Department of the Interior

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Trump Is 'Silencing Civil Servants, Stifling Science'

'Whistleblower' scientist says he was forced out of Interior Dept. role into 'ill-fitting' job

(Newser) - Joel Clement wants you to know he's not a member of the "deep state," or a representative of Big Government. Instead, call him "a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant … a worried citizen"—and now, per his opinion piece Wednesday in the Washington ... More »

Trump's Next Cabinet Pick: Ex Navy Seal From Montana

Ryan Zinke is 'strong advocate for American energy independence'

(Newser) - Montana's only House lawmaker is Donald Trump's choice for interior secretary, transition team officials tell news outlets including Reuters and the Wall Street Journal . Ryan Zinke, a 55-year-old former Navy SEAL Team 6 commander, was first elected to Congress in 2014 and sits on the House Natural Resources... More »

Ohio Fuming Over New Name for Mount McKinley

GOP politicians attack decision, blame President Obama

(Newser) - Alaska Natives are certainly pleased that the mountain formerly known as McKinley is now officially Denali , the name people who, say, live in Alaska have called it for years. But those in Ohio, the home state of 25th president William McKinley, are peeved their man has lost the honor. John... More »

Obama Gives Mount McKinley a New Name

Old battle between Alaska, Ohio apparently comes to an end

(Newser) - Looks like North America's tallest mountain won't be Mount McKinley anymore. President Obama announced today that Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, has renamed it Denali—restoring a name that Alaska Natives and state residents have used for years, Alaska Dispatch News reports. "I think for... More »

New Gulf Leases Could Yield 1B Barrels of Oil

38M acres set for auction

(Newser) - The US is nearly ready to auction off oil and gas drilling leases for up to 38 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico—an area which could yield some 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, the Wall Street Journal reports. The March... More »

Obama to Pick REI Honcho for Interior Secretary

Sally Jewell will be first woman appointed in second term

(Newser) - President Obama will make an unconventional Cabinet pick today, naming REI Equipment Inc. CEO Sally Jewell as his new secretary of the Interior, a source tells the Washington Post . Jewell has had an interesting career path: She started out as an engineer for Mobil Oil, then became a commercial banker,... More »

Ken Salazar Leaving Obama Administration

Interior secretary had recently said he intended to stay

(Newser) - Ken Salazar is stepping down from his post as Interior secretary by the end of March, and returning to Colorado to spend time with his family, according to multiple reports. The move, first reported by the Denver Post , is expected to be officially announced later today. As recently as November,... More »

Feds Launch Urgent Review of Arctic Drilling

Alaska accident renews debate on Shell exploration

(Newser) - An accident involving a Shell drill ship in Alaskan waters has prompted an urgent Interior Department review of oil and gas activities in Arctic waters. The running aground of the Kulluk rig is just the latest in a series of accidents and blunders involving Shell equipment in the region and... More »

A-Bomb National Park Bill Fails

Manhattan Project bill stalls in House

(Newser) - A bill to create a national park at the sites where the first atomic bomb was created has stalled in the House after failing to get a two-thirds majority. Lawmakers voted 237-180 in favor of creating the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, with 112 Republicans concerned about the cost voting... More »

US to Pay Indian Tribes $1B Over Mismanagement

Some disputes over land, resources more than 100 years old

(Newser) - The White House has settled with 41 Indian tribes to the tune of $1.023 billion in disputes over the federal mismanagement of trust funds and resources, reports Indian Country . Some of the disputes are more than 100 years old. It's among the largest financial settlements to Indian tribes... More »

Climate Change Will Snatch West's Dwindling Water

Flow is already down in major rivers

(Newser) - Climate change is going to make the western US an even thirstier place in decades to come, according to a new report from the Interior Department. The report predicts that water flow in major river basins including the Colorado and Rio Grande could drop by up to 20% this century,... More »

Feds: Big Oil Not Using the Leases They Have

Interior Department issues report to push back against complaints

(Newser) - With oil companies and Republicans criticizing the Obama administration for being too slow to issue new offshore drilling permits in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, the Interior Department hit back with a report yesterday revealing that the industry isn’t using the majority of the leases it already... More »

Montana Gov OKs Shooting Endangered Wolves

Brian Schweitzer says gray wolf population has fully recovered

(Newser) - Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer has all but declared open season on gray wolves, ordering wildlife officers not to investigate or prosecute ranchers who shoot the endangered animals to protect their livestock, CNN reports. He’s also directed them to kill entire packs if they endanger the state’s elk or... More »

Walruses Short-Changed on Fed Protection

Endangered tuskers 'low on the totem pole'

(Newser) - The Interior Department has decided that walruses are endangered enough to warrant protection—but it's not going to give it to them. The threat to the Pacific walrus from global warming reducing Arctic sea ice is very real, officials say, but limited government resources mean protection will have to wait... More »

Study: Gulf's Carcinogen Levels Explode 40-Fold

Meanwhile, Obama administration issues new drilling safety rules

(Newser) - Researchers have detected a 40-fold increase in potentially cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons off the coast of Louisiana’s Grande Isle. The study is especially scary because it only measured PAHs that could seep through a biological membrane, the Huffington Post explains. “This is a measure of what would enter... More »

Only 10% of Gulf Oil Cleaned Up

Scientist scolds administration for rosy estimates

(Newser) - Only 10% of the oil that spewed from the Deepwater Horizon well has been "actually removed from the ocean," a leading oceanographer will tell Congress today. Ian MacDonald's testimony throws cold water on a cheerful federal report earlier this month that declared 75% of the oil had either... More »

Judge Blocks Drilling Ban; White House Will Appeal

Affected companies oppose 6-month moratorium

(Newser) - The Obama administration may not impose a 6-month moratorium on deepwater oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal judge in New Orleans ruled today. The White House immediately said it plans to appeal the decision, CNN reports . The Interior Department imposed the ban in the wake of the... More »

Obama Crew Flouts Own Drilling Ban

Waivers and permits still flowing, despite 'moratorium'

(Newser) - President Obama declared a moratorium on new oil drilling permits and environmental waivers two weeks ago, but his administration hasn't actually stopped giving out those permits and waivers. Since the May 14 declaration, it has granted at least seven drilling permits and five environmental waivers, the New York Times reports.... More »

Agency Regulating Oil Rigs Has 'Spotty' Record

Interior Department's MMS doesn't inspire confidence

(Newser) - As the oil spill off Louisiana threatens to become one of the biggest in US history, Pro Publica would like to remind everyone that the federal agency charged with preventing such accidents "has had a spotty record over the past few years." That would be the Department of... More »

Obama to Open New Offshore Drilling

Atlantic drilling to open up first time in 20 years

(Newser) - President Obama plans to clear the way for drilling for oil and gas in new areas off the Atlantic coast, Alaska, and in the Gulf of Mexico, administration officials say. The proposal—to be unveiled today at a joint press conference with Interior Secretary Ken Salazar—keeps intact the moratorium... More »

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