Land
A Major Victory for Indigenous Rights Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

A Major Victory for Indigenous Rights Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

A federal judge on Wednesday said the cursory environmental review for the Dakota Access Pipeline was fatally flawed and ruled that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has to conduct a full environmental impact assessment – the court is still considering whether to halt operations in the interim.

Why This Matters: The 1,000 mile Dakota Access Pipeline “carries crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois” with “nearly 500,000 barrels of oil” being transported each day through the pipeline.

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Visitors Surging To National Parks, Forcing More To Close Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Visitors Surging To National Parks, Forcing More To Close Due to Coronavirus Concerns

Yellowstone, Grand Teton, and Smoky Mountains National Parks closed on Tuesday due to coronavirus concerns, joining Yosemite National Park, the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island because of concerns of crowding in public spaces leading to spread of the disease. 

Why This Matters:  As is true with so much of the Trump Administration’s attitude toward containing the spread of the virus, they have left each Park to decide on its own, causing confusion and sending mixed signals to the public and leaving local officials struggling to respond.

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PG&E Enters Guilty Plea For Starting 2018 CA Fires, Will Pay Out $13.5 B to Victims

PG&E Enters Guilty Plea For Starting 2018 CA Fires, Will Pay Out $13.5 B to Victims

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has agreed to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter and one count of unlawfully starting the Camp Fire, according to court documents filed in California on Monday, CNN reported and the company has said it will not appeal. 

Why This Matters:  California and the company agreed to financial terms last Friday under which PG&E agreed to overhaul their board of directors, and now the legal settlement is done as well.

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Midwestern States Struggling to Recover From Floods, Left Vulnerable to Coronavirus

Midwestern States Struggling to Recover From Floods, Left Vulnerable to Coronavirus

by Zoey Shipley and Miro Korenha    In Spring 2019, much of the Midwest was hit with devastating floods. Nebraska alone was faced with over $1 billion in damages to roads, local businesses, crops, and levees. Natural disasters like this have contributed to the crumbling of the rural economy and lack of investment in these […]

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Staying Safely Connected To Nature During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Staying Safely Connected To Nature During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Florida is (finally) closing its beaches. The National Park Service has waived all park entrance fees but closed some parks and most of the facilities in the parks that remain open (check each park’s web site for more details) — they are taking “extraordinary steps to implement the latest guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), and local and state authorities to promote social distancing.” 

Why This Matters:  It is spring break for many people across the country and the warming weather may make outdoor activities tempting, but unless we maintain our distances we won’t flatten the curve of exposure.

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After Slashing Its Budget, President Trump Now Wants Congress To Permanently Fund Parks

After Slashing Its Budget, President Trump Now Wants Congress To Permanently Fund Parks

Although he has repeatedly called for cutting its funding by as much as 97 percent year after year including in his most recent budget proposal, on Tuesday President Trump called on Congress to pass a law to permanently fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund. 

Why This Matters:  President Trump is no friend of land conservation — it is tragic that he has vastly increased oil and gas drilling on public lands and even in formerly protected areas, but based on this one tweet will now argue that he supports parks.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

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Historic Harrington School: A Gem of African American History In A Beautiful Landscape

Historic Harrington School: A Gem of African American History In A Beautiful Landscape

As Black History Month comes to a close, we wanted to highlight parks like the Harrington Community Park on St. Simons Island, Georgia, that conserves an important piece of African American history in the region, as well as ecologically sensitive wetlands, ponds that provide habitat for federally endangered wood storks and other native wildlife.

Why This Matters:  Local parks can and should celebrate the natural world and, when possible, our history — both are an important part of the heritage that we want to pass down to future generations.

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How Deep Is the Trail?  Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Atlantic Pipeline Case

How Deep Is the Trail? Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Atlantic Pipeline Case

The Supreme Court heard oral argument on Monday in a case challenging the authority of the National Park Service, which administers the Old Appalachian Trail as a park, to block a permit granted by the Forest Service that allowed the Atlantic pipeline to pass 600 feet below ground under the trail through the George Washington National Forest (which the trail traverses).  The Justices, even some of the liberal ones, were skeptical that the Park Service’s authority over the trail (and thus its ability to block the permit) extended to “the center of the Earth” according to the SCOTUSblog, and thus it appears that the Supreme Court will side with the pipeline in this case.  

 

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Boston Braces for Rising Seas

Boston Braces for Rising Seas

Coastal cities around the country (and around the world) are bracing for increasing sea level rise that’s resulting from climate change. Honolulu, San Francisco, and Miami are already witnessing the effects of water inundation and now one of America’s oldest cities, Boston, is bracing for impact. As the Washington Post reported, “Boston is raising streets, […]

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Hero of the Week: Sharon Lavigne

Hero of the Week: Sharon Lavigne

Sharon Lavigne, is 67-year-old recently retired special-ed teacher born and raised in St. James Parish, LA and a staunch advocate for her community that sits in what’s been dubbed as “Cancer Alley.” When Lavigne was a child she recalls St. James Parish being lush with fruit trees, vegetable gardens and full of families living off […]

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Trump’s Border Wall Blasting Through Burial Site for Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona

The Trump Administration has begun blasting through a Native American cultural site called Monument Hill in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southern Arizona “in preparation for new border wall system construction within the Roosevelt Reservation,” USA Today reported on Friday.  And Congressman Raúl Grijalva of Arizona, who is the chair of the House […]

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Trump Finalizes Plans For Drilling, Mining and Grazing in Former Utah Monuments

Trump Finalizes Plans For Drilling, Mining and Grazing in Former Utah Monuments

Yesterday the Trump Administration published their “blueprints” to sell off development rights for additional oil and gas drilling, mining, grazing and road building on land that had been permanently protected as “national monuments” under Presidents Clinton and Obama.

Why This Matters:  Nearly 2 million acres of sacred and pristine lands, cultural artifacts and rock art, and fossils in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Bears Ears National Monument are now at risk of permanent damage due to development and agricultural use.

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