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Stars illuminate the landscape of Bears Ears National Monument. Earthjustice / Mark Toso

Fate of National Monuments Remains Shrouded in Secrecy: Earthjustice Sues Federal Agencies for Withholding Information From Public

For months, the Interior Department, Bureau of Land Management and the White House Council on Environmental Quality have repeatedly failed to answer the public's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for information related to the Trump administration's ongoing review of national monuments—protected federal lands and waters that belong to the American people.

The review of the country's national monuments has been marked by a lack of transparency—Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke has yet to disclose how he incorporated input from Native American tribes and the 2.8 million Americans who urged protections for national monuments in the public comment period into his leaked draft recommendations to shrink monuments and gut their protections. On Thursday, Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of six organizations whose requests for information on national monuments have been met with radio silence.

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Here's the Dirt That Industry Won't Tell You About 'Clean' Natural Gas​

By Abigail Dillen

Most mornings, I fry an egg on a gas range that I view as essential to achieving sunny-side-up perfection. My mother was a great cook who loathed electric stoves, so I am programmed to believe in the superiority of gas—which is becoming awkward, because my job is all about advancing 100 percent clean energy.

Cooking with gas is not, by itself, a big problem for the climate, but it ties into a larger American romance with gas that could be our undoing. "Natural gas" has a clean and healthy ring to it. But burning gas to heat and power our homes and factories, let alone our vehicles, is no more compatible with slowing climate change and preserving a livable planet than burning "natural" coal or "natural" oil.

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Area 1002 of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain. Wikimedia Commons

GOP-Controlled Senate Paves Way for Oil Drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

The Senate Republicans' narrow passage of the 2018 budget plan on Thursday opened the door for oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve (ANWR).

But Democratic lawmakers and environmental groups criticized the GOP for sneaking the "backdoor drilling provision" through the budget process. Past proposals to drill in the refuge have consistently failed.

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Construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline near New Salem, North Dakota. Tony Webster / Flickr / CC. BY 2.0

Dakota Access Pipeline to Remain Operational During Environmental Impact Study

On Wednesday, a federal judge ruled that the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) can continue operating pending an environmental review by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe sued the Corps in July 2016, arguing that the pipeline destroyed sacred sites and threatens the water quality of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation that sits downstream of the site where the pipeline crosses the Missouri River in North Dakota.

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Earthjustice attorney Ted Zukoski (left) stands in Colorado's Sunset Roadless Area. Wild Earth Guardians / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Battle to Protect 50 Million Forest Acres May Finally Be Won After 16 Years

By Jessica A. Knoblauch

A decades-long fight over a landmark rule protecting wild forests nationwide took another successful–and possibly final–turn last week after a U.S. district court threw out a last-ditch attack by the state of Alaska against the Roadless Rule.

Adopted in the closing days of the Clinton administration, the Roadless Rule prohibits most logging and road construction in roadless areas of national forests. These lands, today equaling about 50 million acres or about the size of Nebraska, are some of the wildest places left in America.

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Washington State Rejects Coal Export Terminal

Washington state regulators denied a water quality permit for a major coal export terminal Tuesday, dealing a possibly lethal blow to the project.

The Washington Department of Ecology denied the permit for the Millennium Bulk terminal project, finding that the proposed terminal would have caused "significant and unavoidable harm" to the nearby city of Longview.

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The nation's largest oil refinery, owned by Motiva and located in Port Arthur, Texas, was forced to shut down due to flooding from Hurricane Harvey. Alex Glostrum / Louisiana Bucket Brigade

Hurricanes Irma and Harvey Cast Spotlight on Toxic Sites In Our Midst

By Diane Carman

Our country has just witnessed two of the worst hurricanes in our history and the work of rebuilding shattered lives in Texas, Florida, and elsewhere has barely begun. Toxic cleanup will be a part of the work ahead.

This is an area dotted with oil refineries, chemical plants, Superfund sites and coal-fired power plants. All of these structures represent toxic waste and contamination threats during the best of weather times; with storms, these issues become even more dire.

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Groups Sue EPA for Weakening Toxic Chemical Rules

By Gail Koffman

"The fox guarding the hen house" aptly describes the inner workings of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) under the Trump administration.

A major case in point: The EPA official tasked to head up the Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention office, Nancy Beck, came to the job after working as a former high-level official for a chemical industry association. She was charged with updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which addresses the production, use and disposal of such chemicals as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), asbestos, radon and lead-based paint.

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Buyers look through frozen tuna on sale at the fish market in Tokyo's Tsukiji district. Rob Gihooly

Trump Administration Denies Pacific Bluefin Tuna Endangered Species Act Protection

The Trump administration rejected a petition Monday to protect imperiled Pacific bluefin tuna under the Endangered Species Act. This powerful apex predator, which commands top prices at fish auctions in Japan, has been overfished to less than 3 percent of its historic population. Although the National Marine Fisheries Service announced in October 2016 that it was considering listing the Pacific bluefin, it has now concluded that protections aren't warranted.

"If the paychecks of fishery managers and federal officials were tied to the status of this marvelous creature, they would have done the right thing," said Carl Safina, president of the Safina Center and a scientist and author who has worked to draw public attention to the plight of the bluefin tuna.

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