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.
Trump ‘just wants this problem to go away’: President desperate to get coronavirus ‘off his plate’
President Donald Trump is desperate for the coronavirus problem to go away, and he doesn't exactly care how it happens.
According to New York Times reporter Annie Karni, sources are telling her that the biggest concern Trump has is more about the markets than the deaths of Americans from the virus.
"First, let's establish, this is a president who tried to change science with a Sharpie when it came to hurricane path prediction," said MSNBC host Brian Williams. "That picture lasts forever."
"Even his allies on Fox and his allies outside the White House were kind of channeling to that proverbial audience of one that this was a great opportunity to look presidential and to tell the facts," said Karni. The Donald Trump we saw out there in the briefing room was very casual, kind of left the facts to the other people that accompanied him out there. But he clearly publicly and privately just wants this problem to go away. He wants to downplay it. He thinks -- he has called people who are talking about fears about it alarmist. He doesn't want to be alarmist, and he's kind of holding on to any comment that makes it sound like this will naturally be a problem that is removed from his plate. That's what we saw publicly, and that's what he's been saying privately as well."
Seth Meyers: You know Trump isn’t the chief law enforcement officer because he couldn’t pass the physical
"Late Night" host Seth Meyers warned that the United States is sliding into authoritarianism under President Donald Trump.
Sounding the alarm Wednesday evening, Meyers cited reports that Trump was making lists of disloyal people, purging them from their jobs, hiring unqualified cronies in top posts, and claiming he has the right to interfere in criminal cases.
While speaking to the press last week, Trump even announced that he's allowed to be involved in all criminal cases because he's the chief law enforcement officer of the United States. It's actually a title used for the attorney general.
Conservative columnist nails the infectious diseases the Trump White House is suffering from
On Wednesday, conservative columnist Max Boot revealed the "diseases" at the heart of President Donald Trump's administration that are weakening their capacity to respond to the very real disease threat from coronavirus.
Simply put: Fevered nationalism, hatred of the civil service, and a pathological desire to erase the legacy of President Barack Obama.
"Covid-19 has already infected more than 80,000 people in 37 countries, causing more than 2,600 deaths, and experts doubt it will slow in the spring," wrote Boot. "That a virus that started in China could have a bad impact on the United States should be no surprise: Diseases don’t respect borders any more than terrorists or trade flows do. Transnational threats require transnational solutions. To cite but one example, many of the medicines and medical supplies that Americans need, including N95 face masks, come from China."