Biden’s opportunity at Molok Luyuk

May 10, 2023

When President Barack Obama designated the 330,000-acre Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in 2015, he protected a landscape rich with ecological diversity and recreational opportunities in northern California. But nearly 14,000 acres of public lands just to the east of the monument remain in need of greater protection.

The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation is asking President Joe Biden to expand Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument to include the 13,753 acres of ridgeline known to the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation as Molok Luyuk (pronounced Ma-lok Lou-yoke). Molok Luyuk means “condor ridge” in the Patwin language, an homage to the birds that once flew there.

“Our hope is also to see the return to an Indigenous name for these lands,” Tribal Chairman Anthony Roberts wrote in March.

Learn more about the effort to protect Molok Luyuk in the Center for Western Priorities’ latest postcard in our Road to 30 series, highlighting the opportunities and ways President Biden can put America on track to reach his goal of protecting 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by the end of the decade.

Feds greenlight nuclear waste dump in New Mexico

Federal officials on Wednesday approved a multi-billion dollar facility to “temporarily” store spent nuclear fuel at a facility near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The highly radioactive material would be transported to New Mexico by rail.

New Mexico officials, including Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, have vowed to stop the project, fearing New Mexico will become America’s dumping ground for spent fuel, since the nation has no permanent waste site. New Jersey-based Holtec International has argued federal law pre-empts the state legislature’s attempts to block the facility.

Quick hits

Polis ready to veto bill that could slow wolf reintroduction

CPR News | Denver Post

U.S. regulators OK nuclear waste facility in New Mexico

Associated Press | Carlsbad Current Argus | KOB | Albuquerque Journal | Reuters | The Hill

Tribes split over plan to protect greater Chaco


Navajo community on verge of clean water success after decades-long effort


A weed is swallowing the Sonoran Desert

High Country News

Uncapped oil and gas wells a $30 billion liability in the Gulf

Ars Technica

Editorial: In the Pecos, push intensifies to halt return of mining

Santa Fe New Mexican

Dolores River will be raftable for the first sime since 2019 thanks to heavy snowpack

Denver Post

Quote of the day

”This is a bad idea, full stop. Placing a nuclear storage facility in the heart of oil and gas operations is a recipe for ecological disaster and unnecessarily puts New Mexicans at risk. Bottom line, the world’s most active oil and gas producing field is not the right place for a long-term nuclear waste storage site. Holtec needs to understand that New Mexico is not the nation’s dumping ground and should stop misleading the public about the dangers their proposal presents.”

—New Mexico State Land Commissioner Stephanie Garcia Richard, Carlsbad Current Argus

Picture this


Crouching bear, hidden salmon…

⁣Bears, like people, are individuals and develop different habits and preferences. Maybe you sit on a rock all day? Rock on. This bear is a medium-large adult female that resides at Katmai National Park & Preserve and frequently sits on rocks. (We all have hobbies.)

<Three hours later >

Perhaps it just enjoys a comfy resting spot. Maybe it’s a place to reflect on the metaphysical concepts of existence, purpose…or dinner? We may never know, but we do know it’s important that all who visit Katmai respect bears and stay safe in the great outdoors.⁣ (No playing leapfrog with the bears.)

Image: They told me I could be anything…so I became a frog.⁣ A bear rocks sitting on a rock in the middle of river. NPS Photo/L. Law

Featured image: A sunset illuminates the serpentinite of Molok Luyuk. Photo by Bob Wick.