Appeals court: Clean Power Plan can proceed pending review

In what environmentalists hailed as a victory for efforts to curb climate change, an appeals panel in Washington on Jan. 21, 2016 rebuffed efforts to delay enforcement of President Barack Obama’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions until legal challenges are resolved. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an order denying...

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Secretary Jewell Announces Proposal to Reduce Methane Emissions, Wasted Gas on Public, Tribal Lands

As part of the Interior Department’s reform agenda for a cleaner, more secure energy future, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has proposed to update 30 year-old regulations in order to reduce the wasteful release of natural gas into the atmosphere from oil and gas operations on public and American Indian lands. The proposed rule on venting, flaring and leaking...

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Massive leaks are an everyday occurrence in gas fields

After one of the many attempts to plug the methane-leaking well at the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage facility in the Los Angeles suburbs, the thing erupted like a geyser, spewing not only natural gas, but also the muddy slurry that company technicians had pumped into the well. Aliso Canyon is a bit like a gigantic, catastrophic version of the geyser gas well of yore....

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Before-and-after images that show how we’re transforming the planet

Human beings have replaced nature as the dominant force shaping Earth. We’ve cleared away forests, dammed up mighty rivers, paved vast roads, and transported thousands of species around the world. “To a large extent,” two scientists wrote in 2015, “the future of the only place where life is known to exist is being determined by the actions of...

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Bison at Midewin: Hiking interest

A day long awaited, since that first opportunity for the public to witness bison at Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie (Midewin) in Illinois, the herd is doing well and adjusting to their new home. Several of the bison appear to enjoy wallowing in select pasture areas. This shows how the bison can create areas where prairie grass seeds can become established and help...

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Foothills Conservancy helps add significant new piece to Lake James State Park

A high-quality tract of land has been added to Lake James State Park, east of Asheville, NC with the help of The Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina and grants from two conservation trust funds. The property, in two parcels totaling 129 acres, features 8,900 linear feet of shoreline and a stunning view of the Linville Gorge. The Foothills Conservancy aided in...

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Interior Secretary Jewell Launches Comprehensive Review of Federal Coal Program

Secretary Sally Jewell announced today that the Interior Department will launch a comprehensive review to identify and evaluate potential reforms to the federal coal program in order to ensure that it is properly structured to provide a fair return to taxpayers and reflect its impacts on the environment, while continuing to help meet our energy needs. This is another...

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Hemlock Restoration at CMLC: Biological Control of Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

Over the last decade, the exotic forest pest, Hemlock Woolly Adelgid (HWA) has ravaged our southern Appalachian forests. Since the “arrival” of HWA in our area, Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) has been working to protect our native Eastern and Carolina hemlocks from this attack. Hemlock Woolly Adelgid is a destructive pest that gravely threatens the eastern...

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Two Properties Protected on NC’s Saddle Mountain

On December 23, 2015 the Conservation Trust for North Carolina purchased two forested properties on the slopes of Saddle Mountain in Alleghany and Surry counties. To expand public recreation opportunities, CTNC intends to convey the properties to the state for inclusion in the Saddle Mountain portion of the Mitchell River Game Lands managed by the NC Wildlife Resources...

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You know the old saying: “Another day, another study linking fracking to health problems.”

A new study from the Yale School of Public Health links the chemicals used in fracking with potential reproductive and developmental problems. This isn’t exactly new — we’ve known for some time that fracking is connected with lowered sperm counts, as well as premature births and a host of other health issues. This particular study, however, raises concerns about...

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Western Voters Don’t Want States To Take Over Public Lands

The armed terrorists that are entering their second week occupying a wildlife refuge in Oregon might be in favor of states taking over ownership of public lands, but Westerners as a whole aren’t, according to a new poll. The poll, released January 11, 2016 by Colorado College, surveyed voters in seven western states (Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Montana, Utah,...

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The latest buzz on flying drones in state and national parks: Rules can still be vague

Travelers — especially drone enthusiasts — should know that public park policies vary widely when it comes to unmanned aircraft. Before you send anything aloft — or holler in protest about somebody else’s aircraft — it’s wise to do some homework. Besides the Federal Aviation Administration’s restrictions on small unmanned aircraft, many parks have their...

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Great Places to see Bald Eagles on National Wildlife Refuges

Although bald eagles live throughout the continental United States, Alaska, with about 50,000 eagles, has the most. Ideal bald eagle habitat consists of mature shoreline forests with scattered openings and little human use, near water with abundant fish and waterfowl. The phrase “eagle eye” describes the highly developed visual ability of bald eagles, which...

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National Park Service faces crowding now. Apathy to come in its second century?

The National Park Service handled a record number of visitors in 2015 and park crowding has achieved epic proportions at some of Utah’s marquee destinations. But crowding can be reduced through smart planning and outreach that spreads use into less busy times and less visited places, according to director Jonathan Jarvis. Not so easily fixed, he said, is young...

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The Oregon Terrorist’s Biggest Foe May Be Birders

Ammon Bundy and his band of terrorists have pissed off a lot of people since they took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, Oregon, last week. Liberals, conservationists, and Black Lives Matter activists are all avowed foes. Now add another powerful group to the list: birders. “Just a friendly warning from the birding and wildlife photography community...

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The tree that looks like an elk: History of Douglas fir pervades Missoula

Missoulians often mistake Douglas fir trees for elk — a fact that would amuse David Douglas to no end. Had he made it to the Missoula Valley in Montana during his botanical explorations in the 1820s, the elk on Mount Jumbo would have no Douglas fir saplings to mingle with. Salish Indians regularly burned the mountainsides to deny ambush cover to Blackfeet Indians...

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America has been duped on climate change

Future generations will look back on our tepid response to global climate disruption and wonder why we did not act sooner and more aggressively. Climate change will adversely impact present and future generations, as well as all species on Earth. Our moral obligation to protect life requires us to act. Yet even after the recently completed United Nations climate...

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Parks Canada to waive entrance fees in 2017 to celebrate Canada’s 150th

Lovers of Canada’s national parks are celebrating the country’s 150th birthday a little earlier than most after purchasing park passes and realizing they don’t expire until 2018. It’s part of an initiative brought in by the Liberal government that will make park access free for all users in 2017 and for youth and new Canadians starting in 2018....

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National Parks to Visit in the Winter Instead of the Summer

Just like public parks in major cities get crowded as soon as temperatures hit high 60s, national parks get busy during the summer. But consider the possibility of enjoying nature when it’s a lot less packed and just as beautiful in the winter. You may even find trading your hiking boots for new skis or snowshoes refreshing. The colder weather and the snow make going to...

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Helena, Lewis & Clark national forests formally become one

The Helena and Lewis & Clark national forests in Montana have officially consolidated. The announcement comes after several years of combining positions and sharing resources across both forests, most notably in leadership with a shared supervisor and deputy supervisor. The public should notice little difference following the announcement and no offices will be...

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Terrorists occupy wildlife refuge in Oregon

Armed protesters have taken over a building in a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, accusing officials of unfairly punishing ranchers who refused to sell their land. One of them is Ammon Bundy, the 40-year-old son of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, who is well-known for anti-government action. The group is inside part of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge near Burns, OR...

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How the shape of our land shaped the way we live, an example in Minnesota

Minnesota winters are infamous, but ice and snow affected more than just the local culture. They also shaped the very ground on which the Twin Cities are built. The glacial history of the Twin Cities metro, 10,000 years old, can disappear beneath the carpet of roads and buildings covering the region. But a relief map showing the region’s topography leaves the...

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Centennial could aid national parks’ infrastructure backlog

Under President Dwight D. Eisehower, the nation prepared for the 50th birthday of the National Park Service with a spending splurge that refurbished Independence Hall in Philadelphia and helped complete the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and the 469-mile Blue Ridge Parkway. This year, the world-famous system turns 100 and the celebration will be far more modest. The Obama...

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Saving Our Forest Heritage in a Vault

Trees are often referred to as the lungs of the earth, providing not only the oxygen we need to breathe but a filter to clean our air and water. Trees from forested lands provide timber for our homes, food for people and wildlife, protection from weather extremes and, in urban and rural settings, beautify cities and landscapes alike. As the largest steward of forested...

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Kaibab National Forest partners with NAU Students

The National Forest System includes 193 million acres of National Forests and grasslands and within those lands has identified 325,000 cultural resource sites. According to forest managers, those cultural resource sites are threatened by insufficient funding, too few staff, vandalism, fire, theft and timber harvesting. More than 6,000 archaeological and historic sites...

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President Signs Ban on Polluting Plastic Microbeads in Beauty Products

President Obama signed into law a bill phasing out the manufacture of facewash, toothpaste and shampoo containing plastic microbeads by July 1, 2017 and the sale of such beauty products by July 1, 2018. Following in the footsteps of California’s historic microbead ban enacted earlier this year, the Microbead-Free Waters Act (H.R. 1321) bans all plastic microbeads from...

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Montana Governor Allows Bison to Roam Outside Yellowstone

Wild bison will be allowed to migrate out of Yellowstone National Park and stay in parts of Montana year-round under a move by Montana Gov. Steve Bullock that breaks a longstanding impasse in a wildlife conflict that’s dragged on for decades. The Democratic governor’s decision likely won’t end the periodic slaughters of some bison that roam outside...

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Video Shows Frightening Scale of SoCal Gas Leak

Two environmental advocacy groups have released an aerial video of the ongoing natural gas leak that’s plaguing Porter Ranch, CA and it’s startling. This is known as the Aliso Canyon methane leak, the worst environmental disaster since the BP gulf oil spill. The video, shot using a specialized infrared camera aboard a helicopter, released this week by the...

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Can we save America’s largest parcel of wild, unprotected public land in the lower 48?

The Owyhee Canyonlands of southeast Oregon spans about 9 million acres along the Owyhee River, which carved the landscape’s dramatic contours over the course of millions of years. It is considered one of America’s most intact stretches of high desert, a type of dry landscape far above sea level that is characterized by stunning geology and diverse wildlife, and contains...

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The ‘Unfolding Global Disaster’ Happening Right Under Our Feet

With all that’s going on in the world — from record-breaking warm spells to rapidly melting ice sheets — it’s easy to ignore something so seemingly mundane as dirt. But scientists at the University of Sheffield’s Grantham Center for Sustainable Futures suggest that we ignore dirt at our own peril. Nearly a third of the world’s arable land has been lost over the past four...

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Prominent Asheville Conservationist Dies in Climbing Accident

Kayah Gaydish, a champion of the outdoors and expert rock climber from Asheville, North Carolina, died Sunday, December 20, 2015, after a 50-foot fall from a cliff in the Hidden Valley Lake area of Washington County, Virginia. According to a statement released by the Washington County sheriff’s office, the accident occurred around 4 p.m. In addition to her love for rock...

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Nicholas Named Forest Supervisor in North Carolina

Regional Forester Tony Tooke is pleased to announce the hiring of Allen Nicholas as Forest Supervisor for the National Forests in North Carolina, headquartered in Asheville. Nicholas will oversee more than 1.25 million acres of public land stretched across four national forests. From the rugged and remote peaks of the Appalachians, to the tidal rivers and wetlands of the...

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