Outdoor Updates: Acting National Park Service Director abruptly retires

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Photo: Yellowstone, National Park, Wyoming, USA – Courtesy of Getty Images by Manel Vinuesa

Acting National Park Service Director abruptly retires

On August 7, acting National Park Service Director David Vela abruptly announced he was retiring as head of the park service. He will be replaced by Margaret Everson, principal deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Vela had been with the park service for over 30 years and was the third acting director to serve under Trump. He was nominated for the position in 2018, though the nomination was never confirmed.

The announcement was met with surprise and criticism by many organizations that work to protect the national parks. “We thank David Vela for his decades of service to our national parks, and we look forward to learning more about Margaret Everson’s priorities for our parks and their staff,” Theresa Pierno, President and CEO for National Parks Conservation Association, said in a news release. “For more than three years, the National Park Service has been without a Senate-confirmed director… without a permanent, emboldened director, there’s no one to speak for our parks and park staff.”

EPA rolls back oil and methane emissions standards

Last Thursday the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) finalized a rollback of Obama-era standards for methane emissions—a major contributor to climate change– in the oil and gas industry, The Hill reports. Two new rules rescind standards that regulate methane emissions from oil and gas production, processing, transmission, and storage. 

The EPA says the new rules will have a net benefit worth $750 million to $850 million over the next decade. Over the same amount of time, the rules would increase methane emissions by 400,000 tons and 450,000 tons each.

Tennessee State Parks to Host Tennessee Serves Events in September

Tennessee State Parks will host volunteer events in September across the state as part of First Lady Maria Lee’s Tennessee Serves initiative. The service opportunities at the parks are for all ages and skill levels. They include activities such as landscaping, invasive plant removal, litter pickup and trail maintenance.

“We are proud to partner for the second year with Tennessee State Parks and bring Tennessee Serves volunteer events to parks across the state,” said Lee. “We appreciate the many Tennesseans who have volunteered to help preserve the historic beauty of our state and look forward to a great month dedicated to serving our state parks.” For more information visit https://tnstateparks.com/get-involved/volunteering

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