Tag Archives: Department of the Interior

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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‘Subsidizing the Climate and Ecological Crisis’: Biden Approving Fossil Fuel Permits Faster Than Trump or Obama

AP’s findings run counter to the president’s campaign vow to end oil and gas extraction on public lands.

Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-13-2021

Photo: Sunrise Movement/Facebook

Flying in the face of the White House’s reference to the climate crisis as an “existential threat” and President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge, his administration has so far approved fossil fuel drilling permits on public and tribal lands at a faster rate than his two immediate predecessors, a new Associated Press analysis has found.

“We’re not only subsidizing the climate and ecological crisis,” climate activist Greta Thunberg tweeted in response to the new reporting, “we’re speeding it up.” Continue reading

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‘This Is Climate Denial’: Biden Goes to Bat for Massive Alaska Drilling Project Approved Under Trump

“Burning that oil would create nearly 260 million metric tons of CO2 emissions—about the equivalent of what is produced by 66 coal-fired power plants.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-27-2021

A map showing the location of the Willow Master Development Plan. Graphic: Bureau of Land Management

The Biden administration is facing backlash from climate activists and scientists after filing a court brief Wednesday in defense of a major Trump-era Alaska drilling project that’s expected to produce up to 160,000 barrels of oil a day over a 30-year period—a plan that runs directly counter to the White House’s stated goal of slashing U.S. carbon emissions.

“This is a complete denial of reality,” said Jean Flemma, director of the Ocean Defense Initiative and former senior policy adviser for the House Natural Resources Committee. “The project is expected to produce about 590 million barrels of oil. Burning that oil would create nearly 260 million metric tons of CO2 emissions—about the equivalent of what is produced by 66 coal-fired power plants.” Continue reading

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‘Watershed Moment’ as Haaland Revokes Trump-Era Orders, Creates Climate Task Force

“Today’s orders make certain that the Interior Department is no longer going to serve as a rubber-stamp for the coal and oil and gas industries.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-16-2021

U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland announced a pair of climate-related secretarial orders on Friday, April 16, 2021. (Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior)

As the Biden administration reviews the U.S. government’s federal fossil fuels program and faces pressure to block any new dirty energy development, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland won praise from environmentalists on Friday for issuing a pair of climate-related secretarial orders.

“Today is a watershed moment in the history of the U.S. Department of the Interior,” declared Jeremy Nichols, climate and energy program director for WildEarth Guardians. “With Secretary Haaland’s actions today, it’s clear the Interior Department is now working for communities, science, and justice. We are grateful for her leadership and bold action to put people over polluters.” Continue reading

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‘Revolutionary Moment’: Biden White House Announces Major Boost for Offshore Wind

“As our country faces the interlocking challenges of a global pandemic, economic downturn, racial injustice, and the climate crisis, we must transition to a brighter future for everyone.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-29-2021

The Block Island Wind Farm- the first US offshore wind farm. Photo: National Renewable Energy Lab/flickr/CC

Climate action groups and ocean defenders issued strong praise Monday after the Biden administration announced its intention to boost the nation’s offshore wind capacity with a number of steps including preparing forfede leases in an area off the coasts of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

“Today’s announcement marks a revolutionary moment for offshore wind. This powerful renewable resource has been waiting in the wings of our energy system for too long, and now it can finally take center stage,” Hannah Read, an associate with Environment America’s Go Big on Offshore Wind campaign, told Common Dreams. Continue reading

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In ‘Brutal Blow’ to Wildlife and Gift to Big Oil, Trump Finalizes Rollback of Migratory Bird Treaty Act

“The Trump administration is signing the death warrants of millions of birds across the country.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-5-2021

A pied-billed grebe on an oil-covered evaporation pond at a commercial oilfield wastewater disposal facility. An estimated 500,000 to 1,000,000 migratory birds die each year in oilfield production skim pits and oil-covered evaporation ponds.(Photo: USFWS Mountain Prairie/Flickr/cc)

Just over two weeks before President Donald Trump is set to leave the White House, his U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday finalized a rollback of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act—a law that’s been in place since 1918 and which conservation groups credit with holding corporate polluters accountable for harming bird species.

In what the Western Values Project called a “parting gift to Big Oil by corrupt former oil lobbyist Interior Secretary David Bernhardt,” the USFWS announced a new rule under which the federal government will no longer penalize or prosecute companies when their actions cause the inadvertent death of birds. Continue reading

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Under Cover of Thanksgiving, Trump Administration Pushes to Relax Rules Protecting Birds

The proposal—which the administration admits would likely lead to more avian deaths—would let energy and other companies off the hook for “incidentally” killing birds.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2020

A Bohemian waxwing spotted in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on December 27, 2012. (Photo: Keith Williams/Flickr/cc)

Despite acknowledging that the move would lead to an increase in the 500 million to one billion birds that die each year in the United States due to human activity, the Trump administration on Friday published a proposed industry-friendly relaxation of a century-old treaty that protects more than 1,000 avian species.

As part of the administration’s race to rush through as many regulatory rollbacks as possible before President-elect Joe Biden enters office on January 20, the U.S. Department of the Interior released an analysis that sets the stage for modification of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s interpretation of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Continue reading

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Firing a “Vindictive, Illegal Parting Shot,” Trump’s Interior Proposes Sabotage of Conservation Program

“The administration’s proposal is unneeded, unwanted, and unacceptable.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-14-2020

The night sky and entrance sign at Joshua Tree National Park. (Photo: NPS/Lian Law/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration was accused of firing a “vindictive, illegal parting shot” following Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s Friday executive order sabotaging funding of a key conservation program.

At issue is the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Established in 1964, it has been hailed as the nation’s most important conservation program. The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), bipartisan legislation President Donald Trump signed into law in August, was to permanently and fully fund the LWCF. Continue reading

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