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Adjacent Mineral and Energy Development

Man asks survey questions at Yosemite National Park.
Aerial view of an oil well site, Padre Island National Seashore, TX

The frequency of mineral development adjacent to units of the National Park System is increasing because mining and oil and gas developers are moving into new territories. Because the effects of resource extraction cross boundaries, they complicate the strict mandate of the National Park Service to conserve natural and cultural resources for all future generations. Currently, mining is conducted adjacent to 51 units and oil and gas are extracted adjacent to 35 units.

Adverse Effects of Adjacent Mineral Development

Adverse effects on natural and cultural resources from mining and from oil and gas development are numerous. For example, ground and surface waters can be contaminated with heavy metals that leach and acids that drain from mineral mines or with chemicals or hydrocarbons from drilling operations. Erosion of sensitive lands may be excessive, and siltation of downstream waters is frequent. Mineral development adjacent to units can introduce exotic plant species, reduce important wildlife habitat, displace wildlife, cause visual intrusion, impair night skies, provide a source of excessive noise and noxious odors, and reduce air quality with airborne pollutants or fugitive dust. Also, of particular concern are visitor safety and overall degradation of the visitors' experience.

Position of the National Park Service

The National Park Service has aggressively pursued protection of its resources from adjacent mineral development by attempting to coordinate mineral planning and permitting by adjacent land managers. In an effort to protect park resources and values from possible impacts associated with adjacent mineral exploration and production, the NPS actively participates on the Federal Energy Resources Network and the Rocky Mountain Energy Council. This involvement with other federal, state, and local land management and permitting agencies further facilitates involvement at the early stages policy development, minerals planning and permitting.

Related Links

Key Contacts

Lisa NorbyLisa Norby
Energy and Minerals Branch Chief,
Geoscientist-in-the-Parks & Mosaics in Science Program Manager
Geologic Resources Division
12795 West Alameda Parkway
Lakewood, Colorado 80228
(303) 969-2318 (office)
Contact - Lisa Norby

Geologic Resources Division Mailing Address
National Park Service
Geologic Resources Division
P.O. Box 25287
Denver, Colorado 80225-0287




Last Updated: September 09, 2015