Former park rangers have launched a new group, Park Rangers for Our Lands, to provide solutions to irresponsible plans to drill near America’s national parks.

The former park rangers are advocating for a balance between energy development and conservation, just at a time when Colorado Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director Helen Hankins has tried to push forward widely-criticized plans to drill next to Dinosaur National Monument and near Mesa Verde National Park. These are two areas of primary concern for the group.

According to Richard Ellis, who spearheaded the formation of Park Rangers for Our Lands:

“Our parks are under siege. Oil and gas drilling is encroaching our public lands from all sides…We need the BLM to work with its neighbors at the National Park Service and come up with common sense ways to protect the parks, the air quality in the region, and keep the West a beautiful place to visit.”

Director Hankins has come under fire, numerous times, for her oil and gas leasing plans next to Dinosaur Monument’s visitor center, near Mesa Verde National Park, perilously close to Denver’s drinking water supplies, and in the agricultural heart of North Fork Valley.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t stopped Dir. Hankins from continuing to push to open these areas for oil and gas drilling (see graphic) – despite the risks to our water, public health, farms and economies. It’s time for Director Hankins to adopt a common sense approach to oil and gas leasing that includes up to date analysis, implementing national BLM reforms – to cut down on Colorado’s highest in the region lease protests– and taking into effect the concerns of local businesses, landowners and the National Parks Service.