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Bureaucratic hurdles imposed by the federal government are discouraging oil and natural gas development on federal lands and resulting in deferred or lost revenues for states, witnesses told a House committee hearing this week. “The greatest challenge today is regulatory uncertainty at [Bureau of Land Management],” Ryan Flynn, executive vice president of the New Mexico Oil and Gas Association, explained in testimony to the committee.

Tom Steyer

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California billionaire Tom Steyer has pledged to spend more than $7.5 million in voter registration and youth turnout in eight states, including Nevada, in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, according to Politico. Steyer’s efforts to support candidates in 2016 in the Battle Born state included $70,000 in donations to five Nevada legislative candidates, including $10,000 to the sponsor of a bill to ban fracking, a March Western Wire story revealed.

U.S. Department of the Interior

After 42 years of conservation efforts and collaboration among stakeholders, the Interior Department removed the Yellowstone population of grizzly bears from federal protection, returning the management of the species to states and tribes. “This achievement stands as one of America’s great conservation successes; the culmination of decades of hard work and dedication on the part of state, tribal, federal and private partners,” Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said in a statement.

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A Texas Congressman launched the Congressional Oil and Gas Caucus focusing on oil, gas, and other petroleum products, according to a report by E&E News. Rep. Vicente González (D-Texas), freshman representative of southern Texas’ 15th District, said in a press release, “The 15th District of Texas is home to several refineries, pipelines, and part of the Eagle Ford Shale – I have witnessed the effects of a thriving oil and gas industry firsthand.”

Bureau of Land Management

Western officials critical of the sage grouse plans finalized under the Obama administration expressed cautious optimism regarding Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s recent secretarial order that directs a review of conservation plans for the bird in 11 Western states. Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R) said he “appreciates” that Zinke’s review includes collaboration with states, and that Zinke “has taken time to review my letters regarding sage grouse.”

Department of the Interior

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke outlined his vision for making America a “dominant” global energy force in an interview with Reuters yesterday. “Energy dominance gives us the ability to supply our allies with energy, as well as to leverage our aggressors, or in some cases our enemies, like Iran,” Zinke said, encouraging drilling and mining on federal lands.

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A six-member district court jury sided with a Colorado chicken farmer and affirmed his right to farm earlier this month, ending a multi-year lawsuit that carried implications for farmers, as well as business owners beyond agriculture, across the state. “The ruling is not only a win for the Hostetler family, but a win for the entire agricultural community and those who benefit from it,” Shawn Martini, vice president of advocacy for Colorado Farm Bureau, told Western Wire.


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