How Trump Threatens Our Public Lands

This week's investigative reporting, analysis and environmental news.
The Revelator
BLM drilling on public lands

No. 107, Nov. 21, 2019

Hello Revelator readers,

You may notice our newsletter looks a bit different this week — one new photo, same great content. We hope you like the look.

You've probably heard by now that hundreds of Bureau of Land Management employees have been asked to move out West. We dug into the real motivations behind this relocation and the effects it will have on the management of our public lands. Here's what we found.

The Trump administration has also been busy on another front — working on a plan for more biofuels. Is this a good or bad thing, and how much should Americans care? It's complicated.

We like to highlight good ideas, but sometimes we have to call out the bad ones. Case in point: a scheme to flood the market with fake rhino horns to disrupt poachers. Here's why that won't work.

But what is working? Our laws — at least, when they're enforced. A legal expert reminds us not to forget an important tool in the fight against plastic pollution — the citizen-suit provision of the Clean Water Act, which grassroots activists recently used to win an important victory.

Subscriber bonus: The Wild 5

Let's go a little deeper. Here are five other stories we're watching this week.

1. California Gov. Gavin Newsom just announced more oversight for the troubled state agency that oversees oil and gas extraction, as well as a temporary ban on new permits for drilling that uses steam injection and fracking.

2. Under right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is on the rise, with the equivalent of two football fields being cleared per minute — the highest rate in a decade.

3. While the cause of a recent 383,000 gallon spill from the Keystone XL pipeline in North Dakota remains unknown, state regulators now say it has affected more than 10 times the amount of land than previously reported.

4. An artillery range on a Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Army base has become an unlikely refuge for the endangered St. Francis' satyr butterfly.

5. As Copenhagen, Denmark, strives to become the first carbon-neutral capital by 2025, here's what life is like for residents.

In case you missed it:

Public lands in the West have been under threat for a long time. The new book This Land offers a great refresher — and a call to action.

What should we cover next?

Our stories rely on insight from experts and readers around the world, so we always welcome your ideas and inside scoops. Drop us a line anytime.

Coming up:

We're hard at work on new articles and essays, including a look at conservation failures and what's happening in Washington beyond the impeachment hearings.

Look for our latest links in next week's newsletter — or follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the headlines as they go live. We share other news there, too, so please join us and keep the discussion going.

As always, thank you for reading.

Tara Lohan

Tara Lohan
Deputy Editor, The Revelator


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Photo of oil drilling on BLM land in Utah courtesy WildEarth Guardians.

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