Tracy Stone-Manning, a long-time environmentalist, will serve as the first Senate-confirmed director of the Bureau of Land Management in more than four years, winning a party-line roll call on her nomination, 50-45. Montana Sen. Jon Tester, a Democrat, said Republicans resorted to character assassination in their attempts to defeat the nomination.
President Biden's choice to run the Bureau of Land Management will face a confirmation vote in the Senate without the committee endorsement given to nearly all nominees. After a heated debate that one senator called "a skunk fight," the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee split, 10-10, along party lines on whether to recommend Senate approval of Tracy Stone-Manning as director of the Interior Department agency.
The Biden administration announced a 10-year, voluntary and locally led drive to conserve 30 percent of U.S. land and coastal waters by 2030, an idea President Biden broached in January. "This is the first national conservation goal we have ever set as a country," Gina McCarthy, the White House climate adviser, said Thursday during a rollout that featured three cabinet secretaries.
Presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren announced her public lands policy platform on Monday, which includes an end to new fossil fuel drilling leases and an expansion of renewable energy production. Meanwhile, candidate Bernie Sanders said he supports imposing a moratorium on agribusiness mergers.
Father-and-son Oregon ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond, sent to prison for arson on public land, received full pardons from President Trump on Tuesday, more than halfway through their five-year sentence. Farm groups applauded the decision while the Center for Western Priorities said the Trump "has once again sided with lawless extremists."
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.
U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro dismissed federal charges against Navada rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons "with prejudice," meaning the government cannot try them again for an armed standoff over cattle grazing on public land, said the Los Angeles Times. "The court finds that the universal sense of justice has been violated," said Navarro, because prosecutors failed to share evidence with the defendants.
Federal prosecutors “willfully” failed to share evidence with lawyers defending Cliven Bundy and two sons, who are on trial for an April 2014 armed standoff, ruled U.S. District Judge Gloria Navarro, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Wildlife Services, the branch of the USDA that controls so-called problem wildlife, will no longer use “cyanide bombs” to kill coyotes on public lands in Colorado.