Video Series: Public Lands, Private Profits

Extractive Industries Threaten 3 American Treasures

Andrew Satter and CAP's Public Lands team investigate three precious spaces under threat from resource extraction.

Event: The Status of American Conservation in 2012

Federal public lands are managed by the government on behalf of all Americans. Some of our public lands are appropriate for energy production and other industrial development, but others should instead be prioritized for values like recreation, hunting and fishing, clean air, clean drinking water, and their role in our quality of life.

The Center for American Progress, in partnership with the Sierra Club, undertook a series of video mini-documentaries that revealed three places held in the public trust that could be threatened by pending proposals to mine and drill in or around them. Grand Canyon National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and the Bridger-Teton National Forest may all be irrevocably changed if various companies’ plans to move forward with their extraction projects are approved.

Films in this series have been accepted as official entrants into the following film festivals:

Videos in the series

“A Grand Threat”

A Canadian company uses outdated environmental studies to bring uranium mining back to the Grand Canyon.

For more information, please see:

“Boom or Bust”

As a nearby coal mine threatens majestic Bryce Canyon, an age-old fight over tourism versus extraction engulfs a small Utah town.

For more information, please see:

“Too Special to Drill”

Natural gas drilling would bring an ignoble end to Wyoming’s spectacular Noble Basin and its residents’ exceptional way of life.

For more information, please see:

Special thanks to:

  • Bruce Gordon and EcoFlight
  • Pierre Kattar
  • Stephen Lacey


“A Grand Threat”

  • Roger Clark
  • Scott Florence
  • Taylor McKinnon
  • Steve Martin
  • Richard Mayol
  • Dr. Abe Springer
  • Carl Taylor
  • Carletta Tilousi


“Boom or Bust”

  • Harry Barber
  • Steve Bloch
  • Jeff Bradybaugh
  • Matt Brown
  • Bobbi Bryant
  • Commissioner Dirk Clayson
  • Commissioner Jim Matson
  • Bruce McMahan and Lue McMahan
  • David Nimkin
  • Sean O’Brien
  • Kevin Poe
  • Commissioner Leland Pollock
  • Keith Rigtrup
  • Vince Salvato
  • Mayor Lori Talbot
  • Tim Wagner
  • Night sky video timelapse by Richard Blake


“Too Special to Drill”

  • Pat Burroughs
  • Elaine Crumpley
  • Stephanie Kessler
  • Dan Smitherman
  • Rollin Sparrowe
  • Dave Willoughby

This series is a partnership between the Center for American Progress and the Sierra Club.

cap logosierra club logo

The positions of American Progress, and our policy experts, are independent, and the findings and conclusions presented are those of American Progress alone. A full list of supporters is available here. American Progress would like to acknowledge the many generous supporters who make our work possible.


Andrew Satter

Senior Director, Video

Jessica Goad

Research and Outreach Manager, Public Lands

Tom Kenworthy

Senior Fellow

Christy Goldfuss

Former Senior Vice President, Energy and Environment Policy