Sellout: Tracking Trump’s Anti-Public Lands Crusade

2017-01-20 12:00:00

Donald Trump inaugurated

Donald Trump is inaugurated as the 45th president of the United States, losing the popular vote by a greater margin than any U.S. president.

2017-01-30 12:00:00

Trump reorganizes government agencies

President Trump signs Executive Order 13771 to reorganize government agencies, seeming to target in particular departments that work on climate change. This is the beginning of Trump's so-called "Unified Agenda," which intends to systematically dismantle the regulatory state.

2017-02-14 12:00:00

Trump repeals SEC rule

President Trump signs off on the repeal of an SEC rule whose creation was mandated under the Dodd-Frank Act and which required energy companies to disclose payments to foreign governments — an important way to battle corruption in resource-rich developing countries. The regulation was scrapped through the Congressional Review Act.

2017-02-16 13:49:26

Trump repeals Stream Protection Rule

President Trump signs off on the repeal of the Interior Department’s Stream Protection Rule, which stopped mining companies from dumping coal debris and toxic waste from mountaintop removal mining into streams and required companies to restore mined areas and monitor environmental impacts. The Interior Department had said the rule would protect 6,000 miles of streams and 52,000 acres of forests. It was axed through the Congressional Review Act.

2017-03-01 00:02:01

Ryan Zinke confirmed as Interior Secretary

Ryan Zinke is confirmed as Secretary of the Interior. The Interior Department is responsible for the management of most federal land and natural resources, which comes to about 500 million acres of surface land or one-fifth of the land in the U.S. Interior employs 70,000 people and oversees nine bureau including the Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Nominated on December 13, Zinke was one of Trump's first cabinet picks and would ultimately become a linchpin in Trump's agenda.

2017-03-27 13:49:26

Trump rolls back BLM's Planning 2.0 Rule

President Trump signs off on the rollback of the Bureau of Land Management’s Planning 2.0 rule, shutting Americans out of the process of deciding where and when to drill on public lands, and handing power over to the oil and gas industry. The rule was designed to streamline federal land use planning and engender early input from multiple stakeholders. It was targeted under the Congressional Review Act.

2017-03-28 13:49:26

Trump announces executive order for energy management

President Trump announces an executive order that among other things, in the name of “energy independence,” directs the Interior Department to review, revise, or rescind many guidelines concerning where and how energy can be developed on or near public lands — including national parks and wildlife refuges. It also requires the EPA to review its Clean Power Plan.

2017-03-29 13:49:26

Zinke overturns coal moratorium

Secretary Zinke announces Secretarial Order 3348, which overturns the 2016 moratorium on coal leasing on federal lands. The policy was part of a comprehensive review, intended to modernize the hopelessly outdated and heavily subsidized federal coal program.

2017-03-29 13:49:26

Zinke threatens environmental safeguards

Secretary Zinke announces Secretarial Order 3349, which threatens policies designed to ensure safe and responsible oil and gas development and climate change preparedness and resiliency, among many others.

2017-04-26 10:00:09

Trump orders review of national monuments

President Trump announces an executive order to review national monuments designated under the 1906 Antiquities Act. The order puts somewhere between 20 and 40 national monuments in question. The Antiquities Act authorizes the president to protect landmarks, structures, and objects of historic or scientific interest by designating them as national monuments. No national monument has ever been rescinded.

2017-04-28 13:49:26

Trump opens Arctic waters to oil drilling

President Trump signs an executive order directing the Interior Department to open Arctic waters north of Alaska to oil drilling, as well as areas off the Atlantic coast that were previously deemed too sensitive or risky to drill. The Wilderness Society and other groups filed a law suit challenging this policy on May 3.

2017-04-28 13:49:26

Trump nominates energy lobbyist to Interior

President Trump nominates energy industry lobbyist David Bernhardt for deputy secretary of the Interior Department. Before advocating for fossil fuel companies on Capitol Hill, Bernhardt worked at George W. Bush’s Interior Department (during the “Drill, baby, drill” era), where he oversaw the removal of policies that were seen to impede fossil fuel energy development.

2017-05-05 13:49:26

Zinke announces monuments review

Secretary Zinke announces an open-ended review of national monuments, potentially undoing protections for 27 national monuments and handing those sites over to mining, oil, and gas interests.

2017-05-08 12:00:00

Zinke intervenes in methane CRA fight

Secretary Zinke lends a hand to congressional oil and gas allies during the methane CRA fight, writing a letter to senators filled with empty promises about DOI’s intentions to curb methane emissions without the commonsense Methane Waste Prevention Rule.

2017-05-09 11:35:11

EPA opens Bristol Bay to mining

The EPA settles an ongoing lawsuit, reversing an Obama-era ban on permitting applications for the Pebble Limited Partnership mining company in the Bristol Bay region of Alaska. Permits for the controversial gold and copper Pebble Mine were previously denied because of the threat the mine poses to the world’s largest salmon run, an important part of the region’s economy.

2017-05-10 07:45:02

Pence tries to intervene in methane CRA fight

Vice President Mike Pence races to the senate to break an expected tie that doesn't happen when Senator John McCain votes against overturning BLM's methane rule. This was the 16th regulation voted on by congress for repeal under the Congressional Review Act, and the only vote that failed.

2017-05-22 13:49:26

Trump proposes to open the Arctic Refuge

President Trump’s proposed budget reveals the administration’s intentions to open the Arctic Refuge to drilling and increase funding for oil and gas development, while cutting the Interior Department’s renewable energy program budget nearly in half.

2017-05-31 13:49:26

Zinke opens up land in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska

Secretary Zinke’s Secretarial Order 3352 opens up more public lands in Alaska in the National Petroleum Reserve -Alaska to oil drilling, rejecting the balanced approach for land conservation and development taken during the Obama administration for the region.

2017-06-01 13:49:26

Trump withdraws from Paris climate agreement

President Trump announces his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, drastically slowing climate action progress at the federal level. The U.S. contributes more greenhouse gas emissions than almost any other country on earth, with public lands responsible for more than one-fifth of that. Conversely, climate change is widely considered the biggest threat to U.S. public lands.

2017-06-07 13:49:26

Zinke announces review of sage-grouse conservation plans

Secretary Zinke announces an Interior Department review of the groundbreaking sage-grouse conservation plans in Secretarial Order 3353, an attempt to open critical, sensitive habitat to oil and gas drilling. The plan was part of a multi-year, comprehensive effort to avoid listing the sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act. The endeavor involved many different stakeholders, including several federal agencies, state agencies, farmers and ranchers, and many others.

2017-06-14 13:49:26

Interior steps back from its own methane rule

The Interior Department indicates that it will delay compliance with its own methane rule, which limits methane waste and pollution from drilling operations on federal and tribal lands. On July 10, several conservation and public interests groups, including The Wilderness Society, sued the Interior Department over this decision. This lawsuit followed closely on the heels of a lawsuit filed on July 5 by the Attorneys General of California and New Mexico.

2017-06-14 13:49:26

BLM announces lease sale without adequate environmental assessment

BLM announces its intention to lease more than 100,000 acres of public land in Nevada for oil and gas development without adequate environmental analysis, endangering wilderness, wildlife, and recreation.

2017-06-15 13:49:26

Senior Interior employees transferred

Secretary Zinke notifies dozens of senior-level employees they will be reassigned, including the department’s top climate policy official. The shake-up appears to be part of directing more agency resources towards fossil fuel development and shows an unprecedented level of hostility towards civil servants.

2017-06-22 13:49:26

BLM announces leasing near Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

BLM advances plans to lease lands near Dinosaur National Monument in Northeast Utah, despite National Park Service objections that development could negatively affect the 200,000-acre site.

2017-06-26 08:45:27

Commerce Department announces review of 11 ocean monuments

The Commerce Department announces it will be reviewing 11 ocean monuments and sanctuaries in order to “encourage energy exploration and production.”

2017-06-27 01:53:12

EPA moves to rescind clean water rule

In response to a Feb. 28 executive order on the Clean Water Act, EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers propose a draft rule to rescind the “Waters of the U.S.” rule, essentially removing federal drinking water protections for millions of Americans.

2017-06-27 08:45:27

3 BLM state directors reassigned

News breaks that three BLM state directors (from Alaska, Colorado, and New Mexico) are being reassigned to posts unrelated to their expertise. All three directors have a history of making balanced land management decisions not compatible with the Trump administration’s fossil-fuels-above-all approach. Transfers like this are often used to force civil servants to quit or retire.

2017-06-30 08:45:27

Interior removes mitigation directive

Using an opaque internal process, the Interior Department’s legal team removes a directive requiring energy companies to offset, through a process called mitigation, environmental and community damage caused by energy development on public lands.

2017-07-06 08:45:27

Zinke announces streamlined permitting for oil and gas

Secretary Zinke announces Secretarial Order 3354, an effort to streamline permitting for oil and gas developers, making it easier for them to obtain access to more public lands for drilling.

2017-07-13 08:45:27

Zinke cuts royalty rates for shallow-water leases

Secretary Zinke reduces royalty rates for shallow-water leases to encourage drilling in the Gulf of Mexico during a time of low demand due to rock-bottom oil and gas prices. He also announced the Trump administration's first offshore oil lease sale with 76,000 acres up for bid in the Gulf of Mexico.

2017-07-20 08:45:27

Zinke attends prominent anti-public lands group meeting

Secretary Zinke attends the Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent anti-public lands group that receives most of its funding from the Koch brothers and the extractive industries. Zinke prides himself on his public lands bona fides, and has long said he opposes the sell-off or transfer of publics lands to the states.

2017-07-20 08:45:27

Trump touts environmental deregulation plans

In a deregulation report, the White House announces that it plans to rescind more than 300 regulations related to energy production or environmental protection, including many public lands-related Interior Department policies. According to the report, the Trump administration has also halted more than 800 in-progress regulations, as well as hundreds of other regulatory policies.

2017-07-24 08:45:27

Zinke proposes repealing BLM fracking rule

Secretary Zinke starts a process to repeal BLM’s fracking rule, which requires companies to disclose what fracking chemicals they use, among other commonsense policies.

2017-07-24 08:45:27

David Bernhardt confirmed as Deputy Interior Secretary

The Senate confirms David Bernhardt as Secretary Zinke’s Deputy Interior Secretary. After working for President George W. Bush’s Interior Department, Bernhardt became a well-known lobbyist for the energy industry, and he appears to have at least one major conflict of interest.

2017-08-03 18:45:42

BLM proposes increased subsidies for a Colorado coal company

BLM proposes to approve a request that would reduce the federal royalty rate by 3 percent for coal mined between 2015 and 2020 for the Colorado coal company Arch Coal. This plan to reduce an already-low royalty rate to 5 percent and reimburse Arch Coal for royalties already paid on coal mined in this time period would cost taxpayers close to $12 million.

2017-08-07 18:45:42

Trump announces royalty rate reduction for oil, gas, and coal

President Trump announces a decision to repeal an Obama-era valuation rule, reducing the royalties the government collects from oil, gas and coal companies by millions of dollars. In effect, rolling back this rule means American taxpayers are subsidizing the overseas consumption of American coal.

2017-08-15 18:45:42

Trump scales back environmental review and permitting processes

President Trump signs Executive Order 13807, scaling back environmental review and permitting processes for infrastructure projects on public lands. The newly imposed two-year approval deadlines will make it easier for developers to move forward with infrastructure projects.

2017-08-24 01:53:12

Zinke sends secret national monuments report to Trump

Interior Secretary Zinke’s secret national monuments report goes to the President’s office, where it is kept under wraps for almost a month. Despite 2.8 million public comments in support of preserving national monuments, the report recommends revising or eliminating 10 national monuments—the largest rollback of public lands and waters protections in history. Multiple lawsuits have been filed contesting the legality of this move.

2017-09-01 18:45:42

Zinke guts environmental review

Secretary Zinke announces Secretarial Order 3355, which imposes arbitrary restrictions on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). This order creates unnecessary shortcuts in the environmental review processes, making it easier for oil and gas companies to gain access to our public lands.

2017-09-01 18:45:42

BLM announces new leases near Dinosaur National Monument

BLM announces its intention to issue oil and gas leases near Dinosaur National Monument and San Rafael Swell in Utah, despite repeated objection from the National Park Service as well as Utah’s republican governor, Gary Herbert.

2017-09-01 18:45:42

Zinke releases names of members of Royalty Policy Committee members

Secretary Zinke announces the members of the Royalty Policy Committee, which will advise Zinke and Interior on royalty and leasing policies. Members include officials from the fossil fuel companies ConocoPhillips, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and Cloud Peak Energy.

2017-09-15 18:45:42

Interior moves to open Arctic Refuge for seismic testing

Under the influence of Interior Department nominee for Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management Joe Balash and Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt--the lawyers who represented the state of Alaska in a 2014 lawsuit against the Interior Department to allows for seismic testing in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge--Interior moves to open the region to extremely harmful seismic testing.

2017-09-25 16:09:22

Zinke calls one-third of Interior disloyal to Trump

In a speech to the National Petroleum Council, Secretary Zinke promises a “huge” restructuring of staff within Interior, claiming that he’s “got 30 percent of the crew that’s not loyal to the flag.”

2017-09-28 18:45:42

Energy Department proposes new subsidies for coal, nuclear companies

Under the guise of energy security, Secretary Perry proposes a plan to prop up dying and uneconomical coal plants with subsidies, costing taxpayers money and increasing demand for an outdated fossil fuel during a time when renewables could provide the same functions for the grid.

2017-10-04 18:45:42

BLM announces proposal to roll back Methane Waste Prevention Rule

BLM announces a proposal to roll back provisions of its Methane and Waste Prevention Rule, exempting oil and gas companies from commonsense methane pollution standards and wasting American energy at the expense of taxpayers.

2017-10-05 08:45:27

Interior announces intent to change sage-grouse conservation plans

The Interior Department announces that it intends to change the landmark sage-grouse conservation plans. After a decade of work across western states, the sage grouse plans were put in place to ensure the survival of this unique bird and the delicate sagebrush ecosystem.

2017-10-19 18:45:42

Interior hires former energy lobbyist for leadership role

Todd Wynn, a known climate change denier and anti-public lands advocate who previously worked for the Koch Brothers-funded think tank the American Legislative Executive Council, is brought on as the Director of Intergovernmental and External Affairs. His hiring is one more step in the systematic process of stocking the Interior Department with pro-fossil fuel leadership.

2017-10-24 08:45:27

BLM rescinds mandate of climate change consideration

BLM formally rescinds guidance that mandates consideration of greenhouse gas emissions and other climate change impacts in environmental reviews before energy projects are approved.

2017-10-25 08:45:27

Zinke proposes doubling national park fees

Secretary Zinke announces his intention to more than double the visitor entrance fees for some of our country’s most visited national parks — all while pursuing systematic efforts to make it cheaper for oil and gas companies to drill on public lands.

2017-10-25 08:45:27

BLM releases plans to lease 10.3 million acres in remote Western Arctic

As part of its fossil-fuels-first approach, the Bureau of Land Management releases plans to lease 10.3 million acres — the most land ever leased for oil and gas development at one time — in Alaska’s remote Western Arctic.

Sellout: Tracking Trump’s Anti-Public Lands Crusade

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