outdoor rec relies on petroleum-based products

What’s not so obvious is that just about every article of outdoor clothing and piece of gear is made from oil and natural gas. Spandex, nylon, fleece, Gore-Tex, plastics, high-tech lightweight fills, and other synthetic materials used in outdoor recreation products are engineered from petroleum.

Opinion by Kathleen Sgamma

Denver Post

Public lands energize more than a recreation economy

Western Energy Alliance welcomes the Outdoor Industry Association and its Outdoor Retailer show to Denver. The oil and natural gas industry is full of outdoor enthusiasts like myself who love to hike, camp, hunt, fish, paddle, climb, etc. We appreciate the myriad products that enhance the outdoor experience and protect us from the elements.

We’d also like to say you’re welcome. Without oil and natural gas, the outdoor industry and its customers couldn’t enjoy the great outdoors. Most obvious is the fuel to get people to remote wilderness areas or far-away national parks and to deliver goods to retail outlets.

What’s not so obvious is that just about every article of outdoor clothing and piece of gear is made from oil and natural gas. Spandex, nylon, fleece, Gore-Tex, plastics, high-tech lightweight fills, and other synthetic materials used in outdoor recreation products are engineered from petroleum.

Despite that symbiotic relationship, the Outdoor Industry Association and some of its member companies are often at odds with the oil and natural gas industry. From advocating against hydraulic fracturing to opposing responsible energy development on non-park, non-wilderness public lands, the outdoor industry often opposes the oil and natural gas on which it depends. Is it a cynical “greenwashing” ploy to sell more of its petroleum-based products while hoping the public doesn’t notice the hypocrisy?

We can understand advocacy on public lands issues. Western Energy Alliance advocates for access to western working landscapes that have been designated as appropriate for energy development only after years of land use planning that the public can engage in.

Of the approximately 640 million acres of federal public lands, about 109 million are wilderness areas, 84 million are national parks, 89 million are wildlife refuges, and another 100 million are protected under various other conservation designations. These hundreds of millions of acres are available for recreation but closed to oil and natural gas development.

But there are also vast working landscapes across the West that are appropriate for productive uses like ranching, mining, and energy development; all of which create jobs and provide Americans with products that meet their basic needs…

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