Lawsuit filed to defend climate, clean air from fracking in NM Permian
Western Environmental Law Center
by Brian Sweeney
5d ago
Conservation groups, led by citizens from Carlsbad, N.M., filed suit today to overturn the Biden administration’s approval of nearly 6,000 acres of oil and gas leases in southeast New Mexico’s Permian Basin. Originally authorized by the Trump administration, the challenged leases were sold on January 14, 2021, just days before President Biden took office and announced a pause on new federal oil and gas leasing to protect the climate. In spite of President Biden’s promise, the U.S. Department of the Interior formally approved the Trump-era leasing on May 12, 2021. By auctioning these lands, the ..read more
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Federal wildlife-killing program challenged in Montana
Western Environmental Law Center
by Renata Harrison
1w ago
Today, four conservation organizations challenged the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Wildlife Services predator killing program in Montana. The legal challenge also includes the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for approving the program’s killing and removal of threatened grizzly bears and targets Montana’s related predator control efforts, which remain largely unregulated in the state. Wildlife Services is a taxpayer-funded, federal program that targets and kills tens of thousands of native species in the U.S. each year, including birds, coyotes, badgers, foxes, wolves, mountain lio ..read more
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Legal appeal: Ecology’s rewrite of industrial dairy permits endangers public health; threatens waterways, aquifers, ecosystems across WA
Western Environmental Law Center
by Brian Sweeney
2w ago
Late last week, community, environmental, and food safety advocates challenged two permits that will allow industrial animal feeding operations to continue to discharge pollution into Washington’s waters. A unanimous 2021 Washington Court of Appeals decision required the Department of Ecology to rewrite these permits because they violated state and federal law. Despite a court order that detailed ways to bring these permits into compliance with the law, the two permits challenged today carry forward permit provisions deemed illegal last year, and fail to control the discharge of excess nutrien ..read more
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Legal complaint: Signal Peak Energy coal mine has damaged and destroyed Bull Mountains water sources
Western Environmental Law Center
by Brian Sweeney
1M ago
Conservation groups have filed a formal complaint with state and federal agencies against Signal Peak Energy, a criminally-convicted coal company operating an underground coal mine in the Bull Mountains just north of Billings, Montana. The complaint cites evidence of the mine’s repeated and ongoing damage to water sources that impact the livelihoods of local ranchers and residents, threatening the broader ecological viability of the Bull Mountains and surrounding area. The document also references inaction by responsible state and federal agencies despite Signal Peak’s egregious violations of ..read more
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Forest Service committee recruitment signals upcoming forest plan changes
Western Environmental Law Center
by Brian Sweeney
1M ago
Today, the Forest Service announced it will establish a Northwest Forest Plan Federal Advisory Committee “to provide advice and recommendations on landscape management approaches that promote sustainability, climate change adaptations, and wildfire resilience while providing for increasing use of and demands from National Forest System lands in the Northwest Forest Plan area.” The Western Environmental Law Center welcomes this news. The Northwest Forest Plan is a science-based ecosystem management plan that was adopted by the Forest Service in 1994 after several years of litigation over the ef ..read more
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Proposed BLM methane waste rule disappoints
Western Environmental Law Center
by Brian Sweeney
2M ago
Weeks after President Biden’s remarks at the COP27 climate conference in Egypt and following nearly 18 months of internal agency deliberations, conservation groups expressed their disappointment today in the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) proposed rule to prevent the waste of publicly owned energy resources. The proposed rule requires little from the oil and gas industry beyond increasing royalties on wasted gas. It fails to address routine, intentional venting and flaring as well as other forms of waste. BLM has clear authority and a statutory duty under the Mineral Leasing Act to preven ..read more
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Biden heeds public feedback, improves proposed methane rule
Western Environmental Law Center
by Brian Sweeney
2M ago
Today, the Environmental Protection Agency proposed to strengthen methane and other emissions standards as the Biden administration participates in the COP27 climate summit in Egypt. In short, the rule is strong, it could be stronger, and we will work with the administration to improve it where that is possible. “The EPA’s supplemental rule represents a significant step forward in U.S. efforts to curb the worst effects of climate change,” said Melissa Hornbein, senior attorney at the Western Environmental Law Center. “We appreciate that EPA listened to the vast amount of public input it receiv ..read more
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Forest advocates knock out massive Trump post-fire logging loophole
Western Environmental Law Center
by Brian Sweeney
2M ago
This month, conservation groups finalized a legal agreement with the Bureau of Land Management to reverse a Trump-era rule excluding vastly more logging in post-fire landscapes from detailed environmental review. The agreement resolves a legal challenge the groups brought against the agency in October, 2021. “Categorical exclusions” allow agencies to approve actions having minimal environmental effects without detailed environmental review under the National Environmental Policy Act. The Trump rule increased the maximum area for categorical exclusions permitting logging of “dead or dying trees ..read more
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Biden administration flouts climate goals with Inflation Reduction Act’s first onshore oil, gas lease sales 
Western Environmental Law Center
by Brian Sweeney
2M ago
The Biden administration is working against U.S. climate goals and failing to protect communities, water and wildlife by auctioning oil and gas leases on public lands under the Inflation Reduction Act, climate and conservationists said in formal comments submitted today (NM comments, WY comments). Today’s comments respond to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s first proposed lease sales under the new climate law, which conditions renewable energy rights-of-way on new oil and gas leasing. Next spring the Bureau will auction leases covering 250,000 acres in Wyoming and 10,000 acres in New Mexic ..read more
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Conservation and community leaders intervene in oil industry appeal to defend New Mexico air pollution rules
Western Environmental Law Center
by Brian Sweeney
3M ago
The Center for Civic Policy, Naeva, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), and Western Environmental Law Center (WELC) today announced they have filed to intervene in an appeal filed by the Independent Petroleum Association of New Mexico (IPANM) with the New Mexico Court of Appeals seeking to undermine New Mexico’s oil and gas air pollution rules. Conservation and community leaders applauded Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s leadership creating and defending nation-leading rules to protect New Mexicans from the impacts of oil and gas waste and pollution. In the appeal, WELC represents Conservation Vote ..read more
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