Tag Archives: Bureau of Land Management

New BLM Appointee Brings Conflicts of Interest and Plans to Sell Off Public Lands to Agency Charged With Protecting Them

“It’s hard to imagine anyone in this position more dangerous than William Perry Pendley.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-30-2019

Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona is among the public lands which could be threatened by the appointment of William Perry Pendley to oversee the Bureau of Land Management. (Photo: Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/cc)

Control over nearly 250 million acres of public lands was placed Monday in the hands of a former Reagan administration official who has argued that all federal lands should be sold to fossil fuel and other corporate interests in accordance with the goals of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt appointed attorney William Perry Pendley as acting head of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), sending fears throughout conservation groups that many of the country’s minerals and resources will soon be handed over to oil and gas companies. Continue reading

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Critics Charge New Trump Plan ‘Recklessly Weakens Protections’ for What Remains of ‘Illegally Reduced’ Bears Ears Monument

“The Trump administration continues to prove its utter disregard of our public lands and outdoor heritage.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-26-2019

The Interior Department on Friday released its management plan for Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. (Photo: Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/cc)

Conservation groups and congressional Democrats slammed the Trump administration Friday over its destructive new management plan for the “illegally reduced” Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

In December of 2017, the administration provoked mass outrage with its decision to reduce Bears Ears by about 85 percent. The Bureau of Land Management—an agency of the U.S. Interior Department—published in the Federal Register on Friday a management plan for, as one critic put it, “the meager remnants of the original monument.” Continue reading

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New Legislation Aims to Avert Arctic Giveaway to ‘Corporate Polluters’ Sneaked Into GOP Tax Scam

Announcement comes as scholars warn fossil fuel drilling in Arctic refuge “would contribute to the escalating crises of climate change and biological annihilation.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-12-2019

A member of the Porcupine caribou herd, which conservation groups say would be horribly impacted if fossil fuel exploration and extraction takes place in ANWR’s coastal plain. New legislation sponsored by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) aims to make sure that doesn’t happen. (Photo: G MacRae/flickr/cc)

Conservation groups are cheering the introduction on Monday of a measure to stop fossil fuel extraction in a section of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).

“This bill calls a halt to the administration’s headlong rush to sell off this special wilderness to corporate polluters,” said John Bowman, senior director for federal affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “And it preserves the fundamental human rights of the Gwich’in people whom these lands have sustained for thousands of years, and who—among two-thirds of all Americans—oppose drilling in the Arctic Refuge.”

The legislation is a renewed effort by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.), and would repeal a provision included in the GOP’s 2017 tax bill (pdf). Denounced as “a Big Oil polar payout,” the provision opens the refuge’s coastal plain to oil and gas exploration and drilling. Continue reading

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These Trump Staffers — Including an ex-NRA Lobbyist — Left Their Financial Disclosure Forms Blank

The Interior Department acknowledges that many of its employees’ forms “were not reviewed and certified properly.”

By Gabriel Sandoval. Published 6-28-2018 by ProPublica

Before accepting a position at the U.S. Department of the Interior last October, Benjamin Cassidy championed gun rights for nearly seven years as a lobbyist for the National Rifle Association, collecting a peak annual salary of $288,333 for his work on Capitol Hill.

The public wouldn’t know that by looking at Cassidy’s government financial disclosure report. The form, which he filed soon after taking a job as senior deputy director of the office of intergovernmental and external affairs, doesn’t list his old job at the NRA — or any past job, for that matter. Cassidy’s form was nearly blank, save for his name, title and some bank holdings and investments. In the space allotted to show his income, it incorrectly stated “None.” Continue reading

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In ‘Tremendous Victory for Taxpayers, Public Health, and Planet,’ Federal Court Rejects Trump Admin.’s Attempt to Suspend Methane Rule

The late Thursday ruling “once again sends a message to this administration that it will not get away with illegal handouts to industry”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for CommonDreams. Published 2-23-2018

A fracking well flare in Scott Township, Pennsylvania. (Photo: WCN 24/7/flickr/cc)

A court has once again rejected the Trump administration’s effort to suspend an Obama-era rule aimed at reducing releases of methane from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal land.

“The decision,” writes Meleah Geertsma, a senior attorney with NRDC, “once again sends a message to this administration that it will not get away with illegal handouts to industry, at the expense of Americans’ health and the environment.” Continue reading

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‘Unconscionable’: Trump Looks to Gut Protections for National Monuments

Order instructs Interior Department to review designation of every monument larger than 100,000 acres protected by Antiquities Act since 1996

By Nadia Prupis, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-26-2017

Among the areas now at risk are Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, which protects more than 1.3 million acres of land. (Photo: Bureau of Land Management/flickr/cc)

President Donald Trump on Wednesday ordered federal officials to launch a review of national monument designations, potentially setting the stage to gut environmental protections for public lands and oceans.

The executive order instructs the Department of the Interior to review the designation of every monument larger than 100,00 acres protected by the Antiquities Act since 1996. It could give fossil fuel companies access to millions of acres for new drilling, climate justice advocates warned. Continue reading

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Feds: Only Those Committed to Destroying Planet Can Bid on Fossil Fuel Leases

In hypocritical move, Bureau of Land Management rescinds climate activist’s federal land leases because she refuses to drill for oil and gas

By Nika Knight, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-20-2016

Terry Tempest Williams. Photo : Devon Fredericksen

Terry Tempest Williams. Photo : Devon Fredericksen

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Wednesday rejected land leases purchased at public auction in February by climate activist and author Terry Tempest Williams, refunding William’s payment and revoking the leases because the environmentalist publicly vowed to keep fossil fuels in the ground.

“We are disappointed in the agency’s decision to hold us to a different standard than other lessees,” Williams and her husband, Brooke Williams, responded to the BLM’s decision in a statement. “The agency claims that it cannot issue the leases because we did not commit to developing them. The BLM has never demanded that a lease applicant promise to develop the lease before it was issued. In fact, a great many lessees maintain their leases undeveloped for decades, thereby blocking other important uses of the lands such as conservation and recreation.”

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Say What? Judge Says Feds Lack Authority to Regulate Fracking on Public Lands

Wyoming judge strikes down Obama administration’s fracking rule

By Deirdre Fulton, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-22-2016

A sign at a Keep It in the Ground protest earlier this year. (Photo: WildEarth Guardians/flickr/cc)

A sign at a Keep It in the Ground protest earlier this year. (Photo: WildEarth Guardians/flickr/cc)

In a blow to environmentalists calling on the Obama administration to keep fossil fuels in the ground, a judge on Tuesday struck down as unlawful the new rule meant to regulate fracking on federal lands.

The decision from Judge Scott Skavdahl of the District Court of Wyoming “is a major loss for the administration, which worked for years to update its oil and natural gas drilling regulations to account for dramatic increases and innovations in fracking,” The Hill reports. Continue reading

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‘Climate Not For Sale’ Declares Public as Fossil Fuel Giants Drool over Federal Auction

‘The health of our communities and our public lands should not be auctioned off to the highest bidder’

By Sarah Lazare, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2015

"Selling of our public lands to the highest bidder should not be allowed," said Zabrina Arnovitz with Rights For All People, a Colorado-based immigrant justice group that participated in Tuesday's protest. (Photo courtesy of Taylor McKinnon/Center for Biological Diversity)

“Selling of our public lands to the highest bidder should not be allowed,” said Zabrina Arnovitz with Rights For All People, a Colorado-based immigrant justice group that participated in Tuesday’s protest. (Photo courtesy of Taylor McKinnon/Center for Biological Diversity)

As the federal government moves to sell off public land to private fossil fuel corporations, opponents from across the United States charge that such auctions constitute affronts to local communities, crimes against the climate, and attacks on the common good.

That opposition was demonstrated early on Thursday as people from local and national organizations rallied outside of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) oil and gas lease sale in Lakewood, Colorado—where more than 90,000 acres of publicly-owned land in the central and eastern parts of the state are on the auction block. Continue reading

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