More than 4,200 acres of public land in Northern Arizona might soon be under the development of fossil fuel companies. The Trump administration recently proposed a plan that would auction off public land straddling the Little Colorado River.
Dating back to 2014, records show that the fossil fuel industry has been interested in land near the Hurricane Cliffs and Big Valley, which is just north of Grand Canyon National Park, in Northern Arizona for oil and gas leasing, EcoWatch reported. Now the Bureau of Land Management has plans to auction the land off in September.
“This dangerous plan puts national parks, precious groundwater and wildlife in the crosshairs,” Taylor McKinnon from the Center for Biological Diversity, said. “We’ll do everything we can to stop it.”
The land to be auctioned off in Northern Arizona is within three miles of the Petrified Forest National Park and in close proximity to Little Colorado spinedace, a federally endangered fish, EcoWatch reported. Fracking in this area is also likely to pollute groundwater in the Little Colorado Rover, according to experts.
“Fracking is a dirty, dangerous business that consumes enormous amounts of water and threatens wildlife and public health,” McKinnon said. “Northern Arizonans won’t tolerate public lands being sacrificed as gifts from Trump to the fossil fuel industry.”
Trump’s policies bypass fracking analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and foregoes tribal consultations. They also “require the BLM to auction lands nominated by the fracking industry, skip site-specific environmental review and limit public input,” EcoWatch reported.
“This is Trump’s energy dominance policy at work, where nothing matters except fossil-fuel interests,” McKibbon said.