A test case for a national effort to bring so-called “children’s” lawsuits backed by deep-pocketed philanthropic foundations in more than a half dozen states reached federal court Monday. Underwritten by several foundations, including the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation and Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and with most of the 21 young people who filed the lawsuit in attendance, the plaintiffs argued for the case to move forward to trial.
Three Western Democrats have joined fifteen Republicans in co-sponsoring a House bill that would move the headquarters of the Bureau of Land Management out of Washington, D.C. to one of twelve Western states. The bill calls for shifting the Department of the Interior agency to one of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, or Wyoming.
At a committee on Natural Resources oversight hearing tomorrow on “Transforming the Department of the Interior for the 21st Century,” House members will hear testimony calling for the relocation of Interior agencies to the West and other efforts to streamline the department, according to testimony obtained by Western Wire. Since Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) introduced the idea earlier in the year and then legislation in May to move the offices of the Bureau of Land Management to a Western state, several key Democrats in Colorado have signaled bipartisan support for such a move. Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Colo.), introduced the House version of the bill, calling an office move, “good policy.”
Local voices and tribal members were effusive in their praise for twin proclamations from President Donald Trump ordering the reduction of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments on Monday. They described the announcement as a locals-driven decision-making process that culminated in the monument revisions. San Juan County Commissioner Rebecca Benally, a member of the Navajo Nation and a Democrat thanked President Trump and Secretary Zinke for the decision. “Thank you Secretary [Ryan] Zinke for coming to San Juan, Kane, and Garfield counties and listening to the local grassroots people. Your boots on the ground approach was unexpected, but well received and appreciated,” she said.
A federal judge dismissed a lawsuit that sought personhood rights for the Colorado River on Monday. The court granted the plaintiff’s motion to dismiss their own case. Attorney Jason Fores-Williams filed the motion to dismiss after the Colorado’s office of the Attorney General made clear it would pursue sanctions against them under Rule 11 of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. Rule 11 allows for the Court to reprimand lawyers for presenting frivolous or false claims to the court, and could result in fines or other legal recourse.
A Washington State lawmaker has called for the firing of Olympia’s police chief, following statements made by the law enforcement official in 2016 in relation to protests over supply chain shipments of materials used in oil and gas production in the West. For the second year, protesters blockading railroad tracks near the Port of Olympia, Washington have failed to stop shipments of sand, or ceramic proppants, headed to Western states for use in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas development.
Three Western states–North Dakota, Colorado, and Wyoming are leading the pack when it comes to job growth in the natural resources sector, but is there still room for improvement? Job reports correcting a misconception that Colorado natural resources jobs were a drag on employment in the state recently came out showing higher jobs numbers for the sector, “Employment in the [natural resources] sector, in which about eight of 10 jobs are linked to oil and gas, is now estimated at 25,400 rather than the 21,500 initially reported earlier this month, according to revisions based on second-quarter unemployment insurance reports released Wednesday,” as reported in the Denver Post.