Trump Administration

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. 

First page screenshot of the 194 page updates
Council on Environmental Quality

The Trump Administration has proposed comprehensive updates to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). According to the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), which oversees NEPA implementation, they would the biggest changes made in over 40 years.

NEPA, established in 1970, requires all federally-related developments to show what environmental impacts they will have. There are three types of reviews: Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Environmental Assessments (EA), and Categorical Exclusions (CE).

The Trump administration’s latest National Preparedness Report is the first of its kind to completely ignore climate change

jpc.raleigh / Flickr

The Trump administration has reauthorized the use of "cyanide bombs," a controversial device that kills animals suspected of preying on livestock and threatened species.

A nonprofit conservation group is launching what it says is one of the largest lawsuits ever brought under the Endangered Species Act. 

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.

EPA

Water issues in the West have been around, basically, since the West was claimed and divvied up. And they haven't really let up since, which was on full display in the Environment and Public Works Committee this week.

U.S. Capitol Building
Public Domain

Liz Cheney is now the number three most powerful Republican in the House of Representatives - and being a member of leadership usually means carrying the President's water and trying to get other Republicans to help do the same. But after Trump announced he was pulling U.S. troops from their posts in Syria where they had been protecting the Kurds from a Turkish invasion, Cheney helped spearhead legislation sanctioning Turkey even as Trump loosened sanctions.

A map of all federally owned land in the United States (from 2005)
U.S. Bureau of Land Management

Judge Scott Skavdahl for the United States District Court, District of Wyoming has placed an injunction on part of the Obama-era valuation rule. That rule was intended to update how royalties are calculated from energy production on federal and native land with the goal of giving a fair price to taxpayers.

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon decide the fate of the DACA program. Meanwhile, several dozen child-advocacy groups, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, recently filed an amicus brief in the case.

The Bureau of Land Management is moving more staff and—perhaps most significantly—its headquarters to the Mountain West.

Depending on who you ask, relocating the BLM’s headquarters from Washington, D.C. to Grand Junction, Colorado will make the agency more efficient, give preferential treatment to the fossil fuel industry—or even functionally dismantle it.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently announced rollbacks to the Clean Water Act. These rollbacks will repeal some of the rules put into place by the Obama Administration that protect smaller bodies of water and intermittent streams.

Last month, the Trump administration said it would start deporting gravely ill immigrants here temporarily for medical care. This week, it backtracked a little. But 20 Attorneys General sent a letter to the administration saying they’re not satisfied. 

The newly-minted head of the Bureau of Land Management is defending himself after attracting the ire of environmental groups. They are concerned about potential conflicts of interest and his views on public lands. 

A new trade deal with Japan could soon help out dairymen, cattlemen, corn and wheat farmers, among many others.


Public lands that used to be a part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in southern Utah will lose many of their environmental protections, according to a final federal government management plan released Friday.

Federal officials have announced changes to the Endangered Species Act, which could have big impacts on wildlife and habitat throughout our region.

Tom Koerner/USFWS via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

The Trump administration has made several rule changes to the Endangered Species Act that they say will provide transparency while protecting species.

Public Domain

Services agency sixty days to flush out the details of how to force hospitals to be up front with patients about the costs of their procedures. It's intended to help average Americans shop around the marketplace for cheaper rates. And Wyoming's junior Senator John Barrasso is fully on board.

The Trump administration may soon push for more uranium mining in the Colorado Plateau, arguing the mineral is critical for national security. The potential move prompted criticism from Democrats during a hearing of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources on Tuesday. 

Cases were assigned to a single category. Blue indicates "pro" cases in favor of climate-related protections and orange indicates "con" cases opposing climate-related protections.
Dena Adler

A new report from Columbia University's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law finds the Trump administration has yet to score a court victory upholding their efforts to roll back major regulations related to climate change. It shows the administration has failed in court to defend 10 of 12 attempts to delay or roll back climate protections with two still pending an initial court decision on the merits.

Wyoming State Geological Survey

The North American benchmark price of oil dropped this week to its lowest since 2017. It pulled down share prices of major producing companies with it - many that operate here in Wyoming. Wyoming Public Radio's Cooper McKim speaks with Refinitiv market specialist Carl Larry on what the drop means and how it happened.

WTI Crude (Jan'19) (@CL.1:New York Mercantile Exchange)
CNBC

Since early October, the U.S. benchmark for oil prices has been down around 32 percent. Benchmark prices are set by a grade of crude oil called West Texas Intermediate, which hit its lowest price in over a year at just above $50.

Parker, Tom, Photographer (NARA record: 4682167) - U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Domain

Earlier this year, the Trump Administration put its zero-tolerance policy into place at the border, leading to the separation of immigrant parents and children. Now some people are looking back at history to try to understand how this policy truly affects those involved. 

Cooper McKim

It's a bright, cloudless day in Gillette, Wyoming as a long train passes by overflowing with coal. Huge, open-pit mines dot the perimeter of a light-blue coal-fired power plant. Inside, a turbine is making the building rumble with its constant hum of producing electricity. It's supplying power to the entire western grid.

Bob Wick, BLM

Some western lawmakers are up in arms over a Trump administration announcement that eases the requirements for drilling near sage grouse. For now, Wyoming isn't impacted by the announcement, though that could change.

The Trump administration announced a new rule on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants, called the ‘Affordable Clean Energy Rule.’ It would put regulatory power in states’ hands.

The Obama administration had previously tried to enact something called the Clean Power Plan, which was considered the country’s primary strategy for lowering emissions to meet its 2030 target under the Paris climate agreement.

You may not have noticed, but a few months ago the Trump Administration stopped using a century-old law to fine industries when birds are accidentally killed by oil spills, power lines or wind farms.

President Trump’s pick to oversee the Forest Service went before a Senate committee Tuesday.

 


A year and a half into the Trump presidency and several federal land agencies do not have directors—

including the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Former land managers say the lack of leadership has grave consequences for the future of public lands.


 


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