Trump Administration

The Bureau of Land Management’s plan to move its headquarters out west is costing the agency around half the employees asked to make the move, according to a new report from federal watchdog Government Accountability Office.


It looks like President Trump’s partial trade deal with China won’t bring in the promised $40 billion or so worth of agricultural trade for the U.S. this year. 

Earlier this month, the Trump administration released its budget proposal for next year. It included significant cuts to the U.S. Geological Survey, but that agency’s director told the Mountain West News Bureau that’s not going to happen.

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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.”

As part of its budget plan, the Trump administration proposes spending $150 million for a new uranium reserve. That could help struggling uranium mining companies in the Mountain West. But the idea has its critics.

 


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.

Southern Utah’s red rock desert is home to towering canyons and the clear, shallow Escalante River. It’s also home to many ancient petroglyphs. Jonathan Paklaian is trying to find one along the banks of the river. He scrambles along a cliff wall until he spots it — a petroglyph he says was drawn more than 800 years ago by the Indigenous Fremont people. 

U.S. Capitol Building
Public Domain

Wyoming lawmakers loved what they heard in President Trump's State of the Union Address—but now the hard part comes of them trying to figure out how to get his vision enacted into law.

Updated 2:24 p.m. MST 2/6/2020

In the face of ongoing litigation from tribes and conservation groups, the Trump administration has finalized plans to expand drilling, mining and grazing across southern Utah — including within the former bounds of Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears National Monuments. 

The Trump administration has spent the past month announcing sweeping changes that could benefit ranchers on public lands, including a proposal to overhaul grazing regulations for the first time in 25 years. 

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. 

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