The American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), an international organization, is concerned that America's public lands are in danger of being closed to access and multiple use by the American people.
Public lands that have been open to multiple uses and most visitors for more than a century soon will be off limits to many types of recreation and beneficial uses. The Executive Branch is responding to narrowly focused special interest groups by withdrawing millions of acres throughout the western United States for non-productive purposes. Environmental laws such as the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA), used for decades to protect America's public lands, are being misused or ignored in a rush to lock up vast tracts of mineral wealth.
Thus, all Americans will be deprived of access to national wealth and recreational opportunities.
The AAPG opposes proposals and actions of the Executive Branch of the federal government to withdraw large tracts of lands from multiple use and access to natural resources without public discussion of the merits of each withdrawal.
Withdrawal of federal lands from multiple-use, including recreation, mostly for visual esthetics justifications, worsens the nation's balance of trade; is economically regressive; hurts working people; and is not acceptable in an open and free society.
The AAPG believes:
- That the federal government should ensure that there is no net loss of state and private land. That the federal government should ensure that there is increased access to the mineral and energy resources and recreational opportunities on the nation's public lands.
- That the federal government should ensure that federal land-access policies be balanced between the needs for multiple use, including recreation and energy/mineral resources, and the demands for scenic vistas, in order to sustain American society and improve our economic health and social well-being. The Antiquities Act should be amended so that the Congress of the United States would review and determine the fitness of each presidential proclamation that restricts public access to public lands.
The Executive Branch's misguided application of the 1906 Antiquities Act, administrative withdrawals and other executive orders for massive withdrawals of land from multiple-use are misuse of otherwise good laws.
Every effort should be made to direct a more prudent and rational consideration of each land tract nominated for withdrawal, and most importantly, to create opportunities to prevent withdrawal if significant local, national and congressional objections exist. The executive branch of the federal government should not be permitted to hold sole authority over public land usage, or unilaterally implement restrictive land use policies without congressional oversight and review.