"During the Sept. 21 webinar, the BLM and its guests discussed ways to water down NEPA and more. They talked about working around environmental analyses that determine whether infrastructure projects harm ecosystems, about stripping conservation groups of the power to sue the BLM if it wrongly approves a project and about limiting the number of federal Freedom of Information Act requests that allow the public to scrutinize how decisions were made."
Struggling to stay up-to-date with the dizzying array of news coming out of the White House? Here's the news you need to know that pertains to ocean and coastal conservation.
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"An Interior Department executive turned whistleblower who claimed the Trump administration retaliated against him for publicly disclosing how climate change impacts Native Alaskan communities resigned Wednesday."
"The inspector general for the Interior Department has opened an investigation into Secretary Ryan Zinke’s travel during seven months in office, from his use of taxpayer-funded charter and military planes to his mixing of official trips with political appearances."
"Since taking office in February, Ross has surprised fisheries managers and stakeholders by directly intervening in federal fisheries decisions leaving many wondering whether the Secretary’s atypical approach might be the new norm."
Interviews with energy industry representatives indicate that the effort by the Trump administration to open new areas to oil and gas drilling will likely help wind power companies more than oil producers.
"In the week since the Washington Post published Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s secret final report on national monuments, a staggering number of falsehoods and misleading claims have come to light. The errors, taken in whole, suggest the entire report is nothing more than a pretext to open protected public lands and waters to extractive industries like coal, oil, timber, and industrial-scale fishing, with little attention paid to scientific accuracy."
Despite temporarily suspending the Merchant Marine Act (i.e. Jones Act) after hurricanes Harvey and Irma decimated the mainland US, the Trump Administration will not suspend the Act to aid Puerto Rico.
As far as marine monuments goes, Zinke recommends shrinking both the Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll monuments (and possibly opening both to commercial fishing and oil drilling), while Northeast Canyons and Seamounts monument should be opened to commercial fishing.
"Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has recommended that President Trump modify 10 national monuments created by his immediate predecessors, including shrinking the boundaries of at least four western sites, according to a copy of the report obtained by The Washington Post."