We reported in July on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s re-evalution of the national monuments created by the Obama administration. That interim report pegged Bear Ears National Monument in Utah as a sure bet for alteration. The monument as designated by Obama encompasses more than 2,000 square miles long argued over by environmentalists, native tribes and energy, ranching and development interests. At that time any reduction would have been unprecedented and left some experts wondering if it’s even legal.
Well, now we know the score — and it is far worse than expected. According to The New York Times:
President Trump said he would dramatically reduce the size of a vast expanse of protected federal land in Utah on Monday, a rollback of some 2 million acres that is the largest in scale in the nation’s history.
The administration said it would shrink Bears Ears National Monument, a sprawling region of red rock canyons, by about 85 percent, and cut another area, Grand Staircase-Escalante, to about half its current size. The move, a reversal of protections put in place by Democratic predecessors, comes as the administration pushes for fewer restrictions and more development on public lands.
The decision to reduce Bears Ears is expected to trigger a legal battle that could alter the course of American land conservation, possibly opening millions of protected public acres to oil and gas extraction, mining, logging and other commercial activities.
Under New Management
Neither Donald Trump nor Interior Secretary Zinke has a reputation as a conservationist, much less an environmentalist. And they are certainly not sentimental about the National Park System — what Ken Burns so lovingly titled “America’s Best Idea.” Earlier this year, we reported on Zinke’s tendency to load his advisory councils with industry executives rather than scientists or “the public.”
The removal of any information pertaining to climate change from federal websites is well known. Earlier this year Trump NPS appointees went so far as the prohibit the Glacier National Park superintendent and the climate scientist from accompanying Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg on a tour of the park. “Gracie the Bark Ranger, the popular border collie who prevents bighorn sheep and mountain goats from getting too close to park visitors, was invited to tag along.”
Of course President Trump did donate the first part of his salary give-back to the National Park Service. The total amount was $78,333, which covers the first 10 weeks Trump was in office. Meanwhile, the president’s budget proposes an overall cut of 12 percent to the Department of Interior, which translates to roughly $1.6 billion less annually and the loss of 4,000 jobs. The cuts to the National Park Service itself will be near 13 percent — around $400 million. This is while Zinke himself admits that “We’re about $229 million behind in deferred maintenance on our battlefields alone.” Altogether in the park system, there is about $11.5 billon in overdue road and infrastructure repair.
Orange County Republican under fire after 3 women come forward with #MeToo allegations of sexual misconduct
Republicans in Orange County are in chaos after allegations of sexual harassment surfaced at a GOP endorsement meeting.
"As Orange County Republicans considered a 2020 endorsement last week for Assemblyman Bill Brough, R-Dana Point, one local official made a surprising public declaration," the Sacramento Bee reported Monday. "County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett accused Brough of making unwanted sexual advances during their time together on the Dana Point City Council."
US foes are goading Trump because they know he’s a ‘blow-hard and full of bluster’: CNN analyst
President Donald Trump walked back from the brink of atrocities last week, from calling off a military strike against Iran to pushing back planned Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids in major American cities.
On Monday's edition of CNN's "The Situation Room," chief legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin told anchor Wolf Blitzer how foreign adversaries have been emboldened to challenge Trump — because for all his bombast, they know they are calling a bluff.
"I think Donald Trump is pretty well a known quantity at this point," said Toobin. "I mean, I think people around the world know he's a blowhard, knows he's full of bluster. But that's no reason to get into a war."
New York Times admits they ‘downplayed’ the rape allegation against Trump
On Monday, The New York Times issued a mea culpa for the nature of their coverage of the allegation by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll that President Donald Trump raped her in a department store in the 1990s.
"After an article last week reported the advice columnist E. Jean Carroll's rape allegations against President Trump, some readers accused The Times of downplaying the story," wrote staff editor Laura Takenaga. "Many have written to ask us why we didn't give the allegations more attention on our website and in print ... Some questioned whether the lack of prominence showed too much deference to the president's denials, or whether it even suggested misogyny or an unwillingness to believe a victim's account."