Republican Governor Sues Biden Admin for Refusing to Clean Up Native Americans’ Contaminated Lands

Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy of Alaska filed a complaint in Alaska’s United States District Court to compel the Department of the Interior (DOI) to take responsibility for hundreds of contaminated areas that the federal government transferred to Alaska Natives.

Dunleavy and the state of Alaska filed the lawsuit in mid-July as a last resort after the DOI allegedly ignored calls to identify and clean up 650 former federal military installations, oil drilling sites and other projects that are contaminating Native Alaskan lands, according to court filings. Despite the Biden administration’s emphasis on securing “environmental justice” for minority communities, the DOI’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM), nor any other associated federal agency, is taking responsibility, the lawsuit alleges, allowing pollution and toxic waste to creep into natives’ food and water systems.

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Eco Activists Sue to Stop U.S. Oil and Gas Lease Sales

Environmental groups sued the Interior Department Tuesday to challenge the first oil and gas lease sale on public lands during the Biden administration.

A coalition of environmental groups led by Dakota Resource Council filed a lawsuit in in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging that the sales violate the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, which requires that the Interior Department prevent “unnecessary or undue degradation” of public lands.

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Biden Admin Considers Banning All Offshore Drilling as Energy Crisis Worsens: Report

The Biden administration is mulling the prospect of banning new American offshore oil and natural gas drilling projects as fuel prices continue to spike, The New York Times reported Thursday.

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, working closely with the White House to shape policy, will release its drafted five-year plan for new oil and gas drilling leases in federal waters to Congress by June 30, according to The New York Times, citing people familiar with the matter. The administration is likely to stop new offshore drilling projects in the Atlantic and the Pacific, and is considering whether to end leasing in the Arctic and Gulf of Mexico.

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U.S. Relies on Russia for Key Materials in Defense Production

The U.S. depends on Russia to supply key minerals used in technology and defense industries, but the Russia-Ukraine war and Western economic punishment of Russia have suppressed supply lines, according to a report from Defense News.

Russia and Ukraine supply a large percentage of minerals like neon and aluminum that the U.S. uses in civilian and military applications, Deborah Rosenblum, a Pentagon acting spokesperson who works on industrial base policy, told Defense News. Sanctions levied on Russian companies and a war-related drop in mineral production have put these supply chains in jeopardy, she said.

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Biden Is Still Trying to Ban Federal Oil, Gas Leasing

The Biden administration asked a federal court this week to uphold its ban on new federal oil and gas leasing, according to Department of Justice (DOJ) court filings.

The administration argued the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana should toss an April 29 motion from more than a dozen states asking the presiding judge to permanently nix the leasing ban, according to the Monday filings. The Louisiana court placed an injunction on the ban in June 2021, forcing the federal government to hold oil and gas lease sales until a final ruling was issued in the case.

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Environmental Groups Sue Biden to Vacate Oil and Gas Permits as Gas Climbs over $5 per Gallon

Amid an ongoing energy crisis nationwide, two environmental law groups are suing the Biden administration to block over 3,500 oil and gas leases that were previously greenlit in Wyoming and New Mexico.

Represented by the Western Environmental Law Center, the Center for Biological Diversity and WildEarth Guardians are suing the Department of the Interior (DOI) and its Secretary Deb Haaland, as well as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and its Director Tracy Stone-Manning. The government is violating the Endangered Species Act and others, the groups alleged Wednesday.

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Biden’s Climate Office Is So Dysfunctional Even Leftists Want to Abolish It: Report

Democrats and far-left climate activists have privately complained in recent weeks that the White House climate office is increasingly blocking key priorities, Politico reported.

The White House Office of Domestic Climate Policy has prioritized politics ahead of actual progress on its own climate agenda, nine anonymous Democrats both inside and outside the White House told Politico. Some activists have even suggested that the office, headed by President Joe Biden’s climate czar Gina McCarthy, should be abolished altogether.

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Supreme Court Hands Biden Admin Major Win for Climate Agenda

The Supreme Court denied a petition from 10 Republican-led states Thursday requesting it to block a key Biden administration climate policy.

The decision ensures that President Joe Biden’s so-called “social cost” of carbon policy — which assigns an estimated dollar value or cost to every ton of carbon emissions, according to the Government Accountability Office — can remain in place and be used for future federal permitting processes. The high court rejected states’ April 27 petition without giving a reason or listing which justices opposed it, according to a one-page filing published on the Supreme Court docket.

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Biden May Not Hold Any Offshore Oil and Gas Leases Until the End of His Term, Industry Group Says

The American Petroleum Institute (API), a leading industry group, said the next offshore oil and gas lease sale likely wouldn’t come until early 2024 following the latest Biden administration update.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced Thursday that it would issue an updated proposed program plan for offshore lease sales by June 30. The API, though, said the announcement confirms the administration is “significantly behind” in the multi-year process required for approving a new five-year offshore plan, likely delaying lease sales until early 2024.

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Biden Administration Backtracks on Media Reports Signaling Oil, Gas Leasing Resumption

The Biden administration backtracked on reports that it is resuming the federal oil and gas leasing program in light of a recent appeals court decision.

On Friday, Reuters reported that the Department of the Interior (DOI), the agency tasked with overseeing the leasing program, was planning to resume the previously-delayed program. But a DOI spokesperson pushed back on the report, saying it overstated the administration’s position that it would begin planning the next steps, not that it had already resumed the program.

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Biden Administration Defies Court Ruling Again, Opts Against Holding Oil Drilling Sales

The Biden administration missed another deadline to hold quarterly onshore oil drilling lease sales after a federal court ruled it was legally required to do so.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) defied the June 2021 court ruling which ordered the administration to halt its ban on new oil and gas leases, the Western Energy Alliance — a fossil fuel industry group that challenged the ban — said Wednesday. In August 2021, the DOI vowed to publish notices of competitive sales in December and hold a lease sale 45 days later, two promises it failed to keep, in court filings.

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Biden Administration Green-Lights Multiple Solar Projects to Power 274,000 Homes

The Biden administration approved two solar projects, and it is nearing approval of a third, that will power hundreds of thousands of homes in California.

Construction of the Arica and Victory Pass solar projects — the two that received administration approval — will begin immediately on a large swath of land in Riverside County, California, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced on Tuesday. Together, the projects will cost $689 million, be able to produce 465 megawatts of electricity, store 400 megawatts of energy and power 132,000 homes.

Oberon, the third solar project mentioned in the announcement, would be built on 2,700 acres of public lands in Riverside County if approved, according to DOI. The project would generate 500 megawatts of electricity and power an additional 142,000 households.

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Watchdog Demands Inspector General Investigation into Tracy Stone-Manning’s Allegedly False Statements About Eco-Terrorism Case

A government watchdog group demanded that the Department of the Interior Inspector General launch an investigation into whether President Joe Biden’s Senate-confirmed Bureau of Land Management director nominee violated the False Statement Act with statements she made to Congress about her involvement in a 1989 eco-terrorism case during her confirmation process.

Tracy Stone-Manning was confirmed to lead the agency along a party-line vote on Sept. 30 amid strong opposition from Republicans who accused her of lying to the Senate Energy Committee about her involvement in an eco-terrorism case. Stone-Manning testified in federal court in 1993 that she sent an anonymous, threatening letter to the Forest Service in 1989 on behalf of her former roommate and friend which warned that a local forest in Idaho had been sabotaged with tree spikes to make the trees unsafe to log.

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‘Devastating’: Biden Ignores Lawmakers’ Pleas, Orders Massive Expansion of Utah Monuments

President Joe Biden will order the Department of the Interior Friday to vastly expand two Utah monuments which the Trump administration reduced in size.

The president will restore protections for both the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante monuments located in Utah, the White House announced. Biden’s order will re-expand the monuments from their reduced size of slightly more than 1 million acres to 3.2 million acres.

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Oil Prices Hit a Seven-Year High as Industry Feud with Biden Administration Continues

Oil prices hit a 7-year high this week as American oil and gas companies continue to fight the Biden administration over policies restricting production.

As the economy began to reopen this year and the demand for fuel increased, President Joe Biden, through executive order, halted and restricted oil and gas leases on federal lands, stopped construction of the Keystone Pipeline, and redirected U.S. policy to import more oil from Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia (OPEC+) instead of bolstering American oil and gas exploration and production.

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Interior Department Announces Reforms to Endangered Species Act Procedures

The Trump administration on Monday announced reforms to the Endangered Species Act that it says will “increase transparency and effectiveness” in the law’s implementation.

One of the reforms removes a blanket rule which treats protections for threatened species the same as endangered species. It will also require the same standards be used when officials consider delisting or reclassifying species.

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Judge Strikes Down Trump’s Deal with Alaskan Tribal Community to Deny Life-Saving Road

by Tim Pearce   A federal judge vacated a land swap agreement Friday between an Alaskan village and the Department of the Interior because the federal government violated procedural law when making the deal. U.S. District Court of Alaska Judge Sharon Gleason nullified a January 2018 deal that traded roughly…

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Sources: Zinke Deputy David Bernhardt Likely to be Named as Acting Secretary of the Interior

by Michael Bastach   President Donald Trump will likely name David Bernhardt, the current number-two official at the Department of the Interior, as acting secretary until a full-time replacement can be found. One source close to the Trump administration said Bernhardt would be a likely pick, and Politico reported in October that…

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Zinke Ends Obama-Era Policy Requiring Energy Companies Fund Environmental ‘Mitigation’ Projects

Ryan Zinke

by Tim Pierce   The Department of the Interior (DOI) is scrapping an Obama-era policy mandating energy companies mitigate development on federal land by funding offsite environmental projects. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) — a DOI-controlled agency and the largest land-owning agency in the U.S. — began forcing oil,…

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After 150 Years, Secretary Zinke Unveils Plan to Reorganize the Department of Interior

Ryan Zinke

By Printus LeBlanc   When Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke was sworn in, he came into a department that has not reorganized in 150 years. However, in the same timeframe new agencies were created, miles of red tape were introduced, and volumes of rules were added. The mammoth bureaucracy and inefficiencies…

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The Department of the Interior Will Pay 1,900 Local Governments $553 Million in ‘Lost Tax Revenue’ in 2018

federal lands

by Daniel Di Martino   Over 1,900 local governments received $553 million from the Department of Interior this year to compensate them for lost tax revenue for federal lands that cannot be developed in their territory. These payments are the consequence of more than 640 million acres of land, which amounts to 28 percent of…

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