Great news! The oil and gas reforms we’ve been pressing for with the Obama administration have finally appeared. An announcement this week from Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and his team promises to repair Bush-era practices that allowed sensitive lands to be quickly leased to oil and gas development without proper environmental assessments.
Happy 40th Anniversary! Forty years of success is a noteworthy milestone for a marriage or a birthday or even for a law. On Jan. 1, we celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The act, or NEPA as it is known, was the first major environmental law in the United States. And it was passed with a huge majority of bi-partisan support—quite a feat!
This year is shaping up to be a banner year for environmental policy. The Obama administration is making decisions based on sound science and reason, peeling away actions and policies created in the past administration that significantly weakened environmental protections. The administration is establishing a new hope for our forests and wildlife.
When Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stepped to the podium at a park in Seattle last week, he didn’t just make a speech about the Obama administration’s vision for managing national forests in the 21st century: He ushered in a whole new era for the Forest Service – one that makes restoring the health of our forests the top priority for the agency.
Thanks to a court victory last month that tossed out misguided ideas for how the U.S. should manage its forests, President Obama now has a golden opportunity to replace them with his administration’s principles.
The result could be a mandate for the Forest Service to make decisions about managing forests based on the 21st century imperatives of global warming and clean drinking water.
Two law suits filed in the U.S. District Court of Colorado would put the brakes on Bush-era regulations and land management plans to fast-track development of oil shale, a dirty fossil fuel that threatens water resources, communities and wildlife in the West. Oil shale development would also contribute to climate change.
In an attempt to halt the Bush Administration’s eleventh-hour plundering of Utah’s iconic redrock canyon country, The Wilderness Society on Dec. 17 joined six other conservation groups in a lawsuit aimed at stopping the administration’s upcoming oil and natural gas lease sale.
If a court ruling protects roadless forests can anyone hear it? There’s a bright spot in the legal struggle that started almost a year and a half ago to protect national forests in northern Minnesota. A federal district court recently decided that the Forest Service violated a major national environmental law (National Environmental Policy Act) by failing to evaluate the effects of logging on water quality in the Echo Trail area adjacent to the Boundary Waters Wilderness.
Twelve recently released land management plans for Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming are getting quite a reaction. They exclude an opportunity for the public to protest, in order to speed the development of oil shale.