Executive Summary of Policy Recommendation to Improve Air Quality at National Parks
The Clean Air Act established specific standards for protecting Class I watershed areas, including National Parks greater than 6,000 acres, from pollution due to nearby oil and gas drilling. However, still, 85 percent of National Parks have degrees of air pollution hazardous to human health (Yale School of the Environment 2019). Therefore, current CAA implementation does not adequately protect the air quality at National Parks and needs to be enhanced by passing H.R. 3225 which would require the Bureau of Land Management to complete comprehensive environmental reviews before allowing oil and gas companies to conduct drilling operations within 100 mies of National Parks.
H.R. 3225 is a stellar response to the problem as it addresses the problem at its source. Insufficiency in terms of solving the problem plagues other bills such as H.R. 5636 which does not proactively prevent oil and gas companies from leasing the lands, H.R. 4364 which allows drilling as long as the fossil fuel companies still have the funds to do so, and H.R. S. 3202 which does not take into account the impact nearby drilling has on National Parks (Library of Congress 2020). However, H.R. 3225 would reinstate master leasing plans, involving both fossil fuel companies and the public, to take foreseen environmental impacts into account before leasing (Library of Congress 2020). The support of environmental issues in the House of Representatives was revealed by its consensus in its passing of recent climate bills such as H.R. 9 and H.R. 4447 (Library of Congress 2020). Due to its respect for science in policymaking, the House of Representatives can be persuaded to support H.R. 3225 through non-governmental influences such as the TedTalk by Avory Lovins emphasizing the economic benefit of renewable energy and research from the California Council on Science and Technology highlighting the damage fracking has on drinking water quality. In contrast, emphasizing the voter appeal Republican Senators in western states gained from passing the Great American Outdoors Act is a productive strategy to pass H.R. 3225 in the Senate (Library of Congress 2020). Also, H.R. 3225 reduces the opportunity for oil and gas companies to lease by establishing a higher national minimum acceptable bid which is specifically aligned with the S.3488 (Library of Congress 2020). Finally, President-elect Joe Biden would sign it into law based on his platform (Lee and Magil 2020).
As dangerous air quality in National Parks due to oil and gas drilling is a major problem, passing H.R. 3225 is the most proactive and direct solution. While science is persuasive leverage in the House of Representatives, illustrating commonality between the bill and Senate’s wishes in terms of voter appeal and lease rental rates will help all of Congress pass it. Empowering the new President-elect to sign H.R. 3225 into law is crucial to improve the nation’s health.
Lee, Stephen and Bobby Magill. 2020. “Biden to Move Fast to Strike Down Trump’s Environmental Agenda”. Bloomberg Law. Accessed November 11.
Lund, Nicholas. 2018. “Courting Disaster”. National Parks Conservation Association. Accessed October 2.
Library of Congress. 2020. “H.R. 3225”. congress.gov. Accessed November 11.
Library of Congress. 2020. “H.R. 4364”. congress.gov. Accessed November 11.
Library of Congress. 2020. “H.R. 5636”. congress.gov. Accessed November 11.
Library of Congress. 2020. “S. 3302”. congress.gov. Accessed November 11.
Library of Congress. 2020. “S. 3488”. congress.gov. Accessed November 11.
Yale School of the Environment. 2019. “Dangerously High Pollution Levels Found in Most U.S.
National Parks”. Accessed October 2.