WASHINGTON - A new poll conducted by Zogby International for the National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA) and released today reveals that 79 percent of likely voters strongly or somewhat disagree that America's national parks should be sold to developers or the oil and gas industry, and 84 percent of likely voters strongly or somewhat disagree with a possible requirement that the National Park Service sell commercial naming rights on park buildings and trails.
"Like the rewrite of the National Park Service's management policies initiated by Department of Interior appointee Paul Hoffman, this is another fundamental attack on our national parks, and Americans are making their alarm about it very clear," said NPCA Vice President for Government Affairs Craig Obey. "This poll demonstrates the strength of public opinion against these kinds of extreme proposals."
NPCA commissioned the poll to gauge public opinion about a budget proposal drafted by Rep. Richard Pombo (R-11-Calif.), Chairman of the House Resources Committee. Chairman Pombo's draft proposal would sell 15 national parks to oil and gas industries - - closing 23 percent of the acreage in the entire National Park System. The Park Service would also be required to sell the island memorial in our nation's capital named for conservationist and President Teddy Roosevelt to private developers, turn park vehicles and facilities into billboards for commercial advertising, and sell commercial naming rights for park buildings and trails.
The organization also launched an online advertising campaign to rally public opposition to Chairman Pombo's proposal. NPCA is advertising on the web sites of the New York Times, Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle. The ads, which were produced in-house, click through to the organization's web site -- http://www.npca.org -- where visitors can send letters to their members of Congress about the need to protect national parks from the proposals forwarded by both Chairman Pombo and Hoffman.
"What's particularly notable is the vehemence of public opinion on this," Obey added. "Seventy percent said they were strongly opposed to the sale of commercial naming rights. The American people clearly reject cheapening our national heritage and placing it on the auction block."
Zogby International conducted interviews of 1,000 likely voters chosen at random nationwide. All calls were made from Zogby International headquarters in Utica, N.Y., from Sept. 30, 2005 through Oct. 2, 2005. The margin of error is 3.2 percentage points.