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Spring wildflowers at Carrizo Plain National Monument Photo: Bureau of Land Management
In a quiet decision in late May, the Trump Administration said it will open up California’s Carrizo Plain National Monument, which is known for its stunning wildflowers, to oil and gas drilling and a pipeline, the LA Times reported last week. Numerous local and national environmental groups had been successful since 2017 holding off the Interior Department’s approval of the oil and gas project. The Department said the “new well poses no undue health or safety concerns, has no significant impacts to the environment and is consistent with management directives for the Carrizo Plain National Monument,” and continued, “America’s free markets will help determine if energy development on public lands is feasible.”
The local California assemblyman, Jordan Cunningham who is a Republican, opposes the decision, saying that he is “disappointed in the federal government’s decision” at the site and urged officials to reconsider. He told the Times, “San Luis Obispo County and California does not want or need to open up our most precious pieces of open space for additional oil drilling,” Last October, in order to decrease oil and gas production due to climate change, California Gov. Gavin Newsome signed a law banning its development on state-owned lands, but this area is owned by the federal government. The project would be located near “Caliente Mountain, about 20 miles south of the monument’s biggest tourist draw, Soda Lake, and would involve reopening an oil pad that has been out of operation since the 1950s,” according to The Times.
The Monument’s Special Features
Carrizo Plain became a national monument in 2001, and the 204,000-acre site is a popular destination in recent years because of its spectacular super blooms. According to the Bureau of Land Management, that operates the monument, the area is “a remnant of a natural habitat where vast open grasslands, white alkali flats of the ancient Soda Lake, and a broad plain rimmed by mountains is home to a variety of wildlife and plant species—including several that are threatened or endangered. The area has significant cultural and historical resources and where evidence of the valley-carving and mountain-moving San Andreas Fault can also be seen.” The endangered or threatened species protected by the monument include San Joaquin kit foxes, San Joaquin antelope squirrels and Kern mallow plants.
by Julia Fine Last month, we wrote about the outbreak of locust swarms traveling from East Africa to the Indian subcontinent. Now, as the New York Times reported yesterday, the locusts have made their way to New Delhi. The capital region’s fields, metro stations, suburbs, and more are now teeming with swarms. We previously noted […]
Our nation is in the midst of a moment where statues and monuments celebrating our racist past are being reevaluated and taken down. However, some on the political right have begun calling into question the validity of this conversation. Conservative media personality Meghan McCain wrote in a tweet that we’re “one week removed from entire […]
The House was set to vote to pass the Great American Outdoors Act, which will provide nearly $1B annually for parks and other conservation, but a group of Western Republicans has raised procedural hurdles that will delay final passage until late July, The Hillreported yesterday. And, a new report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) urges the United States to launch a major effort—a “Race for Nature” — to help the nation’s agricultural producers, who are facing a bleak economic future, by increasing opportunities to pay them for their conservation efforts.
Why This Matters: As the CAP Report explains, “Family farmers and ranchers need lifelines…Bold and swift investment in nature conservation can provide one.”
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