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.
A Utah protest against Trump’s decision to shrink the national monuments Photo: Rick Bowmer, AP
Three Native American tribes are using litigation, lobbying and protests to push back against Trump administration policies that would damage their lands and their way of life — the Tlingit Tribe is challenging logging in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska, native Hawaiians are protesting the building of a telescope on the top of the Mauna Kea volcano, and the Sioux Tribe spent months actively blocking the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. And just two weeks ago, a federal judge in Utah refused the Justice Department’s request to dismiss a lawsuit brought by five tribes over the 2017 decision to cut the size of Bear Ears National Monument.
Why This Matters:Native American tribes are uniquely positioned to challenge some of the Trump administration’s most aggressive moves to develop (timber harvest, mining, oil and gas drilling) on federal lands. Often these cases are thrown out because the plaintiffs (often environmental groups) are found not to have a sufficient “interest” in or connection to the government’s action — but when it comes to the destruction of sacred sites, that argument really does not work. So while they may not win, they will at least get their day in court. Physical protests and lobbying, however, may be less effective at stopping the administration’s efforts. And once these lands and sacred sites are spoiled by development, they cannot be restored.
Tongass and the Tlingit
The Tlingit oppose the President’s proposal to lift the “Roadless Rule,” a Clinton-era regulation that keeps the development of roads thus in effect protecting the Forest from logging, energy, and mining projects, which, in turn, safeguards their culture. We recognized a group of women from the Tribe as our “heroes of the week” for their efforts to get Congress to reinstate the Roadless Rule in the Tongass by law. “The Tongass is our home, is the only home we’ve ever known,” said Wanda Culp, a Tlingit leader who led a group of activists to Washington DC to protest changes to the existing legislation.
The President reduced the Monument, which was created by former President Barack Obama in 2016, from its original size of 1.35 million acres to only 201,876 acres, arguing that Obama acted unilaterally and unfairly in creating the original monument. The Tribes argue that the reduction has put at risk sacred tribal lands, thereby threatening treasured landscapes and a host of archaeological and historic resources. Now the case will proceed to arguments on the merits.
By Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Pedro Bay Corp., an Alaska Native group, has struck a blow to the controversial Pebble Mine project, which had promised to be the largest gold mine in North America. Located near Alaska’s famed Bristol Bay, development on the site threatened to damage the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world, […]
A battle is raging in Nevada as the U.S. Fish, and Wildlife Service announces it will be listing Tiehm’s buckwheat flower as an endangered species, striking a blow to a lithium mining project in the region. Lithium is required for the batteries that power electric vehicles, which the government is making significant investments in to reduce the nation’s carbon footprint. But environmentalists argue that the Rhyolite Ridge lithium mine in Nevada will do more harm than good.
Why This Matters: The world is facing two major crises: global temperature rise and biodiversity loss. In the U.S., investing in renewable energy and electric power has been identified by experts as the quickest path to net-zero emissions and preventing catastrophic temperature rise.
by Ashira Morris, ODP Staff Writer The American agriculture system is in need of an overhaul. A combination of more erratic weather resulting from climate change and years of soil depletion make it nearly impossible to simply continue monoculture farming. An approach called regenerative agriculture could change the system. But even as farmers and agriculture […]
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.