Public Lands

Public Lands Watch: National Park Fee Increases

Park Service proposes to more than double fees at popular parks for peak times

On October 24, the National Park Service published a proposal to hike entrance fees in 17 of the most popular parks—including Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon—during peak visitation seasons. The per-vehicle fee during peak season would rise to $70 from the current range of $25 to $30. The plan would also raise the per-person […]

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Public Lands Watch: Resilient Federal Forests Act

Bill to reduce environmental protections for timber management on federal lands passes House

The Resilient Federal Forests Act (RFFA), H.R. 2936—which would curb environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for a variety of forest management activities on National Forest and BLM lands—passed the House November 1. (We previously wrote about a version of this bill in committee here.) NEPA requires agencies to consider whether proposed […]

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Public Lands Watch: Sage grouse

Interior Dept. considering revisions to protection for iconic species

The greater sage-grouse is the largest grouse species in North America, about the size of a domestic chicken.  Estimates for its historic population are that it numbered 1.1 million across the sagebrush plains throughout the Western United States and Canada.  The grouse depends on sagebrush habitat, but that habitat is declining due to a range […]

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Public Lands Watch: Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Senate budget resolution being considered this week could open refuge to oil drilling

One of the longest lasting fights over the federal public lands has been whether to open up portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas development. The Refuge is one of the most important and largest protected areas in North America – it is unusual in that it protects the […]

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Ryan Zinke’s Troubling Remarks Undercut Dept. of Interior’s Core Mission

Comments to Oil Trade Association Attack Agency Staff, Dismiss Environmental Safeguards

At a recent meeting of the American Petroleum Institute (the national oil company trade association), Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke made clear some of his plans for the Department of the Interior.  According to AP reporting, he called almost 1/3 of employees disloyal, said he plans to speed up oil and logging permits, and revealed a […]

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Zinke’s Report Recommends Downsizing or Loosening Restrictions in 10 National Monuments

Report Lacks Details on Boundaries but Recommends Management Changes to Permit Wider Range of Uses

Late last night, the Washington Post reported that Secretary Ryan Zinke had recommended making changes–by downsizing and/or by loosening restrictions–to a total of 10 national monuments. The list of monuments goes beyond what had been reported last month. The Post released a leaked copy of Zinke’s recommendations that were submitted to President Trump on August […]

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News Flash: 10th Cir. Rebukes Government Over Coal Leases

Today’s important ruling on standing, public lands, and climate change

In an important ruling this morning, the Tenth Circuit rejected the government’s assertion that it could ignore carbon emissions tied to renewing coal leases. In WildEarth Guardians v. BLM, the court also rejected the mining company’s attack on the standing of environmental groups to raise this claim.The mines in question are in the Powder River […]

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State of Play: Trump v. the Environment

Here’s a roadmap to what he’s done — and how things will probably unfold.

How has Trump impacted environmental law? What’s going to happen next? CLEE has issued a new report assessing the state of play in environmental law seven months of the Trump presidency. The report, 200 Days & Counting, reviews the Administration’s environmental proposals and offers a glimpse into what may be coming down the pike. The report focuses […]

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The Trump Administration’s Arbitrary Review of National Monuments

Zinke’s review has been anything but transparent

Last Thursday, Secretary Zinke submitted a report to President Trump, recommending changes to national monuments. Although Trump’s Executive Order in April called for a “final report” within 120 days–the deadline was Thursday–the Interior Department’s press release called the report a “draft.” And as Holly Doremus explained on this blog, it has still not been made […]

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Why isn’t Interior publicly releasing its monuments review?

Secretary Zinke announced that his Department has submitted its review of national monuments to the President, but he’s not ready to let you and me see it

Today, the Department of Interior announced that it had sent to the White House its report of the review demanded by an April Executive Order of national monument designations under the Antiquities Act over the last 20 years. In an ordinary world, I would have expected that announcement to be accompanied by a link to […]

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