Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
Mountain bikers in Canyonlands National Park. Photo: Francisco Kjolseth, The Salt Lake Tribune via AP and The Washington Post
The Washington Post reported that the Trump Administration is having difficulty implementing a policy change it made back in August to allow e-bikes on federal lands — there is confusion regarding whether e-bikes should be allowed on non-motorized trails. The Secretary of Interior directed his subordinates to “create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the Department.”
Why This Matters: The Trump Administration argues that it is just following the lead of many states and wanted to allow e-bikes as a way to increase access to parks and recreational lands. They argue that the population in the U.S. is not getting any younger and this will help particularly those who have physical limitations and need motorized access to more areas. But there is a downside — if e-bikes are allowed in the backcountry, it will fundamentally change the experience of these wild and natural places. And for now, the Administration has lifted the restrictions on e-bikes immediately without putting a new policy regarding their use in place, leaving everyone in limbo.
“As more Americans are using e-bikes to enjoy the great outdoors, national parks should be responsive to visitors’ interest in using this new technology wherever it is safe and appropriate to do so,” said National Park Service Deputy Director P. Daniel Smith. “They make bicycle travel easier and more efficient, and they provide an option for people who want to ride a bicycle but might not otherwise do so because of physical fitness, age, disability, or convenience, especially at high altitudes or in hilly or strenuous terrain.”
They also stated in the policy directive that “Park superintendents can still limit, restrict, or impose conditions of bicycle use and e-bike use in order to ensure visitor safety and resource protection.” But since they overturned the previous prohibition before Park superintendents could work with their local communities and staff to determine guidance for e-bike use in their parks it is unclear where and when they are allowed.
Safety is a big concern with respect to e-bikes since they can travel at speeds up to 30 miles per hour. There is also a question of whether the directive can take precedence over specific federal and state laws and local ordinances that might actually prohibit their use on these lands.
“As BLM develops its policy guidance to the field, managers familiar with specific conditions on the ground will consider whether e-bike use is consistent with relevant laws, regulations, and policies,” Interior senior adviser Carol Danko said by email.
A new study by leading economists and scientists released yesterday makes a strong case for conserving at least 30% of the planet by demonstrating that investing in nature as opposed to using it up yields significantly better economic results as well as saving money that would otherwise be spent on the impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.
Why This Matters: Since it is TBT I (Monica) will harken back to 1992’s political mantra — “it’s the economy, stupid.”
In its annual Sustainability Report, Ford Motors made several key pledges in addition to the promise to be carbon neutral as a company by 2050. In addition, they will use 100 percent locally sourced renewable energy for all manufacturing plants globally by 2035, aspire to achieve zero air emissions from our facilities, only use recycled and renewable plastics in our vehicles globally and eliminate single-use plastics from our operations by 2030, and achieve true zero waste to landfill across our operations, among other social responsibility commitments.
Why This Matters: Other car companies have focused on products — Daimler Chrysler, VW, and Tesla come to mind.
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.