Tag Archives: Department of the Interior

Video Reveals Threat of “Wholesale Transfer and Privatization of America’s Public Lands” on Trump’s Agenda, Says Watchdog Group

The event in question, which took place June 2019 and was hosted by the Interior Department, featured a keynote address by climate-denier Myron Ebell.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-14-2020

Myron Ebell discusses withdrawing U.S.commitment to the Paris Climate Treaty on a panel on WUSA9 in 2017. Screenshot: YouTube

Watchdog group Western Values Project said Friday that audio it obtained of a June 2019 event at Trump’s Interior Department provides more evidence that public lands are under threat of being privatized by the former reality star and his crew of “anti-public land zealots.”

The event (pdf) in question was the American Agri-Women Symposium entitled “Federal Land Policies: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” which took place at Interior’s Sidney Yates Auditorium. Myron Ebell—the climate crisis-denying former head of President Trump’s EPA transition team who serves as head of environmental and energy policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute—was keynote speaker. Continue reading

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Trump’s Final Plan to Open Treasured Public Lands in Utah Called ‘Sellout’ to Big Oil

The administration’s new managment plans “are the latest in a series of insults… that began when Trump illegally dismantled Bears Ears and Grand Staircase at the behest of corporate interests two years ago.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-6-2020

The Trump administration on Thursday released its final management plans for a lands previously protected as national monuments. (Photo: Bob Wick/Bureau of Land Management/Flickr/cc)

Tribal and conservation groups on Thursday condemned the Trump administration’s “unconscionable” final management plans for Utah lands previously protected as national monuments, which critics warn will open up the region to ranchers who want to graze livestock and companies looking to cash in on the area’s oil, gas, and coal.

In a joint statement Thursday, critics charged that the U.S. Interior Department should not have finalized the plans while President Donald Trump’s December 2017 decision to severely shrink the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments is still being challenged in federal court. Continue reading

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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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Retired oil rigs off the California coast could find new lives as artificial reefs

A school of juvenile bocaccio in the midwaters of Platform Gilda, Santa Barbara Channel, Calif. Scott Gietler, CC BY-ND

Ann Scarborough Bull, University of California, Santa Barbara and Milton Love, University of California, Santa Barbara

Offshore oil and gas drilling has been a contentious issue in California for 50 years, ever since a rig ruptured and spilled 80,000 to 100,000 barrels of crude oil off Santa Barbara in 1969. Today it’s spurring a new debate: whether to completely dismantle 27 oil and gas platforms scattered along the southern California coast as they end their working lives, or convert the underwater sections into permanent artificial reefs for marine life.

We know that here and elsewhere, many thousands of fishes and millions of invertebrates use offshore rigs as marine habitat. Working with state fisheries agencies, energy companies have converted decommissioned oil and gas platforms into manmade reefs in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, Brunei and Malaysia. Continue reading

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#NotInvisible: Groundbreaking Legislation Tackles Epidemic of Violence Against Indigenous Women

“Women are disappearing and dying in Indian country. We must act,” said Rep. Deb Haaland

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 5-6-2019

Activists march for missing and murdered indigenous women and girls at the Women’s March DC. Photo: Slowking4/CC

Newly-proposed federal legislation tackles a silent crisis—the epidemic of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) introduced H.R. 2438—the Not Invisible Act of 2019—on Wednesday, just ahead of the National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Last month, a bipartisan group of senators introduced similar legislation in the upper chamber. Continue reading

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In Ruling on Coal Mining, Federal Judge Issues Latest Rebuke of Trump’s Attack on Public Lands

About 40 federal rulings have now blocked the president from rolling back environmental and public health regulations

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-20-2019

 

“This is a victory for communities whose land, water, and way of life is threatened by new coal mining,” Earthjustice said of a federal ruling against the president’s attempt to open up coal mining on public lands. (Photo: Maria Gunnoe Flight, courtesy of southwings.org)

Green groups on Saturday celebrated the latest federal ruling aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from rolling back environmental regulations that were put in place by his predecessor.

Judge Brian Morris issued a ruling late Friday stating that the Interior Department broke federal law when it lifted former President Barack Obama’s moratorium on coal mining in public lands. Continue reading

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New Interior Chief Bernhardt Reportedly Held Secret Meeting Linked to One of His Predecessor’s Many Scandals

Newly revealed meeting “absolutely epitomizes the ‘swamp’ that Donald Trump promised to drain but is in fact flooding,” one critic said

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 4-17-2019

Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt has a long history of lobbying for Big Oil and Big Ag. (Photo: Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck)

It’s only been a week, but newly-confirmed Interior Secretary David Bernhardt’s conflicts of interests are already raising questions about his involvement in the very same scandals for which his predecessor is now under investigation.

The Guardian reported Wednesday that Bernhardt, who was confirmed last week over the objections of climate action and conservation groups, met in 2018 with a lawyer for the Schaghticoke tribal nation of Connecticut, which opposed the operation of a new casino in the state by two other tribes. Continue reading

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Senate Urged to Reject ‘Walking, Talking Conflict of Interest’ David Bernhardt to Run Interior

“A dream come true for fossil fuel companies, but a nightmare for the American people.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-27-2019

David Bernhardt during his confirmation hearing for deputy secretary 2018. Photo: Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

Environmental activists are calling on senators to reject the nomination of former fossil fuel lobbyist David Bernhardt to lead the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The calls come ahead of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee’s Thursday morning hearing to consider his nomination.

“David Bernhardt is a walking, talking conflict of interest,” said Alissa Weinman, a senior organizer for the nonprofit Corporate Accountability. “Between his Big Polluter ties and corporate lobbying connections, it’s clear Bernhardt will continue to serve the corporate interests to whom he owes his career, not the people or our public lands.” Continue reading

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Leaked Audio Exposes Oil & Gas Execs Laughing With Joy Over Cozy Access to Trump Officials

“It’s really a new world for us and very, very helpful,” said powerful fossil fuel lobby group’s CEO during closed-door meeting

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-23-2019

David Bernhardt. Photo: Citizen Truth

A newly-leaked audio recording reveals that oil and gas executives in a private meeting were “giddy” with laughter in the summer of 2017 as they rejoiced over the “unprecedented access” they were being given to the highest levels of the Trump administration, boasting about their ability to have closed-door meetings with top officials and the ascendance of their own industry colleagues to some of the most powerful seats of government.

Among the topics in the recording, reports Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting—which was provided the audio—the oil and gas executives who belong to the Independent Petroleum Association of America (IPAA) “are heard discussing David Bernhardt, now deputy secretary of the Interior and a former industry lobbyist.” Notably, Bernhardt—described by the executives in the recording as a close friend and industry operative—has now been nominated by President Trump to be the next Secretary of Interior, with his confirmation hearings scheduled for next week. Continue reading

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