Tag Archives: Department of the Interior

200+ Groups to Congress: Stop ‘Zombie’ Funding for Fossil Fuels on Public Lands

“It’s past time our leaders take this simple step and stop funding activities that are completely at odds with protecting our climate,” one advocate said.

By Olivia Rosane. Published 5-15-2024 by Common Dreams

Oil drilling platforms have been placed in Alaska after the approval of the Willow Project, which has caused an uproar of controversy and opposition all over the nation. Environmentalists are strongly opposed to the project. Photo courtesy of KarmaActive

More than 200 environmental and climate advocacy groups sent a letter to Congress on Wednesday demanding that lawmakers stop funding the extraction of fossil fuels on public lands and waters.

The letter argues that Congress’ annual approval of taxpayer funds to subsidize oil and gas drilling and coal mining “undermine” the international agreement reached at the United Nations COP28 climate conference last year on the need for “transitioning away from fossil fuels.”

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US Government Sued Over ‘Unethical Destruction’ of Wolf Population

“The Fish and Wildlife Service is thumbing its nose at the Endangered Species Act and letting wolf-hating states sabotage decades of recovery efforts,” said one conservation leader.

By Jessica Corbett Published 4-8-2024 by Common Dreams

Gray wolf. Photo: USFWS Midwest Region/flickr

A pair of conservation coalitions on Monday made good on their threats to sue the U.S. government over its denial of federal protections for gray wolves in the northern Rocky Mountains, where state killing regimes “put wolves at obvious risk of extinction in the foreseeable future.”

The organizations filed notices of their plans for the lawsuits in early February, after the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) determined that Endangered Species Act protections for the region’s wolves were “not warranted.” The Interior Department agency could have prevented the suits in the U.S. District Court for the District of Montana by reversing its decision within 60 days but refused to do so.

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Watchdog Finds Trump Border Wall Harmed Environment, Indigenous Sites, and Wildlife

“This racist political stunt has been an ineffective waste of billions of American taxpayers’ dollars—and now we know it has caused immeasurable, irreparable harm,” said Congressman Raúl Grijalva.

By Jessica Corbett Published 9-7-2023 by Common Dreams

Donald Trump stands before a section of border fencing. Photo: rump White House Archived/flickr/CC

A U.S. government watchdog agency on Thursday released a report exposing how former President Donald Trump’s wall construction along the nation’s border with Mexico negatively affected cultural and natural resources, as critics have long argued.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Department of Defense (DOD) installed about 458 miles of border barrier panels across the southwest border from January 2017 through January 2021,” according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report. “Most (81%) of the miles of panels replaced existing barriers.”

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Now End All the Drilling, Campaigners Say as Biden Rescinds Arctic Refuge Leases

“Our sacred land is only temporarily safe from oil and gas development,” said one First Nations leader, urging Congress and the White House to “permanently protect the Arctic Refuge.”

By Julia Conley. Published 9-6-2023 by Common Dreams

Polar bear, Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska. Photo: Alan D. Wilson/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Indigenous tribes and climate campaigners applauded the Biden administration’s announcement Wednesday that it will cancel all existing oil and gas drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and ban drilling across 13 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve, while hundreds of groups also called on the U.S. Interior Department to go further on fossil fuel leasing.

Biden’s move in Alaska will reverse former Republican President Donald Trump’s approval of a 2017 law that required leasing in the Arctic Refuge, the nation’s largest area of pristine wilderness which is home to vulnerable species including polar bears, migratory birds, and caribou.

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Green Groups Call on Biden Admin to End Support for ‘Scientifically Bankrupt’ Wildlife Killing

“The FWS is tasked with preventing extinctions, using sound science when making decisions to prevent those extinctions, and with being accountable to the entire public—not funding controversial predator-control actions for the purported benefit of a few.”

By Julia Conley. Published 8-15-2023 by Common Dreams

Brown bear sow and cub on beach at ake Clark National Park, Alaska. Photo: K. Jalone/NPS

A rulemaking petition demanding an end to federal support for the removal of wolves and bears from states such as Alaska has been languishing at the U.S. Interior Department for almost two years, nearly three dozen conservation groups and scientists said in a letter to Interior Secretary Deb Haaland on Tuesday as they raised alarm about a recent killing operation.

Led by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), the Humane Society of the United States, and the Global Indigenous Council, 35 organizations wrote to the secretary to raise alarm about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (FWS) continued funding of “irresponsible and controversial predator-control projects.”

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Indigenous-Led Blockade Demands Biden Declare Climate Emergency, End Oil Leasing

“Native land back in native hands, we are not your sacrifice zones!”

By Jake Johnson   Published 8-1-2022 by Common Dreams

A demonstrator is suspended from a tripod structure in front of the Interior Department in Washington, D.C. on August 1, 2022. (Photo: About Face: Veterans Against the War/Twitter)

An Indigenous-led blockade outside the U.S. Department of Interior early Monday morning called on President Joe Biden to declare a climate emergency and halt all new fossil fuel projects, a demand that came as the White House and Senate Democrats are pushing legislation that could unleash a flurry of drilling activity on public lands and waters.

“Native land back in native hands, we are not your sacrifice zones!” declared the Ikiya Collective, which helped organize the direct action. Continue reading

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Green Groups Demand Answers About ‘Flimsy’ and Buried Biden Drilling Report

“Public records released as a result of this request will shine light on the dangerous chasm separating Biden’s climate promises from his refusal to phase out the use of our public lands and waters for oil and gas extraction.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-2-2021 by Common Dreams

U.S. President Joe Biden listens as Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland speaks at the White House. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior/flickr/CC

A trio of climate and conservation organizations on Thursday filed a public records request regarding the development of a report about leasing federal lands and waters to fossil fuel companies that the Biden administration released the day after Thanksgiving.

The administration came under fire for not only the contents of the U.S. Department of the Interior report—required by President Joe Biden’s January executive order on “tackling the climate crisis at home and abroad”—but also dropping it on the Friday after a holiday. Continue reading

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Frustrated Tribal Leaders Urge Biden to Immediately Restore Bears Ears Monument

“We have tried to be patient and respectful as we await your decision on restoration. However, the longer action is not taken, real harm, much permanent, is occurring on this sacred landscape.”

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-28-2021

Bears Ears National Monument in Utah is home to more than 100,000 Native American archaeological and cultural sites. (Photo: Bob Wick/U.S. Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/cc)

Amid increasing frustration, leaders of two Native American tribes are calling on President Joe Biden to “take immediate action” to restore and enlarge Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, according to a letter published Tuesday by The Washington Post.

In the letter, Hopi Tribal Vice Chair Clark W. Tenakhongva and Navajo Nation representative Henry Stevens Jr. note that eight months have passed since Biden, on his first day in office, signed an executive order directing the U.S. Department of the Interior to conduct a comprehensive review of former President Donald Trump’s 85% reduction of the 1.35 million-acre reserve, the result of a December 2017 presidential proclamation. Continue reading

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Biden Admin. Sued for Letting Big Oil Harass ‘Imperiled’ Polar Bears

“We’re hopeful the court will overturn this dangerous rule that puts polar bears in the crosshairs.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 9-16-2021

A new rule announced on August 4, 2021 by the Biden administration will allow fossil fuel companies operating in northern Alaska to harass polar bears and walruses while searching or drilling for oil. Photo: Andreas Weith/Wikimedia/CC

A coalition of conservation groups sued the Biden administration on Thursday over the U.S. Department of the Interior’s recent rule allowing fossil fuel companies to harass polar bears and walruses while searching and drilling for oil and gas in the Southern Beaufort Sea.

Announced last month by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the rule was quickly blasted as “disturbing” by Kristen Monsell, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, one of the groups behind the new federal lawsuit (pdf) in Alaska. Continue reading

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‘Hard to Imagine Worse Idea’: Biden to Resume Fossil Fuel Leases on Public Lands and Waters

“The president made a promise to ban all new oil and gas leasing on public lands and waters,” said Greenpeace, “and the American people expect him to keep it.”

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams.  Published 8-17-2021

Off shore oil rig drilling in Santa Catalina Channel. Photo: arbyreed/flickr/CC

Climate groups are expressing deep concern following an Interior Department announcement Monday that the Biden administration will resume oil and gas drilling leases on public lands and waters—a practice President Joe Biden vowed to ban during his 2020 run for the White House—in response to a federal court ruling.

While the Biden administration confirmed in its announcement that an appeal has been filed with the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals in a legal battle with the state of Louisiana—which sued the federal government over the pause in the oil and gas leasing program ordered by Biden earlier this year—the Interior Department said leasing would resume while the process plays out. Continue reading

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