State regulators from two Western states say that the Environmental Protection Agency’s move to suspend a planned delay on ozone standards would lead to non-attainment designations in their states, but that they are prepared to move forward with compliance plans. Bryce Bird, director of the Utah Division of Air Quality, said Utah would likely see new non-attainment areas across the state, but didn’t anticipate the agency needing to alter the plans it already submitted to the EPA.
Air quality in the United States has made “significant progress” since 1970, even as the nation’s economy, population, miles driven, and energy use have increased, according to a new report from the Environmental Protection Agency. Dubbed “The Greatest Story Seldom Told” by the Association of Air Pollution Control Agencies, “the combined emissions of six key pollutants dropped by 73 percent, while the U.S. economy grew more than three times,” the EPA wrote.
La Plata County Commissioner Gwen Lachelt continues to draw fresh ethics concerns around her efforts to lobby against changing the Bureau of Land Management’s methane rule in May. David Peters of Durango, Colo., told Western Wire that he plans to file an ethics complaint with Colorado’s Independent Ethics Commission sometime in mid-August because he is disturbed by what he described as “multiple conflicts of interest.” Peters said a series of public trips Lachelt took to Washington, D.C. for advocacy — including against the vote on the BLM methane rule in May — drew his attention as a county resident, taxpayer, and former oil and natural gas industry worker.
Western officials are applauding the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to withdraw and rewrite an Obama administration rule aimed at limiting hydraulic fracturing on public lands. “The Obama-era BLM fracking rule is unnecessary and burdensome—costing the oil and gas industry over $32 million annually,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said in a statement to Western Wire.
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.
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.