The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Reprinted with permission from DCReport.

 

Trump’s Bureau of Land Management tried to lease almost 12 million acres for oil and gas exploration last year, more than six times what the Obama administration tried to lease in 2016, and the Trump administration is poised to dump 1.4 million more acres on the market early next year.

About 1.5 million acres in five western states were previously scheduled for lease sales this month but action was postponed after a federal magistrate judge found evidence that the bureau “made an intentional decision to limit the opportunity” for environmentalists and others to comment on the proposed leases. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to lease this land for as little as $2 an acre.

The land, most now scheduled to be sold in February and March, is home to the imperiled greater sage grouse, a ground-nesting bird known for its distinctive mating dance. Zinke wants to slash protections for the sage grouse.

“You’re already leasing as fast as you can and now you’re removing the protections that are already in place,” said Nada Culver, senior counsel at The Wilderness Society.

Postponed sales include:

In January, Brian Steed, the bureau’s deputy director of policy and programs, signed a memo cutting the ability of environmentalists and others to question proposed oil and gas leases. The Western Watersheds Project and the Center for Biological Diversity sued Zinke over the memo and won a preliminary injunction forcing the bureau to use old guidelines for sales scheduled for December and afterward for land where sage grouse live.

“It is well-settled that public involvement in oil and gas leasing is required,” wrote Idaho Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush.

Much of the land that Zinke has offered for lease has drawn no interest from buyers. Oil companies bid on less than 7%, or 792,823 acres of the 11.8 million acres that Zinke offered in 2017. Last year, a federal oil-lease sale promoted as the largest ever in Alaska’s Arctic Reserve sold only seven tracts, or 0.8% of the 900 offered.

Drilling for oil and gas and coal mining on public lands accounted for an estimated 23.7%, or almost a fourth, of all carbon dioxide emissions from our country from 2005-2014.

 

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Attorney General Merrick Garland

Photo by The White House

Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos

The Department of Justice had the kind of pro-police reform week that doesn't happen every year. In a seven-day period, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced a ban on chokeholds and no-knock warrants, an overhaul on how to handle law enforcement oversight deals, and a promise to make sure the Justice Department wasn't funding agencies that engage in racial discrimination.

Keep reading... Show less

FBI Director Faces Sharp New Scrutiny Over Kavanaugh Probe

Photo by Federal Bureau of Investigation (Public domain)

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

When then-U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was accused of sexual misconduct by Christine Blasey Ford — a psychology professor at Palo Alto University — in 2018, the FBI conducted an investigation. But Kavanaugh's critics argued that the investigation should have been much more comprehensive in light of the fact that then-President Donald Trump had nominated him for a lifetime appointment on the highest judicial body in the United States. FBI Director Christopher Wray's handling of that investigation, according to Guardian reporter Stephanie Kirchgaessner, continues to be scrutinized three years later.

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}