Conservation & Environment

Great, now the oceans are filling with COVID trash: Masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer

Posted by on Jul 5, 2020 @ 6:52 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Are oil companies the true heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic? That’s sure what they’d like you to think. In a recent flurry of “corporate reputation advertising” oil and gas companies, plus the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) — an industry group that counts Chevron, Exxon, Citgo, and many others among its members — put out a series of Twitter ads arguing that, since oil and gas companies supply petroleum to manufacturers of face masks, hand sanitizer, and protective suits, they are helping keep the population safe and healthy.

There’s validity to the claim that single-use personal protective equipment (PPE) is helping keep people safe from coronavirus-carrying airborne droplets. But some environmental advocates worry that increased plastic production will come with its own unintended consequences.

Most obvious is an uptick in plastic pollution. Already the oceans are inundated with a flow of 13 million metric tons of plastic annually. Considering the vast amounts of PPE products that countries are now calling for in order to protect their citizens — demand for face masks alone numbers somewhere in the billions — it’s easy to see why people are concerned.

Around the world, environmental activists are finding gloves, masks, and empty bottles of hand sanitizer where they shouldn’t be.

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Elk Return to Kentucky, Bringing Economic Life

Posted by on Jul 3, 2020 @ 6:55 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Elk Return to Kentucky, Bringing Economic Life

On a bright morning early this spring, David Ledford sat in his silver pickup at the end of a three-lane bridge spanning a deep gorge in southeast Kentucky.

The bridge, which forks off U.S. 119, was constructed in 1998 by former Gov. Paul E. Patton for $6 million. It was seen at the time as a route to many things: a highway, a strip mall, housing developments. Today, it spills out onto Mr. Ledford’s 12,000-acre property, which he and his business partner, Frank Allen, are developing into a nonprofit nature reserve called Boone’s Ridge. The road sloped up and disappeared around a hill, and Mr. Ledford took his right hand off the wheel for a moment to appreciate it. “It’s a hell of a driveway,” he said.

When Boone’s Ridge opens in 2022, it will offer a museum and opportunities for bird-watching and animal spotting. Two independent consultants have estimated that it could draw more than 1 million annual visitors and add over $150 million per year to the regional economy. This is in Bell County, in rural Appalachia, which has a poverty rate of 38 percent and an average household income of just under $25,000, making it one of the poorest counties in the United States.

The decline of the coal industry created a multibillion-dollar hole in the economy and left hundreds of thousands of acres of scarred land. But it has also created opportunities. Boone’s Ridge is being established on reclaimed mine land, and one of its biggest selling points is a big animal that has only recently returned to Kentucky: elk.

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Important Pollinator: The Monarch Butterfly

Posted by on Jul 2, 2020 @ 6:26 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Important Pollinator: The Monarch Butterfly

The monarch butterfly is not considered federally endangered yet, however, studies have shown that the monarch populations are declining and are in need of protection. The monarch is commonly considered the “poster child” for pollinator awareness to help bring attention to the general decline of pollinators and insects.

The monarch is a beautiful butterfly that is identified by its large size and its bright orange wings with black stripes. White polka-dots line the wing margins and dot the body of the butterfly. To distinguish a male monarch from the females, note that the males have a black dot on the hind wings while the females do not. The adults will feed on a variety of flowers but the monarch caterpillar solely feeds on milkweed plants.

The monarch is a migrating butterfly that migrates all over the North American continent. In the summer they migrate as far north as Canada having 4-5 broods and the last brood then makes the great migration back to the Oyamel fir forests of upper Mexico where they overwinter. These forests are protected and known as the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve.

The reserve, however, is being threatened due to pressures from illegal logging facilitated by large avocado industries and climate pressures due to climate change. While the latest decline in the monarch population is more likely the result of poor weather during migration, habitat loss due to excess pesticide use and urban or agricultural sprawl have also contributed to their decline.

With native plants and gardening growing in popularity, the monarch and other pollinators have a great chance at coming back from decline. You can help by planting milkweed in your yard and sharing on social media or with friends about the importance of conservation. Try checking to see if your avocados were sourced from a locally owned business before buying them and always look for more sustainable ways of living.

From our friends at the North Carolina Wildlife Federation.

 

North Carolina climate plan released

Posted by on Jun 30, 2020 @ 6:39 am in Conservation | 0 comments

North Carolina climate plan released

After 11 months of stakeholder engagement and collaborative work, the N.C. Department of Environmental Quality has submitted the N.C. Climate Risk Assessment and Resilience Plan to Gov. Roy Cooper.

The plan was required by Cooper’s Executive Order 80 and is the state’s most comprehensive effort to date. Based on science and stakeholder input, it aims to address North Carolina’s vulnerability to climate change.

“Climate change impacts the health, safety and financial stability of North Carolinians, and we must take it head-on. A resilient North Carolina is a stronger and more competitive North Carolina,” said Cooper.

This plan is a framework to guide state action, engage policy-makers and stakeholders, facilitate collaboration across the state, focus the state’s attention on climate resilience actions and address underlying stressors such as the changing climate, aging infrastructure, socio-economic disparities and competing development priorities.

The plan includes information on projected change in the climate, climate justice impacts, state infrastructure, assets, programs and services that are vulnerable to climate and non-climate stressors, current actions and recommendations for nature-based solutions to enhance ecosystem resiliency and sequester carbon.

The plan is available at www.deq.nc.gov/ncresilienceplan.

 

National Forest Watersheds, Imperiled Wildlife, Rural Communities Poised for a Much-Needed Boost

Posted by on Jun 29, 2020 @ 6:32 am in Conservation | 0 comments

National Forest Watersheds, Imperiled Wildlife, Rural Communities Poised for a Much-Needed Boost

The U.S. House of Representatives announced the Moving Forward Act, designed to improve green infrastructure and reduce climate impacts. The Act includes a provision called the “The Forest Service Legacy Roads and Trails Remediation Program.” This much-needed program will address aging and obsolete Forest Service transportation infrastructure to improve fish migration, water quality, imperiled species habitat, and future resilience to storms.

The U.S. Forest Service manages a massive road and trail system on behalf of the American public, including more than 370,000 miles of roads, 159,000 miles of trails, hundreds of thousands of culverts and more than 13,000 bridges. Twice as many miles as the national highway system, the Forest Service road system demands considerably more maintenance attention than current funding allows and every year the deferred maintenance backlog grows. The Forest Service currently reports an astounding $3.2 billion road maintenance backlog.

The implications of decaying and abandoned infrastructure are severe. Crumbling roads bleed sediment into rivers, creeks, and wetlands endangering fish and other aquatic wildlife. Failing and undersized culverts block fish migration crucial for the long-term survival of salmon and other highly valued fish. Fragmented habitat impacts the health of imperiled species and big game.

The Legacy Roads and Trails program will benefit local communities and imperiled wildlife. The program will storm-proof roads and trails so that they can withstand more intense storms anticipated with climate change without polluting waterways. Obsolete roads will be decommissioned to preclude harmful effects to wildlife and the environment. Undersized and blocked culverts will be removed or expanded to allow fish to migrate unimpeded.

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Zion shuttle returning in Utah’s busiest national park, but you’ll need a reservation

Posted by on Jun 28, 2020 @ 6:47 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Zion shuttle returning in Utah’s busiest national park, but you’ll need a reservation

In recent years, Zion National Park has toyed with the idea of a timed-entry system to reduce overcrowding, but the proposal has never gone over well with Utah’s political leaders who helped scuttle such a plan developed for Arches National Park. Now the coronavirus epidemic is forcing reservation protocols upon one of Utah’s most popular and crowded tourist destinations.

Starting on Wednesday, July 1, 2020, Zion will resume its idled shuttle service and require all those visiting Zion Canyon to make reservations to use it, thus eliminating recent gridlock caused by private vehicles. Reservations can be made online, each costing $1. The goal of reservations, which will be needed through year’s end to ride the shuttle, is to ensure park visitors won’t queue up in big groups to board at the visitor center.

Bringing the shuttles on line will increase access. If they don’t go to a system with timed-entry tickets, they would have worse lines than normal summers because there are fewer seats in the shuttles [to provide social distancing]. Private vehicles will be barred from the canyon, but the 6.2-mile road will remain open to those entering on bicycles.

Also on July 1, Zion, the busiest of Utah’s “Mighty 5″ national parks, will resume collecting entrance fees, set at $35 per vehicle or $20 per person entering without a vehicle.

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Antarctica’s ‘green snow’ is sucking carbon out of the air

Posted by on Jun 25, 2020 @ 6:24 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Antarctica’s ‘green snow’ is sucking carbon out of the air

Photosynthesis and Antarctica. It may not be the most intuitive combination, but the icy continent — famous for sculptural icebergs and marching penguins — is also home to communities of blooming algae, mosses, lichens, and even one species of grass.

They’re rare, of course: Less than one percent of the entire continent is permanently ice-free to begin with. And what terrestrial vegetation does exist must rely largely on melting snow and ice for its water supply.

It’s all part of a fragile ecosystem that scientists are eager to understand as global temperatures rise, affecting not only large sheets of Antarctic ice but also the delicate balance of life there.

A team of U.K. scientists recently created the first-ever large-scale map and estimate of the extent of green algae on the Antarctic Peninsula — a mountainous extension that stretches more than 800 miles toward South America and has experienced one of the most rapid rates of warming in the world.

The study results show that the “green snow” is a significant carbon sink for the continent, absorbing approximately 479 tons of carbon a year through photosynthesis.

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Two Community Forests in WNC Receive USDA Forest Service Grants

Posted by on Jun 24, 2020 @ 6:28 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Two Community Forests in WNC Receive USDA Forest Service Grants

The USDA Forest Service has awarded grants to the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians and Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina, from the Community Forest Program, which supports working forests that provide benefits like clean water, wildlife habitat, educational opportunities, and public access for recreation.

The Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians (EBCI) will use their grant to expand and connect the Hall Mountain Community Forest to the Little Tennessee River. The community’s goal is to allow use of the Hall Mountain property for recreation and education with hiking trails, interpretative materials about natural features, forest restoration efforts, and descriptions of historical and cultural relevance. It will also be a site for hosting educational events and training and coordinating with the nearby Cowee Mound.

“The Hall Mountain Community Forest has returned a key resource to the tribe-a working forest that is also a cultural landscape which has been shaped by thousands of years of use. The continuation of traditional use and forest management fits the values of Cherokee land stewardship,” said Tommy Cabe, Forest Resource Specialist for EBCI.

The forests at Hall Mountain reflect thousands of years of human shaping through fire and low impact harvesting, mainly of non-timber forest products including artisan materials, nuts and other foods, and wood. Prescribed burning, invasive species removal, and tree planting may be used to help restore the health and diversity of the forest while preserving the cultural history of the property. The conservation and restoration of these lands also protects soils and streams that drain into the Little Tennessee River.

At Oak Hill Community Park and Forest, Foothills Conservancy of North Carolina (FCNC) will use their grant to help purchase the remaining 321 acres of the project property in Burke County. The conservancy is raising additional funds to complete the purchase. The forest will eventually offer public trails, environmental education and archaeology programs, ecological study, and forest restoration. Forest management activities include prescribed fire, loblolly pine and sustainable hardwood management, invasive species removal, wildlife management, and sustainable agriculture.

“Foothills Conservancy’s expectation is that the Oak Hill Community Park and Forest land will energize the community by connecting people with place, nature, and each other through unique environmental education and outdoor recreation opportunities that we anticipate developing with partners such as Burke County, City of Morganton, Burke County Public Schools, Warren Wilson College, Exploring Joara Foundation, and NC FarmLink, among others. There are so many other community benefits derived from the conservation of this forest including enhanced air and water quality, wildlife habitat, and public health improvement and enjoyment,” said Andrew Kota, Executive Director of FCNC.

 

Concern about massive ‘glamping’ resort proposed near Zion National Park

Posted by on Jun 23, 2020 @ 6:53 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Concern about massive ‘glamping’ resort proposed near Zion National Park

  A sprawling network of camping resorts called Above Zion could soon begin unfolding in the Kolob highlands on Zion National Park’s northern boundary, potentially resulting in an influx of overnight use in a remote and scenic part of southern Utah.

Late last year, Ian Crowe, a St. George real estate broker, filed applications with Washington County officials to develop nearly 3,000 camping sites, including yurts, tents, vintage trailers, shipping containers, even treehouses, near Kolob Reservoir and the park’s Lava Point, about 25 miles up the winding Kolob Terrace Road from the town of Virgin.

But the project was largely kept under wraps until about a month ago, when a Kolob property owner saw a small notice posted by a road, announcing a hearing before the Washington County Planning Commission. The property owner in turn alerted the National Park Service and the Washington County Water Conservancy District to the project for the first time.

For about the past century, Kolob Mountain has been used mostly for ranching with about 270 seasonal homesites scattered around the juniper-covered draws above the famed Narrows of the Virgin River. At 8,000 feet in elevation, the Kolob area is snowbound in winter and inaccessible, but the summer population can reach as high as 800 on busy days.

Above Zion builds on the concept of “glamping,” which is catching on at private resorts near national parks and other protected lands where visitors can experience the area without relying on public resources.

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The 8 Most Endangered National Parks

Posted by on Jun 19, 2020 @ 6:49 am in Conservation | 0 comments

The 8 Most Endangered National Parks

The U.S. government has failed to protect our national parks in these times of disastrous wildfires, drying rivers, and melting glaciers. The parks also contend with pollution issues, budget shortfalls, a scourge of invasive plant and animal species, and now a global pandemic.

In a controversial move made during the spread of COVID-19, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt waived entrance fees at all national parks, which encouraged visitation in mid-March. By late March—as some park employees tested positive for the virus and rangers could no longer enforce safe social-distancing practices on crowded overlooks and trails—Yosemite, Yellowstone, Great Smoky Mountains, Grand Canyon, and other parks began closing their gates.

Then on Earth Day (April 22), President Trump announced that the parks would soon reopen. Against the judgment of many park employees and officials from around the country, reopenings began in early May, and now most parks are open.

As the parks reopen, humans will once again lead the invasive-species list. Since 2015, a record 300 million-plus visitors have streamed into the national parks every year, and a surge of visitors is expected this summer. The consensus is that many of America’s “best ideas” are being loved to death, as people swarm into places that have their own compromised immune systems.

Years of underfunding and climate change are increasingly threatening the national park system. From the Everglades in Florida to Glacier in Montana, and the Smokies in TN/NC, here are the ones we stand to lose.

 

Bureau of Land Management investigates a new Bundy ranch project

Posted by on Jun 17, 2020 @ 7:13 am in Conservation | 0 comments

During his 2017 trial for charges stemming from an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management and National Park Service near Bunkerville, Nevada, rancher Ryan Bundy described a Western United States built by rugged individualists like himself despite heavy-handed federal interference. His speech to the jury lasted over an hour and evoked longstanding tensions dating back to the 1970s, when the Sagebrush Rebellion emerged as a vocal opponent of federal management of public lands. The case ended in a mistrial, though the Justice Department is seeking to retry the Bundy family over the standoff.

Now, the BLM is investigating Ryan Bundy’s alleged illegal irrigation construction on the Gold Butte National Monument, the same land where he and his family have unlawfully grazed cattle for years.

A group of local hikers who visited the 300,000-acre monument in southeastern Nevada in mid-April first reported the incident to BLM. The four-page complaint includes GPS coordinates of new irrigation trenches, as well as photos of equipment used to lay irrigation pipe, including a tractor.

The missive concludes with a suggestion that Bundy is likely using the system for additional cattle watering troughs in the area and will increase the number of livestock that the Bundy clan illegally grazes in the region.

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U.S. Supreme Court clears way for pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail

Posted by on Jun 16, 2020 @ 6:25 am in Conservation, Hiking News | 0 comments

U.S. Supreme Court clears way for pipeline to cross Appalachian Trail

Ruling against environmentalists, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that the federal government has the authority to allow a proposed $7.5 billion natural gas pipeline to cross under the popular Appalachian Trail in rural Virginia.

The 7-2 ruling was a victory for Dominion Energy Inc. and the Trump administration, both of which appealed a lower court ruling that halted construction of the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which would run from West Virginia to North Carolina.

Environmental groups including the Sierra Club and Southern Environmental Law Center had sued to stop the pipeline after the U.S. Forest Service gave the green light for the project to run through the George Washington National Forest. After a protracted application process involving multiple federal agencies, the Forest Service granted the right of way under the trail in 2018.

The Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals found in 2018 that the Forest Service lacked the authority to grant a right of way for the pipeline where it crosses the Appalachian Trail in the national forest land because the trail was overseen by the National Park Service. The Supreme Court overruled that decision.

The Supreme Court’s ruling will also affect the proposed 300-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline, which would run from West Virginia to southern Virginia and crosses the trail in the Jefferson National Forest.

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Plastic dust is blowing into U.S. national parks—more than 1000 tons each year

Posted by on Jun 15, 2020 @ 6:50 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Plastic dust is blowing into U.S. national parks—more than 1000 tons each year

Remote wilderness areas and national parks in the western United States are getting a dusting of plastic every year, perhaps 1000 tons or more, according to a new study. Up to one-quarter of the microscopic pieces of plastic—which come from carpets, clothing, and even spray paint—may originate in storms passing over nearby cities, whereas the rest likely comes from farther flung locations. The findings, the first to tease apart geographic origins, add to mounting evidence that such microplastic pollution is common worldwide.

“We created something that won’t go away,” says Janice Brahney, a biogeochemist at Utah State University and lead author on the new paper. “It’s now circulating around the globe.”

Brahney didn’t set out to track plastic pollution. Instead, she wanted to study how wind-blown dust delivers nutrients to ecosystems. So, she set up a pilot study with the National Atmospheric Deposition Program to collect such dust at a network of weather stations usually used to sample rainwater across the United States, mostly in remote locations.

Looking at samples from 11 remote areas in the western United States, including the Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree National Park, Brahney noticed brightly colored fragments under the microscope. “I realized that I was looking at deposition of plastics, which was really shocking.” Brahney didn’t have funding to study microplastic pollution, so she did the analysis on her own time, spending a “very long and stressful year” of evenings and weekends counting nearly 15,000 tiny pieces—most of them less than one-third the width of a human hair.

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Toxic plants of Appalachia

Posted by on Jun 14, 2020 @ 7:06 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Toxic plants of Appalachia

Most white settlers here in the Smokies region avoided mushrooms like the plague. This was because their ancestors arriving here in America had found and ingested mushrooms that were deadly look-a-likes for species they had safely eaten in Europe. On the other hand, many Cherokees still gather and eat mushrooms with gusto. Through the years, they have learned by trial and error the species that are to be avoided.

Other highly toxic plants in this region include climbing nightshade (Solanum dulcamara), dolls’-eyes (Actaea pachypoda), false hellebore (Veratrum viride and V. parviflorum), jimsonweed (Datura stramonium), and May-apple or American mandrake (Podophyllum peltatum).

Hemlock trees aren’t toxic in the least. The poison hemlock we think of is in reality an herbaceous species in the carrot family that bears the scientific name “Conium maculatum.”

Its finely-dissected leaves and purple-spotted stems are diagnostic. Nevertheless, novice wild food foragers hoping to gather the edible rootstocks of Queen Anne’s lace (wild carrot) sometimes slip up and harvest poison hemlock instead. Wannabe foragers can also mistake the finely dissected leaves of the young plants for parsley, or the seeds for anise. Such errors inevitably result in a trip to an emergency room and, sometimes, even to the cemetery.

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SAHC adds 448-acre Chestnut Mountain property in Haywood County

Posted by on Jun 11, 2020 @ 7:10 am in Conservation | 0 comments

SAHC adds 448-acre Chestnut Mountain property in Haywood County

Chestnut Mountain is a unique habitat and clean water conservation project paired with exciting potential for outdoor recreation. Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy has purchased 448 acres at Chestnut Mountain near the Town of Canton, NC, permanently protecting sources of clean water and forested habitat in an important wildlife corridor.

SAHC plans to give the conserved property to the Town of Canton, after they finish raising funds that are needed to re-pay a bridge loan taken out to buy the property. This will create the possibility for easily accessible outdoor recreation just off US Hwy 19/23 and Interstate 40.

“This property is dynamic, with a mosaic of habitat types – which is really good for wildlife – and different settings for people to enjoy various types of experiences on the land,” says Conservation Director Hanni Muerdter.

“The property starts at 2,360 feet elevation at Hwy 19/23 and then rises to 3,400 feet at the peak of Chestnut Mountain. At the higher elevations, forested ridgelines and coves situated in an important wildlife corridor provide exceptional habitat for plants and animals. It contains pockets of gentle mature hardwood forest with laurel and rhododendron, forested slopes facing a variety of directions, and an open field and early successional edge area beneficial for birds. The amount of wildlife activity on the tract is truly impressive.”

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River Running Through Zion National Park Will Be Protected Forever Thanks to the Nature Conservancy

Posted by on Jun 8, 2020 @ 8:56 am in Conservation | 0 comments

River Running Through Zion National Park Will Be Protected Forever Thanks to the Nature Conservancy

The Nature Conservancy, one of the oldest nonprofit organizations dedicated to the preservation of lands, animals, and rivers, has just purchased a large tract adjacent to the majestic Zion National Park for $4.3 million to preserve the ecosystem enshrined within the famous canyon.

The picturesque 419-acre Utah property called Sheep Bridge includes a 2-mile stretch of the Virgin River, which is relied upon as a water source for Washington County residents.

The river itself eroded one of Zion’s many canyons, and it was snapped up by the Virginia-based Nature Conservancy as part of a greater effort by advocacy groups to protect the area around Zion from development.

The challenge that often faces those involved in conservation is getting governments to preserve complete ecosystems as protected areas. In the United States this difficulty was encountered throughout the history of the National Parks Service, as areas of particular natural beauty were singled out for protection while the adjacent ecosystems—the high country behind Yosemite, the pine forest around Sequoia, or the sage-brush plains before the Grand Tetons for examples, which are necessary to support all the plants and animals that make these places beautiful—are often neglected.

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Tribal leaders question wisdom of reopening national parks without measures

Posted by on Jun 7, 2020 @ 10:10 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Tribal leaders question wisdom of reopening national parks without measures

Arizona tribal leaders told House lawmakers that moves to reopen national parks are being made without needed health safety measures to protect tribal members or park visitors during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The comments by Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez and Havasupai Council Member Carletta Tilousi come as the Interior Department is moving to reopen parks. That includes Grand Canyon National Park, which began allowing visitors on a limited basis last month.

“We rely heavily on the tourism industry, but now is not the time to be on the Navajo Nation,” Nez said. The Navajo Nation, one of the hardest-hit areas in the country for COVID-19 infections, reported 5,661 cases with 259 deaths as of June 3, 2020, a day after Nez spoke at the hearing.

Utah Republican ranking member Rob Bishop said, “To argue that our national parks and trails opening up is a threat to American lives is tone deaf at best, and disingenuous fear-mongering at worst,” and added that families enjoying national parks are “not endangering public health.”

But Nez said that message does not appear to be getting to tourists, pointing to heavy traffic across the Navajo Nation over the past two weekends, despite strict curfews and travel restrictions because of the coronavirus.

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Trump’s fossil fuel agenda gets pushback from federal judges

Posted by on Jun 6, 2020 @ 7:05 am in Conservation | 0 comments

Trump’s fossil fuel agenda gets pushback from federal judges

Federal courts have delivered a string of rebukes to the Trump administration over what they found were failures to protect the environment and address climate change as it promotes fossil fuel interests and the extraction of natural resources from public lands.

Judges have ruled administration officials ignored or downplayed potential environmental damage in lawsuits over oil and gas leases, coal mining and pipelines to transport fuels across the U.S., according to an Associated Press review of more than a dozen major environmental cases.

The latest ruling against the administration came last week when an appeals court refused to revive a permitting program for oil and gas pipelines that a lower court had cancelled.

Actions taken by the courts have ranged from orders for more environmental analysis to the unprecedented cancellation of oil and gas leases across hundreds of thousands of acres in Western states.

Many of the decisions the Trump administration has been making are arguably illegal and in some cases blatantly so.

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