"Seeking to cut its workforce in the new year, the National Park Service is offering its employees voluntary buyout packages as an incentive to get some of them to retire early."
"When John Muir helped establish the National Park Service, he argued that such parks were vital to help people unplug from the world. 'Break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods,' Muir was quoted as saying in 1915. But these days at Yosemite National Park, hikers to Half Dome are likely to encounter people talking on cell phones as they climb to the top."
Long-standing disputes over exploitation of public lands bubble over as the Trump administration advances campaign promises to ease restrictions on energy development. A special TipSheet, part of our 2018 Journalists' Guide to Energy & Environment, has resources for covering public lands-related issues as they play out in the coming year.
"The Trump administration moved Friday to renew leases for a copper and nickel mining operation on the border of Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, reversing a decision made in the final weeks of Barack Obama’s tenure in office."
"The glittering diamonds of the Milky Way over the Sawtooth National Recreation Area will be preserved for future stargazers, as the International Dark-Sky Association on Monday approved the nation’s first dark sky reserve."
"The would-be developer of the widely opposed Pebble Mine copper and gold project in salmon-rich southwestern Alaska announced on Thursday it will file its first application for a permit."
"President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday instructing his deputies to devise “a strategy to reduce the Nation’s reliance on critical minerals” that are largely imported and used to produce everything from smartphones to weaponry."
"President Trump on Wednesday was poised to sign the new tax bill, passed by Congress, which lifts a decades-old ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in northeastern Alaska. ... Will exploration begin immediately? No. Both supporters and opponents say it could be years before the first lease sale, a precursor to any drilling."
"A coalition of nearly 20 environmental and Native American tribal groups sued the Trump administration on Tuesday, challenging its delay of a rule limiting emissions of the powerful greenhouse gas methane from oil and gas drilling operations on federal lands."
"When the Zortman Landusky gold and silver mine, located upstream from Montana’s enormous Fort Belknap reservation, went bankrupt in 1998, the cost of the cleanup fell on the US taxpayer. The costs keep growing."