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Statement on the Bureau of Land Management’s Final Renewable Energy Rule

DENVER—Today the Bureau of Land Management released its final Renewable Energy Rule, which updates regulations to incentivize and expedite wind and solar energy development on national public lands. The rule codifies lower acreage rental and capacity fees and provides for a streamlined process for renewable energy development in identified priority areas. The Renewable Energy Rule comes […]

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House passes huge outdoor recreation bill

The House on Tuesday approved the EXPLORE Act, a bipartisan bill that increases access to public lands and boosts the nation’s outdoor economy. Among its sweeping set of provisions, the bill would make it easier to get permits for activities on public lands, develop more biking trails, and codify the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program, a fund that […]

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Redline: Everything the Heritage Foundation gets wrong about national monuments and the Antiquities Act

In March, the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank ran an op-ed in the Washington Times and on its website arguing that the Supreme Court should review the Antiquities Act, a century-old law that has protected some of America’s most iconic natural areas and historic treasures, from the Grand Canyon to the Statue of Liberty. The […]

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Low-income and minority communities will now be more protected from toxic chemicals

On Tuesday, the Environmental Protection Agency finalized a rule that will require chemical plants to reduce their emissions of cancer-causing chemicals. As a result, the number of people with elevated cancer risk is expected to decrease by 96 percent. The rule will bring long-overdue environmental justice to low-income and minority communities that are disproportionately located near such plants. The rule will […]

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Feds deny protections for gray wolves, environmental groups sue

On Monday, environmental organizations filed two lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), challenging its decision not to restore Endangered Species Act protections for gray wolves in the West. Currently, gray wolves are listed as endangered in 44 states and threatened in Minnesota. In Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and portions of Eastern Oregon and Washington, wolf management is […]

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Greenhouse gases at an all time high

The levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane, the two greenhouse gases most responsible for rising global temperatures, reached historic highs last year, according to an announcement from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on Friday. The rise in heat-trapping gasses from January to December of 2023 was not quite as high as record increases seen in recent […]

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Lawmakers urge Biden administration to finalize oil and gas rule

In a letter sent Thursday, lawmakers urged the Biden administration to finalize the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed Onshore Oil and Gas Leasing Rule by the end of April. The proposed rule would implement updates made by the Inflation Reduction Act, as well as increase minimum bond amounts that haven’t been updated in decades. The timing is important in order […]

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Final mineral withdrawal will protect Colorado’s Thompson Divide, Mt. Emmons

The Biden administration has finalized a mineral withdrawal protecting more than 200,000 acres of national public land in Colorado’s Thompson Divide. The 20-year mineral withdrawal will prevent new mining or oil and gas activity in the area, but will not impact existing active leases within the withdrawal boundaries. The withdrawal is supported by a coalition of ranchers, hunters, outdoor enthusiasts, and environmentalists that has […]

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Statement on final mineral withdrawal to protect Colorado’s Thompson Divide

“Some places are too important and too fragile to drill.”

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Oil industry criticizes Biden policies even as production soars

As U.S. oil production—and profits—remain high, oil company executives continue to criticize “Washington’s war against domestic oil and gas.” According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas quarterly survey of oil company executives in New Mexico, Texas, and Louisiana, the industry continues to express frustration with Biden administration policies despite strong production and profits. The disconnect between industry sentiment and the […]

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Which Western states are leading and lagging in protecting public lands?

An updated analysis from the Center for Western Priorities finds that not every Western state is living up to its conservation legacy. Oregon in particular has a proud conservation tradition, yet a dysfunctional Congress is blocking the largest conservation opportunity in the West. The report, Conservation Gridlock, is an annual update to a 2022 analysis that looked at the acres […]

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Report: Which Western states are leading and lagging in protecting public lands?

Oregon, Idaho, and Wyoming fall behind while Arizona and Nevada move up thanks to presidential action DENVER—An updated analysis from the Center for Western Priorities finds that not every Western state is living up to its conservation legacy. Oregon in particular has a proud conservation tradition, yet a dysfunctional Congress is blocking the largest conservation opportunity in the […]

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More than half of Colorado River water used to irrigate agricultural land

A new study has quantified just how much Colorado River water is consumed by the agricultural industry. Agricultural irrigation is responsible for over half of overall water consumption, and for three-fourths of direct human use, according to the study published last week in the journal Communications Earth & Environment. The study found that irrigation uses more water than all other […]

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2024 State Legislative Debrief: Utah

So much for small government Utah’s state legislature meets annually for a 45-day session during which any topics can be considered. In recent years, with the legislature’s one-party supermajority, this has meant an incredible number of ideas or mere whims escalate rapidly into legislation which becomes law. Of 862 bills and resolutions that were introduced […]

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Talking public lands extremism with Betsy Gaines Quammen

Kate and Aaron are joined by author Betsy Gaines Quammen to talk about public lands and extremism. Betsy has written two books about extremism in the West. Her first, American Zion, looks at the connection between Mormonism and extremism. Her second book, True West, which came out last year, digs into the myths that define […]

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BLM releases rule to crack down on methane waste

The Bureau of Land Management finalized its Methane Waste Rule yesterday, bringing years of legal and administrative wrangling to a close. The final rule requires oil and gas companies to reduce venting and flaring of methane, fix leaks, and reimburse taxpayers when companies waste this powerful greenhouse gas rather than capturing it and sending it to American homes. “It’s common sense […]

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Statement on final Bureau of Land Management rule to curb methane waste

“When oil and gas companies waste taxpayer-owned resources like methane on public lands, they should make taxpayers whole for the loss”

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The Permian Basin has a major methane problem

As natural gas production in the Permian Basin grows, so does the amount of methane wasted in the region.  Methane is a strong climate-warming pollutant and the main component of natural gas. It is also a byproduct of oil production, and there is insufficient infrastructure in the Permian to move all of the methane produced there to market. This leads to […]

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Supreme Court rejects Antiquities Act fight

The Supreme Court rejected two cases yesterday that could have curtailed the president’s power to establish new national monuments.  The two cases centered on President Obama’s expansion of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument. The timber companies involved argued the expansion was a misuse of the Antiquities Act, because it blocked timber harvests that Congress required on some of the same lands. […]

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Is direct lithium extraction safe?

A test well blow out for a proposed lithium extraction operation in southern Utah is raising questions about the safety of direct lithium extraction, a new and untested method of obtaining the soft, silvery metal critical to the renewable energy transition. Direct lithium extraction poses risks to both the quality of water in the West, as well as the quantity, since it requires […]

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