Dec. 06, 2018 01:11PM EST
Solar panel being installed on a rooftop in San Francisco. brian kusler / Flickr / CC BY 2.0
By Marie Logan
At Earthjustice, we're skeptical any time a company announces plans to convert public resources into private profits. Whether it's natural gas extraction in national parks or logging in a national forest that would displace endangered species, we're prepared to step in to protect our nation's natural resources whenever they are threatened.
By Shawn Olson-Hazboun and Hilary Boudet
A year after Washington state denied key permits for a coal-export terminal in the port city of Longview, the Army Corps of Engineers announced it would proceed with its review—essentially ignoring the state's decision.
This dispute pits federal authorities against local and state governments. It's also part of a larger and long-running battle over fossil fuel shipments to foreign countries that stretches up the entire American West Coast.
The forecasted rain could bring much-needed relief for the firefighters battling the Camp Fire in Butte County. However, it could also bring new hazards due to possible ash, mud and debris flows triggered by the rain.
By Rolf Skar
The Camp Fire raging in Northern California is now the most devastating and deadly fire in the state's recorded history. Simultaneously, deadly and destructive fires are burning in Southern California, as the Woolsey and Hill fires have engulfed iconic areas of Malibu and West Hills. With dozens dead, hundreds missing and thousands of structures destroyed, our hearts go out to those impacted across the region.
By Brenda Ekwurzel
Before we dive into the science behind the four factors specific to the California Santa Ana winds, let's review the current situation in California and wildfire disaster risks in general.
In an interview with Breitbart News on Sunday, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke blamed "radical environmentalists" for the wildfires that have devastated California in recent weeks, The Huffington Post reported.
"I will lay this on the foot of those environmental radicals that have prevented us from managing the forests for years. And you know what? This is on them," he said in the interview.
You can listen to the whole thing here:
The remarks come as California has suffered the deadliest blaze in the state's history. The death toll from the Camp Fire, which destroyed the town of Paradise in Northern California, has now risen to 79. Around 1,000 people are still listed as missing, and the fire is now 70 percent contained, according to an Associated Press report Monday.
"Managing all the forests everywhere we can does not stop climate change, and those who deny that definitely are contributing to the tragedies that we are witnessing and will continue to witness," Brown said.
Regardless, Zinke has remained consistent in pointing the finger at forest management. His current criticisms echo his remarks following other fires this August, in which he said the increasingly frequent and violent blazes were the result of inadequate forest management, and not climate change. He continued in that vein during Sunday's interview:
"In many cases, it's these radical environmentalists who want nature to take its course. We have dead and dying timber. We can manage it using best science, best practices. But to let this devastation go on year after year after year is unacceptable, it's not going to happen. The president is absolutely engaged."
President Donald Trump has indeed vehemently blamed forest mismanagement ever since the recent batch of fires broke out, even threatening at one point to withhold federal funding if the forests weren't managed properly. During a visit to California Saturday to survey damage, Trump brought up forest management again, suggesting that the problem in California was that the forests were not raked enough.
"You look at other countries where they do it differently, and it's a whole different story," he said, as CNN reported. "I was with the president of Finland, and he said: 'We have a much different [sic] ..., we're a forest nation.' And they spent a lot of time on raking and cleaning and doing things, and they don't have any problem," he added.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, however, told a Finnish newspaper he did not recall suggesting raking to Trump.
"I mentioned [to] him that Finland is a land covered by forests and we also have a good monitoring system and network," he said.
Finnish people have taken to Twitter to poke fun at the U.S. President's statement using the hashtag "Raking America Great Again."
Despite Trump and Zinke's criticisms, the fact remains that the federal government controls almost 60 percent of the forests in California while the state controls only three percent. Paradise was surrounded by federal, not state, forests. Further, the fires in Southern California spread in suburban and urban areas, The Huffington Post reported.
Some think the emphasis put by Zinke and Trump on forest management is not about preventing fires at all but rather an attempt to justify opening more public forests to private logging interests.
U.S. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks with land managers, private landowners, university staff, and the media about federal forestry and land management at Boise State University on June 2, 2017. USDA photo by Lance Cheung
The death toll from the catastrophic Camp Fire—by far the deadliest and most destructive fire in California history—has now risen to 63, with 631 people still unaccounted for, the Huffington Post reported Friday.
The Butte County Sheriff's Office announced on Thursday that the death toll had risen from Wednesday's figure of 56 after the remains of seven more people were discovered in the wreckage.