NEPA

John Dingell, 1926-2019

The Surprising Environmental Record of Detroit’s Biggest Congressional Defender

There’s an old story about Rep. John Dingell, the long-running chair of the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, who died yesterday at the age of 92, and served in the House longer than anyone in American history. Outside the office of the Committee, there is a huge picture of the Earth, taken from the Apollo …

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Public Lands Watch: NEPA Regulations

Administration asks for ideas about how to revise regulations implementing NEPA

A key statute for public lands management is not specific to any of the federal land management agencies or any specific land categories or activities.  Instead, it is a statute that applies generically to all federal government activities: the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  NEPA, in short, requires the federal government to thoroughly analyze significant …

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Public Lands Watch: Fire Appropriations and 2018 Omnibus

2018 Omnibus bill expands future funding for fire suppression efforts, and streamlines environmental review for some timber projects

Tom Schumann helped draft this blog post. The 2018 budget act signed into law on March 23, 2018 will increase the funding available for wildfire suppression, enabling the Forest Service and Interior Department to respond to ever more severe fires while easing the strain on their overall budgets. Before the new law, Congress limited appropriations …

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The Administration’s offshore oil and gas leasing proposal

Offshore leasing system requires long, complex legal process before drilling can occur

A few weeks ago the Trump Administration announced a new proposed plan to drastically increase the amount of offshore areas available for leasing for oil and gas development – essentially opening up almost all of the waters off of the lower 48 states.  The announcement at the time attracted a lot of media attention, but …

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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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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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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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The ostrich administration

Ostriches actually don’t hide their heads in the sand, but the Trump administration sure wants to

It’s a myth (of course) that ostriches hide their heads in the sand when they’re afraid. Hiding one’s head is about the worst possible way to react to danger: it won’t make a threat go away, but it will make it awfully difficult to respond effectively. Ostriches are not that stupid. (They apparently do sometimes …

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200 Days and Counting: Public Lands

The potential impact of a Trump Administration on our federal public lands.

The federal government owns almost one-third of the land in the United States, primarily concentrated in the Western states. In addition, the federal government is the primary manager of the oceans off the coast of the United States (with the exception of oceans within three miles of the coastline, which are primarily under state authority). …

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Public Lands Watch: HR 218

Bill would authorize road through wilderness in Alaska national wildlife refuge

On July 20th the House passed H.R. 218 (248-179). The bill was then sent to the Senate where it was referred to the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. The King Cove Road Land Exchange Act would transfer 206 acres of federal land—including 131 acres in the Izembek National Wildlife Refuge—to the state of Alaska …

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