Oregon occupiers try to spread their poison

‘The agreement moves signers and the Bundy militia members from an illegal seizure of federal property to establishing and coordinating an active terrorist network whose aim is to overthrow the federal government’

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Posted on the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge website.

Staff Report

The seditious wingnuts occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon apparently want to spread their brand of anti-federal activism to other parts of the country.

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, the band of Oregon malcontents have recruited a New Mexico rancher to their cause. The watchdog group says Silver City rancher Adrian Sewell signed some sort of agreement that ‘formalizes a plot in which another rancher agrees to illegally stop paying federal grazing fees and armed militia commit to meet resulting federal law enforcement with the threat of violence.”

The Oregonian reports that a total of nine ranchers in two states have joined the futile movement to somehow take control of federal lands.

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Feds eye new methane rules for public lands

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Feds aim to reduce methane emissions from natural gas production on public lands.

Common sense measures to help meet climate targets

Staff Report

Proposed federal rules could help slow the release of potent heat-trapping methane emissions from gas production on public and Native American lands.

Between 2009 and 2014, enough natural gas was lost through venting, flaring and leaks to power more than five million homes for a year. States, Tribes and federal taxpayers also lose royalty revenues when natural gas is wasted. According to a 2010 Government Accountability Office report, taxpayers lose up to $23 million annually in royalty revenue. Continue reading

Congressman plots public lands giveaway

Gotta have one good camping trip every summer!

Some of Utah’s favorite public lands playgrounds could be privatized under a bill to be introduced in Congress this week. @bberwyn photo.

Fracking in national parks?

Staff Report

Given the extreme anti-federal positions gaining traction around the West, it’s probably not surprising that a new bill by advanced Utah Republican Congressman Rob Bishop was presented as a moderate proposal for public lands compromise by some news outlets.

But his bill, due to be introduced this week, is only moderate when compared to the armed Oregon takeover of public lands by trespassers. By any other measure, it’s one of the most extreme anti-environmental bills that has ever been considered in Washington, D.C. Continue reading

Forest Services tries to cover its tracks on Wolf Creek

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A controversial plan to develop private real estate near Wolf Creek Ski Area is on hold for now.

Paper trail shows agency hid and likely destroyed records related to controversial development proposal in Colorado’s San Juan Mountains

Staff Report

Environmental and community activists opposed to a massive real estate development in southern Colorado say they have new evidence that the U.S. Forest Service tried to cover up how political influence tainted several steps of the approval process for the project.

A review of more than 60,000 pages documents obtained under a Freedom of Information Act request and a subsequent court order shows that the Forest Service deliberately concealed and destroyed records related to the Village at Wolf Creek development project. Continue reading

Feds hit pause button on public lands coal leasing

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Coal is quickly becoming yesterday’s fuel.

Program review to take close look at climate impacts of fossil fuel development

Staff Report

The federal government will halt new coal leases on public lands pending a thorough review of the the program, including environmental impacts. Part of the proposal is to set up a public database to tally up carbon emissions  from fossil fuels developed on public lands.

The Bureau of Land Management would also be required to post requests for leases and for royalty reductions, and to figure ways to better  capture of waste mine methane, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell announced this week. Continue reading

Poll: Western voters oppose state land grab efforts

Results also show support for national monument designation

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A new poll shows widespread support for continued protection of public lands like Colorado National Monument. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

After a year during which Congress and several western state governments dabbled with the idea of stealing land from citizens of the U.S. and turning it over to states, a new poll shows there is little support for this concept.

The Colorado College State of the Rockies Project Conservation in the West Poll released today shows strong public support for efforts to protect and maintain national public lands. The poll results were released during an uptick in extremist rhetoric and against the backdrop of the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

For the first time, the poll asked voters directly about efforts to turn public lands owned by all Americans over to state or private control. For now, there’s still a solid majority — 58 percent — oppose such efforts, with 60 percent of respondents opposed selling significant holdings of public lands like national forests to reduce the budget deficit. Continue reading

2015 in Review: Public lands

Energy issues drive public lands debates

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Rocky Mountain National Park turned 100 years old in 2015.

Staff Report

The battle over fossil fuel exploitation on public lands heated up in 2015, as environmental advocates launched an aggressive #keepitintheground campaign aimed at convincing the Obama administration to stop issuing leases and permits for oil and gas drilling. But along with the political and environmental battles, there were also some feel-good stories. Right here in Colorado, for example, two beloved tracts of land administered by the National Park Service celebrated centennials. Read more about those birthdays here.

It was a big year for public lands preservation. With Congress gridlocked on many issues, President Obama took the initiative to set aside hundreds of thousands of acres as national monuments under the Antiquities Act, including Browns Canyon, in Colorado. Read more about the creation of Browns Canyon National Monument in these Summit Voice stories, and learn more about President Obama’s use of the Antiquities Act here. Continue reading

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