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BLM Holds Colorado Coal Auction, Turns Back on Climate
WildEarth Guardians and Greenpeace are denouncing plans by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to auction off 21 million tons of coal in Colorado today, calling out the sale as contradictory to our nation’s climate change goals and counter to clean air.
The groups plan to attend the sale and demonstrate for a safe climate and healthy skies.
“The Interior Department is continuing to put climate last, putting our nation and our communities at great risk,” said Jeremy Nichols, WildEarth Guardians’ climate and energy program Director. “This coal sale may make money for Interior Department bureaucrats and the mining industry, but the American public will be stuck with the bill for more global warming pollution.”
In his State of the Union address, President Obama promised that he would “respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.” Today, the Bureau of Land Management is set to break that promise by selling 21 million tons of coal.
The sale, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 10 a.m. at the BLM’s Colorado State Office in west Lakewood, will expand Blue Mountain Energy’s Deserado mine in Rio Blanco County in northwestern Colorado.
The mine is the sole fuel source for the 500-megawatt Bonanza power plant, located 30 miles west in northeastern Utah. Bonanza is owned and operated by Deseret Power Cooperative, the parent company for Blue Mountain Energy. The 600-foot tall smokestack of the Bonanza power plant spews 4.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide every year, equal to the annual emissions of more than a million cars.
By selling the coal, the BLM will extend the life of the Bonanza power plant until 2032. This is despite the fact that when the plant was built, it was planned to operate only until 2016.
The move comes on the heels of calls by over 135,000 people, as well as national, regional and local groups, for new Secretary of the Interior, Sally Jewell, to reform the Interior Department’s coal leasing program and to account for the massive amounts of global warming that inevitably result.
In an April letter, WildEarth Guardians, Greenpeace and others called on Ms. Jewell to institute a coal leasing moratorium until the department can complete a review of the program to ensure both its environmental and financial integrity. The Interior Secretary has yet to respond.
“Sadly, the Interior Secretary seems intent on sustaining coal above all else,” said Nichols. “This dangerous disconnect has to stop, it’s time for the Interior Department to keep the coal in the ground.”
Interior is moving forward with today’s lease sale in spite of mounting air quality problems in Rio Blanco County, CO, and in neighboring Utah counties. Earlier this year, smog levels violated federal health limits in the region. Despite this, the BLM has asserted that smog is not a problem in the region.
WildEarth Guardians has challenged the BLM’s decision to offer the lease, calling on the Interior Board of Land Appeals to overturn the agency’s approval. The agency, however, has refused to postpone the lease sale to allow the appeal to be resolved.
“More coal is a recipe for more pollution; that’s something Colorado, as well as our nation, can’t afford,” said Nichols. “With Colorado leading the way on clean energy, it’s a shame that the Bureau of Land Management is rushing to sacrifice our western skies to appease the coal industry.”
Visit EcoWatch’s COAL page for more related news on this topic.
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The supply chain that provides medical supplies to the world is favoring the U.S. and Europe, which are outbidding poorer nations for masks, gowns, gloves and ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic, according to NPR.
A garbage yard in Lucknow, India where plastic bottles are dumped before being sent to recycling. Abhimanyu Kumar Sharma / Moment / Getty Images
Scientists have engineered a mutant enzyme that converts 90 percent of plastic bottles back to pristine starting materials that can then be used to produce new high-quality bottles in just hours. The discovery could revolutionize the recycling industry, which currently saves about 30 percent of PET plastics from landfills, reported Science Magazine.
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Cabin fever is often associated with being cooped up on a rainy weekend or stuck inside during a winter blizzard.
In reality, though, it can actually occur anytime you feel isolated or disconnected from the outside world.
What is cabin fever?<p>In popular expressions, cabin fever is used to explain feeling bored or listless because you've been stuck inside for a few hours or days. But that's not the reality of the symptoms.</p><p>Instead, cabin fever is a series of negative emotions and distressing sensations people may face if they're isolated or feeling cut off from the world.</p><p>These feelings of isolation and loneliness are more likely in times of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/yes-covid-19-cases-are-rising-why-you-still-need-to-practice-social-distancing" target="_blank">social distancing</a>, self-quarantining during a <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/what-is-a-pandemic" target="_blank">pandemic</a>, or sheltering in place because of severe weather.</p><p>Indeed, cabin fever can lead to a series of symptoms that can be difficult to manage without proper coping techniques.</p><p>Cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological disorder, but that doesn't mean the feelings aren't real. The distress is very real. It can make fulfilling the requirements of everyday life difficult.</p>
What are the symptoms?<p>Symptoms of cabin fever go far beyond feeling bored or "stuck" at home. They're rooted in an intense feeling of isolation and may include:</p><ul><li>restlessness</li><li>decreased motivation</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irritability" target="_blank">irritability</a></li><li>hopelessness</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/unable-to-concentrate" target="_blank">difficulty concentrating</a></li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/irregular-sleep-wake-syndrome" target="_blank">irregular sleep patterns</a>, including sleepiness or sleeplessness</li><li>difficulty waking up</li><li><a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/lethargy" target="_blank">lethargy</a></li><li>distrust of people around you</li><li>lack of patience</li><li>persistent <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/depression-vs-sadness" target="_blank">sadness or depression<br></a></li></ul>
What can help you cope with cabin fever?<p>Because cabin fever isn't a recognized psychological condition, there's no standard "treatment." However, mental health professionals do recognize that the symptoms are very real.</p><p>The coping mechanism that works best for you will have a lot to do with your personal situation and the reason you're secluded in the first place.</p><p>Finding meaningful ways to engage your brain and occupy your time can help alleviate the distress and irritability that cabin fever brings.</p><p>The following ideas are a good place to start.</p>
When to get help<p>Cabin fever is often a fleeting feeling. You may feel irritable or frustrated for a few hours, but having a virtual chat with a friend or finding a task to distract your mind may help erase the frustrations you felt earlier.</p><p>Sometimes, however, the feelings may grow stronger, and no coping mechanisms may be able to successfully help you eliminate your feelings of isolation, sadness, or depression.</p><p>What's more, if your time indoors is prolonged by outside forces, like weather or extended shelter-in-place orders from your local government, feelings of <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/anxiety" target="_blank">anxiety</a> and fear are valid.</p><p>In fact, anxiety may be at the root of some cabin fever symptoms. This may make symptoms worse.</p><p>If you feel that your symptoms are getting worse, consider reaching out to a mental health professional who can help you understand what you're experiencing. Together, you can identify ways to overcome the feelings and anxiety.</p><p>Of course, if you're in isolation or practicing social distancing, you'll need to look for alternative means for seeing a mental health expert.</p><p>Telehealth options may be available to connect you with your therapist if you already have one. If you don't, reach out to your doctor for recommendations about mental health specialists who can connect with you online.</p><p>If you don't want to talk to a therapist, <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/top-iphone-android-apps" target="_blank">smartphone apps for depression</a> may provide a complementary option for addressing your cabin fever symptoms.</p>
The bottom line<p>Isolation isn't a natural state for many people. We are, for the most part, social animals. We enjoy each other's company. That's what can make staying at home for extended periods of time difficult.</p><p>However, whether you're sheltering at home to avoid dangerous weather conditions or heeding the guidelines to help minimize the spread of a disease, staying at home is often an important thing we must do for ourselves and our communities.</p><p>If and when it's necessary, finding ways to engage your brain and occupy your time may help bat back cabin fever and the feelings of isolation and restlessness that often accompany it.</p>
Pope Francis spoke about the novel coronavirus, suggesting that the global pandemic might be one of nature's responses to the man-made climate crisis.