National parks across the United States are closed to visitors, but oil and gas operations continue.
Production was reported in national parks in Texas and Florida, according to E&E Publishing.
But in some sites in Ohio, West Virginia and along the Texas Gulf Coast, drilling in national parks had stopped.
“It’s disappointing that the public is shut out from national parks but oil companies get to drill in them,” Alex Taurel, deputy legislative director at the League of Conservation Voters, said in an interview with E&E Publishing. “We don’t think that makes a lot of sense to a lot of people.”
The explanation? “Oil and gas companies in national parks,” E&E Publishing said, “operate on pre-existing private inholdings that allow firms to work during the shutdown. In many cases, industry-controlled land was grandfathered into the parks’ creation.”
Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said he’s planning to send letters to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack asking them to stop ming and oil and gas drilling and production on public lands until the shutdown is over.
As of 2010, there were about 700 oil and gas wells or drilling sites in 13 national park units, mostly in the Southeast, E&E Publishing said.
A notice Sunday night on the National Park Service website said: “Because of the federal government shutdown, all national parks are closed and National Park Service webpages are not operating.”