America’s Top Two Oil Companies Reject Climate Change Measures

Shareholders of ExxonMobil and Chevron — the United States’ top two oil companies — voted down proposals aimed at getting the companies to focus a little more on climate change this week. One of the proposals would have added an independent director with experience in climate change to the boards of both companies. That proposal got about 20 percent of the shareholders’...

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The EPA Just Protected Drinking Water For Millions Of Americans

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will have an easier time regulating water pollution under a new rule released May 27, 2015. The Waters of the United States rule, developed by the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers, offers protection to two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands that, until now, were not clearly designated under the Clean...

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On garbage and tolerance in the wilderness

When Rick Bombaci went to work for the U.S. Forest Service in 2010 as a wilderness ranger, his friends were curious. What did he do in the woods all day, besides weave garlands and write poetry? In conversations at potlucks, he learned to skip fancy terms like “assessing resource damage.” He was a glorified garbageman, he said. His pickup route? Fire pits big...

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An experiment in privatizing public land fails after 14 years

It’s no secret that some state legislators in the West want to boot federal land management agencies from their states. They argue that agencies like the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service cost too much and are too detached from local values, and that states could make money by running our vast open spaces like a privately owned business. The Cato...

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State, national park leaders hammer out deal for Arches water

There is not much water in southeastern Utah’s Arches National Park. What water is there is vitally important to the flora and fauna of the popular high-desert preserve. State and federal officials gathered in the park just north of Moab to acknowledge the role water plays with a contract meant to protect the precious resource. The deal signed by Utah Gov. Gary...

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What Humans Are Really Doing to Our Planet, in Jaw-Dropping Imagery

Recently world leaders have encouraged everyone to consume less and think more about our impact on the environment. It’s a timely warning. Ahead of a series of major events later this year, The Foundation for Deep Ecology and the Population Media Center released a collection that illustrates the devastating effects of out-of-control growth and waste, and it’s...

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Camping season at hand: national forest sends out these reminders

Memorial Day weekend is the kickoff for the summer to come and traditionally is a very busy weekend at campgrounds and picnic areas around the Pacific Northwest, weather permitting. The Fremont-Winema National Forest of southern Oregon issued some information about this year’s camping seasons that applies pretty much all around Oregon and Washington, and all across...

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Mulberry Creek land added to Pisgah National Forest

The most beloved — and at times the most crowded — national forest in the country is getting a little more breathing room. Pisgah National Forest, which covers more than a half-million acres of heavily forested mountains, mile-high peaks, waterfalls, streams and rivers along the eastern edge of the mountains of Western North Carolina, just added another 517 acres of...

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Duke plans to retire Asheville coal plant, replace with natural gas

Duke Energy Progress announced plans May 19, 2015 to shutter and eventually demolish its 51-year-old, coal-fired plant at Lake Julian, opting instead to rely on natural gas to meet a growing demand for electricity. If granted state approval, the natural gas facility could be online by 2020 and would be built on Duke property near the existing plant. That facility...

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Divers Remove 90,000 Tires from Ocean Floor in Florida

Divers in helmets have begun walking the ocean floor off Fort Lauderdale to clear an environmental catastrophe that’s rested among the coral reefs for more than 40 years. An estimated 700,000 tires were dropped into the ocean off Hugh Taylor Birch State Park in the early 1970s in a failed attempt to create an artificial reef. At the time, before anyone had figured out...

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Oil CEO Wanted University Quake Scientists Dismissed

Oil tycoon Harold Hamm told a University of Oklahoma dean last year that he wanted certain scientists there dismissed who were studying links between oil and gas activity and the state’s nearly 400-fold increase in earthquakes, according to the dean’s e-mail recounting the conversation. Hamm, the billionaire founder and chief executive officer of Oklahoma...

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Anti-Arctic drilling activists hold #ShellNo protest in Seattle

An estimated 500 climate activists took to kayaks, canoes, paddleboards, and even a solar-powered party barge to tell Shell to get the hell out of Seattle. Rallying cry: #sHellNo! The oil giant brought a huge drilling rig, the Polar Pioneer, to the city’s port over objections from the mayor, city council, and a whole lot of pissed-off Seattleites. Shell plans to use the...

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Another Blue Ridge Parkway Vista Clearing

During the week of April 28, 2015, highly skilled sawyers from across the Blue Ridge Parkway met in Blowing Rock, NC and conducted intensive vista restoration work at Milepost 300 near Grandfather Mountain. With decades of growth in some areas, large trees now obstruct some scenic views and potentially impact the visitor experience. “Research consistently finds...

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Forbidden Data: Wyoming just criminalized citizen science

Imagine visiting Yellowstone this summer. You wake up before dawn to take a picture of the sunrise over the mists emanating from Yellowstone hot springs. A thunderhead towers above the rising sun, and the picture turns out beautifully. You submit the photo to a contest sponsored by the National Weather Service. Under a statute signed into law by the Wyoming governor this...

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Duke Energy fined $102 million for polluting rivers with coal ash

Duke Energy, the nation’s largest electrical utility, pleaded guilty in federal court May 14, 2015 to nine criminal violations of the Clean Water Act for polluting four major rivers for several years with toxic coal ash from five power plants in North Carolina. The $50.5-billion company was fined $102 million and placed on five years of probation for environmental...

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Forest Service Begins to Pave Way for Massive Urban Sprawl Next to Grand Canyon

The U.S. Forest Service began paving the way for a sprawling urban development near the southern edge of the Grand Canyon that would include more than 2,100 housing units and 3 million square feet of retail space along with hotels, a spa and conference center. The superintendent of Grand Canyon National Park has called the project one of the greatest threats to Grand...

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The GOP Senator In Charge of Homeland Security Disagrees With The Pentagon On Climate Change

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, says he disagrees with the Pentagon’s assessment that climate change is a national security concern. The Pentagon released a report in October 2014 that assessed the national security implications of climate change. “Politics or ideology must not get in the...

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Dixie National Forest hosting events for EarthFest

The Dixie National Forest will participate in Kanab’s Amazing EarthFest by hosting geology, history and fire presentations. Events will be held at the Red Canyon Visitor Center on May 15, 2015, beginning at 1 p.m. and continuing throughout the afternoon. Geology and history presentations will focus on the colorful red canyon region of the Dixie National Forest....

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How Garbage Spawned a Grizzly Problem at Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, which spans more than a million acres of pristine Montana wilderness, is home to a variety of predators, from cougars to wolves to grizzly bears. Most of the time they pose no danger to hikers, for whom the adage, “They’re more afraid of you than you are of them,” holds more or less true. For more than half a century after the park was founded — on...

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National Kids to Parks Day is May 16, 2015

The National Park Trust and Buddy Bison, their lovable woolly mascot, invite you to join the nationwide day of play by discovering and exploring your local, state, and national parks and public lands on Kids to Parks Day. Children, families, teachers, cities, towns, and parks are gearing up for this year’s Kids to Parks Day (KTP), a nation-wide day of outdoor play...

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The coming revolution in energy storage

On April 30, 2015 the glitzy electric car company Tesla Motors, run by billionaire Elon Musk, ceased to be just a car company. As was widely expected, Tesla announced that it is offering a home battery product, which people can use to store energy from their solar panels or to backstop their homes against blackouts, and also larger scale versions that could perform...

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Congress considers treating wildfire like other natural disasters

As the West girds itself for what looks likely to be a fierce wildfire season, a bipartisan group of Western senators is pushing a bill to rethink the way the federal government pays to fight catastrophic fires. The idea is that the largest wildfires would be treated like natural disasters. As with big hurricanes or earthquakes, funding for them wouldn’t have to come...

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National Parks need a little love

Roads and trails and buildings in our national parks are deteriorating, and adequate funding to fix that problem remains elusive. With so many competing demands for federal dollars, the National Parks Service is often a lower priority, especially for repair projects. The result is that despite user fees the backlog of projects at national parks nationwide is $11.49...

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Confirming Fears, Scientists Detect Fracking Chemicals in Drinking Water

A toxic chemical used in the controversial drilling practice known as fracking has been detected in the drinking-water supply of Pennsylvania homeowners, according to a paper published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The chemical—2-Butoxyethanol or 2BE, known to have caused tumors in rodents—showed up as “white foam,”...

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Drought kills 12 million trees in California’s national forests

Rangers in the San Bernardino National Forest call them “red trees.” Instead of the typical deep green color, large swaths of pine trees now don hues of death, their dehydrated needles turning brown and burnt-red because of the state’s worsening drought. “Unlike back East, where you have fall colors, here it’s because the trees are dying,” said John Miller, a spokesman...

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Big Insurance Companies Are Warning The U.S. To Prepare For Climate Change

A coalition of big insurance companies, consumer groups, and environmental advocates are urging the United States to overhaul its disaster policies in the face of increasingly extreme weather due to human-caused climate change. According to a report released by the SmarterSafer coalition, the U.S. needs to increase how much it spends on pre-disaster mitigation efforts...

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California’s redwoods: In the land of the giants

California’s old-growth coastal redwoods are the tallest trees on Earth, and the old-timers thrive in the foggy, rainy territory between Mendocino and the Oregon line. For many locals, these trees don’t just dominate the landscape; they connect with matters of life and death — even now, years past the timber industry’s glory days. Bgin with the 32-mile...

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We’ll See You In The Forest

 

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Lassen Volcanic National Park is unmatched in the park system

Unlike its neighbor Yosemite, at Lassen Volcanic National Park there were no crowds at the entrance gate, in the parking lots or on the trails. Only 400,000 people will make their way to Lassen this year; nearly 4 million will visit Yosemite, most of them during the summer. “Not many people have discovered this park,” said Karen Haner, Lassen’s chief of...

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Namibia: Hiking Trails a Tourism Niche in Conservation Areas

Hiking trails have been identified as one of new niche tourism markets aimed at enhancing values of farms around the capital of Namibia that offer unique landscapes. New hiking trails are being promoted by the Namplace project, which is mandated to advocate and educate the public about landscape conservation in the identified pilot landscape conservation areas such as...

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The Conception of Wild Ideas: Scientists Confront Conservation Challenges of Our Times

1934 was a big year for conservation in the southern Appalachians. The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was established in June, and in October, on a roadside somewhere outside of Knoxville, Tennessee, The Wilderness Society was born. The story of The Wilderness Society’s conception has been told different ways, but all versions involve a heated roadside discussion...

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Burying Edward Abbey: The last act of defiance

Late in the day the trucks reached their destination and the four men stepped out into the backcountry of western Arizona. In the back of the trucks, they had enough gear for a few nights of camping — cases of beer, baling wire and tools for repairs, shovels for digging. And they had a body bag, full of dry ice and the corpse of Edward Abbey. The day was sunny, but it...

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