The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Zinke Proposes New National Monument in His Home State But Wants to Shrink Them Elsewhere
Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke wants to reshape and repurpose 10 national monuments for drilling, logging and other commercial activities, but you wont see the same recommendations for existing monuments in Montana—Zinke's home state.
Notably, if the former Congressman's plans take shape, Montanans might even find themselves with a new, 130,000-acre national monument in their state.
Tucked in the second-to-last page of the interior secretary's review of national monuments over the summer was the suggestion of creating three new monuments, including the Badger-Two Medicine area next to the Blackfeet Nation reservation by Glacier National Park in Montana.
National Parks Conservation Association spokesman Michael Jamison said it was confusing that Zinke is recommending protection for the Badger-Two Medicine while proposing to shrink other national monuments.
"Everyone is grateful to see Secretary Zinke paying attention to permanent protection of the Badger-Two Medicine," Jamison told the Missoulian in September. "But it's not acceptable to propose monument protection of the Badger while at same time proposing to strip protections from Bears Ears and other sacred places for Native Americans. If monuments aren't permanent, we don't want monument status. If it's so transitory and impermanent it can be undone by the stroke of a pen in some future administration, it's not permanent protection."
The Badger-Two Medicine area of Montana's Rocky Mountain Front has been threatened by oil and gas development for decades, according to the Wilderness Society. National monument status would give it protection from new development.
As the Huffington Post pointed out, in Zinke's review of national monuments, he noted that the Badger-Two Medicine site is considered sacred to the Blackfeet Nation. By the same token, the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah is also a sacred site to Navajo people and other tribes.
Montana residents are also "scratching their heads" over Zinke's new monument suggestion, NPR reported.
Land Tawney, head of the Montana-based Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, told the national radio station that Zinke wants to create a new monument due to political aspirations.
"I think the secretary has talked about wanting to come back to Montana after he's done being secretary and potentially run for governor," Tawney said.
Zinke has also called for mining bans near Yellowstone National Park.
"I think the people of Montana hold our special places very near and dear," he added. "If you do not protect those places I think it's a political nightmare for you in this state."
David Parker, a political scientist at Montana State University, also told NPR that Zinke might even run for president.
"Whatever his ambitions are, Montana is important to that moving forward," Parker said. "You can't say you're going to be on a national stage and be a serious candidate if you don't have strong support in your home state."
In his review, Zinke also suggested monument status for Camp Nelson in Kentucky where African-American soldiers received training during the Civil War and the home of assassinated Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers in Jackson, Miss.
President Trump is expected to announce his decision about monuments in December.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Oil rigs around the world keep pulling crude oil out of the ground, but the global pandemic has sent shockwaves into the market. The supply is up, but demand has plummeted now that industry has ground to a halt, highways are empty, and airplanes are parked in hangars.
Under an agreement negotiated by community groups — represented by NRDC and the Pennsylvania Utility Law Project — the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) will remove thousands of lead water pipes by 2026 in order to address the chronically high lead levels in the city's drinking water and protect residents' health.
By Dave Cooke
So, they finally went and did it — the Trump administration just finalized a rule to undo requirements on manufacturers to improve fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from new passenger cars and trucks. Even with the economy at the brink of a recession, they went forward with a policy they know is bad for consumers — their own analysis shows that American drivers are going to spend hundreds of dollars more in fuel as a result of this stupid policy — but they went ahead and did it anyway.
By Richard Connor
A blood test that screens for more than 50 types of cancer could help doctors treat patients at an earlier stage than previously possible, a new study shows. The method was used to screen for more than 50 types of cancer — including particularly deadly variants such as pancreatic, ovarian, bowel and brain.
Preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control showed a larger number of young people coming down with COVID-19 than first expected, with patients under the age of 45 comprising more than a third of all cases, and one in five of those patients requiring hospitalization. That also tends to be the group most likely to use e-cigarettes.