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BLM’s “Deputy Director acting in the capacity of Director,” William Perry Pendley, continues to ignore abandoned mines and focus on removing America’s wild horses from public lands

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William Perry Pendley, serving an illegally long tenure as BLM “Deputy Director acting in the capacity of Director”

by Debbie Coffey

Brian Maffley wrote a Salt Lake Tribune article about William Perry Pendley, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) “Deputy Director acting in the capacity of Director,” and stated “…Pendley said his marching orders are centered on fighting and preventing fires, reducing the numbers of wild horses and burros, and accommodating more recreation.”

William Perry Pendley, along with the Secretary of the Interior (David Bernhardt) and the White House, continues to divert attention away from the very serious environmental and human health problems caused by well over 100,000 abandoned mines on public lands, and instead, put a focus on removing America’s wild horses and burros from public lands..

Carol Walker and I were guests on Whistleblowers radio show and talked about the abandoned mines in our nation, and noted that the BLM rarely informs the public about this issue, but blames wild horses for being the “biggest problem” in the West. More

Exposed: West Virginia and Other States Relying on ‘House of Cards’ to Pay for Coal Mine Cleanup

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SOURCE:  desmogblog.com

“the amount of money companies are mandated to pay into these funds has been vastly under-calculated, and these bond pools are also facing insolvency.”

By Mark Olalde

For more than a century-and-a-half, the forests, streams, and hollows of the Appalachian Mountains have been scraped and gashed to unearth their heart of rich black coal. These lumps of hydrocarbons historically played a vital role in America’s electricity mix, accounting for a third of the country’s energy production as recently as 2008.

But over the past decade, a devastating combination of forces has pummeled the industry, from cheap natural gas and the falling cost of renewables to growing public pressure to respond to the climate crisis. U.S. coal production has dropped 40 percent since its peak 12 years ago, and the commodity accounted for only 14 percent of the country’s electricity generation last year.

With the coronavirus pandemic now stalling energy demand, coal production has dropped about 26 percent in the past 12 months alone, perhaps ringing the death knell for coal as an energy source in America.

The pandemic has even further depressed the use of energy, and oil prices have collapsed, making it even more difficult to compete,” said Ohio Coal Association president Mike Cope, who estimated a strong industry would need to provide a third of the country’s energy. “Nothing really to cheer about in the coal industry these days.”

Hit with another wave of bankruptcies, King Coal is on its deathbed. But even as it fades away, the industry could land a final, painful blow to communities and the environment in Appalachia.

An investigation by DeSmog has found that several key financial instruments meant to guarantee environmental cleanup have been pushed to the brink of insolvency, potentially leaving taxpayers on the hook for hundreds of millions — if not billions — of dollars in reclamation costs.

Even as coal companies go bankrupt and walk away, a federal law passed in 1977 created an ostensibly fail-safe system to fund future cleanups: Mining companies put up millions of dollars in security deposits intended to pay for reclaiming individual mines. These funds, called bonds, usually come as surety policies, which are provided by insurance companies and guarantee a third party will fill pits, seal shafts, and mitigate water and air pollution.

But DeSmog has found that the bonding system now faces dangerous levels of risk. The large insurance companies that once wrote surety policies are fleeing the industry, allowing a few insurance providers to take on much more liability than they can handle. If enough coal companies go under, it will set off a chain reaction, taking these insurance companies down with them.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Trump is using a pandemic to weaken environmental law. First victim: The Grand Canyon

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SOURCE:  azcentral.com

Opinion: There’s no such thing as a ‘safe’ uranium mine. Yet a new report recommends excluding these mines from public review and comment.

Canyon Mine is a uranium mine located 6 miles southeast of Tusayan on the Kaibab National Forest near the Grand Canyon. (Photo: Mark Henle/The Republic)

by Raúl Grijalva, opinion contributor

President Trump is using the worst pandemic in a century to weaken our environmental laws without public oversight, and he isn’t sparing the Grand Canyon.

While Americans shelter at home, waiting for the administration to offer a more effective medical response than injecting bleach, an administration advisory group just released a report recommending opening more public lands to uranium extraction.

The steps recommended in a new report by the Nuclear Fuel Working Group, an industry-stacked panel the president created through an executive order in July 2019, look a lot like pre-determined conclusions.

One of the most alarming should worry every Arizonan, and frankly every American: excluding uranium mines from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which gives Americans the chance to review and comment on major proposals that impact them.

The report, if it’s implemented, paves the way for dangerous mining of the sort that even industry cheerleaders don’t suggest in public.

Report would give polluters a free pass

This is not alarmism. The report spells it out in black and white when it recommends that federal regulators “consider categorical exclusions for uranium mineral exploration and development activities.” A categorical exclusion is offered only to individual projects determined to have no impact on the environment.

These are sometimes handed out to industry in the guise of streamlining or efficiency — which, under recent Republican administrations, have become code words for giving polluters a free pass.

The Trump administration wants to take advantage of widespread stay-at-home policies to weaken laws that protect us from unchecked pollution. A democratic government puts the people first, and cutting environmental regulations while the people aren’t able to go to a public meeting or make sure their voices are heard is not democratic.

These recommendations are another in a long line of industry giveaways being pushed under cover of pandemic without public scrutiny.

The American people should reject this report and the rigged process used to prepare it. And as a credible new analysis from the Grand Canyon Trust shows us, even if we wanted to take the report seriously, there’s no such thing as a truly “safe” uranium mine.

The Canyon Mine, a few miles from the southern entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, was approved in 1986. It’s never produced any uranium, but it’s been far from silent. Over the past few years, the mine shaft has been flooded with tens of millions of gallons of potentially radioactive water that have had to be pumped out and, in some cases, sprayed as mist into the air.

READ THE REST OF THIS OPINION HERE.

Mercury exposure in the oceans is getting worse, causing mercury levels in seafood to rise

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SOURCE:  Natural News

(Natural News) Researchers from Harvard University are suggesting that the levels of methylmercury in fish such as swordfish, cod and Atlantic bluefin tuna have been rising since at least the 197os.

Methylmercury is an organic and highly toxic form of mercury. When people suffer from mercury poisoning, it is usually from ingesting large amounts of methylmercury. One source of methylmercury is seafood.

Many fish are exposed to methylmercury through their diet. Algae and other forms of aquatic life at the bottom of the food chain absorb organic methylmercury. Fish and other aquatic organisms that consume algae absorb this poison and then, when larger fish at the top of the food chain eat those fish, they continue to accumulate methylmercury.

The presence of methylmercury in seafood is very concerning. According to different research, around 82 percent of methylmercury exposure in the United States comes from consuming seafood. (Related: Vaccine ingredient warning: Ethyl mercury in vaccines 50 times more toxic than methyl mercury in fish.)

Methylmercury levels depend on the food that predatory fish eat

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

SpaceX Satellites: Mucking Up Space and Already Causing Health and Environmental Issues on Earth?

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Source:  Activist Post.com

By B.N. Frank

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is one of many companies continuing to launch vehicles into the sky and space despite expert opposition (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13) and increasing safety risks which recently includes a Chinese rocket falling out of the sky AND a SpaceX starship exploding.

Not being discussed as much – how the Electromagnetic Frequencies (EMF) being emitted by satellites affect our health.  EMF exposure and health issues actually have a long history – even being used by the military for “mind control.”  At least that’s what was reported by CNN in 1985

So satellites and similar vehicles providing worldwide internet coverage may not be so sexy after all.  People are already reporting symptoms from recently launched satellites.  As more are introduced, human and environmental health issues are likely to increase and could be much more devastating.

Thanks to Arthur Firstenberg for documenting all of this in his June newsletter:

ON MAY 26, SPACEX FILED an application with the Federal Communications Commission for 30,000 “next-generation” (“Gen2”) satellites.They will orbit at between 328 km (203 miles) and 614 km (380 miles) in altitude. They will use frequencies from 10.7 GHz to 86 GHz. They will aim focused beams that will cover the Earth in a mosaic of overlapping cells, each cell being about 8 kilometers in diameter.

The databases filed with the FCC by SpaceX indicate that 40,700 1-MHz channels are available to each satellite, and that a minimum of 7.8125 MHz of spectrum is needed for each user, if I am interpreting them correctly. Which means the Gen2 Starlink satellites could be capable of serving up to 150 million Internet users at the same time. This is not a good thing. In my last newsletter I requested to hear from people who have been having heart palpitations since April 22. With its launch of 60 more satellites on April 22, SpaceX brought the number of its “first generation”(“Gen1”) satellites up to 420, which is the number it had previously announced it needed for “minor”coverage of the mid-latitudes to about 56 degrees north and south. The responses to my request have come from far and wide, and I find them extremely disturbing.

Here are some of them:

Read full report

READ THE ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE.

 

Please comment to stop the BLM’s plan to wipe out 40% of wild horses in Wyoming (so that privately owned livestock can run roughshod over public lands)

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by Debbie Coffey

The BLM wants to remove 4,000 wild horses from four Herd Management Areas in Wyoming, which would mean removing 40% of all of the wild horses in Wyoming.

Please comment on a new Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Resource Management Plan Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for proposed changes to the management of four wild horse Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Wyoming: Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin and White Mountain.

Please urge the BLM to select Alternative A, which would manage wild horses in their respective 4 herds at the current Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) for each herd with a total AML 1481-2065.  As you can see on the graphs below, wild horses are already currently far outnumbered by privately owned livestock on public lands on these Herd Management Areas.

The BLM certainly seems to be violating the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 (FLPMA) by favoring some “uses” (livestock grazing) over other “uses” (wild horses).  FLPMA stipulates that the BLM take into account the “coordinated management of the various resources without permanent impairment of the productivity of the land and the quality of the environment with consideration being given to the relative values of the resources and not necessarily to the combination of uses that will give the greatest economic return or the greatest unit output.”

If the BLM even took this into account, they ignored it. More

Warning: A ‘Shrinking Window’ of Usable Groundwater

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Source: therevelator.org

New analysis reveals that we have much less water in our aquifers than we previously thought — and the oil and gas industry could put that at even greater risk.

by Tara Lohan

We’re living beyond our means when it comes to groundwater. That’s probably not news to everyone, but new research suggests that, deep underground in a number of key aquifers in some parts of the United States, we may have much less water than previously thought.

“We found that the average depth of water resources across the country was about half of what people had previously estimated,” says Jennifer McIntosh, a distinguished scholar and professor of hydrology and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona.

McIntosh and her colleagues — who published a new study about these aquifers in November in Environmental Research Letters — took a different approach to assessing groundwater than other research, which has used satellites to measure changes in groundwater storage. For example, a 2015 study looked at 37 major aquifers across the world and found some were being depleted faster than they were being replenished, including in California’s agriculturally intensive Central Valley.

McIntosh says those previous studies revealed a lot about how we’re depleting water resources from the top down through extraction, such as pumping for agriculture and water supplies, especially in places like California.

But McIntosh and three other researchers wanted to look at groundwater from a different perspective: They examined how we’re using water resources from the bottom up. More

Industrial Agriculture: The Truth About Where Your Meat Comes From

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The Most Revolutionary Act

Uncensored updates on world events, economics, the environment and medicine

Land of Hope and Glory UK Earthlings Documentary

Surge (2017)

Film Review

This is a documentary about the brutal conditions under which factory farmed animals are raised in the UK, Australia and the US. This type of footage is extremely rare because Food Inc makes every effort to conceal the disgusting conditions under which our meat is produced.

Factory farmed pigs and chickens seem to fare the worst. Even though pigs are as intelligent and emotionally complex as dogs, they are raised in extremely confining cages and forced to lie in their own feces, as well as being routinely tortured and beaten by their keepers. Pigs, like most other factory farmed animals, are fed massive doses of antibiotics (contributing to antibody resistance and the rise of “superbugs”) while continual exposure to feces makes factory farmed meat a major source of food borne illness.

Chickens and more than 90% of ducks and turkeys are also crowded into pens. In chickens raised for meat, 45% suffer painful fractures because their specially bred bodies are too heavy for their skeleton.

What seems most consistent among all factory farmed animals (besides their continual exposure to feces) are the inhumane conditions under which they are killed. Although most jurisdictions require them to be asphyxiated or electrically stunned prior to slaughter, abattoir personnel are rushed and poorly trained. As the film clearly shows, many animals are still alive when they’re butchered.

 

The Renewed Legal Challenge Against the Dakota Access Pipeline

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Source:  Earthjustice

 represents the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in their lawsuit against the Army Corps. He is a staff attorney at Earthjustice.

A new chapter opens in the legal fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline, as the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe renews their lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers challenging its recently completed review of the pipeline’s impacts.

Attorney Jan Hasselman explains the significance of this legal development.

What happened on Nov. 1?

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe filed a “supplemental complaint” in its existing lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps over permits for the Dakota Access pipeline.

The supplemental complaint renews the lawsuit in response to new developments since the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe won part of its lawsuit against the Corps last year.

What decision is being challenged?

On Aug. 31, 2018, the Corps released a two-page document affirming the permits for DAPL, despite a court finding that they were critically flawed. The Corps released its long-awaited report on Oct. 1 explaining that decision. The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Council, the Tribe’s governing body, voted unanimously on Oct. 18 to challenge the remand decision.

Today’s supplemental complaint challenges the Corps’ decision to affirm its original permits in the face of overwhelming evidence that they are flawed. Read the Corps’ report, redacted for public release:

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

Weather management using space-based power system

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READ THE FULL PATENT ON WEATHER MODIFICATION HERE

Weather management using space-based power system

Abstract
Space-based power system and method of altering weather using space-born energy. The space-based power system maintains proper positioning and alignment of system components without using connecting structures. Power system elements are launched into orbit, and the free-floating power system elements are maintained in proper relative alignment, e.g., position, orientation, and shape, using a control system. Energy from the space-based power system is applied to a weather element, such as a hurricane, and alters the weather element to weaken or dissipate the weather element. The weather element can be altered by changing a temperature of a section of a weather element, such as the eye of a hurricane, changing airflows, or changing a path of the weather element.

FIELD OF INVENTION

  • [0002]
    The present invention relates to space-based power systems and, more particularly, to altering weather elements, such as hurricanes or forming hurricanes, using energy generated by a space-based power system.

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Minnesota: The Trump/Chilean/Antofagasta/Twin Metals/Northeast Minnesota/Copper Mining Connections (ENV, AA)

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The Trump/Chilean/Antofagasta/Twin Metals/Northeast Minnesota/Copper Mining Connections

 

By Gary G. Kohls, MD – 11-13-2018

Pictured above are Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Andrónico Luksic Craig and the $5.5 billion Washington, DC town house that Kushner and Trump leased from Luksic, the CEO of Antofagasta Holdings and the richest man in Chile. Luksic purchased it the week after Donald Trump won the election and immediately leased it to Kushner.

Iván Arriagada Herrera, the CEO of Antofagasta Minerals S.A. (since 2015) and Antofagasta plc (since 2016) said that Donald Trump’s election has created a “more favourable climate for the development of the (Northern Minnesota Twin Metals) project.”

Arriagada recently said that Antofagasta’s Twin Metals unit was preparing an environmental impact assessment for an underground copper-nickel mine in Minnesota. (Twin Metals was a Canadian Penny Stock mining company until Antofagasta acquired 100% of the company’s shares a few years ago.)

But the project hinges on the resolution of a legal dispute with the US government, which under former President Barack Obama, refused to renew the company’s mineral leases in 2016 to protect the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness area from possible pollution.

But the dispute would still need to be settled in court, he said, adding: “We’ll keep defending our right to develop the mine.” Trump’s election makes the deal much more likely to happen, given the strong pro-extractive business climate of the Trump administration.

When Guillermo Luksic died in 2013, his older brother Andrónico Luksic stepped into the role of CEO of the Luksic Group (that their Croatian/Bolivian father had founded) and several of its related companies, notably Quinenco S.A., the holding company for the family’s non-mining investments. Andronico decided to concentrate on consolidation of the group and on building strong positions for the new acquisitions.

Andronico is also CEO of Compañía Cervecerías Unidas S.A. and its subsidiary companies CCU Chile, CCU Argentina and ECUSA, vice chairman of Compania Sud Americana de Vapores S.A. (CAV), of Banco de Chile and a member of the board of directors of Madeco S.A. (renamed Invexans), and Sociedad de Fomento Fabril (SOFOFA). He is member of the International Advisory Council of Barrick Gold, the Brookings Institution, the Panama Canal Authority, the Chairman’s International Council of the Council of the Americas, International Advisory Council of the President, board member of the Chilean Pacific Foundation and is a member of the Latin American Council of Nature Conservancy.  

Andrónico Luksic is also a member of the Boards of Antofagasta plc and Antofagasta Minerals.

The Luksic family is one of the richest families in the world. The founder’s second wife is worth $20 billion, At one time she was the 33rd richest person in the world.

Barrick Gold Corporation is the largest gold mining company in the world, with its headquarters in Toronto, Ontario.

5th Anniversary of Wild Horse & Burro Radio show with many friends and past guests! (Wed., 11/7/18)

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Testimony For SB-1487 Iconic African Species Protection Act

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By:  Sam Jojola

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Summary

In late June, I was humbled when asked to testify before the California State Assembly in Sacramento in support of the above critical legislation initially proposed by Senator Henry Stern.  I am very thankful for Judie Mancuso, Founder, CEO and President for Social Compassion In Legislation (SCIL) who believed in me and asked me for my support in SB-1487.

Nicholaus Sackett, a Sacramento attorney who is instrumental in SCIL’s continued success with legislative issues also provided key testimony for SB-1487.

Two opponents who represented interests of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and Safari Club International (SCI) also testified.

For years I have felt like a voice in the wilderness echoing concerns based on my professional expertise and opinion of the illicit wildlife trade’s continuous and unabated expansion across the globe. More

As Industry Pushes Billion-Dollar Fracked Petrochemical Projects, State Regulators Struggle To Keep Up

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Source:  desmogblog

“Pollution from petrochemicals is already a major issue, Food and Water Watch noted in a report last year on the coming build-out. “In 1999, when Houston’s ozone levels were the highest in the nation, the state of Texas conducted several studies that found large industrial leaks,” that report found. “The worst originated from cracker plants producing ethylene and propylene.”

By Sharon Kelly

Fueled by fracking in the region, petrochemical and plastics projects in the Ohio River Valley are attracting tens of billions of dollars in investment, but as plans for this build-out hit the drawing boards, signs already are emerging that state regulators are unprepared for this next wave of industrialization. And the implications of their inexperience could mean major threats to the region’s health and environment.

One of the projects currently underway, an underground natural gas liquids (NLG) storage site — designed to support the construction of several huge petrochemical complexes — is undergoing review by state regulators who have little experience with NGL storage facilities of its size.

“We had to juggle a lot of regulatory input in a relatively undefined setting since there are few regulations in Ohio, and that really goes for Pennsylvania and West Virginia as well,” Jonathan Farrell, a project manager with Civil and Environmental Consultants, told attendees at a petrochemical industry conference on June 18.

That lack of well-established state regulations harkens back to the early days of the shale gas rush, when state regulators struggled to keep up with the emergence of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling technologies. The rush to drill while safeguards were still being designed and implemented led to inadequately treated toxic waste being dumped into drinking water supplies for millions of people and problems with radioactive waste that continue to this day.

Dreams of a New Petrochemical Corridor

Shell’s ethane cracker petrochemical plant under construction on the banks of the Ohio River. Credit: Ashley Braun, DeSmog

Today, the petrochemical industry is dreaming big about prospects for manufacturing plastics, styrofoam, vinyl, chemicals, and fertilizers from cheap ethane and other natural gas liquids from the Marcellus Shale — marketed as currently the cheapest in the world.

The goal? To build a new petrochemical corridor in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and the surrounding region, one second only in size to the Gulf Coast’s — and one that could bring along with it the public health and environmental impacts that have given rise to that region’s reputation as a “cancer alley.”

I think the magnitude of some of these projects that we’re talking about here are hard for a lot of us and a lot of our communities to wrap their head around,” Chad Riley, CEO of The Thrasher Group, an oil and gas field and pipeline services firm, said at the June 18-19 conference. “I really think that this region lacks a bit of an understanding about what the potential could be here.”

Fracking for Plastics

Shale drillers in the Marcellus and Utica have long talked up the potential profits to be made from drilling for “wet gas,” or wells that produce large volumes of natural gas liquids like ethane, propane, and butane. Those liquid fossil fuels offer additional sources of revenue, making the shale drilling industry better able to cope with depressed prices for natural gas, which is mostly methane, that the wells primarily produce.

For the shale industry, the need to create demand for those products is fueling the push to create new petrochemical and plastics plants that can buy up the liquids coming from fracked wells. The Appalachian region currently produces roughly a third of the domestic supply of NGLs, or roughly a million barrels a day.  Read the rest of this article HERE.

THE YOSEMITE 2013 RIM FIRE REVISITED: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT ?

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  Author,
Chuck Frank
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 Only last week I passed through Yosemite National Park only to find, miles upon miles of blacked burned trees still standing, that were left over from the 2013 Rim Fire.  The Rim Fire, like the “let it burn” Yellowstone Fire (1988) was a complete disaster, and I believe John Muir and President Teddy Roosevelt who together created Yosemite as America’s first National Park would be asking some tough questions of why preventative measures were never put into place to protect the most beautiful park in the world for future generations.  The Rim fire, the third-largest blaze in recorded state history scorched more than 250,000 acres in and around Yosemite National Park.

“The fire also had a devastating environmental effect that biologists said probably transformed the forest for decades to come.”
The LA Tmes.

I was taken back while passing through the park and witnessed first hand the clean up “progress.”  I was appalled by the lack of restoration, while at the same time I saw no conservation measures or tree planting even taking place, nor did I see “sustainable development” as an avenue to bring back the park to its natural form.

For the record,  “sustainable development is a measure that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs…” Ref. International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD)  In this instance, the catastrophic Rim Fire event and aftermath does not even come close to meeting the criteria of sustainable development because, by their own admission, (IISD) wants to preserve the environment for future generations but this is not being done with regard to the forest service’s own flawed blueprint which adversely affects not only rural public lands but forested private properties as well. More

John Horning, Exec Dir. of WildEarth Guardians, on the war on wildlife and the environment (Wild Horse & Burro Radio, Wed., 6/13/18)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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Kirsten Stade, Advocacy Director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 3/21/18)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, this Wednesday, March 21, 2018

5:00 p.m. PST … 6:00 p.m. MST … 7:00 p.m. CST … 8:00 p.m. EST

Listen Live (HERE!)

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Uranium Mining Claims Near Grand Canyon Could Surge if Supreme Court Reverses Ban

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Source:  Environmental Working Group (EWG)

Contact:
(202) 667-6982
alex@ewg.org
For Immediate Release:
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
  • Colorado River Drinking Water Source for 40 Million
  • 2018: 831 Active Uranium Mining Claims Near Grand Canyon
  • 2011: Before Ban, 3,500 Claims

WASHINGTON – If the Supreme Court lifts the moratorium on uranium mining near the Grand Canyon, the expected surge in active claims would endanger not only a cherished national landmark, but also the drinking water for 40 million Americans, according to the Environmental Working Group and Earthworks.

Between the current leanings of the Supreme Court and the Trump administration being in power, the mining industry clearly sees an opportunity to open up uranium extraction along the canyon rim for the first time in a decade. There are currently fewer than 900 active uranium claims near the canyon, compared to almost 3,500 before the ban.

In November the Trump administration announced plans to reconsider the ban on uranium mining as part of its agenda to prop up dirty and dangerous domestic energy sources.

Last week two mining industry lobbying groups petitioned the Supreme Court to overturn the 20-year moratorium for uranium mining on more than 1 million acres of land along the canyon rim, put in place in 2012 by then-Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar. The mining groups are seeking reversal of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals’ December ruling to leave the ban in place.

“If the Supreme Court decides in favor of the uranium industry, it could permanently scar a sacred landscape that is the jewel in the crown of America’s natural heritage, and threaten the drinking water of 40 million Americans from Los Angeles to Las Vegas,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “President Trump has shown total disregard for preserving natural resources and protecting public health, and if the court overturns the ban, the Grand Canyon could soon fall victim to his radical agenda.” More

Jonathan Thompson, author of new book about the 2015 Gold King Mine disaster and Contributing Editor to High Country News, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 3/14/18)

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painy

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us for Wild Horse Wednesdays®, this Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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OSHA Drops Fatality Data, Science Suppression Tracker and More

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SEJ WatchDog is a very interesting website, and I encourage you to read their articles. – Debbie

Source:  Society of Environmental Journalists

By Joseph A. Davis, WatchDog TipSheet Editor

1. OSHA Deep-Sixes On-the-Job Fatality Data

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration used to publish on its website a list of U.S. workers who died on the job. No more. Within days of a new Trump pick taking top office in August, much of it was gone.

OSHA fatality statistics matter to environmental reporters because the deaths sometimes result from exposure to toxic substances or other environmental hazards. For example, the toxic solvent methylene chloride is subject to EPA’s risk assessment program. It has also killed workers who use it.

During the Obama administration, OSHA published the fullest possible list of worker fatalities and related data. In August 2017, shortly after the Trump administration installed Loren Sweatt on a political appointment to a top leadership slot, OSHA started cutting back the worker fatality information it automatically published. That cutback had been requested by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Under the Trump data regime, workplace fatalities are listed only if the incident resulted in a citation (which causes a listing delay of about six months) and the workers’ names are not included. Moreover, OSHA only lists fatalities in states where OSHA oversees workplace safety (about half of the states do this for themselves). OSHA publishes the more limited listing of worker fatality information in a less prominent place on its website.

OSHA under Trump has also cut way back on issuing press releases noting OSHA enforcement actions.

Read the entire article HERE.

Environmental Activist Sued for Libel Over Facebook Comment About Oil and Gas Company

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SOURCE: desmogblog

By Simon Davis-Cohen

On November 17, 2016, a Colorado environmental activist named Pete Kolbenschlag used Facebook to leave a comment on a local newspaper article, the kind of thing more than a billion people do every day.

However, most people don’t get sued for libel over their Facebook comments. (Although some do.)

The Post Independent story that Kolbenschlag commented on was about oil and gas extraction on federal lands near his home, in western Colorado’s North Fork Valley. It announced that the Obama administration’s Bureau of Land Management was canceling all oil and gas leases on the iconic Thompson Divide, a large, rugged swath of Forest Service land.

In retaliation, the article reported, a Texas-based oil and gas company called SG Interests (SGI), which owned 18 leases in the Thompson Divide area, was planning legal action against the federal government. The decision to cancel Thompson Divide leases was one of Obama’s last while in office.

SGI claimed it had obtained documents that “clearly show” that the decision to cancel the leases “was a predetermined political decision from the Obama administration taking orders from environmental groups.”

Kolbenschlag, who has opposed drilling in the region and engaged in environmental advocacy for some 20 years, responded to SGI’s allegations by posting the following comment:

While SGI alleges “collusion” let us recall that it, SGI, was actually fined for colluding (with GEC) to rig bid prices and rip off American taxpayers. Yes, these two companies owned by billionaires thought it appropriate to pad their portfolios at the expense of you and I and every other hard-working American.”

Shortly thereafter, SGI sued Kolbenschlag for libel (which generally refers to defamatory written statements).

SGI Investigation and Settlement

Kolbenschlag’s comment was in reference to a settlement SGI and Gunnison Energy Company (GEC), another oil and gas firm active on federal lands in the region, signed with the U.S. Department of Justice in 2012.

According to court documents filed by SGI, the settlement followed a two-year investigation into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two oil and gas companies in which “SGI would bid on certain federal oil and gas leases … and … SGI would assign GEC a 50 percent interest in any leases for which it was the successful bidder.” In other words, rather than compete in the bidding process, SGI would do the bidding, and then give GEC half of the mineral rights.

According to these court documents, the Justice Department’s two-year investigation led it to determine “that SGI’s and GEC’s agreement to bid jointly pursuant to the MOU constituted a per se violation of Section 1 of the Sherman [Antitrust] Act.”

The original settlement “required” the companies to pay $550,000 for “antitrust and False Claims Act violations.” It was the first time the federal government challenged an “anticompetitive bidding agreement for mineral rights leases.” That settlement, however, was later rejected by a federal judge, who approved a new settlement of $1 million and did not require the companies to admit to wrongdoing.

Libel or Retaliation?

SGI argues that Kolbenschlag’s statement that the company was fined for colluding with GEC is libelous because it is “contrary to the true facts, and reasonable persons … reading … the statement would be likely to think significantly less favorably about [SGI] than they would if they knew the true facts.”

The company argues that it was never convicted of or admitted to wrongdoing, and the settlement agreement did not require it. SGI further argues that it was not “fined,” but rather agreed to pay the government money to settle the case.

Moreover, SGI claims that “agreements such as the ones entered into between SGI and GEC are common place in the oil and gas industry.” And therefore, presumably, there’s nothing wrong with what they did.

Kolbenschlag’s attorney not only argues that his client’s comment was “substantially true” in the eyes of ordinary readers, but also that SGI’s lawsuit against him is in retaliation against his environmental activism. In legal briefs, his attorney writes that “this lawsuit is SGI’s transparent and blatant effort to punish Mr. Kolbenschlag for his public speech and advocacy that are not to SGI’s liking.”

For example, Kolbenschlag was part of a group called Citizens for a Healthy Community that focused on BLM rulemaking related to hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on federal lands. “SGI is misusing the judicial system as the means to silence its critics,” claimed Kolbenschlag’s attorney.

READ the rest of this article HERE.

Erik Molvar, Exec. Dir. of Western Watersheds Project, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Fri., 1/19/18)

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painy

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Decades of Political Meddling Threaten GYE Grizzlies

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Sam Jojola, USFWS Special Agent (retired)

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Research Illuminates Historical Threats for Grizzlies in the GYE

The 23 years covert experience in federal wildlife law enforcement always reminds me to look deep behind the curtain of puppet master politics that often manipulate the strands of negative decisions that hamper long term protection of key wildlife species in our country and around the globe. Recent research has further illuminated past and present political threats of oil, gas, with alliances from SCI and the NRA that appear to be a multi-prong threat. This detailed 2014 report describes these alliances and how they can work to compromise key biological and wildlife resources:

https://cdn.americanprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/IndustryInfluenceReport.pdf

Foreign mining interests are looming over the GYE. Google “mining opportunities in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem” and a host of articles appear. Gold mining interests have friends in “high places”. When states are left to take the lead in managing these interests, the “golden rule” will often apply. “He who hath the gold rules”, and ecosystems and wildlife will suffer by political meddling. Déjà vu all over again reminds me of my experience in the 1980’s in Nevada with foreign precious metal corporations and migratory bird deaths from cyanide heap leach operations.

Trophy hunting Grizzlies in the GYE could be the coup de gras with oil, gas and mining interests contributing to the “big picture” of multiple ongoing serious threats.

Recent court decision reveals flaws with delisting GYE Grizzly

The recent court decision based on a lawsuit by the Humane Society of the United States revealed serious flaws behind the Grizzly delisting in the GYE:

https://www.courthousenews.com/wolf-ruling-has-agency-wrestling-with-grizzlies/

I strongly believe the HSUS decision that affects the GYE grizzly bear final rule should require the Service to re-evaluate the delisting of the GYE grizzly bear population and examine this species as a whole across the remaining U.S. grizzly bear ecosystems. This court decision shows USFWS is acting in haste to separate listed species into distinct populations and delisting them. The GYE Grizzly delisting exposes the blatant hypocrisy of this bizarre and reckless strategy that goes against the long term protection of all grizzly bear populations. More

Standing Rock: The Documentary

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THE MOST REVOLUTIONARY ACT

Black Snake Killaz: a No #DAPL Story

Unicorn Riot (2017)

Film Review

The main significance of Black Snake* Killaz is the continuous historical record it provides of the 2016 Standing Rock occupation and blockade of the Dakota Access  Pipeline (DAPL). The occupation drew participation from indigenous supporters all over the world, as well as environmental activists and veterans. It also inspired dozens of support protests in cities around the US.

By engaging in continuous direct action, either placing their bodies in the path of construction equipment, vandalizing it or locking themselves down to it, the Water Protectors succeeded in bring pipeline construction to a total halt.

The Full Scale Military Campaign Launched Against Standing Rock

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Please sign petition to rectify the heavy impact of livestock grazing on public lands

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photo: Western Watersheds Project

PLEASE SIGN THIS PETITION HERE.

SOURCE: Petitions.whitehouse.gov

We the people ask the federal government to Call on Congress to act on an issue:

Livestock Grazing on Public Lands Rectify the Heavy Impact

Created by T.B. on November 23, 2017

Reductions will address ecological problems caused by commercial livestock grazing such as:

● displacement of wildlife, reduction of wildlife populations;
● degradation is occurring to the land;
● transmission of pathogens;
● degradation is occurring to plant communities;
● native wildlife are killed to advance the interests of public lands ranchers;
● livestock are damaging to sensitive wetlands or riparian areas; or
● Ruminant grazing contributes to the nitrogen load in streams as well as nitrous oxide gasses also
a greenhouse gas.

George Wuerthner, author & Exec. Dir. of Public Lands Media, to talk about the impacts of the livestock industry on the West (Wed., 11/1/17 on Wild Horse & Burro Radio)

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Stephen Nash, author of “Grand Canyon for Sale,” on special interests controlling public lands that belong to all Americans.

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painy

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WAN Undercover Investigator Sam Jojola Talks Rhino Horn Trafficking, Irish Gang Under Investigation For Killing White Rhino In French Zoo & Solutions

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By Sam Jojola

Originally posted at WAN

 

In 1990, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Special Agent colleague and I worked in Nevada on a mid-west based suspect offering to sell a Black Rhino horn for $20,000.  In a covert capacity I secured his knowledge and agreed to meet him at a new casino in Las Vegas for the transaction. My colleague and Special Agents from Legacy U.S. Customs leased an adjacent room to the suspect and wired me up.

The horn was genuine and I agreed to purchase it for $20,000.  But only after debating the suspect’s friend who handed me a National Geographic Magazine with an article showing a single Black Rhino horn was worth $25,000 on the black market.  After paying a $1,000 deposit to hold the horn, I promised to return with the balance ($19,000 I never had). I opened the door and my colleague and U.S. Customs Agents entered to detain and fully identify the seller and his two colleagues and seize the horn and the $1,000 deposit.

 

Many weeks later after the suspect was indicted and later pled guilty, the end result was a federal judge assessing the suspect a meagerly fine plus court costs. After all that expenditure of effort, time, and money, not to mention the profit to be made. The judge just orders a fine and court costs for the life of an endangered rhino? They should be worth more alive than dead.

A colleague with another federal agency later quipped that his co-worker had several unpaid parking tickets in his government vehicle glove box that was more than the fine levied in this rhino horn case.

My colleague was shocked at the failure of justice and said it was impossible for the judge to be that stupid.

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Hurricane Warning; Hurricane Irma

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***HURRICANE IRMA UPDATE***

Category 6? If Hurricane Irma Becomes The Strongest Hurricane In History, It Could Wipe Entire Cities Off The Map

Meteorologists have been shocked at how rapidly Hurricane Irma has been strengthening, and they are already warning that if it hits the United States as a high-level category 5 storm the devastation would be absolutely unprecedented. Of course, we are already dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and many experts are already telling us that the economic damage done by that storm will easily surpass any other disaster in all of U.S. history. But there is a very real possibility that Hurricane Irma could be even worse. According to the National Hurricane Center, at 5 PM on Friday Irma already had sustained winds of 130 miles per hour. But it is still very early, and as you will see below, next week it is expected to potentially develop into a category 5 storm with winds of 180 miles per hour or more.

 

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Bonnie Gestring, Northwest Circuit Rider for Earthworks, to talk about mining contamination of U.S. waters, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 6/21/17)

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painy

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TS Radio: “Voices Carry for Animals #142” – HSUS: Leolin Bowen

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***Tune In Tuesday*** On June 20th, 2017 at 7:00 pm CST

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Public Service Commission Hearing on Keystone XL in O’Neill

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After heeding our calls to provide more opportunities for the public to make our concerns heard about the Keystone XL tarsands export pipeline, the Nebraska Public Service Commission will hold a second “public meeting” tomorrow — Wednesday, June 7th (12:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.) in O’Neill, Nebraska. More

GLOBAL WARMING, AN INCONVENIENT LIE

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Threat to wild horses: Public comment needed on Nevada mine that will use over 2 billion gallons of water in 10 years

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This map shows the Gold Bar Mine area, the approximate HMA (in solid red) and HA boundaries(in broken red lines), the approximate Mt. Hope Mine Project area and well field, and the approximate combined Gold Bar Mine and Mt. Hope Mine 10′ water drawdown area (in blue).  The 10′ water drawdown (in blue) effects almost the entire Roberts Mountain HMA.  The 1′ water drawdown will effect a much larger area.  (Streams can dry up with as little as a 1′ water drawdown.)
BE SURE TO LOOK AT ALL 8 MAPS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS ARTICLE.It’s best to write comments in your own words so that the BLM counts each comment as one, instead of counting a thousand similar comments/form letter as only one.  You can read the joint comments submitted by Wild Horse Freedom Federation and The Cloud Foundation below, and a quick summary on pages 5-41 of the DEIS HERE.  Comments are due by April 17, 2017.Some suggested talking points are:

  1. Be sure to ask for the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE.
  2. The Gold Bar mine project will use over 2 billion gallons of water in 10 years.  The BLM needs to take into consideration past (historic), current and likely future droughts and climate change when deciding if they will approve this DEIS.
  3. The Project will negatively impact the water, forage, safety, and “free-roaming” abilities of the Roberts Mountain wild horse herd on the Roberts Mountain HMA, as well as the nearby wild horse herds on Whistler Mountain and Fish Creek Herd Management Areas.
  4. The BLM is minimizing the area of impact by only indicating the 10′ water drawdown, and not the 5′ or 1′ water drawdown.  The 5′ and 1′ water drawdown will cover a much larger area of land.  A stream can dry up with as little as 1′ of water drawdown.
  5. When the nearby Mt. Hope mine becomes operational, it is proposed that it will use an additional 7,000 gallons per minute for the life of the mine (40-50 years).  Mt. Hope mine will use over 3 1/2 billion gallons of water per year and over 36 billion gallons of water in 10 years.
  6. The BLM refers to the Cyanide Management Plan (1992), (noted in Vol. 1A, 1.4.3) and the Solid Minerals Reclamation Handbook (1992), (noted in Vol. 1A, 1.4.4).  These are 25 years old and outdated.  Ask for updates of this Plan and Handbook for this DEIS.
  7. The area of Gold Bar Mine will be expanded by 40,000 acres or 62.5 square miles, creating more environmental degradation.

The DEIS is available online at HERE.   Interested individuals should address all written comments to Christine Gabriel, Project Manager, using any of the following ways:
Fax: (775) 635-4034

Email:  blm_nv_bmdo_mlfo_gold_bar_project_eis@blm.gov

Mail:  Bureau of Land Management

Mount Lewis Field Office

50 Bastian Road

Battle Mountain, NV 89820

Wild Horse Freedom Federation and The Cloud Foundation submitted these joint comments regarding the BLM’s Gold Bar Mine Project:

           

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ENVIROS ATTEMPT TO BLOCK OROVILLE DAM REPAIRS

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Author,
Chuck Frank

 

An aerial photo released Saturday by the California Department of Water Resources shows the damaged spillway with eroded hillside in Oroville, Calif.     William Croyle/California Department of Water Resources via AP

During the first part of this month, there have been environmental concerns over fish that are trapped in pools which then alerted two federal agencies, namely, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), which sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) requesting that the repair on the Oroville Dam be scaled back in order to protect threatened fish.

Yes, it’s the same old song being sung by enviro politicos who now place even fish above the safety of the people who live below the tallest dam in America. After 100,000 plus people were already evacuated last month and are now living in harms way since returning to their homes, fish are still a greater concern than repairing a damaged dam in a timely manner over the safety and welfare of the people? What next, will flora and fauna be added to the fish list?
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WAN Investigator Uncovers Details Of A Presidential Wildlife Legacy

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Best Graphic this Week!

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This graphic by Loudercrowder.com

Security Firm Running Dakota Access Pipeline Intelligence Has Ties to U.S. Military Work in Iraq and Afghanistan

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SOURCE:  desmogblog.com

by Steve Horn

15288546338_1240d57322_oPhoto Credit: Flickrchuck holton

TigerSwan is one of several security firms under investigation for its work guarding the Dakota Access pipeline in North Dakota while potentially without a permit. Besides this recent work on the Standing Rock Sioux protests in North Dakota, this company has offices in Iraq and Afghanistan and is run by a special forces Army veteran.

According to a summary of the investigation, TigerSwan “is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervises the overall security.”

The Morton County, North Dakota, Sheriff’s Department also recently concluded that another security company, Frost Kennels, operated in the state while unlicensed to do so and could face criminal charges. The firm’s attack dogs bit protesters at a heated Labor Day weekend protest.

Law enforcement and private security at the North Dakota pipeline protests have faced criticism for maintaining a militarized presence in the area. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and National Lawyer’s Guild have filed multiple open records requests to learn more about the extent of this militarization, and over 133,000 citizens have signed a petition calling for the U.S. Department of Justice to intervene and quell the backlash.

The Federal Aviation Administration has also implemented a no-fly zone, which bars anyone but law enforcement from flying within a 4-mile radius and 3500 feet above the ground in the protest area. Dallas Goldtooth, an organizer on the scenes in North Dakota with the Indigenous Environmental Network, said on Facebook thatDAPL private security planes and choppers were flying all day” within the designated no-fly zone.

Donnell Hushka, the designated public information officer for the North Dakota Tactical Operation Center, which is tasked with overseeing the no-fly zone, did not respond to repeated queries about designated private entities allowed to fly in no-fly zone airspace.

What is TigerSwan?

TigerSwan has offices in Iraq, Afghanistan, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, India, and Latin America and has headquarters in North Carolina. In the past year, TigerSwan won two U.S. Department of State contracts worth over $7 million to operate in Afghanistan, according to USASpending.gov.

TigerSwan, however, claims on its website that the contract is worth $25 million, and said in a press release that the State Department contract called for the company to “monitor, assess, and advise current and future nation building and stability initiatives in Afghanistan.” Since 2008, TigerSwan has won about $57.7 million worth of U.S. government contracts and subcontracts for security services.

Company founder and CEO James Reese, a veteran of the elite Army Delta Force, served as the “lead advisor for Special Operations to the Director of the CIA for planning, operations and integration for the invasion of Afghanistan and Operation Enduring Freedom” in Iraq, according to his company biography. Army Delta partakes in mostly covert and high-stakes missions and is part of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the latter well known for killing Osama Bin Laden.

One of TigerSwan’s advisory board members, Charles Pittman, has direct ties to the oil and gas industry. Pittman “served as President of Amoco Egypt Oil Company, Amoco Eurasia Petroleum Company, and Regional President BP Amoco plc. (covering the Middle East, the Caspian Sea region, Egypt, and India),” according to his company biography.

“Sad, But Not Surprising”

Investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill told Democracy Now! in a 2009 interview that TigerSwan did some covert operations work with Blackwater USA, dubbed the “world’s most powerful mercenary army” in his book by the same name. Blackwater has also guarded oil pipelines in central Asia, according to Scahill’s book.

Reese advised Blackwater and took a leave of absence from TigerSwan in 2008 in the aftermath of the Nisour Square Massacre, a shooting in Iraq conducted by Blackwater officers which saw 17 Iraqi civilians killed. TigerSwan has a business relationship with Babylon Eagles Security Company, a private security firm headquartered in Iraq which also has had business ties with Blackwater.

Read the rest of this article HERE.
 

More mining pollution and environmental damage for Minnesota?

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mndnr

November 3, 2016

DNR – State Receives Permit to Mine Application and Financial Assurance Proposals from PolyMet

PolyMet has submitted a permit to mine application for its proposed NorthMet project. This is the first nonferrous permit to mine application in the State’s history. This application includes PolyMet’s proposals for financial assurance and the wetland replacement plan. DNR will now start the application review process. This review process will include extensive evaluation of environmental and financial considerations. The application will likely be modified in response to DNR’s review.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The DNR review of the permit to mine application will take many months. The application will be reviewed by a team of DNR technical experts, additional state agencies, local governments, and DNR’s independent expert contractors. The review process looks closely at details of the proposed project to determine whether it is designed to meet state standards, provides appropriate financial assurance, and has incorporated the environmental protections outlined in the Environmental Impact Statement. After DNR completes review of the application and associated documents, DNR will consider which draft permit conditions, if any, should be developed.

PUBLIC COMMENT AND REVIEW PERIOD

If DNR determines that the application, with draft agency conditions, meets all applicable state laws, then DNR will place the draft documents on public notice for review and comment.  DNR will publish additional detail about the public comment process at a later date, including the date and location of any future public informational meetings.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION AND RESOURCES

After the public notice and comment period, DNR will determine whether to hold a pre-decisional contested case hearing. DNR’s decision on whether to hold a pre-decisional contested case hearing decision will be made before the DNR makes a final decision on the permit to mine application.

Permit to mine application requirements can be found in Minnesota Rule 6132.

PolyMet’s permit to mine application, including its financial assurance proposals and the wetland replacement plan will be available by 5:00 p.m. today at: www.mn.gov/polymet (click on the DNR link). 

Laird Lucas (Exec. Dir.) and Talasi Brooks (Staff Attorney) of Advocates for the West, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 9/28/16)

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