Eleven national parks in Florida, including several on the First Coast, are threatened by White House proposals to open to oil drilling currently protected parts of the nation’s outer continental shelf and to revise the 2016 Well Control Rule, according to a report released Wednesday by environmental conservation groups.
Nicholas Lund, co-author of the report issued by the National Parks Conservation Association and the Natural Resources Defense Council, told reporters that the proposed changes put more than 9,000 Florida jobs at risk.
First Coast area national parks that could be impacted, according to the report are:
- Castillo de San Marcos National Monument –St. Augustine
- Fort Caroline National Memorial - Jacksonville
- Fort Matanzas National Monument – St. Augustine mailing address/St. Johns County (A1A)
- Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve - Jacksonville
The proposals could also cost Florida $876 million in annual economic output, according to Lund, a senior manager with parks association. “The economic output from the national parks and monuments in Florida is a significant force in the coastal economy of the state,” the 38-page report states.
“The economic output measure goes far beyond just visitors’ spending and includes the ripples of activity their visits generate: the spending of both the businesses they patronize and the communities their tourism supports. Many out-of-town visitors of coastal national parks identify a park as their primary reason for travelling to the area.”
The report focused on the potential impacts of oil and gas drilling on different sections of the nation.
Other Florida parks that could be impacted are:
- Big Cypress National Preserve - Ochopee
- Biscayne National Park - Homestead
- Canaveral National Seashore - Titusville
- De Soto National Memorial - Bradenton
- Dry Tortugas National Park – West of Key West
- Everglades National Park - Homestead
- Gulf Islands National Seashore – Gulf Breeze
The report did not address potential impacts to municipal and state parks.
WJCT News contributed to this report.