In 2016, oil and gas companies reported more than 1,300 spills in New Mexico.

According to publicly available data from the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division, there were 1,310 reported spills in New Mexico in 2016, an 11 percent decrease from the previous year. The vast majority of spills, 83 percent, took place in Lea and Eddy Counties.

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Written by on Thursday, March 30th, 2017

Corporate giveaway won’t bring coal back

Today President Trump signed an executive order to demolish climate and energy policies set by the previous administration — eliminating some altogether and instructing regulators to rewrite key rules related to energy development. While the focus of the executive order is dismantling the Clean Power Plan, two provisions will particularly impact Western states and taxpayers across the country — lifting the temporary moratorium on federal coal leasing and rewriting rules designed to limit methane waste during natural gas production.

Oil, natural gas, and coal provide an important source of revenue to American taxpayers. For example, 40 percent of all coal mined in the United States is mined on federal land. Similarly, production on federal land accounts for 5 percent of the nation’s oil supply, along with 11 percent of our natural gas supply. In years past, an antiquated system of policies ensured oil, gas and coal companies received sweetheart deals for resource extraction, while taxpayers were consistently shortchanged. The Obama administration established several new rules to ensure taxpayers receive a fair share from energy development on public lands. Unfortunately, two of those rules stand to be erased under Trump’s new order.

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Written by on Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

This episode of Go West, Young Podcast is a wide-ranging conversation with Professor Mark Squillace, director of the Natural Resources Law Center at the University of Colorado law School.

Squillace first weighs in on whether President Trump has the authority to erase or shrink a national monument, then he debunks all of the legal theories espoused by extremists who claim the federal government has no constitutional authority to own public land.

We conclude with a discussion about Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, and the threat posed by the REINS act, which would turn Congress into regulatory micro-managers.

  • This Week in Western History: The birthday of soldier, scientist, and explorer John Wesley Powell

Producer/Host: Aaron Weiss

Feedback: podcast@westernpriorities.org

Music by Purple Planet

Written by on Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Our guest in this episode of Go West, Young Podcast is Ron Hunter, Patagonia’s Environmental Activism Manager.

Read more about Patagonia’s 360-degree Bears Ears experience from Mashable and FastCo Create.


Subscribe: iTunes | Google PlayStitcher | TuneIn

Host & producer: Aaron Weiss

Music: Purple Planet

Written by on Monday, March 13th, 2017

President Trump’s administration is looking to take a hacksaw to the Department of the Interior’s budget and the incoming Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is “not happy” about it.

According to reports from E&E News, the new administration is looking to cut 10 percent from Interior’s annual budget, which translates into a $1.3 billion reduction from last year’s $13.3 billion budget. The Interior Department — which is already spread razor thin — does everything from overseeing America’s parks and managing endangered wildlife to balancing the multiple critical uses of the more than 500 million acres of American-owned lands.

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Written by on Friday, March 3rd, 2017

Utah politicians are asking Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and President Trump to rescind Bears Ears National Monument—a move that would be both unprecedented and probably illegal. Zinke has a choice: Will he follow in Teddy Roosevelt’s footsteps, or will he join Utah’s attacks on our parks and public lands?

It’s time for Ryan Zinke to ask himself one simple question: What would Teddy do?

Teddy Roosevelt would stand with Bears Ears.

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Written by on Friday, March 3rd, 2017

It’s the end of the line — after good-faith negotiations with Utah Governor Gary Herbert, the Outdoor Retailer trade show is leaving Utah in response to the state’s anti-public lands policies.

Yesterday, Gov. Herbert met with the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and industry leaders Patagonia, REI, and The North Face to discuss the future of the trade show. In what began as an op-ed written by Black Diamond co-founder Peter Metcalf, the pressure grew to over 30 outdoor industry leaders “publicly and emphatically” urging Outdoor Retailer to leave Utah if the show’s longtime home failed to make a course correction on its extreme positions on American public lands.

In the meeting, OIA requested that the governor end efforts to transfer federal lands to the state, nullify the Antiquities Act, and undo Bears Ears National Monument. Instead, OIA asked the governor to “embrace and actively support the outdoor recreation economy’s role in the state by supporting the public lands that provide the backbone of the industry’s sales.”

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Written by on Friday, March 3rd, 2017

A conversation with Luis Benitez, director of the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office.

Links mentioned in the show:

Written by on Friday, February 24th, 2017

Massive outdoor industry trade show gets closer to leaving state in protest

It’s no secret that Utah’s elected officials have led a sustained attack against national public lands. Now it seems that leading outdoor recreation companies, which depend on public lands for their business, have had enough. Governor Gary Herbert is seeking to quell a growing movement to move the massive Outdoor Retailer trade show out of Utah, but it’s not that easy for a tiger to change its stripes. Just this week Utah’s legislature advanced a proposal to give hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to nonprofits specifically to sue the federal government over public lands.

On Monday, an appropriations subcommittee of Utah’s state legislature voted to give $250,000 to two nonprofits, the Foundation for Integrated Resource Management (FIRM) and Rural Utah Alliance. FIRM, founded in 2016, has actively opposed Bears Ears National Monument and seeks to “file legal actions and communicate with the public” on anti-public lands issues. Rural Utah Alliance, initially registered by a lawyer for Phil Lyman, the San Juan County Commissioner convicted of leading an illegal ATV ride into archaeologically-sensitive Recapture Canyon, takes taxpayer money from state and county coffers and claims to offer legal advice to counties regarding national public lands. (more…)

Written by on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017

It’s been a rough week for politicians in Utah.

Congressman Jason Chaffetz faced a hostile crowd at a town hall meeting in his district Thursday night. An overflow crowd demanded answers on everything from public lands and the new Bears Ears National Monument to whether, as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he intends to perform any oversight of the Trump White House.

The evening was overshadowed with a mic drop moment from a ten-year-old girl who asked Chaffetz simply, “Do you believe in science? Because I do.” (more…)

Written by on Friday, February 10th, 2017

Today's Latest

Coal-conomics

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 […]

March 6th, 2017

Clumsy at best, irresponsible at worst

The federal hiring freeze brings chaos at Montana’s national parks and forests, public lands supporters to rally today at noon in Helena, Montana, and more.

January 30th, 2017

A monumental legacy

New CWP story map walks through the years of conservation under Obama, listen to the former Deputy Secretary of the Interior Mike Connor talk about the challenges facing public lands, and more.

January 30th, 2017

Protected public lands are part of our Western heritage and deserve bipartisan support. @WstrnPriorities