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Bureau of Indian Affairs

Anti-pipeline protestors have left a huge mess of garbage, human waste, abandoned vehicles and more in a flood plain next to the Missouri River in North Dakota. As they struggle to keep all this pollution out of the river, officials want the world to know who caused this problem: Activists from out of state. “When we take a look at the figures and pull out where people are from … you definitely notice that not a lot of North Dakotans are in that group,” Rob Keller, public information officer for the Morton County Sheriff’s Department, told Western Wire.

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Local leaders in western states are stepping up their criticism of a last-minute regulation from the Obama administration targeting oil and natural gas development on federal lands. The Bureau of Land Management regulation, known as the “venting and flaring” rule, faces a repeal vote in the U.S. Senate as early as next week. The venting and flaring rule is “best suited for the trash can, not Utah’s public lands,” Grand County Council member Curtis Wells told Western Wire.

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Oklahoma’s leading business group is adding its support to the repeal of a late-term Obama administration rule targeting oil and natural gas development on federal lands amid media reports that senators remain undecided on the issue. “The US House did the right thing by rejecting this unnecessary and over reaching regulation and we strongly urge the Senate to do the same,” Fred Morgan, president and chief executive officer of the State Chamber of Oklahoma, said in a statement to Western Wire.

Photo credit: Laborers-Employers Cooperation and Education Trust

Representatives of the construction industry told a U.S. House hearing yesterday that executive actions facilitating energy infrastructure projects, signed by President Donald Trump three weeks ago, have already created thousands of jobs. “From my personal experience, I can report that request for quotes and opportunities have kept my phone ringing in the few short weeks since the EOs [Executive Orders] were signed,” said Rex Ferry, a business owner representing the National Electrical Contractors Association.

Colorado Dept. of Public Health and Environment

“[T]his study’s conclusions are misleading,” Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a statement. The dispute between Colorado health officials goes back years. In 2014, Wolk issued a similar statement to debunk the findings of another paper that tried to blame birth defects in Colorado on oil and natural gas development.

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More than 40 years after becoming law, the Endangered Species Act has become almost unworkable for state and local officials in the West and needs to be reformed, former Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal (D) told a U.S. Senate hearing today. “Over time, the mix of regulations, court decisions, policy guidance and individual agency actions by Presidential administrations of different but still well intentioned views have created a nearly unworkable system,” Freudenthal said in written testimony to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Officials in North Dakota are racing against time to move hundreds of cars and trucks from the site of an anti-pipeline protest before seasonal flooding sweeps the vehicles into the Missouri River. “There are roughly 200 vehicles down there at last count, ranging from cars and pickups to rental trucks,” George Kuntz, vice president of the North Dakota Towing Association, told Western Wire. At least one vehicle has already been found in the water, potentially leaking engine oil and gasoline, according to local law enforcement.