Trump’s team offers a new vision for Utah’s former Grand Staircase: Nearly 700,000 acres would be open to mining or drilling

Trump’s team offers a new vision for Utah’s former Grand Staircase: Nearly 700,000 acres would be open to mining or drilling

SOURCE: Salt Lake Tribune DATE: August 15, 2018 SNIP: Most of the lands removed from southern Utah’s Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument would be available to coal mining and oil or gas drilling under federal draft plans released Wednesday, putting nearly 700,000 acres in play that otherwise would have been off-limits to mineral extraction. The Bureau of Land Management’s “preferred” vision for these vast stretches in Kane and Garfield counties imposes the fewest restrictions of the four alternatives studied under an environmental analysis, prompting renewed charges from green groups that President Donald Trump’s controversial order reducing the monument by half was designed to sacrifice irreplaceable natural values in the name of his quest for U.S. “energy dominance.” “The lands Trump tried to cut out of the Staircase have an ‘open for business’ sign on them. Off-road vehicles, coal mining, drilling and other activities that without a doubt would destroy monument objects would be allowed,” said Steve Bloch, legal director for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance. “Even in areas that remain in the monument, the plan would drive down protections to the lowest common denominator that would result in damage to culture sites, paleontological resources, and riparian areas and wilderness.” The agency posted thousands of pages of analysis for the plans that outline new management programs for the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, as well as a 98-page minerals report for Staircase that details the rich deposits of coal, oil and gas, tar sands and other minerals under the former monument’s 1.9 million-acre...
Under Trump, public lands could see oil leases on millions of acres

Under Trump, public lands could see oil leases on millions of acres

SOURCE: Grist DATE: July 21, 2018 SNIP: Ten thousand feet up, it’s possible to see the whole of Colorado’s North Fork Valley from Dan Stucker’s plane. As the aircraft glides over sloping mesas with snow-dusted mountains, the land below resembles a vintage pioneer landscape. If President Donald Trump has his way, a new feature could arrive on this vista: oil and gas pumps. His administration is opening vast stretches of public land to energy companies, and up to 95 percent of the valley could be available to drillers. The administration’s new policies would bring sweeping changes to this Rocky Mountain landscape, facilitated by a growing bond between federal officials and the oil and gas industry. Emails and other communications between government employees obtained by E&E News reveal directives and orders by Trump officials to shelve environmental policies to speed energy development. In one instance, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke courted oil and gas drillers in private by assuring them that changes to federal land policy would make their companies more profitable. These policies will set the nation on a future course of reliance on fossil fuels that cause climate change, more air and water pollution in rural areas, and new threats to endangered species. In return, the government charges oil companies as little as $2 per acre to lease the land for drilling. The president’s plans to expand fossil fuels seem as boundless as the tracts of wilderness below. He wants to open millions of acres across the West, all owned by taxpayers, to private oil and gas companies. Last year alone, his administration put 11.9 million acres on the...
New evidence shows we’re still way too addicted to fossil fuels

New evidence shows we’re still way too addicted to fossil fuels

SOURCE: Grist DATE: July 19, 2018 SNIP: Despite clean energy’s meteoric growth, a new global assessment from the International Energy Association shows that fossil fuel projects are growing even faster. The money going to fossil fuel projects accounted for 59 percent of all energy investments last year. Sorry to say but clean energy’s share is shrinking. “Investment in all forms of clean power, as well as in networks, would need to rise substantially,” according to the IEA report, for the world to have a shot at keeping climate change below 2 degrees Celsius. The world put nearly $300 billion into renewables, which is a lot, enough to dominate the electric power sector. But that’s not as much as we spent on in oil and gas drilling and exploration (also known as “upstream” investment) — $450 billion. And that doesn’t count all the money that went into building new pipelines, refineries, and gas stations. All our driving and shipping and air travel caused oil consumption to grow by “1.6 million barrels per day,” according to the IEA. All the electric cars on the road trimmed consumption by 30,000 barrels a...
‘Extreme’ fossil fuel investments have surged under Donald Trump, report reveals

‘Extreme’ fossil fuel investments have surged under Donald Trump, report reveals

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: March 28, 2018 SNIP: Bank holdings in “extreme” fossil fuels skyrocketed globally to $115bn during Donald Trump’s first year as US president, with holdings in tar sands oil more than doubling, a new report has found. A sharp flight from fossil fuels investments after the Paris agreement was reversed last year with a return to energy sources dubbed “extreme” because of their contribution to global emissions. This included an 11% hike in funding for carbon-heavy tar sands, as well as Arctic and ultra-deepwater oil and coal. US and Canadian banks led a race back into the unconventional energy sector following Trump’s promise to withdraw from Paris, with JPMorgan Chase increasing its coal funding by a factor of 21, and quadrupling its tar sands assets. Bank funding for tar sands production and pipelines more than doubled last year – compared to the 2015-16 period, when then-US president Barack Obama nixed the Keystone pipeline project, which Trump subsequently reapproved. Support for coal among the 36 banks surveyed was also up by 6% in 2017 after a 38% plunge in 2016. 14 European banks collectively increased their coal financing by more than $2bn last...
Climate Change and the Ohio River Basin

Climate Change and the Ohio River Basin

SOURCES: DeSmog Blog, Courier Journal, Army Corps of Engineers Report DATE: February 6, 2018 SNIP: From DeSmog Blog: Over the past year, oil and gas industry plans to build a petrochemical refining and storage hub along the Ohio River have steadily gaining traction. Proponents hope this potential hub, which would straddle Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Kentucky, could someday rival the industrial corridor found along the Gulf Coast in Texas and Louisiana. Those plans center around creating what is known as the Appalachian Storage Hub, which received a major boost on November 9 during a trade mission to China attended by President Donald Trump and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. At that trade mission, also attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the China Energy Investment Corp. announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to invest $83.7 billion into the planned storage hub over 20 years. For comparison, West Virginia’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2016 was $72.9 billion. Though called the Appalachian Storage Hub as a broad-sweeping term, in practice the hub could encompass natural gas liquids storage, a market trading index center, a key pipeline feeding epicenter, and a petrochemical refinery row. Its prospective development has been spurred by the current construction of a $6 billion petrochemical refining facility in Pennsylvania owned by Shell Oil. A “major concern we have about the whole complex is that it will encourage a second or third wave of gas fracking in our region, from the Marcellus, the Utica, and the Rogersville field, which is a much deeper layer of shale gas and oil and has been recently tested...