A researcher whose work is increasingly embraced by left-leaning politicians in the West hired a lawyer after his study was critiqued in a peer-reviewed paper. Two years ago, Stanford University professor Mark Jacobson released “roadmaps” for states to meet their energy needs with an entirely renewable energy portfolio within a few decades.

Prior to the end of President Barack Obama’s time in the White House, his administration began a transition away from traditional auctions for oil and natural gas leases on public lands to online bidding. The results have attracted the attention of Cabinet-level staff under President Donald Trump and quieted protests against energy production on public lands. Gone – at least for the remainder of 2017 – are the days of in-person bidding with raised paddles. Today, companies interested in operating on public lands click a mouse in e-Bay-style auctions.

Bureau of Land Management

The House Natural Resources Committee today heard testimony on a package of five bills aimed at reforming the Endangered Species Act by promoting greater state and federal cooperation and eliminating other “perverse incentives” like excessive “sue-and-settle” litigation and land-use restrictions that threaten economic and resource development in the West. Kent Holsinger, founder and manager of Holsinger Law, LLC, a Denver-based law firm specializing in land, wildlife, and water law told the committee it was time to update the ESA, which had moved on from protecting species in a cooperative manner between states and the federal government into a frenzy of “listing through litigation” by non-governmental organizations.

Kicking off a multistate tour in Utah earlier this week, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt met with state and local leaders on issues within the agency’s purview, including water and air regulations. Pruitt, joined by state officials including Gov. Gary Herbert (R), Attorney General Sean Reyes and Department of Environmental Quality Director Alan Matheson, held talks with local stakeholders from Utah’s water conservation, farming, mineral and energy sectors.

“Agricultural and wetland emissions” from the planet’s tropical areas, not oil and gas activities in the United States, are more than likely responsible for a post-2007 global increase in methane levels, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s But regulating or mitigating those methane sources could be difficult or impossible.

Flickr / Earthworks

La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt is fighting fresh ethics concerns over her environmental activism. Lachelt, who has encountered questions about her dual role as both an elected official and environmental activist going back to 2014, faced a new complaint during a commissioners meeting last month over her attempt to get a resolution passed in support of a lawsuit by teenagers from Boulder, Colo., and environmental groups against a state regulatory board.

U.S. Department of the Interior

The Interior Department this week announced the members of the task force the agency has set up to review federal rules and regulations. In February, President Trump issued an executive order requiring federal agencies to set up task forces to identify regulations to be repealed, replaced, or modified in order to “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.”

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