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Posts tagged "land use"

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Enormous grassland fires in Siberia/Mongolia this morning.

This article is circulating among the anti-peak oil crowds. To me, the bigger story is about the left’s environmental heroine, Sally Jewell, who used to frack wells. As new head of the Dept. of Interior, she will (with Obama’s encouragement) - will - allow aggressive fracking on more public lands, possibly much more in our National Parks. To forgiving environmentalists, she’s Obama’s replacement for the DOI and former CEO of REI.


Students Experience a “Day in the Desert”
On April 4, teachers and fifty-eight 7th graders from Sunrise Ridge Intermediate School traded their brick and mortar classrooms for the vibrant landscape of southern Utah. The Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (NCA) was one of the chosen venues for the “Day in the Desert” event, sponsored by the Washington County School District, which allows middle school students to participate in “hands on” activities.
In the Red Cliffs Recreation Area, located within the NCA, specialists from the BLM Saint George Field Office, Washington County Administrators Office, and Southern Utah National Conservation Lands Friends (SUNCLF) group instructed students on ecological and cultural resources with curriculum-based workshops. They educated students about the life histories and adaptive mechanisms of native Mojave Desert species, like the desert tortoise and Gila monster; sampled and tested water quality in Quail Creek, and tried their hand at flint-knapping.
They also identified native plants that were used as foods, medicines, or fiber sources by Native Americans and Anglo-European settlers, and visited the mid-19th century Orson B. Adams farmstead.
At the end of the day, “Day in the Desert” was a success with the children excitedly chatting about their experience on Public Lands as they marched back to the school bus.

-Story by Iris Picat; Photos by Iris Picat and Melissa Buchman

MyPublicLands is such a great tumblr to follow - it’s run by the Bureau of Land Management! And check out that old-timer desert tortoise!!

Allan Savory: How to green the world’s deserts and reverse climate change

Not at all what I expected. For just over half his talk, Savory discusses the issue of desertification, which many of you are familiar with. He (like many others) makes the case for restoring these deserts.

Then, in the last six minutes, he completely blows everyone’s minds. You just gotta see it. 

For legal peeps - an interesting regulatory takings theory in play against Gov. Cuomo! Fun stuff.

Sally Jewell is Obama’s pick to lead the Dept. of Interior. She was CEO of REI and replaces Ken Salazar. I’ll be there for this chat. You?


I’m used to rivers that know what they’re doing.


U.S. Drought Monitor - April 2013

Brutal wildfire year lies ahead for the west and south west.



On April 12, 2013, Sally Jewell was sworn in as the 51st Secretary of the Interior.

In nominating Jewell, President Obama said, “She is an expert on the energy and climate issues that are going to shape our future.  She is committed to building our nation-to-nation relationship with Indian Country.  She knows the link between conservation and good jobs.  She knows that there’s no contradiction between being good stewards of the land and our economic progress; that in fact, those two things need to go hand in hand.” 

As Secretary of the Interior, Jewell leads an agency with more than 70,000 employees. Interior serves as steward for approximately 20 percent of the nation’s lands, including national parks, national wildlife refuges, and other public lands; oversees the responsible development of conventional and renewable energy supplies on public lands and waters; is the largest supplier and manager of water in the 17 Western states; and upholds trust responsibilities to the 566 federally recognized American Indian tribes and Alaska Natives.

Prior to her confirmation, Jewell served in the private sector, most recently as President and Chief Executive Officer of Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI).

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DEEP CUT  The Kennecott Copper Bingham Canyon Mine in Utah sits quiet after a landslide on April 11, 2013.  The mine owner has suspended operations inside one of the world’s deepest open pits as geologists assess a landslide the company says it anticipated for months.  (Photo: Ravell Call / The Deseret News via AP / NBC News)

Holy shit.

You are not going to believe this, but mining public lands is governed by the brutal Mining Act of 1872. This act requires developers to mine certain public lands. (Seriously, it is an abhorrent law and Democrats wont touch it. See here). The law mandates that mining be the highest use of any conceivable land development uses - above roads, electricity, environmental, conservation, even water protection.

Worse, unlike drilling for oil, no royalties are due to the U.S. government for any minerals or metals found (including gold, diamonds, uranium, copper, etc.) A royalty is essentially a fee on every gallon of oil found in the ground. The fee per gallon is paid into the U.S. Treasury, and used to manage permitting and environmental impacts from drilling. In fact, oil royalties are the second highest amount of money collected by the Federal Government (second only to your federal income taxes!). Mining companies are exempt from royalties! I swear this is true!

It gets even worse. This particular mine is run by a foreign mining firm called Rio Tinto, based in the UK. They mine the copper and keep all the money - almost none of it stays in American hands. They pay no royalties, do not have to restore the land, pollute American air, lands, aquifers, and rivers (albeit via EPA permits). Brilliant!


Today marks the fourth anniversary of the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, which was signed into law by President Barack Obama on March 30, 2009.  This landmark legislation affected millions of acres of federal land across the United States and created new conservation designations for over 1.2 million acres of lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  These included 4 national conservation areas, 1 national monument, 30 wilderness areas, 29 wild and scenic river segments, and 2 national scenic trails on BLM land.  The Omnibus also legislatively authorized the BLM’s National Landscape Conservation System, codifying the role of this system of legislatively and presidentially protected lands within the Bureau’s multiple use mission.

Throughout the day, My Public Lands will feature National Conservation Lands created or expanded by this legislation.  For more on the National Conservation Lands, visit

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM


Antarctic Island Heavily Trashed

There appears to be no limit to our polluting ways. At the multinational base at King George Island, in the South Shetland Islands just off the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, tipping and unsafe storage practices have led to pollution — a new and damning report details these findings. Discovery News’ Kieran Mulvaney led an expedition to the island in 1995 — it seems little has changed.

Florida Keys looking very fragile, via Col Chris Hadfield on the ISS.