July 5, 2013 |
Utility-scale solar plants have been given priority over mining claims on federal lands, according to a decision announced Friday. The federal Bureau of Land Management withdrew more than 300,000 acres of federal land in six Western states from eligibility for new mining claims in an effort to preserve the land for commercial-scale solar energy development. The decision, published in the Federal Register, formalizes an earlier announcement to prohibit new claims for the next 20 years on public land previously identified for solar development in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah.
February 6, 2013 |
Saying that President Obama is lagging behind even some of his Republican predecessors in protecting public lands, former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is urging the administration to put more federal land off limits to energy and other resource development. In a speech Tuesday at the National Press Club in Washington, Babbitt, head of the Interior Department under President Clinton, pointed out that during Obama's first term, the administration leased more than twice as much federal acreage for gas and oil development than was protected as wilderness.
February 6, 2013 |
WASHINGTON - President Obama nominated a former petroleum engineer and commercial banker who is also a conservationist and chief executive of an environmentally conscious retailer to lead the Interior Department on Wednesday, making an unorthodox selection for his first female nominee to his second-term Cabinet. Sally Jewell, president and chief executive of Recreational Equipment Inc., has no government credentials and little public policy experience. But her resume could appeal to the feuding interests that drive much of the debate at the department in charge of managing federal lands: the oil and gas extraction industries seeking access to public land and the environmentalists seeking preservation.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 2013 |
The Annenberg Foundation plans to build a $50-million interpretive center in the Ballona Wetlands Ecological Reserve under an agreement to be signed Monday with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Officials aim to make the center a place for people to "come to learn how nature works and how each of them is a part of it," said Charlton H. "Chuck" Bonham, Fish and Wildlife director. The announcement marked rare movement in the state's efforts to restore one of Southern California's few remaining wetlands and open it to the public.
January 3, 2013 |
Ending a battle to preserve a historic piece of the Sierra Nevada crest, conservation groups recently finalized their purchase of the 3,000-acre Royal Gorge property on Donner Summit. The cross-country ski resort had been placed in receivership after the Bay Area developers who bought it in 2005 defaulted on a $16.7-million bank loan. They had proposed building 950 condos and single-family houses on the acreage, setting off protests from environmentalists and nearby homeowners. The Truckee Donner Land Trust and The Trust for Public Land closed on the property Dec. 20, paying $11.25 million.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 26, 2012 |
WELDON, Calif. - A few minutes after 4 a.m., agents in camouflage cluster in a dusty field in Kern County. "Movement needs to be slow, deliberate and quiet," the team leader whispers. "Lock and load now. " They check their ammunition and assault rifles, not exactly sure whom they might meet in the dark: heavily armed Mexican drug traffickers, or just poorly paid fieldworkers camping miserably in the brush. Twenty minutes later, after a lights-off drive for a mile, the agents climb out of two pickup trucks and sift into the high desert brush.