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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 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.
Congress should revisit the landmark environmental regulations initiated by the National Environmental Policy Act if it wanted to fix the nation’s crumbling infrastructure and help the environment, a panel told the House Natural Resources Committee at an oversight hearing today. A Wyoming county commissioner, a national infrastructure expert, and a union representative from the construction industry told members of the House committee that the effects of NEPA, signed into law in 1970, had “metastasized” into permitting “bottlenecks” that raised costs, drew excessive litigation, and imposed significant environmental harm on projects of all sizes, especially in the West, undermining the legislation’s original intent.
A Nebraska Public Service Commission decision last week to approve the Keystone XL pipeline with an alternate route through the state prompted a motion to reconsider by TransCanada, the pipeline’s builder. “TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, LP (“Keystone”) hereby requests the Public Service Commission (“Commission”) reconsider its order dated November 20, 2017. In support of this motion, Keystone asks that the Commission consider Keystone’s filing of an amended application in accordance with the findings of the Commission that the Mainline Alternative Route is in the public interest,” the company wrote in its filing.
There’s a buzz of curiosity in the West as Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke considers possible relocation options for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters, a plan that has garnered bipartisan support from elected officials out west. Speaking to The Salt Lake City Tribune, Zinke named two potential locations for BLM’s headquarters relocation, “perhaps in Salt Lake City or Denver.”
Backers of a controversial lawsuit aiming to provide the Colorado River personhood rights admitted recently that their legal endeavor faced long odds of success. A lawyer closely associated with the suit, Jason Flores-Williams, a lawyer representing Deep Green Resistance, told the Post Independent, “The court isn’t going to just give us anything. How we won’t lose is not based on whatever will happen inside the courtroom, but what happens outside of it.”