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There are hundreds of millions of acres of public land in the U.S., but not everyone has had the chance to hike in a national forest or picnic in a state park.

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Cleanup costs for abandoned oil and gas wells once the producers have moved on could fall heavily on the public.
Susan Vineyard / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Justin Mikulka

Increasingly, U.S. shale firms appear unable to pay back investors for the money borrowed to fuel the last decade of the fracking boom. In a similar vein, those companies also seem poised to stiff the public on cleanup costs for abandoned oil and gas wells once the producers have moved on.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Entry to all 419 national parks is free on Sept. 28, from Denali in Alaska (left) to the Statue of Liberty (right) in New York. left: pontla / Flickr, right: Moody Man / Flickr

This Saturday is National Public Lands Day. The annual event, celebrated on the fourth Saturday of September, is the largest single-day volunteer effort to preserve America's public lands. Even if you're not volunteering, it's easy to enjoy public lands since entry to all of the country's 419 national parks is free, from Denali in Alaska to the Statue of Liberty in New York.

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An image of the trans-alaskan oil pipeline that carries oil from the northern part of Alaska all the way to valdez. This shot is right near the arctic national wildlife refuge. kyletperry / iStock / Getty Images Plus

The Trump administration has initialized the final steps to open up nearly 1.6 million acres of the protected Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge to allow oil and gas drilling.

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A sow and her cubs at Tongass National Forest in Alaska, the planet's largest intact temperate rainforest. Forest Service Alaska

By Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump has reportedly ordered the U.S. Department of Agriculture to open Alaska's 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest — the planet's largest intact temperate rainforest — to logging and other corporate development projects, a move that comes as thousands of fires are ripping through the Amazon rainforest and putting the "lungs of the world" in grave danger.

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Plateau Creek near De Beque, Colorado, where land has been leased for oil and gas production. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images

By Randi Spivak

Slashing two national monuments in Utah may have received the most attention, but Trump's Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service have been quietly, systematically ceding control of America's public lands to fossil fuel, mining, timber and livestock interests since the day he took office.

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By John R. Platt

Well folks, we did it. July 2019 was the hottest month in recorded human history, with record-breaking temperatures in many parts of Europe, wildfires raging over tens of thousands of square miles of Arctic Alaska and Russia, and a staggering ice melt in Greenland that dumped 197 billion gallons of water into the ocean — 12.5 billion tons of which melted over a single day.

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Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona is among the public lands which could be threatened by the appointment of William Perry Pendley. Bureau of Land Management

By Julia Conley

Control over nearly 250 million acres of public lands was placed Monday in the hands of a former Reagan administration official who has argued that all federal lands should be sold to fossil fuel and other corporate interests in accordance with the goals of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

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The Interior Department on Friday released its management plan for Bears Ears National Monument in southeastern Utah. Bob Wick / Bureau of Land Management

By Jessica Corbett

Conservation groups and congressional Democrats slammed the Trump administration Friday over its destructive new management plan for the "illegally reduced" Bears Ears National Monument in Utah.

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A new fracking rig and a pumping rig stand beside a house Feb. 10, 2016 in an Oklahoma City, Oklahoma neighborhood. J Pat Carter / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

Proximity to oil and gas sites makes pregnant mothers up to 70 percent more likely to give birth to a baby with congenital heart defects, according to a new study.

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Pumpjacks on Lost Hills Oil Field in California. Arne Hückelheim, Wikimedia Commons

By Julia Conley

A national conservation group revealed Wednesday that President Donald Trump's drilling leases on public lands could lead to the release of more carbon emissions than the European Union contributes in an entire year.

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