Friday – Squirrel!!! “The Memo” is diverting us away from this… (4 quick actions)

Not a coincidence that this was planned to go off on a Friday…

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Open cut coal mine

The splashy news about “The Memo”, although part of Trump’s plan to eventually wipe Mueller off the playing board, has another purpose. Since we all know about his end game on that front, what else is happening? How about the beginning of an environmental tragedy that starts today?

At 9 a.m. EST Friday, the extractive industry will gain drilling and mining access to previously protected public land. Trump signing a proclamation last year that decimated two national monuments, most likely unlawfully. Bears Ears National Monument was cut by more than 85 percent and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was reduced by half. This resulted in the largest elimination of protected areas in U.S. history. The move put tens of thousands of Native American sacred sites at risk, along with key wildlife habitat, and areas used for outdoor recreation. The lawsuits have already begun.

However, today,  February 2, 2018, the areas excluded from the monuments become available to private mineral companies to stake out mining and drilling claims. “We’re working on getting information and new monument maps ready for people interested in claims,” Utah Bureau of Land Management (BLM) spokesman Michael Richardson confirmed to Reuters. “The costs of claiming are low: a $212 filing fee, and an annual maintenance fee of $150. The claims provide prospectors mineral rights, with no requirement to pay the government royalties, but not ownership of the land. The law covers mining for uranium, gold, silver, copper and other precious metals, but excludes coal and petroleum.” We’re being told not to worry about poisonous uranium mining, as it’s current market price is low. Hmm… we don’t believe low prices are permanent feature of the commodities market, unlike the pollution it leaves behind.

This is a bad business deal for us…

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UMTRA Project site along the Colorado River near Moab, Utah, USA. Radioactive uranium tailings are being dug up and moved to another site to avoid leaching into the Colorado River.

From our column last year titled “Enviro-pocalypseNow! and how the rich were coming for our parks:

“One thing you’ll notice as you read through these actions, is that almost every one of them is a “taking” from us, the American public. Rich people and corporations, both foreign and domestic, are taking our public land, our forests and our mountain tops, our clean water and air, the right for numerous species to exist and the livelihoods of those in our thriving “outdoor recreation” industry that depends on unspoiled land to draw visitors.

Those involved in this theft will respond that they pay us for these things, but they’ve actually been cheating us for a long time. Oil, gas, mining and timber interests will pay far less taking resources from public land than they would on the open market and they leave behind uncompensated environmental destruction when they’re done….

The corporations will also argue that they create jobs and tax revenues. Let’s look at one state as for a reality-check. Oil and gas in Utah produces only $2.4 billion of it per year, and that industry employs fewer than 7,000 people in the state. Conversely, “Outdoor recreation contributes more than $12 billion to the economy, employs more than 122,000 people, and is the primary driver behind the tourism industry. Not only does Utah outdoor recreation create $856 million in state and local tax revenues, it is the reason for $3.6 billion in wages and salaries.”

Once they finish sucking what they want from our land, they will walk away…

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Abandoned copper mine runoff into creek, Amador County, California , USA

…leaving devasting pollutionscarred landsick people and big cleanup bills for us. Or they can just sit on land and lock out other uses for very little money. Much cheaper than restoring land or cleaning it.

Check out this pictorial article “The General Mining Act of 1872 has left a legacy of riches and ruin.” (SeattlePi)

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Most Expensive Environmental Clean Up in America
The entrance to the former W.R. Grace mine, now a massive EPA clean up site, is five miles north of Libby, Montana. After releasing toxic fibers into the soil and air for thirty years, the company dissolved its assets and escaped paying compensation to the hundred of victims. (Photo by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images)

And they are never satisfied, until they have ruined everything.

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Polluted water in the Lavender open-pit copper mine, Bisbee, Arizona, USA

The Trump administration’s national monument report includes plans to alter at least eight additional monuments that range from allowing logging in Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters, to allowing commercial fishing in the Pacific Remote Islands.

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“Scenic View”, Morenci Mine, Arizona

Meanwhile, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the ranking member of the House Natural Resources Committee, and 11 other Democrats sent a letter to Zinke  this week to request an “emergency withdrawal” of all land in the monuments’ original boundaries from energy and mineral development.

Letter to Secretary Zinke Requesting Withdrawal of Bears Ears National Monument Area

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Before we get to the actions, here’s something great to read about public lands…


#1 – Create and Sign a support letter to the Committee’s request.

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep. [Brownley/Carbajal] to create and sign a supporting letter for the Committee on Natural Resource’s request dated 1/31/18 for an immediate hold on granting leases to both foreign and domestic companies trying to purchase development rights to our land.

#2 – Thank our local legislators for supporting  H.R. 4518 and H.R. 502 

H.R. 4518: – “Bears Ears National Monument Expansion Act“: “To expand the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument, to ensure prompt engagement with the Bears Ears Commission and prompt implementation of the Proclamation establishing the Bears Ears National Monument, and for other purposes.
(Check your local Rep’s position here.)

H.R. 502 – To permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund
(Check your local Rep’s position here.)

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to thank Rep. [Brownley/Carbajal] for cosigning H.R. 4518 – the “Bears Ears National Monument Expansion Act” and H.R. 502 “Permanently reauthorizing the Land and Water Conservation Fund

#3 – Thank/Ask our local legislators for supporting  H.R. 2044

H.R. 2044 – America’s Red Rock Wilderness Act: To designate as wilderness certain Federal portions of the red rock canyons of the Colorado Plateau and the Great Basin Deserts in the State of Utah for the benefit of present and future generations of people in the United States.
(Check your local Rep’s position here.)

Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to {thank Rep. Brownley/ask Rep. Carbajal} for/on cosigning H.R. 2044 – the “America’s Red Rocks Wilderness” Act.

#4 – Support H.R. 360

H.R. 360“Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act”:  establishes the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument in Arizona. The Interior and USDA shall collaborate with the Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Advisory Council (established by this bill) to develop a plan for the protection and management of the Monument.
(Check your local Rep’s position here.)

 Minimal script: I’m calling from [zip code] to ask Rep. [Brownley/Carbajal] to support H.R. 360 – “Greater Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument Act”

Rep. Julia Brownley: (CA-26): DC (202) 225-5811, Oxnard (805) 379-1779, T.O. (805) 379-1779

or Rep. Salud Carbajal: (CA-24): DC (202) 225-3601, SB (805) 730-1710 SLO (805) 546-8348

Other Rep Contacts:




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