The Eco News Roundup brings stories and commentary about issues related to climate change, renewable energy and the environment.
Utah, a state rich in epic landscapes and national parks, is becoming ground zero for a fight between the $646bn outdoor industry and state lawmakers over public land management.
At a trade show for outdoor clothing and gear makers in Salt Lake City this week, two prominent figures from the industry called on their peers to move the semi-annual event out of the state unless Utah leaders stop supporting efforts by Republicans in Congress to transfer or sell federal land to states. Utah governor Gary Herbert was also called out for challenging a federal law that allowed President Obama to create the new, 1.4m-acre Bears Ears National Monument in southeast Utah last month.graph
Scott Eustis did not stop smiling for hours. The coastal wetland specialist with the Gulf Restoration Network was attending a public hearing in Baton Rouge. Its subject was a pipeline extension that would run directly through the Atchafalaya Basin, the world’s largest natural swamp. Eustis was surprised to be joined by more than 400 others.
“This is like 50 times the amount of people we have at most of these meetings,” said Eustis, adding that the proposed pipeline was “the biggest and baddest I’ve seen in my career”.
The company behind the pipeline, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), had seemed to turn its attention to Louisiana just one day after Native American protesters thwarted the company’s Dakota Access project last month.
Indigenous activists have set up camps in the Texas desert to fight a pipeline project there, the latest sign that the Standing Rock “water protector” movement is inspiring Native American-led environmental protests across the US.
The Two Rivers camp, located south of Marfa near the border, has attracted dozens of demonstrators in its first week to protest the Trans-Pecos pipeline, a 148-mile project on track to transport fracked natural gas through the Big Bend region to Mexico.
Citing concerns about damage to the environment and sacred indigenous sites, the camp parallels the high-profile effort to block the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) and is one of multiple Native American land campaigns building on the momentum of the demonstrations in North Dakota.
[…] the new scientific integrity policy also follows a move by the Trump transition team to send the department a questionnaire asking for the names of personnel who had attended meetings related to climate change (although Moniz did not mention this in his remarks).
The new policy states as its “cornerstone” that “all scientists, engineers, or others supported by DOE are free and encouraged to share their scientific findings and views.” That includes talking to the media, giving public talks, and even expressing views on social media (though these can’t be attributed to the government).
The seven-page policy prevents other agency employees, such as political appointees or press officers, from leaning on or torquing scientific findings. “Under no circumstance may anyone, including a public affairs officer, ask or direct any researcher to alter the record of scientific findings or conclusions,” the document states.
The document also embraces a strong commitment to whistleblower protection laws and says the agency will install a “scientific integrity official” within the Energy Secretary’s office to head up enforcement of the policy.
The Office of Special Counsel an independent US Agency[…] elaborated on the kinds of practices that will be prohibited once the Trump government (like any government) takes over, noting that “any effort to chill scientific research or discourse is inconsistent” with the intent of the 2012 Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.
While many U.S. states have mandates and incentives to get more of their electricity from renewable energy, Republican legislators in Wyoming are proposing to cut the state off from its most abundant, clean resource—wind—and ensuring its continued dependence on coal.
A new measure submitted to the Wyoming legislature this week would forbid utilities from providing any electricity to the state that comes from large-scale wind or solar energy projects by 2019. It’s an unprecedented attack on clean energy in Wyoming, and possibly the nation. And it comes at a time when such resources are becoming cheaper and increasingly in demand as the world seeks to transition to clean energy to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
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1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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