Trump appointee William Perry Pendley served unlawfully as acting head of the Bureau of Land Management for 424 days, a U.S. district judge ruled in ordering Pendley's immediate removal from office. Chief District Judge Brian Morris, based in Great Falls, Montana, said he would hear arguments in the near future on which of Pendley's orders must be vacated, reported Drovers.
The Trump administration's new and smaller boundaries for Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments may not generate many immediate requests from energy companies to mine or drill on the 2 million acres of land, said the Associated Press. The Interior Department declined to say how many claims have been filed but a trade group said low uranium prices would "discourage any investment in new claims'" in the Bears Ears territory of Utah.
The Interior Department would auction off millions of acres of public land for oil and gas development, according to a draft obtained by The Nation of the department's strategic plan for the next five years. "It states that the DOI is committed to achieving 'American energy dominance' through the exploitation of 'vast amounts' of untapped energy reserves on public lands."
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds says President Trump affirmed his commitment to biofuels during a telephone conversation amid Midwestern fears of a weaker Renewable Fuels Standard in 2018. Despite encouraging words from Trump and the EPA, the head of an Iowa group said biofuel backers won't rest until the EPA announces its final decision, due by Nov. 30.
The Inspector General has launched an investigation into Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s air travel, after complaints that Zinke was using a private plane owned by an oil executive. That particular flight, from Las Vegas to Zinke’s home state of Montana, cost taxpayers $12,000, according to the Washington Post. But other taxpayer-funded flights, including one to speak at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, are also being questioned.
Since 2013, nearly 233,000 tons of radioactive waste, much of it from the Bakken oilfields in North Dakota, has been disposed of at a site near Glendive, Montana. Now, after years of prodding, the state has finally proposed a rule for handling oilfield waste, but area ranchers and farmers think the plan leaves them deeply vulnerable.
A new sage grouse conservation plan released by the Interior Department has ranchers and energy developers in the West cheering, while environmentalists worry about the endangered bird’s future.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is stocking the Interior Department with staffers who’ve spent years working for the extractive energy industry, suggesting an agency increasingly less friendly toward public-lands conservation, says Western Values Project, a progressive advocacy organization. …
The industry-led Oklahoma Energy Resource Board has spent $50 million since the 1990s training the state's K-12 teachers to teach a science and math curriculum that critics claim is more industry promotion that real education.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, in New England as part of his ongoing review of national monuments, told Reuters that the United States can become a “dominant” energy force by boosting mining and drilling on federal lands.
With the release of the 2018 White House Budget proposal, environmentalists and public lands advocates are worried over a $1.4 billion (10.9 percent) cut to the Interior Department. The proposal targets federal lands, opens oil drilling in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), and cancels money set aside to bring economic opportunities to Appalachia — often in the form of farming ventures.
U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says that removing burdensome environmental permit regulations is high on his list of ways to improve the U.S. manufacturing climate. Ross plans to present the list to President Trump in May.
Released under court order, thousands of pages of emails show how Scott Pruitt, the new EPA administrator, "closely coordinated with major oil and gas producers, electric utilities" and anti-regulation political groups in opposing environmental regulations while Oklahoma attorney general, said the New York Times. "The correspondence points to the tension emerging as Mr Pruitt is now charged with regulating many of the same companies," said the newspaper, adding, "the emails are unlikely to cause Mr. Pruitt significant new problems."
As the Trump administration settles into the White House, seven states are hoping for dramatic changes in the federal government's public-lands policy, reports E&E News, offering analysis of each state. Alaska, Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Utah and Wyoming, which together contain 60 percent of U.S. public lands, are set to be battlegrounds for environmentalists, landowners, ranchers and oil companies.