Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s arrival in Utah yesterday caps weeks of debate among Western lawmakers over the Trump administration’s directive to examine the use of the Antiquities Act over the past two decades to designate the national monuments Zinke will tour. “I challenge any of my colleagues to come down and explain exactly how this 45-day review will uncover information that Western communities somehow missed,” Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) wrote in an April 27 post. “I suspect they will find the widespread record of dissent and nearly unanimous local opposition to the recently designated 1.3 million acre Bears Ears National Monument,” Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) responded a day later.
A Boulder Daily Camera letter to the editor published two weeks ago that called for violence toward oil and natural gas workers continues to draw sharp criticism from local residents, elected officials from both sides of the aisle, Denver media outlets, and industry representatives in the state. Reporters from national news outlets this week joined the discussion and condemned the violent rhetoric.
Officials from several states called for changes to the national monument designation process at a House subcommittee hearing this week, seeking more consultation with local stakeholders and consideration of their needs. The House Natural Resources Subcommittee on Federal Lands hearing on Tuesday came a week after President Trump signed an executive order that directs the Secretary of the Interior to determine whether large-scale national monument designations took into account adequate public and stakeholder outreach
The chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee expressed confidence he has the votes needed to pass a measure on the Senate floor next week repealing a last-minute Obama administration rule targeting oil and natural gas development on public and tribal lands. “It’s duplicative, unnecessary, expensive, and we’ll pass [a Congressional Review Act resolution] next week,” Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) told Bloomberg BNA on May 2.
A new study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that pneumatic controllers on oil and natural gas wells in Utah may produce significantly less methane emissions than the agency previously assumed. EPA’s recent study on pneumatic controllers in the Uinta Basin in Utah found that measured emissions from equipment in the basin were well below the estimated emission factors the agency uses to calculate greenhouse gas inventories, which are the basis for global reporting on air emissions.
A premier chamber orchestra in Boulder, Colo., said anti-fracking activists bullied and harassed the nonprofit arts organization for accepting donations from an oil and natural gas company to provide free concert tickets for students and families in local school districts. “The Boulder Chamber Orchestra was recently bullied and threatened, as an organization, by activists in the anti-fracking community who posted inappropriate remarks on our Facebook site, which was otherwise promoting our Unity Concert occurring this weekend,” the orchestra wrote in a statement to Western Wire. “The activists were using our Facebook page as a bully pulpit for their social media lobbying efforts.”
The expiration today of the latest iteration of a five-year-old moratorium on oil and natural gas development in Boulder, Colo., prompted a meditation protest by anti-fracking activists outside the Boulder County Courthouse. “The regulations proposed by the Boulder County Commissioners will not be enough to provide protection from the dangers of fracking,” read the description for an event outside the courthouse on Pearl Street. “What do we plan to do? We will Meditate the Frack Out of Boulder by raising awareness and inspiring collective action to put the government and the oil and gas industry on notice!”