Trump Administration to Auction Off 900,000 Acres for Fracking in Nevada – Global Research

trump-administration-to-auction-off-900000-acres-for-fracking-in-nevada-8211-global-research

04-12-18 04:20:00,

The Trump administration plans to auction more than 900,000 acres for oil and gas extraction on the doorstep of Nevada’s only national park and other protected public lands. It would be the largest single lease sale of public lands in the lower 48 states in at least a decade.

“The Trump administration is doubling down on its reckless ‘drill-anywhere’ strategy,” said Patrick Donnelly, Nevada state director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Nevadans cherish our national park and wildlife refuges. It’s disgusting that Trump officials are willing to permanently defile these spectacular places to appease the oil industry.”

The Bureau of Land Management lease sale, scheduled for March 12, 2019, will auction off public land next to Great Basin National Park and Ruby Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, an internationally known migratory waterfowl stopover cherished by birders and hunters.

One parcel comes within a half-mile of South Ruby Lake, where a spill of fracking fluids or a well failure could contaminate one of the Great Basin’s most vibrant aquatic ecosystems.

Great Basin National Park has been designated an International Dark Sky Park in recognition of its remoteness. The area surrounding the park is undisturbed except for a few multigenerational ranches.

The plan threatens imperiled wildlife, including greater sage grouse, since the massive lease sale includes hundreds of thousands of acres of important grouse habitat. The sale also covers tens of thousands of acres of designated critical habitat for the federally protected desert tortoise and parcels adjacent to springs harboring rare native fish, including the threatened Railroad Valley springfish.

“Every time the BLM invites the oil and gas industry to drill and frack sage-grouse habitat, the grouse moves closer to extinction,” said Kelly Fuller, energy and mining campaign director for Western Watersheds Project. “The BLM needs to stop leasing sage-grouse habitat, period.”

The BLM deferred roughly 400,000 acres of sage-grouse habitat from an October auction to the March sale in response to a federal court order, stemming from a lawsuit filed by the Center, Western Watersheds and Advocates for the West.

“The BLM is doing the absolute minimum to claim it’s complying with the court order,” Donnelly said. “Meanwhile the agency is rushing ahead with the illegal action that prompted the lawsuit in the first place,

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Trump Administration Approves Harmful Airgun Blasting in Atlantic – Global Research

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02-12-18 03:01:00,

The Trump administration today approved five permits that allow harm to whales, dolphins and other animals so companies can search for oil off the Atlantic Coast using loud seismic airgun blasts. Allowing these exploration activities from Delaware to Florida is the first step toward opening the Atlantic to new oil drilling, as the administration proposed in January. 

“The Trump administration is giving the oil industry permission to launch a brutal sonic assault on North Atlantic right whales and other wildlife,” said Kristen Monsell, ocean program legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “These airgun blasts will injure and kill marine animals, and are the gateway to opening the East Coast to offshore drilling and toxic oil spills. We’ll fight to protect endangered right whales from these deafening blasts and the drilling and spilling that could come next.”

The announcement comes following the death of at least 20 endangered North Atlantic right whales since April 2017, and years of population decline. Scientists estimate that the population now contains only 411 animals.

The permits allow the firing of seismic airguns from ships every 10 seconds, 24 hours a day, for weeks at a time, at a noise level that would rupture a human eardrum. More than 220 municipalities along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts have formally opposed oil and gas drilling and seismic airgun blasting.

Shortly before leaving office, the Obama administration denied these seismic applications, partly because of their harmful impact on right whales and other marine mammals. But in May 2017, the Trump administration revoked that denial and announced it was reconsidering the permits.

“It’s just so sad to see whales and dolphins acoustically attacked in the search for oil we shouldn’t be drilling anyway,” Monsell said. “We need to protect the Atlantic, not let industry destroy it.”

In 2015, 75 scientists found that opening the Atlantic Ocean to seismic airgun exploration “poses an unacceptable risk of serious harm to marine life.” The scientists also warned of “significant, long-lasting, and widespread” harm to fish and marine mammal populations should the blasting proceed.

The seismic blasts, which can reach more than 250 decibels, can cause hearing loss in marine mammals, disturb essential behaviors such as feeding and breeding over vast distances,

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Trump Administration Siding With Former Obama Aide at U.N. to Protect Industry Profits

Trump Administration Siding With Former Obama Aide at U.N. to Protect Industry Profits

07-08-18 03:03:00,

The Trump administration, fresh off its battle against breastfeeding at the United Nations, is once again pressuring countries to revise a U.N. public health resolution, this time focused on tuberculosis.

The U.S. is seeking to remove language asserting the legal right for developing countries to override drug industry patents and license low-cost versions of otherwise expensive TB medicines, arguing over the wording of a draft declaration for a high-level meeting on tuberculosis scheduled to take place in September.

But in this effort, the administration has an unlikely ally: a former Obama administration senior adviser who has criticized Trump.

Josh Black was the White House director for U.N. and Multilateral Affairs under Barack Obama in 2016. A career diplomat and sanctions negotiator, he served in the State Department under three presidents, but quit this January amid “growing disillusionment” with the Trump administration.

Black now works as the point person at the U.N. for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, the nation’s main drug industry lobbyist. And the U.S. meddling on the tuberculosis declaration aligns with PhRMA’s stated desire to protect corporate patents.

It’s not exactly surprising to see continuity among Democratic and Republican presidents on drug patents. The Obama administration repeatedly fought nongovernmental organizations over access to affordable drugs in the developing world, advocating for higher prices and pressuring poorer countries to stop creating generics. “This isn’t something unique to the Trump administration,” said Leonardo Palumbo, an advocacy manager with Médecins Sans Frontières, which first raised concerns about the TB resolution.

The famously loyal Trump operating hand in hand with someone who worked for his heated rival Obama and condemned his leadership is an anomaly. In the rarefied world of global pharmaceutical profits, however, it’s just par for the course.

The Trump administration courted controversy last month when the New York Times reported that it opposed a resolution supporting breastfeeding at the World Health Assembly. The U.S. reportedly threatened countries with trade sanctions and withdrawal of military aid if they introduced the resolution, and later sought to soften the resolution’s text. The aggressive action aligned with the interests of the $70 billion infant formula industry,

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Trump Administration To Test Biometric Program To Scan Faces Of Drivers

Trump Administration To Test Biometric Program To Scan Faces Of Drivers

08-02-18 12:26:00,

Authored by Derrick Broze via ActivistPost.com,

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection is preparing to launch a pilot program to scan the faces of drivers and passengers at Anzalduas Port near McAllen, Texas.

On Thursday the U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced plans for a new pilot program that will test out biometric facial recognition technology as part of an effort to identify fugitives or terror suspects. The Austin-American Statesman reported on the announcement:

Thanks to quantum leaps in facial recognition technology, especially over the past year, the future is arriving sooner than most Americans realize. As early as this summer, CBP will set up a pilot program to digitally scan the faces of drivers and passengers — while they are in moving vehicles — at the busy Anzalduas Port of Entry outside of McAllen, the agency announced Thursday.

The Texas-Mexico border is being used as the testing grounds for the technology. The results of the pilot program will be used to help roll out a national program along the entire southern and northern borders. The Statesman notes that the Department of Energy hired researchers at Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory to help overcome the difficulties of using facial recognition technology on moving vehicles. The researchers developed a method for combating window tinting and sun glare which can make a vehicle’s windows impenetrable to cameras. The facial recognition technology being developed for the pilot program will be capable of identifying the driver, front passengers, and the passengers riding in the back.

The CBP currently operates facial recognition exit programs at almost a dozen international airports in the United States. Colleen Manaher, the CBP’s executive director of planning, program analysis and evaluation, told the Statesman that travelers have been accepting of the technology and noted that “we can thank the Apples and the Googles for that.”

Although the CBP claims implementing facial recognition technology could eventually eliminate the need for passports, boarding passes and other travel documents, the technology is without a doubt an invasion of privacy. Both the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Georgetown University’s Center on Privacy and Technology have called for further investigation into the potential dangers of a massive facial recognition apparatus.

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