Frank Hugelmeyer, President of Outdoor Industry Association issued the following statement today in response to Representative Pombo’s (R, 11th-CA) proposed legislation to sell off 15 National Parks for commercial development.

“House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo’s proposed legislation to sell 15 National Parks is an attack not only on the National Park Service, but on the very landscapes and icons that define America. For more than 130 years, Americans have enjoyed our nation’s parks by hiking their trails, paddling their waters, or reflecting on the past at historic landmarks.”

“Outdoor Industry Association and its member companies will strongly oppose any effort to destroy this legacy and include this proposal in the upcoming budget reconciliation process.”

“Chairman Pombo’s proposal to sell parks follows on the footsteps of draft policy changes that would fundamentally alter the Parks Service’s core mission of maintaining and protecting the parks for this and future generations of Americans. Those changes proposed by Paul Hoffman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks, would both reduce the quality of experiences at our nation’s parks and compromise the feeling of quiet awe and contemplation that visitors seek in enjoying our national treasures. Combined, the Pombo and Hoffman proposals reveal an alarming agenda to commercialize and sell our National Parks, rather than protect and honor them.”

“High standards are required for National Parks. They are our crown jewels, the places that define America. The American people will not forgive us if we reduce the quality of their experiences in them or sell those experiences off to the highest bidder.”

Carl Pope, Sierra Club Executive Director also issued a statement in opposition to the sale.

“One day after Congress Pombo's (R-CA) bill to raze the Endangered Species
Act passed out of committee, Pombo released a draft bill to sell off
America's National Parks and open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and
America's coasts to dangerous drilling. The irresponsible legislation
fails to decrease oil dependence or save consumers money, but instead
focuses bizarrely on items like selling naming rights and advertising in
National Parks and destroying millions of acres of the heritage Americans
cherish. The draft bill comes on the heels of Congressman Tancredo's
(R-CO) radical bill to sell off 15 percent of America's public land.

“In one of the most stark illustrations of Congressman Pombo's divergence
from the Republican Party's traditional values, he has proposed selling off
for development Theodore Roosevelt Island, named after the Republican
father of the conservation movement.

“Congressman Pombo's proposal would put 15 National Parks covering millions
of acres on the auction block for “energy or commercial development”.
These natural treasures would be sacrificed based on the arbitrary criteria
that they receive less than 10,000 visitors a year. These national park
units range from small historical sites like the Frederick Law Olmstead
National Historic site in Massachusetts to vast swaths of federal land and
the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife of Lake Clark National Park in

“These public lands are icons of our natural and cultural history. They
belong to us all and it is not up to congressmen Pombo or Tancredo to offer
them to the highest bidder. They are an invaluable resource that have been
protected for the benefit of future generations. Although Pombo may be
targeting lesser-known parts of our national Park system, this is obviously
the camel's nose under the tent. At a time when development is encroaching
on our open spaces and green places closer to home, Americans value the
places set aside for their historical significance, or as a haven for
wildlife, or beloved destinations where American families recreate.

“Congressman Pombo's bill also calls for opening the Arctic Refuge and more
of America's coasts to drilling even though it is not the answer to
lowering our dependence on oil – and it threatens the health of our coasts
and sensitive aquatic habitats. For example: The Coast Guard estimates
more than 7 million gallons of oil were spilled from industrial plants,
storage depots and other facilities around southeast Louisiana. That is
about two-thirds as much oil as spilled from the Exxon Valdez tanker in
1989. But unlike the oil from the Valdez, which poured from a single
source, these oil spills are scattered at sites throughout southeast

“The United States can never drill its way to energy independence. The
United States is responsible for 25% of the world's oil consumption, and
yet we have less than 3% of the world's oil supplies. Additionally, the
Energy Information Administration has estimated the effect of oil drilling
in the Arctic Refuge on the price of gasoline would be less than $0.01 per
gallon in 2025 – that's about a penny 20 years from now.

“The answer isn't on the supply side of the equation – it is on the demand
side. Cars with better fuel economy use less gas, requiring consumers to
buy less gas. More efficient appliances and homes use less natural gas,
easing the demand for drilling in sensitive places. This is not a time to
advance a narrow political agenda of the auto and oil industry – the people
of the United States need real solutions to save them money at the gas pump
and curb the heat-trapping pollution that causes global warming. There is
a better way. By using more efficient engines, smarter transmissions, and
better materials automakers can make all vehicles average 40 miles per
gallon within ten years. It's time to encourage and promote the use of
renewable energy sources including solar and wind power.

“This is just the latest attempt by Congressmen Pombo and Tancredo to
undermine America's bedrock environmental protections and special places.
In addition to pushing controversial measures to drill in the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge and off America's coasts, Pombo is also assaulting
the Endangered Species Act, and working to weaken the National
Environmental Policy Act which allows communities to be involved in the
decision-making process for federally funded projects.”