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Showing posts from August, 2017

An Unlikely Ally for Trump's Attack on the Environment?

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The Trump administration and Cadiz company won an unlikely ally for their efforts to cut down a national monument designated by President Obama, roll back environmental protections and ignore science.  Democratic Congressman Tony Cardenas signed a letter promoting the Cadiz company's plans to pump 16 billion gallons of water a year from Mojave Trails National Monument and sell it to Orange County.

Cardenas' letter regurgitates Cadiz talking points defending the company, and opposing Assembly Bill 1000 (AB1000), state-level legislation that would increase scrutiny of the Cadiz water deal to prevent the company from harming natural springs that wildlife depend upon for survival.  It's not clear at first glance why Cardenas would support the Cadiz plan (although he received at least $2,500 in donations from Cadiz). 

Writer Judith Lewis Mernit's wisdom probably sheds the most revealing light on the mentality driving Cardenas' support for Cadiz:   "[T]he persist…

Fight Back Against Potential Cuts to Mojave Trails National Monument

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Although Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke's report to the President recommending significant cuts to a "handful" of national monuments remains secret, many people that appreciate desert wildlands are concerned that Mojave Trails National Monument is on the list.  That is because Congressman Paul Cook encouraged Zinke in June to remove protections from swaths of Mojave Trails  to accommodate the Cadiz company's plans to pump 16 billion gallons of water a year and sell it to an Orange County water district.  The Cadiz company owns a parcel of private land surrounded by the monument.  The proposal to cut the monument would open up a pathway for the company to build a pipeline to transport the water out of the desert; a plan hydrologists are concerned could dry up natural springs across a large portion of the Mojave.
If you are a California resident, please take a stand against this potential cut to Mojave Trails and follow this link to urge your state representatives to…

Paul Cook Twists History in Attack on Desert Monuments

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Representative Paul Cook published an opinion piece in the Desert Dispatch this week defending his recent request to slash monuments in the California desert.  His opinion piece is one of the first public  communications from his office r Harding President Trump's and Secretary of Interior's review of national monuments.  Up until now, Cook has only had private meetings and correspondence with select companies and the Secretary of Interior detailing his plan to cut the monuments down.  We only know about that because someone submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to force the Department of Interior to release Cook's correspondence.

Cook's letter ignores the years of public stakeholder conversation regarding management of our desert public lands, portraying the monuments as midnight decisions that came "out of thin air."  Cook's letter disingenuously characterizes the monuments as the result of "extreme environmental groups" and &q…

Documents Show Destructive Industry Influencing Monument Review

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President Trump and Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke have arbitrarily selected 27 of our national monuments for review, and Zinke is expected to issue recommendations later this week on whether to reduce or eliminate some of the monuments as if they are contestants in some corrupt beauty pageant.  Zinke has already deemed six as worth protecting, citing reasons that could apply to all 27.  The other 21 face an uncertain future, probably driven largely by industry's desire to access and destroy more of our public lands for profit. 

Removing protections from these national monuments likely will spark a legal battle that will determine the future of vast swaths of public lands.  At issue is a simple question: is any President allowed to reduce or eliminate a national monument established by a previous President? If the answer is yes, we undo our promise of sharing millions of acres of protected wildlands with future generations.  Eagerly urging the administration's review of the…