U.S. Interior Department

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.”

Flickr Creative Commons

A failure in oversight by the Bureau of Indian Affairs permitted the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes to misspend $6.2 million in federal funds between 2013 and 2015. 

A controversial oil and gas advisory committee has been disbanded by the Trump administration, according to an interior department spokesperson.

President Donald Trump’s push for more energy development on federal lands suffered a setback last week when a federal judge ruled that his administration didn’t look at environmental impacts before lifting an Obama-era freeze on new coal leases.

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.

 


Democrats are likely to question acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt over his connections with industry during his senate confirmation hearing Thursday. The former oil and gas lobbyist has been criticized in recent months for appearing to help out clients he used to represent.

Screenshot from UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA ruling
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

A Washington D.C. federal court decision has stopped future leasing on over 300,000 acres of Wyoming public lands. In 2016, several conservation groups raised concerns the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) was not reasonably considering the impact of oil and gas lease sales on climate change.

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

President Trump officially nominated David Bernhardt on Friday to become the nation’s next interior secretary as questions swirl about the nominee’s conflicts of interest.

National Park Service funding in 2020 plan
U.S. Department of the Interior

The Interior Department's Acting Secretary David Bernhardt released his first budget request to Congress. The 2020 financial plan promotes an "all of the above" domestic energy strategy. For Interior, that would mean adding hundreds of millions of dollars into streamlining oil and gas drilling and coal mining on public lands. It would also support increased logging within national parks.

 

The details on the lengthy federal investigation exonerating Chris Lehnertz of creating a hostile work environment were released Tuesday.

BLM

The Trump administration is reducing grazing fees on public lands again. The new rate is the lowest the federal law allows.

Public Domain / Tom Iraci

More than 750 days into the Trump administration and the Department of Interior may be violating a little known-law. The Vacancies Act was designed specifically for top federal positions that are nominated by the president and need Senate approval. Anne Joseph O'Connell is an expert on the federal law and a professor of law at Stanford University.

Public Domain / Circe Denyer

Wi-Fi can be hard to find in the rural parts of our region. In fact, about six in ten rural Americans believe access to high-speed internet is a problem where they live. But that might change. Today the Department of Interior announced a new effort to increase access to broadband on federal lands.

When Ryan Zinke, a former Navy SEAL, resigned from his post as U.S. Interior Department secretary on Jan. 2, he was under fire on multiple fronts.

Updated 6:36 p.m. MST

President Donald Trump took to Twitter to nominate David Bernhardt as the nation’s next Interior Secretary. The former oil industry lobbyist and longtime government employee has been acting Secretary since Ryan Zinke stepped down last month amid questions about his ethics and conflicts of interest.

The U.S. Interior Department’s controversial plan to put new limits on Freedom of Information Act requests has received more than 61,000 public comments in the Federal Register.

telemessage.com

Over the holidays, the Department of the Interior (DOI) proposed changes to how it will handle public records requests. Now, the head of the committee that oversees the department is requesting a public hearing into the proposed changes.

U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management

Tom Meites is president of a small oil and gas company in Casper and he's planning a new project. He's begun the lengthy process with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to find new parcels for development, but has had to put it on hold.

As the partial government shutdown stretches toward a third week, both the public and public employees alike are feeling the pain. But there’s another casualty: public information.

Despite the government shutdown, there's been a handover at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Former Secretary Ryan Zinke is out, deputy secretary David Bernhardt is in, with a continuance of the Trump Administration policy of energy dominance.

KUER's Diane Maggipinto spoke with Nate Hegyi of KUER's Mountain West News Bureau to sort it out, starting with Zinke's wins and losses.

Department of the Interior

A new Executive Order posted Monday in the Federal Register is aimed at fire risk reduction. It prioritizes "active management" on about eight million acres of public lands. That's a catch-all phrase that includes logging.

Unlike previous administrations, President Trump’s Interior Department has directed national parks to keep their gates open while furloughing most workers during this latest government shutdown. But as the partial shutdown enters its third week, critics argue the parks are becoming unsafe.

A new rule proposed last week by the U.S. Interior Department could make it harder for news outlets and non-profit organizations to get public information on a range of federal issues.

Several Mountain West Republicans are reportedly on the short list to replace Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, after President Donald Trump announced his imminent departure over the weekend.

Public record requests have played a major role in spurring multiple ethics investigations into U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Congressman Raúl Grijalva and Secretary of the Interior, Ryan Zinke, recently locked horns in a bitter and very public war of accusations. Grijalva called on Zinke to resign in light of several ethics investigations and Zinke in turn took to Twitter to personally attack the Arizona Congressman. Grijalva is set to take over the chairmanship of the House Committee on Natural Resources, the committee that oversees Zinke’s Department and makes critical decisions about public lands, energy and the environment. And it turns out Raúl Grijalva's plans for the committee are quite different from his Republican predecessor.

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is the subject of at least three open federal investigations. But on the right-wing talk show Breitbart News Sunday, Zinke dismissed news of his imminent departure from the Trump administration.

Pages