Tuesday, October 26News That Matters

Tag: Interior Department

Biden Administration Plans Wind Farms Along Nearly the Entire U.S. Coastline

Biden Administration Plans Wind Farms Along Nearly the Entire U.S. Coastline

Technology, World
“This is very big, big deal. This is a signal like we’ve never had before in the United States about where we can go with offshore wind,” said Dan Reicher, who served as assistant secretary at the Department of Energy in the Clinton administration and now advises Magellan Wind, which develops projects with offshore floating turbines.“I’ve been in the wind industry for a long time,” Mr. Reicher said. “This is a repeat of what we did a couple of decades ago when we stepped up onshore wind, when it went from being a small niche source of energy to being a mainstream, affordable source of power.”Still, there is no guarantee that companies will lease space in the federal waters and build wind farms. Once the offshore areas are identified, they will be subject to lengthy federal, state and local...

Biden Administration Restores Bird Protections, Repealing Trump Rule

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday restored protections for migratory birds that were loosened under former President Donald J. Trump, a move celebrated by conservationists but expected to exacerbate tensions between the administration and the oil and gas industry.The move comes as some bird species have been disappearing from the planet. North America has lost almost three billion birds in the past 50 years, scientists said. In addition to suffering from habitat loss and climate change, they are killed by collisions with buildings, power lines and communication towers. They die in oil waste pits and oil spills.Deb Haaland, the secretary of the Department of Interior, said the agency will formally revoke a rule enacted in the waning days of the Trump presidency that shielde...
Court Blocks a Vast Alaskan Drilling Project, Citing Climate Dangers

Court Blocks a Vast Alaskan Drilling Project, Citing Climate Dangers

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Alaska on Wednesday blocked construction permits for an expansive oil drilling project on the state’s North Slope that was designed to produce more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day for the next 30 years.The multibillion-dollar plan, known as Willow, by the oil giant ConocoPhillips had been approved by the Trump administration and legally backed by the Biden administration. Environmental groups sued, arguing that the federal government had failed to take into account the effects that drilling would have on wildlife and that the burning of the oil would have on global warming.A federal judge has agreed.In her opinion, Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for Alaska wrote that when the Trump administration permitted the project, the Inte...
A Brain Drain Among Government Scientists Bogs Down Biden’s Climate Ambitions

A Brain Drain Among Government Scientists Bogs Down Biden’s Climate Ambitions

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — Juliette Hart quit her job last summer as an oceanographer for the United States Geological Survey, where she used climate models to help coastal communities plan for rising seas. She was demoralized after four years of the Trump administration, she said, in which political appointees pressured her to delete or downplay mentions of climate change.“It’s easy and quick to leave government, not so quick for government to regain the talent,” said Dr. Hart, whose job remains vacant.President Donald J. Trump’s battle against climate science — his appointees undermined federal studies, fired scientists and drove many experts to quit or retire — continues to reverberate six months into the Biden administration. From the Agriculture Department to the Pentagon to the National Park Servi...
Dispossessed, Again: Climate Change Hits Native Americans Especially Hard

Dispossessed, Again: Climate Change Hits Native Americans Especially Hard

Technology
In Chefornak, a Yu’pik village near the western coast of Alaska, the water is getting closer.The thick ground, once frozen solid, is thawing. The village preschool, its blue paint peeling, sits precariously on wooden stilts in spongy marsh between a river and a creek. Storms are growing stronger. At high tide these days, water rises under the building, sometimes keeping out the children, ages 3 to 5. The shifting ground has warped the floor, making it hard to close the doors. Mold grows.“I love our building,” said Eliza Tunuchuk, one of the teachers. “At the same time, I want to move.”The village, where the median income is about $11,000 a year, sought help from the federal government to build a new school on dry land — one of dozens of buildings in Chefornak that must be relocated. But ag...
Federal Judge Says Biden Cannot Pause New Leases for Drilling on Public Lands

Federal Judge Says Biden Cannot Pause New Leases for Drilling on Public Lands

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Louisiana has blocked the Biden administration’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal lands and waters, in the first major legal roadblock for President Biden’s quest to cut fossil fuel pollution and conserve public lands.Judge Terry A. Doughty of the United States District Court for the Western District of Louisiana granted a preliminary injunction Tuesday against the administration, saying that the power to pause offshore oil and gas leases “lies solely with Congress” because it was the legislative branch that originally made federal lands and waters available for leasing.Judge Doughty also ruled that 13 states that are suing the administration over its temporary halt to new leases “have made a showing that there is a substantial likelihood that...
Deb Haaland Wants to Restore National Monuments Slashed by Trump

Deb Haaland Wants to Restore National Monuments Slashed by Trump

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has advised President Biden to restore sweeping environmental protections to three major national monuments that had been stripped away by former President Donald J. Trump.In a report sent to the White House earlier this month that has not been made public, Ms. Haaland recommended that Mr. Biden reinstate the original boundaries, which included millions of acres at Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante, two rugged and pristine expanses in Utah defined by red rock canyons, rich wildlife and archaeological treasures.A spokeswoman for Gov. Spencer J. Cox of Utah confirmed Monday that Ms. Haaland had made the recommendations.Mr. Trump had sharply reduced the size of both national monuments at the urging of ranchers and many Repub...
For Lease: Windmill Space in the Atlantic Between Long Island and New Jersey

For Lease: Windmill Space in the Atlantic Between Long Island and New Jersey

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Friday announced that it would begin the formal process of selling leases to develop offshore wind farms in shallow waters between Long Island and New Jersey as part of its push to transition the nation to renewable energy.The proposed sale, the first of the Biden administration, includes eight lease areas in the New York Bight, a triangular area in the Atlantic Ocean between Cape May in New Jersey and Montauk Point on the eastern tip of Long Island. Administration officials estimated wind turbines there could generate more than seven gigawatts of electricity — enough to power more than 2.6 million homes.The move is part of efforts by the Biden administration to jump-start the country’s offshore wind sector. Last month, it gave final approval to the...
Biden’s Fossil Fuel Moves Clash With Pledges on Climate Change

Biden’s Fossil Fuel Moves Clash With Pledges on Climate Change

Technology, World
WASHINGTON — Despite President Biden’s pledge to aggressively cut the pollution from fossil fuels that is driving climate change, his administration has quietly taken actions this month that will guarantee the drilling and burning of oil and gas for decades to come.The clash between Mr. Biden’s pledges and some of his recent decisions illustrates the political, technical and legal difficulties of disentangling the country from the oil, gas and coal that have underpinned its economy for more than a century.On Wednesday, the Biden administration defended in federal court the Willow project, a huge oil drilling operation proposed on Alaska’s North Slope that was approved by the Trump administration and is being fought by environmentalists. Weeks earlier, it backed former President Donald J. T...
A Push to Move the Golf Course Atop a Native American ‘Stonehenge’

A Push to Move the Golf Course Atop a Native American ‘Stonehenge’

LifeStyle
NEWARK, Ohio — The third hole here at the Moundbuilders Country Club is a tricky par 4: The green is protected by a six-foot-high mound that almost completely encircles the hole and requires a deft chip shot to clear if your approach shot goes awry.“It’s a blind shot,” said Randol Mitchell, the club’s head golf professional, after driving his ball a good chunk of the hole’s 435 yards. “You have to watch out for those mounds.”The topography of the course is built around the mounds, which were prescribed by the cosmology of the Native Americans who created them approximately 2,000 years ago as a way to measure the movement of the sun and the moon through the heavens.But now the club, which has leased the land for more than a century, is being asked to relocate so that the mounds can be prope...