They are integral to the vibrancy of many communities and integral to their high quality of life, which is key in attracting and retaining many businesses. Our landscapes are places families go to hike, explore, fish, camp and spend vacations, and they don’t want to see their great outdoors, and the memories they make on them, destroyed by special interests and fossil fuel companies. Our public lands also help fuel the vibrant outdoor recreation economy, with consumers spending $887 billion dollars annually on outdoor recreation and creating 7.6 million American jobs

Instead of pouring resources into exploring new onshore and offshore drilling opportunities in our last remaining pristine landscapes, something Americans do not overwhelmingly support, we should be investing in diversifying our energy mix with renewable energy technologies -— something that has strong and broad appeal. We can and we must find ways to more responsibly manage our remaining iconic landscapes and oceans so that we’re not impeding on the opportunities families have now, and in the future, to experience the outdoors in the same way we do today.

The American energy landscape is moving into the 21st century thanks to renewable energy advancements, but Bishop’s bill threatens to turn back the clock on this progress just so for the benefit of corporate interests.

This bill is a direct assault on transparency and accountability that severely limits the public’s input in management decisions made regarding our shared natural resources. Instead of working to advance Trump’s shortsighted and destructive “energy dominance” agenda with the SECURE American Energy Act, our lawmakers should be working to safeguard the remaining opportunities Americans have to experience the outdoors — whether that’s hiking, camping, fishing or exploring — and make memories with their families and friends. Our public lands and oceans must remain open for all to enjoy and benefit from. They should not be auctioned off to the highest bidder.

Peter Metcalf is the vice chairman of the Outdoor industry’s Conservation Alliance, and a board member of the Outdoor Alliance, American Alpine Club and the Conservation Lands Foundation. Metcalf serves as Director of Salt Lake City Branch of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Zions Bank. Metcalf founded Black Diamond Equipment in the late 1980s and remained its CEO through to January 2016.

thehill.com