Navajo Generating Station, Salt River Project

New Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is promising to “look at everything across the board” when it comes to coal on public lands. Zinke suggested to reporters on Friday that Interior could both jump-start coal leasing and increase royalties for taxpayers.

The catch, of course, is that economic fundamentals are moving in the other direction. The CEO of policy think tank Energy Innovations notes that “increasingly, building a new solar or wind farm is cheaper than just operating an existing coal plant.” That economic reality is setting in at the Navajo Generating Station in Arizona, which is scheduled to shut down in 2019, 25 years ahead of schedule. The revenue, taxes and royalties from the power plant provide about a third of the Navajo Nation’s operating budget.

So while the Interior Department is now offering to cut regulatory costs to help the power plant stay open, county commissioners are planning to build a higher education center near the plant to entice workers to stay after it closes.

Quick hits

Thousands of Idahoans rally for public lands at state capitol

Idaho Statesman | Post Register | Associated Press | Idaho State Journal

President Trump, new Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke at odds over budget

Center for Western Priorities

Zinke reverses ban on lead ammo, conservation groups worry about wildlife

Christian Science Monitor | Alaska Daily News

Editorial: Zinke can stand up for public lands by defending BLM Planning 2.0

Missoulian

Op-eds: Protecting Bears Ears is part of LDS faith and important to sportsmen; rescinding would embolden anti-public land extremists

Daily Herald | Deseret NewsBozeman Daily Chronicle

Supreme Court nominee Gorsuch has been “unusually eager to throw roadblocks” at conservation groups in court

Associated Press

Extremist lawmakers in Nevada renew push to take over public lands

Las Vegas Review-Journal

Quote of the day

America’s federal public lands were never Utah’s alone, but instead are a part of our nation’s collective bounty. It is long past time to set aside this tale and work toward a common goal of strengthening the management and protection of this place we call home.”

Picture this

Arizona Daily Star

The third jaguar documented in Southern Arizona was photographed by a BLM trail camera in Cochise County, November 16, 2016.

Written by on Monday, March 6th, 2017