Biden administration weighs massive Arctic drilling project

Jul 11, 2022

The Biden administration released a long-awaited environmental review of ConocoPhillips’ massive proposed Willow oil project on Alaska’s North Slope. Environmental advocates had hoped the Bureau of Land Management would indicate an intent to stop the project, in light of President Biden’s climate goals.

The official document did not indicate a preferred path forwards. But journalist Adam Federman noticed that the original version of the environmental review, posted Friday evening, indicated that the Bureau of Land Management preferred “Alternative E’—a slightly scaled-back plan that would reduce the project’s overall footprint while still releasing 278 million metric tons of carbon over a 30 year period.

Traditional allies of the Biden administration didn’t hold back in their criticism. Christy Goldfuss, who chaired the White House Council on Environmental Quality under President Obama and is now at the Center for American Progress, tweeted that she was “Totally furious that @DOI is one proforma step away from approving the ConocoPhillips Willow project.”

“This oil and gas project will be a hub for development for DECADES in a place that climate change is rapidly MELTING,” Goldfuss added.

’12 years of hell’: Haaland listens as elders recount life at Native American boarding schools

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland launched a year-long listening tour to hear from Native Americans about the abuse and trauma they suffered at government-backed Indian boarding schools, including beatings, sexual assaults, and forced haircuts.

“I will never, ever forgive this school for what they did to me,” said 84-year-old Donald Neconie, a Marine veteran and member of the Kiowa Tribe who attended the Riverside Indian School in Anadarko, Oklahoma, who described years of physical and sexual abuse. “Every time I tried to talk Kiowa, they put lye in my mouth,” he said. “It was 12 years of hell.”

Haaland, America’s first Indigenous cabinet secretary, recently released a preliminary report into deaths and abuse at Indian boarding schools.

“My ancestors endured the horrors of the Indian boarding school assimilation policies carried out by the same department that I now lead,” she said. “This is the first time in history that a cabinet secretary comes to the table with this shared trauma.”

Quick hits

Haaland surveys Yellowstone flood damage

Jackson Hole News & Guide

Biden administration signals support for massive Alaska oil project

New York Times | Washington Post | Reuters | CNN | Anchorage Daily News | The Hill

How the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe survives with as little as 10% of its hard-won water supply

Denver Post

Shell sees $1 billion in extra refining profits thanks to high gas prices

BNN Bloomberg

Feds investigate large leak from Colorado gas pipeline

E&E News

Colorado takes over 106 oil and gas wells after crackdown on companies

Denver Post

Biologists’ fears confirmed on the lower Colorado as non-native fish make it past Glen Canyon Dam

Associated Press

Lake Mead’s receding waters reveal a sunken WWII-era vessel

Los Angeles Times

Quote of the day

”We don’t know the health issues that come along with this stuff. A lot of our people mysteriously started getting sick. Kids and other adults started to have asthma like they never had before.”

—Ute Mountain Ute member Michael Badback, to NPR News, on the production and storage of radioactive materials at the nearby White Mesa uranium mill

Picture this

bear eating grass

Let’s talk about food! Grass may not be as exciting as salmon when it comes to a bear’s diet, but it plays a vital role in survival. Coming out of hibernation, bears have lost up to ⅓ of their body weight. Grass, sedges & other plants are important resources.

(featured image: Caribou in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Bob Wick, BLM)