Instead of canceling Obama land grab, Trump admin scales it back

By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Monday he has recommended that President Donald Trump reduce the size of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah – a move that drew quick fire from conservationists but was supported by mining and drilling interests.

The 1.35 million acre (5,463 square kms) area, designated by former President Barack Obama during his final days in office and named for its iconic twin buttes, is the first of 27 national monuments to be reviewed by the Trump administration as part of a plan to increase development on federal lands.

“My job is to make sure that I … reflect the concerns of Utah, and reflect the concerns of the taxpayers and the public who own the lands, and I think we’ve done that,” Zinke told reporters in a teleconference about his interim recommendation sent to Trump on Saturday. Zinke toured Utah for four days before making the recommendation.

His report said that the Antiquities Act, used by past presidents to declare monuments, should cover the “smallest area compatible” with protecting important sites.

“Therefore… the Secretary of the Interior recommends that the existing boundary of the (Bears Ears) be modified to be consistent with the intent of the act.”

Rather than designating a vast monument, as Obama did, “it would have been more appropriate to identify and separate the areas that have significant objects to be protected to meet the purposes of the Act,” Zinke’s report said.

More study is necessary to determine how much smaller Bears Ears should be, Zinke said, and that decision will not be made until all of the 27 monuments are reviewed.

Jamie Williams, president of The Wilderness Society, said Zinke’s recommendation was “nothing less than an attack on the future of all American monuments, parks and public lands,” and was “against the wishes of the overwhelming majority of Americans.”

A public comment period that closed in late May generated hundreds of thousands of comments, with the majority expressing hope that monuments like Bears Ears remain protected.

Zinke also recommended that tribes be allowed to co-manage “cultural areas” within the resized monument – a nod to Native Americans who had lobbied for protections for the territory – and that Congress review conservation policies in the area.

His recommendation to Trump set the tone for the administration’s broader review, triggered by an executive order in April.

Trump had argued that previous administrations “abused” their right to designate monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906 and put millions of acres of land, mainly in western states, off limits to drilling, mining, logging and ranching without adequate input from locals.

The review is likely to add fuel to a heated national debate over Washington’s role in America’s wildest spaces. Environmentalists and tribal groups support federal oversight, but many state political leaders, conservatives and industry groups say the lands should generate money for business, creating jobs, or yielding revenue for education and other public services.

While the land encompassed by the Bears Ears monument is not believed to contain huge amounts of coal, oil or gas, several other monuments on Zinke’s review list do – making the Bears Ears decision symbolically important to industry groups.

Kathleen Sgamma, president of the Western Energy Alliance, representing oil and gas companies, said Zinke’s approach was sensible. “It’s clear that Bears Ears was an overreach, and was much larger than necessary to protect cultural resources.”

 

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Dan Grebler)

 

Sign here to Stop Agenda 21!

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To my U.S. Senators and Representatives:

Agenda 21 must be abolished at all costs.

Agenda 21 is a land use planning mechanism developed by the United Nations to guide national and local policymakers in creating so-called “sustainable development.”

It was written by foreign nations where people are property, for foreign nations where people are property. It does not recognize, and if fact detests, your right to own a home, drive a car or have private property. It achieves the phony goal of “sustainable development” by declaring much of the United States off-limits to human use.

Even worse, the federal government is spending your tax dollars to promote it, through the State Department and EPA. Congress doesn’t want you to know that.

It does not recognize private property rights, restrictions on government abuse of eminent domain or other restrictions on government power Americans enjoy under the United States Constitution.

It is radical environmentalism in its purest form, a guttural hatred of humanity expressed in international policy jargon. Sustainable development is the new label they slapped over the old, faded word ‘socialism’ when it became too ugly to use.

Incorporating U.N guidelines into their local planning authority is just their way of sneering down their noses at neighbors they consider inferior. It’s typical abusive liberal arrogance, and it’s targeting your right to own property, a home and a car.

That is why I am joining thousands of other supporters of Americans For A Better Economy in directing you to co-sponsor and vote for legislation:

1) Abolishing the State Department’s,which funds and coordinates with the U.N.’s designated Agenda 21 “focal point.”

2) Abolishing the EPA, which funds and coordinates with the U.N.’s designated Agenda 21 “focal point.”

3) Prohibiting any and all Federal agencies and employees from carrying out activities intended to comply with Agenda 21 directives.

I await your written response.

Exclusive: Fidelity may back climate resolutions, a milestone for activists

By Ross Kerber

BOSTON (Reuters) – Fidelity Investments may support shareholder proxy proposals calling on companies to report on sustainability matters this year, a major shift by the Boston asset manager as climate activists gain more traction at large U.S. corporations.

While Fidelity will generally vote as company managers recommend on environmental or social issues, “Fidelity may support shareholder proposals calling for reports on sustainability, renewable energy and environmental impact issues,” states a new section of its proxy voting guidelines.

The guidelines were put in place in January for this spring’s annual meeting season and have not previously been reported.

Fidelity spokeswoman Nicole Goodnow said Fidelity’s new policy comes as client interest grows in how companies approach environmental, social and governance issues.

Other big fund companies including BlackRock Inc <BLK.N> and State Street Corp <STT.N> have also lent support lately to calls for U.S. companies to account for how climate change could affect their business.

Shareholders passed such resolutions at Occidental Petroleum Corp <OXY.N> and at utility holding company PPL Corp, <PPL.N> this month, and a high-profile test is due at Exxon’s annual meeting on May 31.

Fidelity’s new language marks a milestone since the family-controlled Boston fund manager, the fourth-largest U.S. fund firm with about $2.1 trillion under management, had given little indication its climate stance was also changing.

During the last two proxy seasons Fidelity funds opposed or abstained on every one of 30 shareholder proposals related to climate questions at U.S. companies, according to researcher Proxy Insight. BlackRock had a similar record but made clear in March that climate risk would be a top priority in its outreach to companies this year.

The new stance by the Boston firm shows “Fidelity doesn’t want to be sidelined from some of the most consequential decisions being made on climate risk,” said Shanna Cleveland, a director at Ceres, an advocacy group in Boston that helped coordinate the resolutions.

Filings that will show the fund managers’ votes are not due for months. Fidelity’s change may not have a major impact at Exxon because its funds following the new policy own about 17 million shares or about 0.4 percent of the company, ranking it 19th among investors.

Goodnow declined to say how Fidelity will vote at Exxon.

Fidelity also recently created an investment office to follow environmental, social and governance issues and signed on to the United Nations-backed Principles for Responsible Investment. Signatories pledge to consider environmental, social and governance factors and to seek disclosures.

(Reporting by Ross Kerber; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Trump advisers likely to meet in May on Paris climate pact

UNClimateButton2By Timothy Gardner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Trump administration officials will likely meet in May to reach a final decision on whether the United States should stay in the Paris climate deal, after holding an initial meeting on Thursday at the White House, an administration source said.

The group of advisers, which includes Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and national security adviser H.R. McMaster, was on track to make the decision before a Group of Seven summit on May 26, the source said.

President Donald Trump made canceling the Paris agreement part of his 100-day plan for energy policy. He later said he was open to staying in the pact if Washington got better terms.

Tillerson, the former head of Exxon Mobil Corp and Perry have said the country should remain in the agreement. McMaster shares that view, a source outside the administration said.

Opponents of the pact include Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt, the former attorney general of oil-producing Oklahoma, and White House chief strategist Steve Bannon.

Nearly 200 countries struck the Paris agreement to limit climate change by cutting carbon dioxide emissions and making investments in clean energy.

Many companies such as BP Plc and Microsoft Corp have urged the United States to stay in the agreement to protect their competitiveness.

In addition, a group of nine Republican lawmakers urged Trump to stick to the pact, but to weaken the U.S. pledge to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Representative Kevin Cramer of oil-producing North Dakota and eight other Republican House of Representatives members sent a letter to Trump urging him to use the country’s “seat at the Paris table to defend and promote our commercial interest, including our manufacturing and fossil fuel sectors.”

If the United States is to stay in the 2015 agreement, Washington should present a new emissions cutting pledge that “does no harm to our economy,” said the letter from Cramer, who advised Trump on energy and climate during his presidential campaign.

Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, had pledged a 26 percent to 28 percent cut in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 levels, by 2025. Most scientists say the world needs to curb greenhouse gas emissions to limit the effects of climate change, including rising seas, deadly heatwaves, and severe storms and droughts.

The Republican lawmakers also said Washington should retain its seat on the Green Climate Fund, which aims to tackle climate change in poor countries, but not make additional transfers to it. Obama pledged $3 billion to the fund in 2014, and gave $1 billion to it, with the last $500 million payment coming in his last days as president.

(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio and Jonathan Oatis)

Kill the UN Climate Scheme!

My Personal Message to President Trump!
Keep Your Promise!
KILL THE U.N.’S PARIS CLIMATE SCHEME!

President Trump,

You were elected on a promise to take the United States completely OUT of the United Nation’s Paris climate scheme.

But now your daughter and son-in-law, who serve as your senior advisers, are telling you to keep the U.S. in the U.S. scheme.

They are joined by Rick Perry and Rex Tillerson, who as a corporate CEO lobbied the U.S. Senate to support this globalist nonsense.

I know the scales are tipped in favor of you keeping the U.S. in the U.N. Paris climate scheme…

…but you made a promise!

Even climate researchers who believe in so-called “man-made global warming” say this agreement will have no impact on climate.

So why did Barack Obama’s advisers create this scheme?

In the words of Obama’s science czar John Holdren, their goal is to “de-develop the the United States.”

The U.N.’s Paris climate scheme isn’t designed to bring down temperatures.

It’s designed to bring down the United States.

Keep your promise!

Remove the United States as a signatory to the Paris agreement, and cease all funding in and support of the United Nations!

Sens. Paul, Heller Reintroduce the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act

U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dean Heller (R-NV) reintroduced the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act to restore power to states to manage endangered and threatened species found only within their borders. Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) has introduced a companion bill in the U.S. House.  

The bill would also require congressional approval before a species could be listed as endangered or threatened, better protect individual private property rights, and enable states such as Kentucky to address the threats black vultures pose to livestock and Nevada to address the threats ravens pose to sage grouse populations. 

“We can better protect endangered species by empowering state leaders to implement a strategy more tailored to their specific circumstances,” said Sen. Paul. “Instead of continuing Washington’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to regulation, this bill puts local needs first and guards against bureaucratic overreach.” 

“Like all Nevadans, I know how important it is that we be good stewards of wildlife and their habitats,” said Sen. Heller. “That’s why I’ve been working with Governor Sandoval and the Nevada delegation to prevent the listing of the sage grouse in order to protect both the bird and Nevada’s economy. Nevadans – not Washington bureaucrats – know how to best protect the sage grouse, and the Endangered Species Management Self-Determination Act affirms that.” 

You can find a one-page summary of the bill HERE, and you can read it in its entirety HERE.

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