Critical habitat for polar bears is finally designated

187,157 square miles of Alaskan land and (mostly) ocean to be for the bears-

U.S. Firms Up ‘Critical Habitat’ for Polar Bears. By Felicity Barringer. The Green Blog in the New York Times. Here is the web page on this from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Dept. of Interior).

This is very important, but designation of critical habitat can’t stop the ice from melting. The future of these bears looks grim.

Biologists scour Mojave in desert tortoise roundup.

What has this society come to?
Construction of the Ivanpah Solar plant starts.

Clear the land of life for power generation that could be achieved by installing solar panels on rooftops where it is used. The bulldozers, fences, and powerlines are next.

The science shows that half of these endangered desert tortoises will die and an equal number of the tortoises that will be displaced but the moved tortoises will die as well. It’s all a charade under the guise of GREEN ENERGY that is being greenwashed by many of the big “conservation” groups.

Other alternatives were never examined because that would get in the way of the profits of those big power companies who will profit at the expense of the taxpayers and more importantly habitat and wildlife. There is a playa just across the freeway where Bob Abbey, the director of the BLM, likes to landsail. It was never considered as an alternative site.

The effort in San Bernardino County’s panoramic Ivanpah Valley, just north of Interstate 15 and about 40 miles southwest of Las Vegas, disrupted complex tortoise social networks and blood lines linked for centuries by dusty trails, shelters and hibernation burrows.

Biologists scour Mojave in desert tortoise roundup
Los Angeles Times

Frank Rich On Oil Spill: Obama Must Come Clean And Clean House

This must mean that Interior boss Salazar gets the ax-

Clean the Gulf, Clean House, Clean Their Clock. By Frank Rick. New York  Times.

The President asked us to pray.  So I ask God that the President fire Ken Salazar.

The President says he would have “fired Tony Hayward, BP’s chief executive” (currently yachting in the Irish Sea). We all would fire Hayward, but we can’t. The President can fire the man who did not clean up MMS after calling it his number one priority.
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Related. A yachting trip? The 10 worst BP gaffes in Gulf oil spill. Christian Science Monitor. By Mark Sappenfield, Staff writer.
Related. BP oil disaster: How much oil is left?. Christian Science Monitor.
Unfortunately, it is well over 90%. Associated Press

The Spill, The Scandal and the President

The inside story of how Obama failed to crack down on the corruption of the Bush years – and let the world’s most dangerous oil company get away with murder

A revealing article in Rolling Stone points out how Obama and Salazar did nothing to reform the well known corruption at MMS. It is expected that industry will try to cut as many corners as possible but the culture at the Department of Interior’s Minerals Management Service did nothing to curb the corruption of gas and oil companies and instead facilitated the current destruction of the Gulf of Mexico.

“Bush owns eight years of the mess,” says Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican from California. “But after more than a year on the job, Salazar owns it too.”

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Why was the Deepwater Horizon given a Categorical Exclusion?

The leak started 30 days ago, oil as thick as paint is washing up on the shores of Louisiana and there are plumes of oil deep underwater poisoning the ocean and threatening the Florida Keys and the east coast.  There have been many attempts to stop the leak and it appears that it won’t be capped for a long time to come.  This disaster is killing all kinds of wildlife and will change the whole ecology of the Gulf as well as its economy for many, many years if not longer.  Knowing that the consequences of a spill like this are so disastrous why was the Deepwater Horizon given a categorical exclusion from environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA)?

Under NEPA there are basically 3 levels of review a project can undergo.  First, NEPA requires that an agency determine if the project is covered under NEPA, if it is not then the project is given a categorical exclusion.  Second, if the project is covered under NEPA, the agency must determine whether it would have any significant environmental effects, if it doesn’t then the project is issued a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) and an Environmental Assessment (EA) is prepared.  Finally, if there are significant impacts then an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) must be prepared.

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Interior official who oversees offshore drilling for MMS resigns

Chris Oynes will step down

Interior official who oversees offshore drilling for MMS resigns.
Washington Post

NOAA Warned Interior It Was Underestimating Threat Of Serious Spill

Administration brushed aside the warnings-

“National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration officials last fall warned the Department of Interior, which regulates offshore oil drilling, that it was dramatically underestimating the frequency of offshore oil spills and was dangerously understating the risk and impacts a major spill would have on coastal residents.”

Story in the Huffington Post. NOAA Warned Interior It Was Underestimating Threat Of Serious Spill. By Dan Froomkin.

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Not to give Obama Administration exclusive discredit for the oil gusher.  The zanies are undeterred.

Sarah Palin: ‘Drill here, drill now’. The Alaskan’s support for off-shore oil-drilling undeterred by Gulf spill. By Mark Silvea in the Swamp, Chicago Tribune’s Washington Bureau.

Oil gusher is Act of God says Texas’ secessionist governor Rick Perry. Austin News. KXAN. By Catenya McHenry. Governor “Good Hair” continues say it could have been an Act of God.

Salazar gets White House OK for run

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar may leave his post to run for Colorado Governor’s post

Salazar gets White House OK for run
By Michael Riley
The Denver Post

Interior Releases New Rules for Disturbances to Bald and Golden Eagles

New rules will supposedly still protect eagles-

I also read the actual new regulations. One thing I didn’t know is that while bald eagle populations continue to grow, golden eagles might be in decline.

Interior Releases New Rules for Disturbances to Bald and Golden Eagles. By Allison Winter. New York Times.

Hayes is finally confirmed to number two Interior Post

Some concessions to Robert Bennett (R-Utah) on oil and gas leases was needed-

Here is the story. Senate GOP releases hold on Interior nominee. Politico. Salazar probably had to agree to look into offering tghe oil and gas leases next to the national parks that the courts and he had killed. Grrrrr.

The New York Times has a story what this is really about — Senator Bennett’s political survival in a state where the Republican Party is increasingly “conservative”. The Utah Republican Party is generally controlled by people for which development is everything and the beauty of the state means nothing, and lately they have been getting kind of nutty.

Senator Bennett’s Hostages. Editorial by the New York Times.

Interior staff’s top seats in limbo

Despite nominations by the President, only Ken Salazar has been approved by the U.S. Senate-

One reason we haven’t seen much change in the B.L.M., National Park Service, etc. is that Senate Republicans are holding up action on the nominations.

Interior staff’s top seats in limbo. Politics » Hatch and Bennett oppose nominee, adding to a slowdown in confirmations. By Thomas Burr. The Salt Lake Tribune

Utah’s two U.S. Senators — Hatch and Bennett are pissed that Salazar withdraw the oil and gas lease auction near the national parks in Utah.

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A similar problem exists in most agencies and departments of the government. This seems unique — almost every nomination is held up under threat of filibuster and every close election, e.g., Minnesota and New York, is endlessly contested because of the threat of filibuster if the majority tries to seat the apparent election winner.

Another Coloradoan to Interior

Salazar fills most Interior slots with fellow Coloradoans-

His predecessor, Dirk Kempthorne, former Idaho governor, filled DOI with Idaho people, most of them long time foes of conservation, with scores to settle with Idaho conservationists.

Secretary Salazar’s people certainly have a different policy perspective, but almost all are coming from just one state — not surprisingly his home state.

This brief article is about the appointment of an “economic-stimulus money ‘czar’ ” at DOI.

Hickenlooper aide headed to Interior Department. The Denver Post

Dept. of Interior felon gets slap on wrist by judge

Interior Department official named in a scathing report gets a $2000 fine-

This is incredible. “The judge said he felt Dial [the defendent] . . . had been ‘selected out for prosecution’ on a conflict charge that  ‘high executives in our government violate all the time.’ ”

Hence the small penalty. I’ll bet the Bush crooks pretty get away with everything. America’s double, or is it triple, standard of justice. 😦

Former federal minerals official gets probation. By Ken Ritter. Associated Press Writer

Number two at Interior will be David Hayes

Pick has a fair conservation record but lobbying ties to energy companies-

“Hayes is vice chairman of American Rivers and a senior fellow of the World Wildlife Fund, advising that group’s president on climate issues.”

Story: Hayes to be No. 2 at Interior. By H. Josef Herbert. Associated Press.

Posted in politics, public lands, public lands management. Tags: , . Comments Off on Number two at Interior will be David Hayes

Kempthorne struggles to construct clean image… and bathroom

Department of Interior Secretarty Dirk Kempthorne swung into Boise, Idaho in a fleet of black Escalades yesterday to attend a luncheon in honor of his “public service”.   While industry leaders met with Idaho’s politicos to celebrate Kempthorne’s ‘achievement’ Western Watersheds Project’s Katie Fite, Ken Cole and indie rock band Built to Spill bassist guitarist Brett Netson stood in the snow to bring attention to Kempthorne’s dismal record at Interior :

The protesters called attention to unethical actions of staffers in the department, which they say occurred during Kempthorne’s leadership and under the direction of his predecessor Gale Norton.

Yeah, let’s not forget all these midnight regulations, the attempt to gut the ESA (in a number of ways), the free-for-all oil & gas extravaganza and any number of other transgressions that occur(ed) under Kempthorne’s watch.

But Dirk, like any crafty politician, has never been one to let the truth stand in the way of a good talking point double-speak :

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We need Interior decorating (Not Salazar, nor Kemmis)

28-year drift toward “disastrous . . . consensus decision-making” on public lands-

We need Interior decorating.” By Brian Horejsi. Colorado Springs Independent.

My view is that consensus decision-making, bargaining over what the rules and law are, destroys respect for the law and makes the country lawless, as we have seen with the Bush Administration where law and the Constitution are no barrier to what friends want to do. For example, let’s let the developers, bankers, no account mortgage seekers, and Wall Street investment firms decide what rules they like, if any. Ralph Maughan

PEER: Interior Department needs new brooms to sweep it clean

Whistleblowers and Reformers Required to Rejuvenate Ravaged Agencies

In response to President-elect Obama’s decision to name rancher Ken Salazar Secretary of the Interior, a selection widely celebrated by extractive industry groups and current Bush Interior head Dirk Kempthorne, grass-roots wildlife, public land, and animal rights activists continue to scratch their heads with dismay.  It’s a bitter pill.

Despite Salazar’s abysmal record, Ralph (and many perhaps wiser than myself) have expressed the need for patience and continued effort pointing to the fact that the transition team’s choices regarding Salazar’s under-secretaries/agency-heads will likely be more important indications of Obama’s actual intent for Change of an Interior Department despoiled by corruption, greed, and extractive industries’ uninhibited will.

Public Employees For Environmental Responsibility has released a list of suggestions to fill these important positions for the transition-team to mull over – a list of “whistleblowers and reformers”, many whose integrity and real ability previously cost them their jobs.

PEER’s Press Release :

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Interior decorating: Obama, Salazar and the Future of America’s Public Lands

Consensus decision-making is incompatable with the rule of law-

Obama, Salazar and the Future of America’s Public Lands. Interior Decorating. By Dr. Brian Horejsi. Counterpunch.

Black-tailed Prairie Dog

Grijalva steps up to bat on another Bush Interior ‘midnight regulation’

Grijalva steps up to the plate and goes to bat against another Bush Interior “midnight regulation” aimed at looting sacred water for the Peabody Western Coal Company while tribes perform spiritual ceremonies.

Dang, if you listen close – that sounds like a John Prine endorsement to me !

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Interior Update: Pelosi offers Grijalva powerful seat on Ways & Means Committee

Update 12/12 : Another Endorsement for Grijalva – Rep. Grace Napolitano backs Grijalva

Update 12/12 : Another strong Endorsement for Grijalva – Raul Grijalva Great Choice of Secretary of Interior – Howard Shanker – Huffington Post :

Once the land is gone or ruined, it cannot be bailed out by throwing money at it. The Secretary of Interior needs to be committed to the effective and comprehensive management of public lands. Grijalva understands this need and stands ready to fill the currently existing void in responsible federal land management.

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Next on Obama’s Dance Card, Mother Nature

Next on Obama’s Dance Card, Mother Nature

Here is the latest speculation on USFA, DOE, DOI, and EPA. By Al Kamen. Washington Post.

Thompson does have a 92% rating by the League of Conservation Voters.

I found this on Thompson. It is from his campaign, so what he thinks would help him get reelected. Mike Thompson on Environment.

EPA, Interior Dept. Chiefs Will Be Busy Erasing Bush’s Mark

Huge transformation expected-

EPA, Interior Dept. Chiefs Will Be Busy Erasing Bush’s Mark. By Juliet Eilperin. Washington Post Staff Writer.

Few federal agencies are expected to undergo as radical a transformation under President-elect Barack Obama as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department, which have been at the epicenter of many of the Bush administration’s most intense scientific and environmental controversies.

These are most hopeful words as the plunderers are doing their last minute worst.

Kempthorne unveils species banking system

Secretary of the Interior Kempthorne unveiled the Fish and Wildlife Service’s new “credit” and “banking” system for threatened and endangered species protections. The idea is that federal agencies will be allowed to take actions that inflict damage to protected species populations on federal land if they have accrued enough “credits” from conservation programs on private lands.

Secretary Kempthorne Announces New Conservation Mechanism for Threatened and Endangered SpeciesUSFWS News Release 8/1/08

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Reid confirms Laverty while Wyden welcomes twins

 

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden’s hold on Lyle Laverty’s appointment as assistant Interior secretary for fish, wildlife and parks was broken when Senator Harry Reid pushed the confirmation through while Wyden was away from the Senate welcoming the arrival of his newborn twins

  

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