Update from Sierra Club’s Jim Hines

(Sleeping endangered Hawaiian Monk Seal on Poipu Beach in Kauai)

Four Actions for you to take (updated)

1. Review of National Marine Sanctuary extended to Aug. 15th.

2. Public comment on retaining 5-yr. moratorium on offshore oil leasing until Aug. 17.

3. Pruitt is attacking the definition of Waters of the United States” to assist polluters and those who would destroy wetlands. Comments due 8/28/17.

4. Take Action: Submit a public comment against the Keystone XL pipeline here.

Other Highlights:

– Four National Monuments protected from reduction or elimination

– Dep. Sec. of Interior testified that “Endangered Species Act” is an economic burden

– Foreign companies, including Russia, investing in drilling on our public lands

– The Secretary want to disallow CA’s drift net regulations

– Large staff increases at the BLM to process drilling & mining applications.

Letter to Secretary of the US Department Wilbur L. Ross from 20 members of Congress, including our own Salud Carbajal and Julia Brownley.

 Greetings Activists:

 I thought you might be interested in a few notes from the bi-weekly call I take part in with senior staff of the U.S. Dept of the Interior (while the Secretary of the Interior does take part he was not present on this call, just staff):
** It was announced that the public comment period for the review of national marine sanctuary has been extended until August 15th.
NOTE: Interesting that Dept of the Interior is pushing this even though America’s national marine sanctuaries program is under U.S. Dept. of Commerce. But Interior is the department which will issue the oil drilling leases in what are now protected NMSs.
** The Secretary of the Interior will make his recommendations to the President regarding the reduction in size or complete elimination of certain national monuments in the western U.S. on August 24th. Though staff says this date could be pushed forward. But we were told that 4 NMs will NOT be recommended for reduction or elimination, they are:
Craters of the Moon NM (ID)
Handford Reach NM (WA)
Colorado NM (CO)
Canyons of the Ancients NM (CO)
** The public comment period for review of the 5 year moratorium (placed by the Obama Administration) on offshore oil leasing in the Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific oceans is open until August 17th.
** The Deputy Secretary of Interior has testified before the House Committee on Natural Resources in support of efforts to repeal the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) which the Administration states is a “undue” burden to the economy. Members of the Interior staff met with 10 western governors who support elimination of the ESA. NOTE: Californians, our Governor is not in favor of repealing the ESA and was not part of the meeting.
** National Park visitation is expected to reach record numbers in 2017
** There is a larger then ever number of foreign investors investing in mining and drilling operations on national public lands administrated by the Bureau of Land Management. Investment companies from China, Holland, Russia, Canada, Malaysia and several middle east companies were mentioned.
** The Secretary is opposed to allowing the state of California to regulate the use of drift gill nets in ocean waters offshore which has angered CA Fish and Wildlife officials. (NOTE: these deadly drift gill nets entangle and kill numerous whales and other marine mammals). The state of CA asked the federal government to allow CA to regulate this industry, actually CA wants the drift gill net industry shut down. But it looks like that won’t happen soon).
** The Administration does not want to see anymore monies spent on National Park land acquisition in fiscal year 2018.
** Monies are being shifted and more staff hired in the Bureau of Land Management to process as quickly as possible new drilling and mining operations on national public lands.
for the wild,
Jim Hines
Team member Sierra Club Protect Wild Utah Team
Co-Team Leader Protect California/Nevada National Monuments Team
Chapter Chair of the Sierra Club Los Padres Chapter which serves Ventura and Santa Barbara counties

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