Managing the BLM: Please Help

GR:  The policy of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), “multiple use and sustained yield,” sounds great until you look at the results. Mining and mineral prospecting, cattle grazing, recreation, and energy transmission have led to invasions by alien plants and animals, soil erosion, increasing wildfires, and declining biodiversity. The BLM avoids conflicts with the profit goals of the companies that control our politicians. Thus, the agency responsible for more public land in the U. S. than any other does not hesitate to sacrifice the health and beauty of the land to avoid criticism from the resource harvesters that wish to use, and often abuse, the land. In fact, the BLM has a long history of anticipating the needs of private companies and adjusting polices to help them harvest the land.

As you will see in the item below taken from the Arizona section of the BLM website, BLM encourages public participation in formulating land-use plans. However, the agency often ignores public concerns when company profits are at stake. This might change if public participation grew as large as it has in North Dakota. So, follow the continue reading link at the end of the article and look for BLM public meetings in your area. And go.  Remember, “sustainable use” is meaningless if the use adds roads and depletes the habitat, soil, and wildlife. And remember, we don’t need no more stinking fossil fuels.

“The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) Land Use Plans, called Resource Management Plans (RMPs), evaluate and guide the management of resources and uses on public lands over a fifteen to twenty year period. Using the principles of multiple use and sustained yield, BLM Arizona seeks to maximize resource values on public land for current and future generations, ensuring the health, diversity, and productivity of the public land.

“BLM Arizona manages approximately 12.2 million surface acres of public land, and realizes that public involvement is critical in the development and implementation of its RMPs. Throughout the planning process, the BLM uses a collaborative approach involving tribal, State and local governments, other federal agencies, and interested publics in addressing management goals for public land. When RMPs are ready for review and public comment, BLM Arizona makes copies available to field offices and on the Internet. New and revised RMPs are now being developed in the ePlanning database. We encourage you to get involved in the planning process to help determine how the public lands will be managed. Involvement by everyone, who is interested in the public lands, will help ensure that the best overall plan is developed.” –BLM (Continue reading:  Programs: Planning and NEPA: Plans in Development: Arizona | BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT)

Obama Administration Signs Death Warrant for Colorado Roadless Forest, Jump-starts Trump’s Attack on Climate

GR:  Perhaps Obama believes University of Arizona professor Guy McPherson’s prediction that global-warming feedbacks will cause human extinction within 10 years (by 2026). So it can’t hurt to give the wasters what they want–what difference could it make?–right? 😦

In Move That Will Undercut America’s Clean-energy Industries, U.S. Forest Service Opens 20,000 Acres of National Forest in Colorado to Bulldozing Roads for Coal Mining

DENVER, Colo., December 16, 2016— “The U.S. Forest Service announced today that it would on Monday reimpose a controversial coal mine loophole, issuing a final rule that opens 20,000 acres of wild Colorado forest to bulldozing for coal mining, something the agency admits will undermine clean-energy development, result in millions of tons of climate pollution, and cause up to $3.4 billion in global damage due to worsened climate change.

“The Obama administration just gave Arch Coal an early Christmas present,” said Nathaniel Shoaff, an attorney with the Sierra Club’s Environmental Law Program. “The rest of us will be saddled with nearly half a billion tons of climate pollution and a $3.4 billion price tag. This is a sad and damaging bookend for President Obama’s climate legacy.”

“In 2012 the Forest Service adopted the Colorado Roadless Rule to protect 4 million acres of wild national forest in the state, but the rule included a loophole to permit bulldozing roads for coal mining on 20,000 acres of roadless national forest. In 2014 a federal court vacated the coal mine loophole because the Forest Service failed to disclose the climate change impacts of unlocking hundreds of millions of tons of coal for burning.

“The Forest Service will reimpose the loophole on Monday, Dec. 19. The loophole opens the door to mining 170 million tons of coal, and bulldozing up to 450 drilling pads and 67 miles of road in wild aspen and spruce forest in the Sunset and Flat Irons Roadless areas immediately adjacent to Mount Gunnison in the West Elk Wilderness, 45 miles southwest of Aspen, Colo. These roadless lands provide habitat for elk, goshawks, black bears and imperiled lynx, and are frequented by hikers and hunters. According to a Forest Service analysis released last month, coal mined from these roadless lands will displace nearly 10,000 gigawatt hours of clean, renewable power including solar and wind.” –Center for Biological Diversity (Continue:   Obama Administration Signs Death Warrant for Colorado Roadless Forest, Jump-starts Trump’s Attack on Climate

Canada to Set Carbon Price, Marking Split with Trump

GR:  Canada is trying a little.

“Canada’s government and 10 provinces are set to agree a national carbon price, doubling down on a bid to cut greenhouse gas emissions just weeks before avowed climate change skeptic Donald Trump becomes U.S. president.

“Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the carbon price — the first of its kind in Canada — will help the country meet its targets under the 2015 Paris environmental accords and boost the Canadian clean technology sector.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Credit: REUTERS/Chris Wattie

“The price deal is another sign of Trudeau’s alignment on climate issues with U.S. President Barack Obama, who is pressing to curb greenhouse emissions, mainly from coal-fired power plants. Trump has said he wants to help the coal industry and would pull out of the Paris agreement as it was harmful to the U.S. economy.

“Canada’s government has brushed aside critics who fret the carbon deal could make Canadian businesses uncompetitive at a time when U.S. energy prices may come down as a result of Trump policies.

“We think that we’ve struck the right balance … it’s tough to speculate on what President-elect Trump will do. We will be defending Canada’s interests on the basis of the action of the new administration,” said Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

“Under Trudeau’s plan, carbon pollution would cost C$10 ($7.60) a ton in 2018, rising by C$10 a year until it reaches C$50 in 2022. The provinces can either implement a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade market and hold-outs will have a price imposed by Ottawa.

“Environmental groups say the carbon price and other federal measures announced this year, such as a clean fuel standard and a plan to combat methane emissions, mean Canada might attain its Paris goal of reducing emissions by 30 percent from 2005 levels by 2030.” –David Ljunggren, Reuters (Continue:  Canada to Set Carbon Price, Marking Split with Trump | Climate Central)

Obama’s dirty secret: the fossil fuel projects the US littered around the world

GR:  These are huge projects that Obama has helped build at a time when the world should be cutting back on fossil-fuel use. The impact of the projects is massive.  Through his approval of funding, Obama has contributed directly to the death of portions of the Great Barrier Reef and to human misery and disease in many areas. As I’ve speculated before, history may show that Obama was the worst environmental president we’ve ever had. It’s hard to determine how bad now because of the lack of transparency in his activities.

“Through the Export-Import Bank, the Obama administration has spent nearly $34bn on dirty energy plants in countries from India to Australia to South Africa

“Seemingly little connects a community in India plagued by toxic water, a looming air pollution crisis in South Africa and a new fracking boom that is pockmarking Australia. And yet there is a common thread: American taxpayer money.

“Through the US Export-Import Bank, Barack Obama’s administration has spent nearly $34bn supporting 70 fossil fuel projects around the world, work by Columbia Journalism School’s Energy and Environment Reporting Project and the Guardian has revealed.

How Obama’s climate change legacy is weakened by US investment in dirty fuel. (Read more)

“This unprecedented backing of oil, coal and gas projects is an unexpected footnote to Obama’s own climate change legacy. The president has called global warming “terrifying” and helped broker the world’s first proper agreement to tackle it, yet his administration has poured money into developments that will push the planet even closer to climate disaster.

“For people living next to US-funded mines and power stations the impacts are even more starkly immediate.

“Guardian and Columbia reporters have spent time at American-backed projects in India, South Africa and Australia to document the sickness, upheavals and environmental harm that come with huge dirty fuel developments.

“In India, we heard complaints about coal ash blowing into villages, contaminated water and respiratory and stomach problems, all linked to a project that has had more than $650m in backing from the Obama administration.

“In South Africa, another huge project is set to exacerbate existing air pollution problems, deforestation and water shortages. And in Australia, an enormous US-backed gas development is linked to a glut of fracking activity that has divided communities and brought a new wave of industrialization next to the cherished Great Barrier Reef.

“While Obama can claim the US is the world’s leader on climate change – at least until Donald Trump enters the White House – it is also clear that it has become a major funder of fossil fuels that are having a serious impact upon people’s lives. This is the unexpected story of how Obama’s legacy is playing out overseas.” –Sonali Prasad, Jason Burke, Michal Slezak, and Oliver Milman.

Sasan ultra mega power project, Madhya Pradesh, India

A villager living near the Sasan mine’s overburdened dumpsite pleads for relief and rehabilitation from the pollution hazards of the coal mine. Photograph: Sidharth M Vhavle for the Guardian

“A hulking thermal power plant funded by American money shimmers in orange when night settles in India’s coal-rich district of Singrauli. A heavy blanket of smog wraps around the industrial district and its residents.” –Sonali Prasad.  Continue reading (there’s lots more):  Obama’s dirty secret: the fossil fuel projects the US littered around the world

Impoverished villagers of Harrahawa and Siddhikhurd living in close proximity in to the Sasan power plant complain of polluted air and toxic well water. Photograph: Sidharth M Vhavle for the Guardian

North Dakota to block supplies from pipeline protesters’ camp | Reuters

GR:  Initiating a siege that blocks emergency vehicles and supplies from reaching people on tribal treaty lands is an obvious next step for a law enforcement system that sees itself as the defender of corporate rights. This is the strategy followed by dictators such as Bashar Hafez al-Assad the current President of Syria. Aid agencies have fought to deliver supplies to peaceful people in Syria and perhaps they can do so in North Dakota.

(Photo:  The Oceti Sakowin camp is seen at sunrise during a protest against plans to pass the Dakota Access pipeline near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, near Cannon Ball, North Dakota, U.S. November 2, 2016. REUTERS/Stephanie Keith)

“North Dakota law enforcement will begin to block supplies from reaching protesters at a camp near the construction site of an oil pipeline project in an effort to force demonstrators to vacate the area, officials said on Tuesday.

“Activists have spent months protesting plans to route the $3.8 billion Dakota Access Pipeline beneath a lake near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, saying the project poses a threat to water resources and sacred Native American sites.

“Supplies, including food and building materials, will be blocked from entering the main camp following Governor Jack Dalrymple’s signing of an “emergency evacuation” order on Monday, Maxine Herr, a spokeswoman from the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, said.

“The order was effective immediately. As of Tuesday morning, however, no vehicles carrying supplies had been turned back, said Cecily Fong, a spokeswoman for the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.” Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Matthew Lewis. Read more:  North Dakota to block supplies from pipeline protesters’ camp | Reuters

The Standing Rock ‘Water Protectors’ Vow to Stay No Matter What the Government Does | VICE | United States

GR:  The Corr of Engineers did not send an eviction notice. The letter was merely trying to avoid liability.  There isn’t much new here, but we have to be pleased with news media that report on the issue.

A protester near Standing Rock on November 25, 2016. Photo by Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

“Despite a government order to vacate, tribal leaders as well as demonstrators camped out in Standing Rock, North Dakota, say they are staying put.

“In a letter sent Friday to Dave Archambault II, chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, the Army Corps of Engineers said they will be closing a portion of the land north of the Cannonball River on December 5, and that anyone on that land will be “considered trespassing and may be subject to prosecution under federal, state and local laws.”

“It’s unclear if the Corps will take steps to arrest or remove people who stay. The Army Corps of Engineers did not respond to my request for comment. One thing’s for sure: It would take a major effort to remove the estimated 5,000 encamped to stop the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. (Update: The Corps released a statement late Sunday clarifying that they have “no plans for forcible removal.” Instead, they say, they are “seeking a peaceful and orderly transition to a safer location.” How exactly that would happen is unclear.)

“Our Tribe is deeply disappointed in this decision by the United States, but our resolve to protect our water is stronger than ever,” said Archambault in a statement. “We ask that all everyone who can appeal to President Obama and the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the future of our people and rescind all permits and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just north of our Reservation and straight through our treaty lands.” –Cole Kazdin and Duy Linh Tu (continue reading:  The Standing Rock ‘Water Protectors’ Vow to Stay No Matter What the Government Does | VICE | United States)

Obama Kicks Off Trump’s Dirty Energy Agenda by Moving to Open Colorado Roadless Forest to Climate-destroying Coal

GR:  Obama tries again to help out the fossil-fuel industry.  This time he’s working for coal.  It is unlikely that he believes this will benefit anyone except the coal company. Maybe he is hoping an energy corp will give him a cushy job when he leaves DC.

Roadless Rule Loophole Could Cause Vast Carbon Pollution, Undermine Obama Administration Climate Goals

DENVER, Colo.— “A U.S. Forest Service plan released today proposes to reopen a gaping loophole in the Colorado Roadless Rule that would allow Arch Coal to expand coal mining across about 20,000 acres of pristine, high-country forest and crucial wildlife habitat in western Colorado. Tens of thousands of people have urged the Obama administration to abandon the plan because of its threats to the climate and public lands.

Mount Gunnison, Sunset Roadless Area. Photo by Ted Zukoski.Photos are available for media use.

“If enacted, the decision would result in the mining of 172 million tons of coal over 17 years and at least 443 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“Opening pristine backcountry for coal mining in the face of a global climate crisis is dangerously backward public policy,” said Taylor McKinnon with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Instead of setting the table for Trump’s dirty energy agenda, Obama should nix this plan on his way out the door.”

“Today’s environmental analysis is the latest in a long series of decisions affecting coal mining in the West Elks. Originally protected from tree-cutting and road-building by the Forest Service’s 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule, the Sunset Trail and Pilot Knob roadless areas again came under threat from mining in 2012 when the Forest Service approved a Colorado-specific roadless rule allowing new coal mine methane drainage pads in the area.

“The loophole was thrown out by the U.S. District Court of Colorado in 2014 because the Forest Service failed to consider the climate change impacts of millions of tons of federal coal, which could result in more than half a billion tons of carbon pollution from mining and burning the coal.

“The Sunset Trail and Pilot Knob roadless areas threatened by new methane drainage pads for expansion of Arch Coal’s West Elk Mine are home to spectacular aspen groves and mountain vistas, black bears, beaver ponds, rare and sensitive amphibians and watersheds supporting endangered native fish.

“Today’s announcement flies in the face of the United States’ commitment in the Paris Climate Accord to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. Recent studies have shown that the greenhouse gas pollution that would result from developing fossil fuels beyond those already under production is incompatible with that goal.”  Source: Obama Kicks Off Trump’s Dirty Energy Agenda by Moving to Open Colorado Roadless Forest to Climate-destroying Coal

DAPL Protesters Digging In. Here’s What they Need

DAPL Protest Needs Winter Supplies

GR:  You can send supplies or cash to the DAPL protestors that will help them continue this winter.  Here’s the link for the DAPL GoFundMe site.

Looking for something for that hard to please relative?  Give them a card that says you have contributed to the DAPL protest.  Send supplies to:

Sacred Stone camp

P.O. Box 1011202

Main Street

Fort Yates, North Dakota  58538

“The dangers imposed by the greed of big oil on the people who live along the Missouri river is astounding. When this proposed pipeline breaks, as the majority of pipelines do, over half of the drinking water in South Dakota will be affected… It must be stopped. The people of the four bands of Cheyenne River stand with our sister nation in this fight as we are calling on all the Oceti Sakowin or Seven Council Fires to do so with our allies, both native and non native in opposing this pipeline.” –Joye Braun (Cheyenne River)

Here are supplies needed by indigenous activists at the DAPL pipeline protest site, from my friend Lee Sprague, a native activist who is on site:

URGENT! WE NEED THE FOLLOWING SUPPLIES:

  • Waterproof Lights, Portable Lights 1000+ Lumens, and batteries. To light triage, and work areas.
  • 20 under bumper White LED lights to light up Triage for Hypothermia, Rubber Bullet Wounds, tear gas burns on hands
  • Ear plugs with strings. For LRAD sound canons. It hurts.
  • Space blankets, hundreds.
  • Hand and Body Warmers
  • Portable Mr Buddy Heaters and green propane canisters.
  • Mittens, gloves, hats, blankets for hypothermia.
  • Ponchos, Waterproof outerwear
  • Gas masks, with replaceable cartridges. I went through 4 gas masks in one night.
  • Motorcycle helmets, full face shield for face protection
  • Hockey equipment
  • Firewood
  • Shin Guards
  • Standard R-13+ with backing. 4’x8′ 1 inch Blue or Pink Insulation panels.
  • Shingle nails, 1 1/2 inch, 2-5 lb boxes.
  • Small insulated. windows, easily framed, two square feet or less, ten of them, for our Winter shelter. New construction.
  • Heavy duty silver/brown tarps, 10×8 and 12×16.
  • 2-Winter Work Trucks, with plow, 4 wheel drive, trailer hitch. Crew Cab, 4 Doors. 4 Wheel Drive passenger van.
  • 2 Military Grade 6-10 person rubber boats, w/ 100 HP outboards.
  • 2 -16’+ Zodiac Boats.
  • 12 jet skis with trailers. 2 -10’x20′
  • Heavy duty carports, for rescue boat, and truck.

“Things will get worse, before they get better. Our people are committed to peaceful resistance. We need these items to help keep water protectors safe Winter conditions will be up to 20° below zero, with strong winds. We are not leaving. I am unable to answer all questions and comments at this time. Yes to all. We need help, we don’t know we need. People have brought items for us, we did not know we needed. We are facing sever winter conditions now, and in the future. The rivers and small ponds are icing up already. Most important, we need you, here at OCETI SAKOWIN for Thankiving Dinner.” –Chi miigwetch. 

Source: DAPL Protesters Digging In. Here’s What they Need | Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Can we #keepitintheground please?

GR:  Face it folks our world needs citizen action now–now.

Conservation groups challenge planned fossil fuel leases on public lands in Colorado

Summit County Citizens Voice Staff Report:  “Conservation groups are challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s plans to auction fossil fuel leases on 20,000 acres of public land in Colorado based on concerns about air and water pollution, and potential harm to imperiled species ­— including threatened Colorado River fish such as the Colorado pikeminnow and razorback sucker, and plant species such as the parachute beardtongue.

“The administrative protest also says the BLM failed to consider climate impacts. If the leases are developed, it could result in 31. million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s irresponsible for the BLM to issue new fossil fuel leases on public lands without considering the impact that extracting and burning these new sources of dirty energy will have on the climate,” said Diana Dascalu-Joffe, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Given the recent election result, the Obama administration should move immediately to halt new leasing on public lands to preserve his climate legacy.”

“The protest called on the Bureau to halt new leasing of fossil fuels in the proposed area, asks that the agency’s Dec. 8 auction be halted due to its failure to consider impacts of fossil fuel extraction on rivers and streams that feed the Colorado River.

“The Bureau also failed to consider the long-term impact that opening these new leases to development will have on climate change. Recent studies have shown that existing plans for fossil fuel development would lead to global temperatures increasing above the 2 degree Celsius limit targeted by the Paris climate agreement.” — Bob Berwin (Continue reading:  Can we #keepitintheground please? – Summit County Citizens Voice.)

Big oil v orcas: Canadians fight pipeline that threatens killer whales on the brink

GR:  Over the brink of climate and biodiversity tragedy, we don’t need any booster jets on the way down.  Let’s end these dangerous projects and encourage developers and investors to concentrate on renewable energy. (Follow the link below to see the map for this project.)

Wednesday 16 November 2016 06.00 EST

Big Oil and Extinction of Orcas

“On one shore there are snow-capped mountains. On the other side loom towering skyscrapers. These churning waters off the coast of Vancouver are marked by a constant flow of ferries and containers ships – but they are also home to 80 or so orcas.

“Known as the southern resident killer whales the group has long had a fraught relationship with the urban sprawl they live alongside, leaving them on the knife’s edge of extinction.

“In the late 1960s and early 70s, dozens were captured and sold to aquariums and theme parks around the world. Those who remained were exposed to runoff chemicals used in local industry, making them some of the world’s most contaminated marine mammals.

“But now the orcas of the Salish sea face what conservationists say is their biggest threat to date: an expansion proposal for a pipeline that would snake from Alberta to the Pacific coast.

“Spearheaded by Texas-based energy infrastructure company Kinder Morgan, the C$6.8bn ($5bn) Trans Mountain Expansion project is designed to transport Alberta’s landlocked bitumen to international markets.”–Ashifa Kassam in Vancouver (Continue: Big oil v orcas: Canadians fight pipeline that threatens killer whales on the brink | World news | The Guardian)