Sunday, July 24, 2016
San Diego sets an example for Mass. on renewable energy
A love note to SanDiego from Boston below. We read that San Diego now has "legally binding" orders to run on renewable energy by 2035. And that is held up as a marvellously wise and powerful step.
The unrealism of the Green/Left never ceases to astound. The fact that a legislature passes a law that something in the future must happen is described as making that prescription "legally binding". But it is binding only in a trivial sense. The past cannot dictate to the future and no legislature is bound by the edicts of a previous legislature. A new legislature can and does reverse the laws of a previous legislature. And so it is with these absurd Greenie "targets". They are just for show. They are not legally binding if a future legislature decides they are inconvenient and chooses to repeal them. They entrench nothing. They are a fantasy
San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer chuckled when he was recently asked to compare his attitude about climate change with the denial displayed by many elected Republicans. Speaking in a beach park after cutting the ribbon for a boardwalk-restoration project, Faulconer noted how California’s droughts, fires, and floods put the state on the front lines of climate change.
“Protecting the environment is not a partisan issue,” he said. “I’ve never viewed it through the lens of what we have right now, but what we’ll have for future generations. You have to start with the premise that sustainability is the right thing.”
Was that a Republican talking Sierra Club? Doing the right thing on sustainability is making this city a national role model of bipartisanship on major environment issues. In December, its city council of five Democrats and four Republicans unanimously mandated that the city be completely run on renewable energy by 2035.
That makes San Diego the largest city in the United States to impose legally-binding municipal targets for renewable energy. Faulconer proposed putting $127 million toward the mandate, through bike and pedestrian improvements, tree planting, energy efficient street lights, water conservation, and trash trucks powered by gas from landfills.
This raises the bar everywhere else, including here in Massachusetts. At this moment, the Legislature is hammering out a groundbreaking energy bill that begins to reduce emissions with hydroelectric power and offshore wind, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh recently spoke at a Beijing summit of cities pledging to cut emissions. But though both the city and state have set goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court recently ruled that the Commonwealth’s targets are legal, there is yet no official path for how to get there.
San Diego shows a way. For years, debates on energy goals came to a standstill over toothless voluntary targets, according to environmental attorney Nicole Capretz. But in 2013, interim San Diego mayor Todd Gloria declared that the city, second only to Los Angeles in solar power capacity, should be a leader on climate change. He asked Capretz to draft a comprehensive climate action plan. Capretz said that the plan had to be enforceable.
The next elected mayor was Faulconer. The coast-loving boater and cyclist shared enough of Capretz’s dream to lobby the business community in ways unimaginable in Washington, D.C., where the US Chamber of Commerce vigorously opposes President Obama’s landmark pollution and greenhouse gas regulations.
In San Diego, the chamber’s president, former mayor Jerry Sanders, said Faulconer urged members to embrace the plan, while giving businesses the flexibility to make adjustments, and to take advantage of the city’s clean tech industry and science expertise.
“Otherwise, we can have federal or state government tell us what to do,” Sanders said. “We chose to embrace this now.”
Faulconer has the soft-spoken manner of Massachusetts’ moderate Republican Governor Charlie Baker. Both say they cannot vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. But on energy, Baker’s commitment to renewables remains unclear. He could learn from Faulconer, who said, “There is no substitute for leadership. Get all the players in the room and don’t let ‘em leave.”
Capretz, who remains a leading climate activist, said, “We still don’t see eye-to-eye on everything, but it turned out to be better to have a Republican mayor sell this to industry and the business community. It eliminated a lot of negativity.”
No negativity can be found in the office of Cody Hooven, the city’s sustainability manager. She is getting calls from all over the world about the renewable plan, including solar and wind powerhouse Germany. “They’re all asking, ‘How are you doing that?’” Hooven said. “We’re saying, why not try for 100 percent? If we don’t try, we’ll never get there.”
It is a question worth asking in Massachusetts. San Diego has thrown down a gauntlet. It is easy to say you will cut emissions. It is another to say how you’ll get there.
More on 2016 being "hottest year on record"
On 21st, I pointed out that the prophecy about 2016 becoming the "hottest" year was a flight of fancy. I put up the actual GISS temperature figures and pointed out that global temperatures were in fact dropping like a stone. Steve Goddard has made a similar point, saying that: "The past four months is the largest four month cooling in the GISS LOTI record. WMO describes this as "2016 warming faster than expected.""
He provides the following graph to ilustrate his point:
UK: Mini ice-age which could freeze the Tyne is on the way, says Newcastle academic
Solar expert Valentina Zharkova warns that the earth is about to be affected by a solar event that will see temperatures plunge
This damp and cold summer may be a sign of things to come with the earth poised to enter a 30-year mini ice-age which may freeze the Tyne, says a world-leading Newcastle academic. Peter McCusker reports.
The sun is in good shape and has a ‘healthy heartbeat’ which will last at least another five billion years, says Prof Valentina Zharkova, of Northumbria University.
Ms Zharkova, a professor in the department of mathematics, physics and electrical engineering, says this regular heartbeat of the sun is subject to predictable fluctuations of its magnetic field, and over the next few years as it enters a lull temperatures, here on earth, will plummet.
This time last year Prof Zharkova announced she had discovered a key solar event which determines magnetic field variations over time.
And she ‘confidently’ predicts we will be heading to another ‘Solar Grand Minima’ in solar cycle 25, beginning in 2020 and lasting until 2053.
During the last such event on the sun between 1645 and 1715 - and known as the Maunder Minimum - people skated on a frozen Thames as the average temperature in England fell by almost 2°C.
Prof Zharkova believes the cool summer we are currently experiencing is a precursor of things to come.
People take shelter from a sudden downpour of rain
For over 400 years people have associated such cooler periods with reduced sun spot activity on the sun’s surface.
Prof Zharkova and her team postulate from their observations of the whole sun that sun spots on the solar surface are caused by the movement of a pair of background magnetic waves across its interior and surface, in both hemispheres.
The magnetic waves start their journey from opposite hemispheres and when they interact with each other on this journey sun spots develop.
The intensity and number of sun spots depends on the amplitude of the magnetic waves when they cross.
We are now entering a period where the sun’s pair of magnetic waves will cross at low amplitudes, beginning with solar cycle 25 in 2020.
And in solar cycle 26, beginning in 2031, we may enter a period of little, or no sunspot activity - and much cooler temperatures - as the pair of magnetic waves fail to cross at any point as they will remain fully separated in the opposite hemispheres of the sun.
Prof Zharkova and her colleagues have been able to simulate this on computer models allowing them to predict future cycles for the next millennium.
Prof Zharkova says her research is ‘the first serious prediction of a reduction of solar activity and upcoming Maunder Minimum that might affect human lives’.
She said her eureka moment came in 2010 when she thought up a way of using existing research to tackle this dilemma.
And many researchers investigating terrestrial oceans and forests, as well as other planets, have come to the similar conclusions about an upcoming Maunder.
Minimum of solar and terrestrial activity and a possible reduction of temperatures on all planets in the solar system.
Prof Zharkova said: “We have now established a mathematical law which others can use to apply to this area of research, and so far we have been able to match our research with proven meteorological records dating back 3000 years to 1000 BC.
“This has given us the confidence to predict what will happen to solar activity in the future decades. This decrease poses a question about expected reduction of the temperature of the planet in the coming years because the sun, as we are confidently predicting, will enter into a grand minimum beginning in 2020 - the first such one since the Maunder Minimum.
“We confidently predict this minimum will last for three cycles (33 years), not as long as the last one, but during this time global temperature may fall by an average of 1.5°C although there will be fluctuations across the globe.”
She continued: “I am absolutely confident in our research. It has good mathematical background and reliable data, which has been handled correctly.
“In fact, our results can be repeated by any researchers with the similar data - daily synoptic maps of full disk magnetic fields - available in many solar observatories, so they can derive their own evidence of upcoming Maunder Minimum in solar magnetic field and activity.”
She went on to say that the Tyne may freeze over, but as it is a lot deeper now than it was back in the 17th Century - due to all of the development on both banks - this is uncertain.
Prof Zharkova’s predictions also fly in the face of much of what is being said and written about global temperatures.
This worldwide movement was crystallised in last year’s Paris Agreement which saw almost all of the nations of the world unite to vow to try and keep temperature rises to less than 2°C by the end of the century.
Prof Zharkova said: “When it comes to controlling the earth’s temperature the sun trumps the work of mankind infinitesimally.
“The sun controls the temperature of all of the planets and anything else is pure fallacy. As the earth’s ice caps have melted so have the ones on Mars, and Jupiter has had more typhoons in the last decade than in any previous period.
“I accept and agree that we should be doing all we can to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as cutting pollution, but the models that are being used to support this idea of manmade global warming are flawed.
Wnter snow scenes on the B6341 near Alnwick Northumberland
“Much of the research is mis-leading, the models downplay solar activity but solar activity is by far and away the key player in any attempt to explain fluctuations in global temperatures.”
She added: “How this reduction of temperature will be offset by global warming and increasing temperatures caused by the technological progress of human civilization remains to be seen.”
Just last week it was reported by NASA that the sun was in ‘cue ball’ mode, with no visible sunspots on its surface, marking its quietest period for a century.
Prof Zharkova explained that during periods of low solar activity the earth is no longer protected as robustly from cosmic rays coming in from across the Universe and these consequently subdue the earth’s temperatures.
“We are beginning to see the change taking pace and the cool weather we are now experiencing is not just limited to the UK. Weather observers across the globe are reporting similar findings,” she said.
When Prof Zharkova unveiled her findings at a National Astronomy Meeting in Wales, last year, it received widespread publicity in the international media.
She told The Journal: “We have been pleased by the reaction and we have helped other people from across the global academic community with their own research into this.”
She added: “We now only have to wait five years to show that our predictions are true.”
Scots offshore wind 'pretty much dead', former minister claims
A former energy minister has claimed "offshore wind in Scotland is pretty much dead" after a legal challenge against four major projects.
A judge upheld RSPB Scotland's challenge to consent for turbines in the Firth of Forth and Firth of Tay.
Brian Wilson said the charity now "hold all the cards" over the schemes, which were to include hundreds of turbines.
The Scottish government said it remained "committed" to renewable energy but wanted to study the ruling.
And Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse said Mr Wilson's comments were "irresponsible, incorrect and ill-informed".
The four projects - Inch Cape, Neart na Gaoithe and Seagreen Alpha and Bravo - were approved by Scottish ministers in October 2014, and could power more than 1.4 million homes.
RSPB Scotland lodged a legal challenge, saying the turbines could have "serious implications" for wildlife, and argued that the government had breached legal requirements when making the original decision by not giving proper consideration to this.
Judge Lord Stewart ruled in favour of the charity, calling the consents "defective", meaning ministers will have to reconsider the planning decisions and address the points put forward by the RSPB's lawyers.
Former Labour MP and UK energy minister Mr Wilson, a longtime critic of the SNP's energy policy, said the legal challenge was an "extremely serious setback".
He said: "On the face of it, offshore wind in Scotland is pretty much dead. The RSPB now hold all the cards.
"They were forced into this comprehensive action because the Scottish government delayed consent and then clustered these four wind farms together, so the RSPB went to court on the basis of cumulative impact.
"What they have to decide is if they want to kill all four schemes or prepare to take a more balanced view, but the ball is in the RSPB's court without a doubt."
Mr Wilson said only the Neart na Gaoithe project had access to subsidies, and as such had been the only one likely to go ahead in the near future, and blamed the Scottish government for not dealing with the case more quickly.
He said: "They took five years to determine that application. They then delayed it further until after the independence referendum to avoid any controversy, and by that time three other applications had stacked up, and they consented all four together.
"If Neart na Gaoithe had been consented separately, then the RSPB probably would not have taken action against it. They could have lived with one, with a kind of balanced policy.
"But understandably once they were faced with four they were dealing with something entirely different, with a very large capacity."
Mr Wilson also said it was difficult to see how the "damning" ruling could be appealed, as it was "so comprehensively critical".
The Scottish government said ministers needed time to study Lord Stewart's extremely detailed ruling before commenting further.
Minister for business, innovation and energy Mr Wheelhouse said the government remained "strongly committed" to offshore wind energy in Scotland.
He added: "Brian Wilson's comments about the future of offshore wind are, in my view, irresponsible, incorrect and ill-informed. The offshore wind energy sector has a very bright future in Scotland - not least in terms of existing and new projects; most notably with the £2.6bn Beatrice Offshore Wind Farm which has reached financial close and is now being constructed using significant input from the Scottish supply chain.
"The Scottish government, the RSPB and renewables developers all recognise the importance of decarbonising our electricity supply and have all made very clear, following Lord Stewart's judgement, that we will work together to ensure delivery of more offshore wind energy projects."
RSPB Scotland has insisted that it is "very much supportive" of renewable energy projects in principle, but only in the right form and place.
Lloyd Austin, the society's head of conservation policy, told Good Morning Scotland that the group would expect "more effective environmental assessment to be done" if the government moves again for consent.
He said: "Renewable energy projects are absolutely needed to address climate change, and the key issue is to get them in the right place, of the right type, and managed in the right way, and to ensure that you have rigorous environmental assessment process to make sure that you do get them in the right place.
"It may be that some development in this area is possible, it may be that they need to be in other areas. The question is that the process of determining where developments take place needs to be rigorous and take into account the impact on wildlife."
Green MSP Andy Wightman said it was "so frustrating" that ministers had not made the decision in line with the rules.
He said: "The framework is in place to make these decisions, and they've failed to make the decision properly.
"The burden is on ministers to make these decisions appropriately and follow due process. Had they done so, the RSPB would not have been in a position to take judicial review - or if they had, they would have lost.
"It's important that ministers pay close attention to this document, identify where they have failed in their decision-making process and are absolutely clear that they're going to improve that process, and make sure that when they come to a judgement on whether to go ahead with these things that it's a competent one that can stand up in court."
Australia: Brisbane's enjoys hottest July day for 70 years
We have indeed had quite a few days of summery warmth. I have been getting around the house in just undershorts. And my poor Mulberry tree out the front has been completely tricked. It is deciduous but has just started to put out its summer foliage: Months too soon. And earlier this year we had a summer that was so cool my Crepe Myrtles failed to blossom. The whole thing is a good reminder of the power of natural variability
Queensland has more than made up for rudely thrusting extra days of winter upon her unsuspecting citizens.
On Saturday, the Sunshine State absolutely lived up to its name and offered the warmest July day in 70 years in Brisbane, matching the previously held record from 1946 when the temperature reached a balmy 29.1 degrees.
It was the peak of a run of unseasonably warm days as a trough passed through southern Queensland dragging warm air down from the north and returning the weather to that we would expect in summer and came on the back of some unseasonably cold weather.
It was warm throughout the south-east with warm July records being smashed all over the place.
The Sunshine Coast bore the brunt of the hot day, reaching 31.4 degrees, beating its previous record of 27.7. On the Gold Coast it got to 29.6, beating its previous record of 26.9. Archerfield, Brisbane Airport and Gold Coast Seaway observation stations all recorded record-breaking temperatures for July.
But before you book a week off to make the most of the warm spell, the Bureau of Meteorology has sad news... things return to "winter" temperatures from Sunday with the mercury tipped to drop to average conditions.
Bureau forecaster Adam Blazak said a change in the wind would bring a change in the temperature. "We will have more of a slight southerly wind direction change with the winds coming slightly more from the south," he said.
"So we won't be getting the hot air being dragged down from the north and that will see temperatures getting back to around average for this time of the year.
"(On Sunday) we are going for 22 and it will stay around that number roughly for most of the week."
The good news is the days will be clear and sunny, so we can all be thankful we are spending winter in Queensland and not somewhere dreadful like Sydney, where a top of 16 is expected on Sunday, or Melbourne where they can only manage a measly 12.
Lawyers Make Millions Off Taxpayers, Endangered Species Act, as Ranchers Try to Live With Rare Bird
Feathers are flying over whether the federal government is overprotecting a rare bird in Colorado, in what critics grouse is an example of lawyers making millions while abusing the Endangered Species Act.
Trial lawyers who collect taxpayer-funded fees under the law file so many suits that they undermine local conservation efforts in Western states, according to government officials, industry advocates, and legal analysts familiar with the situation.
In Colorado, the situation prompted Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, to sue the Obama administration early last year.
Over 25 years, Colorado officials spent more than $40 million to preserve the habitat of a paunchy, ground-dwelling, chickenlike bird known as the Gunnison sage grouse.
Colorado officials worked in partnership with ranchers in Gunnison County, who voluntarily entered into conservation easements on their property that protected the bird while allowing for robust ranching activities.
In the past few years, the Gunnison sage grouse population not only has stabilized but increased in the part of southwestern Colorado where they’re concentrated, local government figures show.
Even so, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service saw fit to list the species as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act in November 2014.
Kent Holsinger, a natural resources lawyer based in Denver, says he sees a perverse set of incentives at work that allow green groups such as WildEarth Guardians, a nonprofit environmental group, to file suits that ultimately work against the bird’s environment and the local community.
Under a section of the Endangered Species Act providing for citizen suits, nonprofit environmental groups may bring litigation against the federal government. U.S. taxpayers often foot the bill for the substantial fees the groups pay to their attorneys.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, the Natural Resources Committee has obtained documents from the Justice Department that show U.S. taxpayers paid out more than $15 million in attorney’s fees over four years to cover the costs of lawsuits brought under the Endangered Species Act.
Some lawyers are paid as much as $500 an hour, the documents show.
Time for Reform?
“We desperately need reforms to the Endangered Species Act,” Holsinger said, adding:
"So long as these litigation provisions are around, it will create openings for habitual abusers of the law like WildEarth Guardians to continuously sue. They are nothing more than a group of trial lawyers who have found a profitable niche to collect attorney’s fees at taxpayer expense and to perpetuate these legal actions that do no good for the environment or for the community as a whole, but they are very good for WildEarth Guardians".
The Gunnison County ranchers entered into agreements with state officials so they could help to preserve the Gunnison sage grouse while obtaining some level of certainty that they wouldn’t be punished for their ranching activities, Holsinger said.
But, he warned, if “radical environmental groups” continue to litigate and put pressure on government agencies to apply more restrictions, especially where public lands are concerned, it could mean ranchers will be forced to sell their property.
“This is about their livelihood,” Holsinger said of the ranchers. “If they are cut back from the status quo, which is a distinct possibility, then their ability to earn a living will be impacted and that means they will have to sell their property, with the most likely purchaser being a developer.”
Erik Molvar, a wildlife biologist with WildEarth Guardians, sharply disagrees with critics of the Endangered Species Act, including the provision for lawsuits, and said he would prefer no major changes.
“Without the ESA, it would be politics as usual and extractive industries would continue to have the right to drive [wildlife] populations into extinction,” Molvar said. “The ESA was created to make decisions based solely on science so politics could not enter into these decisions. This gets us past the political roadblocks to prevent the extinction of rare species.”
In January 2015, WildEarth Guardians and another environmental group, the Center for Biological Diversity, filed separate lawsuits against the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. They argued that the listing of “threatened” for the Gunnison sage grouse doesn’t provide sufficient protection and should be raised to “endangered.”
WildEarth Guardians joined in its suit with Clait Braun, a retired sage grouse researcher with the Colorado Division of Wildlife who since 2000 has operated Grouse Inc., an Arizona-based consulting firm that studies the sage grouse. In the second case, the Center for Biological Diversity joined with the Western Watersheds Project.
A few weeks later, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, filed a lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s Interior Department and the agency’s Fish and Wildlife division in an effort to overturn the “threatened” listing. Gunnison County, which is heavily Democratic, later joined with the governor in the suit.
Colorado Democrats “felt like they had no recourse but to file suit against their own party in Washington, D.C.,” and that “shows just how out of touch the Obama administration is with sound public policy,” Brian Seasholes, director of the Endangered Species Project for the Reason Foundation, said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
“For over two decades now, Gunnison County has been engaged in a very successful effort to boost the sage grouse population, but it appears Fish and Wildlife either failed to properly analyze the facts on the ground or simply ignored what the science said about the bird’s population.”
The “best available science” demonstrates that the Gunnison sage grouse “is not threatened throughout its range,” Hickenlooper’s lawsuit argues, adding:
"The Gunnison Basin population, which comprises the vast majority of the species, is not presently in danger of extinction, nor is it likely to be at risk of extinction in the foreseeable future. In fact, experts cited in [the Fish and Wildlife Service’s] Final Listing Rule estimated that the risk of extinction over the next 50 years is no more than 1 percent. Thus, [the wildlife agency’s] decision to list the Gunnison sage grouse as threatened was arbitrary, capricious, and not in accordance with law".
“The Interior Department’s penalty-based approach to sage grouse conservation is going to harm the bird while Colorado’s approach, which is incentive-based, cooperative, and draws heavily on partnerships, has a proven track record of helping the sage grouse,” Reason Foundation’s Seasholes said.
Paula Swenson, the longtime Democratic chair of the Gunnison Board of County Commissioners, told The Daily Signal that it’s evident to her that the federal wildlife agency did not rely upon sound scientific data in making its determination.
She points out that for almost 20 years now, the Fish and Wildlife Service has said that the survival of the Gunnison sage grouse is dependent upon the viability of the Gunnison Basin population, located primarily in Gunnison County and in a small part of Saguache County.
In total, there are about 5,000 Gunnison sage grouse spread throughout southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, according to federal figures, with about 85 percent residing in Gunnison Basin.
Swenson notes that Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the state agency charged with monitoring and providing science on conservation efforts, has determined that the Gunnison sage grouse population is stable and not threatened in the foreseeable future. Moreover, federal officials at the Fish and Wildlife Service concurred with the state’s findings, Swenson explained in an email:
"They also agree that the efforts of our local government, property owners and partnerships with state and federal agencies have sustained this population. However, since the six satellite populations, which combined only make up about 15 percent of the total population, are not seeing the same sustainability numbers that the Gunnison [River] Basin is, the [Fish and Wildlife Service] chose to list this species as threatened. The [federal agency] systematically divided the species into Gunnison Basin and all other populations instead of looking at the species viability as a whole. The rationale provided was all speculation, not science".
Swenson said she was incredulous at the reasoning behind the federal agency’s decision-making.
“The reasons for listing that were stated to me included [that] if a disease came into the Gunnison Basin it could wipe out the species, or my favorite [reason]: A meteor could crash in the Gunnison Basin and wipe out the species.”
Molvar, the WildEarth Guardian biologist, said he is not convinced the population is stable. The main population is probably less than 5,000, he estimates, the “bare minimum to have a stable population.”
Green Lawsuits Seen as the Problem
John Swartout, a Republican, is a senior policy adviser to Hickenlooper. A bipartisan consensus is emerging in favor of reforming the Endangered Species Act so that it can “live up to its full potential without being so dominated by litigation,” the governor’s adviser said in an interview with The Daily Signal.
The problem is “with the adversarial structure” attached to the law and not U.S. Interior Secretary Sally Jewell or her department, Swartout insisted.
“We have no complaints about the secretary of interior and the people who work with her,” he said, adding:
"She has been great to work with and she’s done a lot to be helpful despite the fact that we filed litigation. This has been a bad situation not of her creation. The governor felt like the landowners had done everything we asked them to do and made a superhuman effort. They really stepped up and did everything that was necessary. This isn’t about us being mad at the [Obama] administration. It’s about us having the backs of the people who tried to do what they could to protect the sage grouse".
The Gunnison sage grouse is a close cousin of the greater sage grouse, which resides in Colorado and 10 other Western states.
In September 2015, the Fish and Wildlife Service declined to list the greater sage grouse as either threatened or endangered under the federal law. But, the Interior Department and Agriculture Department instead have imposed 15 land use amendments covering more than 60 million acres of federal land that restrict activities in the habitat of the greater sage grouse.
Federal bureaucrats are making a deliberate effort to subdivide species that have few or no biological differences, said Ethan Lane, executive director of both the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Public Lands Council, an advocacy group for Western ranchers who hold grazing permits for public lands.
“The fact that these [grouse] populations have been split off into separate species is done to create more opportunities for lawsuits and this speaks to a big part of the problem with the Endangered Species Act,” Lane told The Daily Signal. “In order to keep the machine pumping, the litigation factory culture that has taken over the environmental community has found that it’s easy to split off populations that are not really so different.”
The land use plans, set in motion by Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and USDA’s Forest Service, impose limits on where livestock can graze with the intent of creating buffer zones around the sage grouse’s habitat.
State and local officials in Utah, Idaho, and Nevada filed suit to overturn the land use amendments.
Four environmental groups—WildEarth Guardians, the Center for Biological Diversity, the Western Watersheds Project, and the Prairie Hills Audubon Society—filed a suit against the federal government aimed at closing off what they view as “loopholes” in the amendments.
The Denver-based Western Energy Alliance filed a separate suit challenging oil and gas restrictions in the land use plans.
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Posted by JR at 12:32 AM