2.7 Million People Want National Monuments to Remain Protected
As the Trump administration's "review" of 27 national monuments draws to a close, more than 2.7 million people have flooded the government comment website saying that they want national monuments to remain protected.
"Millions of Americans have urged the Trump administration not to sell off our beautiful national monuments," said Randi Spivak, public lands program director at the Center for Biological Diversity. "These are public lands, and the public wants them protected."
A survey of dozens of organizations reveals that more than 2.7 million public comments have been submitted to the Interior Department in support of the 27 monuments at risk under review by Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke. The regulations.gov website displays each bundle of comments submitted from concerned groups as a single comment, significantly understating the number of comments received.
"It's disturbing that Zinke has already shown he's willing to ignore the pleas of the public, while bowing to Trump's political supporters like Senator Orrin Hatch," Spivak said. "Zinke's interim recommendation on Bears Ears National Monument called for slashing protections, a slap in the face to the tribes and public who have worked so hard to protect it."
President Trump launched an attack on national monuments in April, targeting more than one billion acres of natural and cultural wonders from coast to coast that have been protected by presidents of both political parties. In June, Zinke recommended significant reductions to Bears Ears, which oil and gas companies are eyeing for drilling and fracking operations.
Zinke's final recommendations on the monuments under review are due Aug. 24.
"The oil industry can already drill on 90 percent of the land managed by the BLM—how much more do they want?" Spivak said. "It's time for Zinke to stop pretending he's a Teddy Roosevelt kind of a guy. President Roosevelt would be ashamed of him."
Signed by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 out of 19 presidents—eight Republicans and eight Democrats—to protect America's most iconic natural, cultural and historic places by designating them as national monuments.
The public overwhelmingly supports public lands and oceans. A 2014 Hart Research poll showed that 90 percent of voters supported presidential proposals to protect some public lands and waters as parks, wildlife refuges and wilderness. In the 2017 Conservation in the West poll, 80 percent supported keeping monument protections in place.
Many studies have shown that communities located near monuments and other protected public lands have stronger economies. Studies also show that the outdoor and recreational opportunities in these monuments increase local residents' quality of life, making areas near them more attractive to new residents, entrepreneurs, small businesses and investors.
Outdoor recreation alone drives an $887 billion economy and supports 7.6 million jobs. A recent Headwaters Economics report reflects these trends with updated data from 17 areas across the West.
Santa Barbara Becomes First California City to Pass Resolution Against Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling
The Santa Barbara City Council approved a resolution Tuesday opposing new drilling off the California coast and fracking in existing offshore oil and gas wells. The resolution is the first in a new statewide campaign to rally local governments against proposals to expand offshore fossil fuel extraction in federal waters.
The vote—which makes Santa Barbara the first California city to oppose both fracking and new offshore drilling—follows President Trump's April 28 executive order urging federal agencies to expand oil and gas leasing in federal waters. The order could expose the Pacific Ocean to new oil leasing for the first time in more than 30 years.
Starting Wednesday, the vast majority of Americans can learn about every potentially harmful chemical in their drinking water and what scientists say are the safe levels of those contaminants. The Environmental Working Group's (EWG) new national Tap Water Database is the most complete source available on the quality of U.S. drinking water, aggregating and analyzing data from almost 50,000 public water systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The organization has earned a reputation for ambitious data-mining research projects that shake up policy debates and consumer markets. EWG's online Farm Subsidy Database, listing millions of subsidy recipients, and its Skin Deep guide to more than 70,000 personal care products, draw tens of millions of visitors every year.
By Stacy Malkan
Ever since they classified the world's most widely used herbicide as "probably carcinogenic to humans," a team of international scientists at the World Health Organization's (WHO) cancer research group have been under withering attack by the agrichemical industry and its surrogates.
In a front-page series, The Monsanto Papers, the French newspaper Le Monde described the attacks as "the pesticide giant's war on science," and reported, "to save glyphosate, the firm [Monsanto] undertook to harm the United Nations agency against cancer by all means."
The lengthy report from the Energy and Policy Institute uses reams of archival documents to demonstrate that utility industry representatives knew as far back as 1968 that burning fossil fuels could trigger "catastrophic effects" on the climate.
By Sharon Kelly
The Pennsylvania's Environmental Hearing Board ordered Sunoco Pipeline LP Tuesday to temporarily halt some types of work on a $2.5 billion pipeline project designed to carry 275,000 barrels a day of butane, propane and other liquid fossil fuels from Ohio and West Virginia, across Pennsylvania, to the Atlantic coast.
On July 19, three environmental groups presented Judge Bernard Labuskes, Jr. with documentation showing that the project had caused dozens of drilling fluid spills and other accidents between April and mid-June.
By Andy Rowell
The UK has followed France in banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, as part of its plan to tackle chronic air pollution in cities. The government has been coming under intense pressure to act, with an estimated 40,000 people dying prematurely a year from air pollution.
By Colleen Curry
People traveling across America today can, if they're lucky, pitch a tent in the same exact spot that early American explorers and map-makers Lewis and Clark did, amid the jagged rocks and sweeping plains of the Upper Missouri River Breaks in central Montana.
Brent Rose, a journalist and filmmaker who has been traveling around the U.S. in a van for two years, was one of the lucky ones.
Kyara, a killer whale born at SeaWorld San Antonio just three months ago, died Monday at the park, as reported in this video from Newsy. Kyara is the last orca to be born in captivity under the SeaWorld breeding program, which shut down in 2016.
In a statement, SeaWorld said the cause of death was "likely pneumonia" and that "Kyara had faced some very serious and progressive health issues over the last week."