This case study analyzes the potential impacts of weakening the National Park Service’s (NPS) “9B Regulations” enacted in 1978, which established a federal regulatory framework governing hydrocarbon rights and extraction to protect natural resources within the parks. We focus on potential risks to national parklands resulting from Executive Orders 13771—Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs [1]—and 13783—Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth [2]—and subsequent recent revisions and further deregulation. To establish context, we briefly overview the history of the United States NPS and other relevant federal agencies’ roles and responsibilities in protecting federal lands that have been set aside due to their value as areas of natural beauty or historical or cultural significance [3]. We present a case study of Theodore Roosevelt National Park (TRNP) situated within the Bakken Shale Formation—a lucrative region of oil and gas deposits—to examine potential impacts if areas of TRNP, particularly areas designated as “wilderness,” are opened to resource extraction, or if the development in other areas of the Bakken near or adjacent to the park’s boundaries expands [4]. We have chosen TRNP because of its biodiversity and rich environmental resources and location in the hydrocarbon-rich Bakken Shale. We discuss where federal agencies’ responsibility for the protection of these lands for future generations and their responsibility for oversight of mineral and petroleum resources development by private contractors have the potential for conflict.

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