Energy and Environment

A new degree program in Colorado aims to train business leaders for the fast-growing outdoor recreation industry in the Mountain West.

A nearly full moon rising over Nevada desert mountains.
WSA - CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 Bob Tregilus Photography

The US Navy wants to expand the training area for its fighter pilot school at the Naval Air Station in Fallon to four times its current size. KUNR Contributor Brian Bahouth with The Sierra Nevada Ally has the latest update on this controversial proposal.

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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.

 


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. 

President Donald Trump somewhat misrepresented his administration’s role in the expansion of domestic oil and gas production during his State of the Union address Tuesday. 

Managing Cattle To Mitigate Climate Change

Feb 4, 2020
Two horseback riders approach a herd of cattle.
Abbey Smith

Several thousand people came together in Elko over the weekend to celebrate the 36th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Folklife aficionados came from all corners of the country; they shared music, stories and spoken word.

In addition to the lively arts scene, a group of cowboys presented on how ranchers can manage cattle to mitigate climate change.

New legislation introduced in the U.S. House Thursday would make it easier for conservation groups to remove cattle and sheep from federal lands. 

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. 

What has sharp teeth, big, recurved claws, and is almost as long as a school bus?

Rural economies could get a massive boost under policies meant to decrease carbon emissions, according to an analysis by the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.

 


Bear stands on log with a cub.
Frank van Manen / U.S. Geological Survey

In the lower 48 states, grizzly bears used to roam across much of the West, but now, they’re confined to areas mostly in Montana and Wyoming. They’re considered endangered.

The U.S. government has recently agreed to review their endangered status, due to a controversial lawsuit which ultimately aims to build a plan to eventually bring grizzly bears to more places, including the Sierra Nevada.

The Great Hunt panel in Nine Mile Canyon, eastern Utah
Bureau of Land Management

A fight is brewing in eastern Utah over whether the National Park Service should include nearly 200 rock art sites in the National Register of Historic Places.

In March of last year, a group of volunteers and preservationists submitted a proposal to add 199 rock art sites to the Register, an effort that took a decade to complete.

Mix gelatin, sand and cyanobacteria and what do you get? A solid building material with a low carbon footprint.

It was a dry start to the year for some mountain ranges in the region, but recent storms brought most Mountain West snowpack levels back to normal.

 


The United States could see tens of thousands more violent crimes per year as climate change causes warmer winters, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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. 

Flaring natural gas (largely methane) at a well site in North Dakota in 2014. The Bureau of Land Management relaxed rules regulating flared, leaked and vented methane from oil and gas operations on federal and tribal lands.
Jeffrey Peischl / CIRES

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.

Recent data shows that the U.S. had more minable oil and natural gas reserves than ever before.

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

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