Department of Interior

A conservation group in San Juan County is suing the Bureau of Land Management over tens of thousands of acres of public land it leased to oil and gas developers in 2018.

The land lies between Bears Ears and Hovenweep national monuments. The lawsuit claims drilling there could cause irreparable damage to cultural sites.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland met with tribal leaders as well as Utah state leaders Wednesday in San Juan County to talk about Bears Ears National Monument. They toured the monument together Thursday morning.

https://www.lummis.senate.gov/

As President Biden works to solidify his cabinet, Wyoming's U.S. Senator Cynthia Lummis filed to block Deb Haaland's appointment as Secretary of the Interior earlier this week.

She said that her nomination is good for the American Indian community but not for Wyoming.

Giniw Collective

U.S. Senators Cynthia Lummis and John Barrasso were confrontational during Rep. Deb Haaland's confirmation hearing for Interior Secretary. It was over Haaland's anti-fracking stance.

 
Deb Haaland's road to lead the Department of the Interior has been rocky, with some members of Congress using her confirmation process to air grievances with President Joe Biden's climate change agenda.
 

On Tuesday, Montana Sen. Steve Daines and Wyoming Sen. Cynthia Lummis, both Republicans, placed a procedural hold on her nomination, citing concerns about her positions on oil and gas development.

 

A Senate committee vote Thursday brought Deb Haaland one step closer to becoming the nation's next Interior secretary. If she's confirmed she'll face myriad big decisions, including whether to move the Bureau of Land Management headquarters from Colorado back to Washington, D.C.

The Northern Arapaho Tribe

Wyoming's U.S. Sen. John Barrasso voiced opposition to Deb Haaland during last week's confirmation hearing for secretary of the interior.

 

Jazmine Wildcat is a star student in Riverton, Wyoming. Not the type to skip class. But on Tuesday morning, a piece of history was unfolding that the 17-year-old just couldn't miss: A congressional hearing to consider the confirmation of Deb Haaland as the first Indigenous secretary of the Interior.

"It is just super monumental and so inspiring, not only to just me, but probably other Native women," Jazmine said.

SCREENSHOT / CSPAN

Wyoming's congressional lawmakers expressed opposition during Tuesday's confirmation hearing for Secretary of the Interior Department nominee Deb Haaland.

The Senate confirmation hearing for Deb Haaland, nominated to lead the Interior Department, began Tuesday. If confirmed, she'll be the nation's first Indigenous cabinet secretary and oversee federal public lands management and tribal affairs.


Soon after she was elected as one of America's first Indigenous congresswomen in 2018, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland paid a visit to her constituents at the Pueblo of Sandia, just outside of Albuquerque. 

"She came to the Pueblo for one of our feast days," said Stephine Poston, a tribal citizen and advocate for Native women leadership. "And the young girls, a couple of them were following her around and she stopped to talk to them. It was an amazing thing to see and witness." 

Poston said Haaland may as well have been a celebrity to those girls, but she didn't act like one. 

"She's just that person who will stop and see you," Poston said. 

And she said that's how Pueblo people, and Indigenous people across the country, have been feeling since Haaland was nominated to lead the Department of the Interior: Seen.

BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT

A state legislative committee is discussing the last stages of approval for a major oil and gas project in Converse County. The U.S. Department of Interior just has to sign the Record of Decision (ROD), which Select Federal Natural Resource Management committee members like Douglas Sen. Brian Boner is anxious to finish or even speed up.

The Department of Interior is proposing a rule change that could open the door for more private companies to operate within national parks.

Coal seam at Peabody's North Antelope Rochelle Mine
Peabody Energy

On March 30, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso and Sen. Mike Enzi led 10 other U.S. Senate signatories in a request for the U.S. Department of the Interior to administer help to the coal, oil and gas industries amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Representative Liz Cheney signed a similar letter coming from the House of Representatives today alongside 29 other Congressmen.

The Interior Department has announced it’s temporarily waiving entrance fees for recreation areas, national monuments and national parks. Secretary David Bernhardt said he wanted to make it easier for people to recreate on public lands.

Listen to this story here.

After congressional Democrats voted this week to give one of their own the power to subpoena the Trump administration, U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt dismissed the move as a “witch hunt.”

President Donald Trump unveiled his budget proposal Monday, and a significant cut to the Department of Interior is on the table.

The Trump administration wants to cut funding for all but one agency within the Interior, for a 16% overall reduction.

The Interior Department has been trying to tackle a growing backlog of public records requests under the Trump administration, and now the agency is creating a new legal team to help with the effort. 

Update, Jan. 15 10:11 a.m.: The Department of Interior has provided a statement, which is now included in this story.

The Trump Administration’s Interior Department has largely ignored public comment on proposed rule changes, according to an analysis from the Center for Western Priorities.

The conservation advocacy group looked at ten proposals from Interior, including the easing of offshore drilling regulations and Endangered Species Act protections. What it found was that while more than 95% of public comments were opposed to the changes, the agency still moved forward on most of them.

Since the 1960s, the National Park Service has partnered with nonprofit organizations to provide environmental education services to the public. But a recent audit from the U.S. Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General found that some of these Residential Environmental Learning Centers have strayed from their original mission .

A group of retired top officials from the Bureau of Land Management is in Washington, D.C., this week criticizing the agency’s planned relocation out West.

The Trump Administration is continuing to deploy park rangers at the U.S.-Mexico border to help with enforcement. And while national parks and other public lands in the West are feeling the effects, it’s unclear just how much.

Bureau of Land Management


If you're anything like me, you've never been on an e-bike before. You might not even know what it looks like. That's why I make a visit to a local bike shop in downtown Laramie to find out what all the fuss is about. Electric bicycles, or e-bikes, as they're known, are having a moment. Right now they're the fastest growing segment of the country's bike market and that market could get even hotter now they're allowed on some public lands.

President Donald Trump intends to nominate a long-time Republican Hill staffer to help lead the nation’s largest land management agency.

Along with its new headquarters in Grand Junction, Colorado, the Bureau of Land Management is expected to bring hundreds of jobs to our region. But, there is some confusion on the specifics.

Protesters dressed as swamp creatures kayaked down a river while others marched along a bike path, past private tennis courts and swanky swimming pools outside the hotel where governors met with Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.

“My shirt says keep your oily hands off of Colorado's public lands,” says Chelsea Stencel, who was among the protesters. “David Bernhardt, the ultimate swamp monster.”

Number of processed APDs during the lapse, according to the Interior Department. BLM Wyoming clarified the number has fluctuated up.
Department of the Interior

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) approved 267 applications for permits to drill (APDs) during the 35-day government shutdown earlier this year. About a quarter of them were approved in Wyoming, second only to New Mexico which shares the Permian Basin. 

U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt has been accused by Democratic lawmakers and nonprofit accountability groups of violating ethics rules, prompting a review by that agency’s inspector general.

Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt faced fiery questions during his senate confirmation hearing Thursday.

 


President Trump’s proposed budget includes significant cuts to the Department of Interior, including the National Park Service. 

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