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Earthweek: Diary of a Changing World

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Week ending Friday, September 25, 2020


Summer Melt

Arctic sea ice melted to its second-smallest expanse on record on Sept. 15, covering only 1.44 million square miles around the North Pole, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. Only during the summer of 2012 did the polar ice cap shrink farther. And...

Changes at the top at the Bureau of Land Management

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William Perry Pendley is out as the director of the Bureau of Land Management.

The United States District Court for the District of Montana issued a decision that enjoins Pendley from exercising authority as the director of the BLM. The Court declared that Pendley served unlawfully as the acting director for the BLM for 424 days.

On Sept. 25, chief district judge Brian Morris of the U.S. District Court of Montana ruled against Pendley in a 34-page decision, stating that Pendley’s unconfirmed appointment violates the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, which limits how long a temporary official can fill a vacant federal position without Senate confirmation.

“[Pendley’s] ascent to...

Society for American Archaeology protests BLM movement in Chaco Culture Region

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In a letter to the Bureau of Land Management’s New Mexico State Office dated Sept. 25, the Society for American Archaeology expressed its opposition to the BLM moving forward with a new Resource Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement for the sale of oil and gas extraction leases in the Mancos Shale area (northern New Mexico) in the Chaco Culture region. The SAA is a consulting party to the BLM process, and our Mancos Shale Task Force has been involved from the beginning.

Specifically, the SAA calls BLM’s attention to the plan’s serious shortcomings:

• Even the best management option presented would still fail to provide adequate protection for the heritage...

Gallup veteran honored in #StillServing campaign

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Gallup veteran Christian Roman’s volunteer work in the local community recently earned him recognition in the national Veteran of Foreign Wars #StillServing campaign.

The campaign honors veterans who continue to serve in their communities after active duty. A patrolman with the New Mexico State Police, Roman volunteers his time serving food and eating with veterans, reading and singing to veterans at the care shelter, conducting food drives for homeless veterans and serving food at local shelters and pantries.

Roman’s favorite part about being a patrol officer is participating in community events like First Responders Night Out and Shop with a Cop where he can get to know the...

U. S. Dept of Interior honors Navajo energy company

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FARMINGTON — The Navajo Transitional Energy Company was recognized for exemplary mining and reclamation by the U. S. Dept. of Interior Sept. 29.

The department gave NTEC it’s highest honor for activities that went above and beyond reclamation requirements to achieve superior   results, reworking marginal, legacy reclamation sites to create a stable landscape, ultimately allowing the land to be returned to a condition better than the one in which they found it.

NTEC is the steward of the nearly 33,000 acre Navajo Coal Mine on the Navajo Indian Reservation. Traditional piecemeal reclamation began at the mine in 1970. When NTEC, a Navajo-owned company, purchased the mine in 2013 they...

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