Trump administration furthers Arctic drilling plan

August 19, 2020 by  
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The Trump administration’s environmental protection rollbacks seem to now come daily. Today’s bad news? A plan to allow  oil  and gas companies to drill in Alaska’s so-far pristine Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. In 2017, a Republican tax bill opened part of the refuge to gas and oil leasing. Monday’s development pushed the plan further, aiming to sell the first drilling leases by the end of 2020. Many Republicans back the plan, despite opposition from environmental groups and Alaska’s Indigenous communities. Related: EPA loosens restrictions on methane emissions The over 19 million-acre refuge has long remained off-limits to development. Managed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, most of the refuge is true wilderness, free from roads, trails and facilities, and open to the public for exploration. The few travelers who visit access the refuge by private planes and air taxis. Visitors may witness the Polar and grizzly bears , wolves, wolverines, caribou, beluga whales, musk oxen and walruses that call this area home. Though wildlife outnumbers people here, both the Gwich’in and Iñupiat people reside on and live off resources from the land.  Sometimes calling themselves “caribou people,” the Gwich’in have based their culture around these reindeer for centuries. The Gwich’in live in 15 villages across northeast  Alaska  and northwest Canada and have actively fought against gas and oil leasing. David Smith, a Gwich’in leader in Arctic Village, worries that the industries will harm caribou and change his nation’s way of life. “I would say this is like no other place on earth, so we shouldn’t be treated like any other place on earth,” Smith said in an interview with  Alaska Public Media . “I can drive in any direction and  hunt  freely. I can drive in any direction and go trapping.” Despite the recent news, the fight to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge continues. Still, environmental groups say that once companies buy drilling rights, it will be harder for future presidents to stop  Arctic  drilling. “The Trump administration never stops pushing to drill in the Arctic Refuge — and we will never stop suing them,” said Gina McCarthy, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. “America has safeguarded the refuge for decades, and we will not allow the administration to strip that protection away now.” Via Thomson Reuters Foundation Image via U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

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Trump administration furthers Arctic drilling plan

World’s highest temperature, 130F, recorded in Death Valley

August 19, 2020 by  
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On Sunday, August 16, the U.S. National Weather Service recorded the highest temperature reading ever on Earth in Death Valley, California . High temperatures in Death Valley are the norm, but the new high beats previous temperature records and is sounding the alarm on global warming. According to the National Weather Service, the temperature of 130°F (54.5°C) is still awaiting verification after it was recorded by weather monitoring equipment in the area. The occurrence of the highest temperature in Death Valley coincides with a heatwave on the West Coast. The National Weather Service has predicted that the temperatures here are expected to rise further within the week, but the heatwave has already had a devastating impact in California. Residents are experiencing days of blackouts, because the heat is believed to have caused damage to power supply equipment. Related: Global warming to cause more deaths than all infectious diseases Brandi Stewart, who lives and works at the Death Valley National Park , spends most of her time indoors during the month of August each year. The temperatures in the valley can get to unbearable levels this month, and the new record is not a surprise to the residents. “When you walk outside it’s like being hit in the face with a bunch of hairdryers,” Stewart told BBC . “You feel the heat and it’s like walking into an oven and the heat is just all around you.” Before this record, the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth was 129.2°F (54°C). The former highest temperature reading was also recorded in Death Valley in 2013 and has remained unchanged until Sunday. However, there are disputes about a higher reading that was recorded a century ago. The 1913 record of 134°F (56.6°C) in the Death Valley has been widely disputed and is not officially recognized. There have also been other questionable previous high temperature records that surpass the Sunday reading. Besides the disputed 1913 Death Valley reading, a 1931 record of 131°F (55°C) in Tunisia was also been under scrutiny. If the latest Death Valley reading is verified by the National Weather Service, it will be officially recognized as the highest temperature ever recorded. Via BBC Image via Jplenio

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World’s highest temperature, 130F, recorded in Death Valley

"Crown jewel" wildlife refuge is about to be decimated as Trump starts border wall

July 19, 2017 by  
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A 2,000 acre wildlife area known as the “crown jewel” of the national refuge system is about to be gutted as Trump begins construction on his border wall . US Customs and Border patrol has quietly been preparing to start the 18-foot tall border wall in the Santa Ana National Refuge in southern Texas, according to an anonymous official. The refuge is home to 400 bird species and hundreds of animals, including the endangered ocelot – but if the wall is constructed as planned, it will decimate the sanctuary. UCB has been working quietly under the radar to start the project. One official, however, felt that the project shouldn’t start without public input. “This should be public information,” the official told the  Texas Observer . “There shouldn’t be government officials meeting in secret just so they don’t have to deal with the backlash. The public has the right to know about these plans.” Related: Mexican architect proposes stunning purple bridge in defiant response to Trump’s border wall The Department of Homeland Security picked the refuge as the place to start the border wall because it is already owned by the federal government, so there is no conflict with private land owners to worry about. This week, workers have been drilling to extract soil samples in order to prepare for construction, would could begin in January. The wall will be 18-feet-tall and 3-miles-long through the refuge. In order to accommodate a road along the south of the wall, along with light and surveillance towers, the refuge land will be cleared, devastating all fauna and flora. “Republicans are making a grave mistake supporting Trump’s bizarre fantasy of a border wall,” said Brian Segee, an attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Throwing billions of dollars at the border wall boondoggle and demolishing an iconic wildlife refuge won’t make our country safer. But it will be a disaster for people and communities, and tragically sacrifice the fragile borderlands environment and endangered species like jaguars and ocelots.” Via the Texas Observer images via the US Fish and Wildlife Service

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Obama plans to protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge against drilling and exploration

January 27, 2015 by  
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As President Obama put it in his State of the Union address, he has “no more campaigns left to run.” Therefore it looks like he is using his remaining time in office to make as much of a difference as possible. Amongst his final efforts are plans to keep potential drilling and exploitation out of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, widely considered one of the most spectacular and remote areas in the world. Read the rest of Obama plans to protect Arctic National Wildlife Refuge against drilling and exploration Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: alaska , Arctic , Arctic National Wildlife Refuge , arctic sanctuary , department of the interior , nature reserve , president obama , U.S. Department of the Interior , Wildlife

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California Farmers Won’t Get Water from the State This Year

February 25, 2014 by  
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California is experiencing one of its driest periods in recorded history , and now local farmers are being told not to expect any water from the state. Federal officials from the Bureau of Reclamation released a new report last Friday that shows California’s snowpack is currently sitting at 29 percent of the average for this time of year. As a result, state and federal officials are not expected to release water reserves for farmers. Read the rest of California Farmers Won’t Get Water from the State This Year Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: agricultural production , agriculture , Bureau of Reclamation , California , california drought , california dry spell , california snowpack , Central Valley Project , Climate Change , drought and farming , drought in the US , endangered fish , environmental destruction , federally controlled water system , irrigated land , State Water Project , wildlife refuge        

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California Farmers Won’t Get Water from the State This Year

Maine’s Grass-Covered Cold War Bunkers Provide Refuge from Deadly Bat Disease

May 8, 2013 by  
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The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) inherited 43 cold war era bunkers in 1994 when the former Loring Air Force Base in Maine shut down. Used as a storage and aerial delivery site for nuclear warheads, the base was transformed into the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge . For years the USFWS sought a new life for the old grass-covered bunkers and finally in 2012 they decided to convert two of them into artificial caves for sick bats. White-Nose Syndrome (WNS), the worst wildlife disease outbreak in recent history , has killed up to 6.7 million bats throughout North America, compromising crucial agricultural services to the tune of $53 billion. The bunkers are expected to provide a healthy respite from contaminated caves for hibernating bats. Read the rest of Maine’s Grass-Covered Cold War Bunkers Provide Refuge from Deadly Bat Disease Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: adaptive reuse , artificial caves , bats , cold war bunkers , Environment , grass-covered bunkers , hibernacula for bats , Loring Air Force Base , News , Northern Maine Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge , US Fish and Wildlife Service , white-nose syndrome        

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Maine’s Grass-Covered Cold War Bunkers Provide Refuge from Deadly Bat Disease

Alaska’s NPRA Oil Reserves Estimate Lowered About 90% by USGS

October 27, 2010 by  
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Images: Both work of U.S. Government, public domain.

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Alaska’s NPRA Oil Reserves Estimate Lowered About 90% by USGS

Interview and Video: Director of VBS.tv’s "Heimo’s Arctic Refuge" On the Most Far Out Americans

March 9, 2010 by  
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Survivalism may be going mainstream , what will all the new cave men and off-gridders . But for Heimo and Edna Korth, survival in the wild has been a way of life for three decades.

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Interview and Video: Director of VBS.tv’s "Heimo’s Arctic Refuge" On the Most Far Out Americans

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