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Power struggles in Bolivia as gas drilling threatens national parks

Power struggles in Bolivia as gas drilling threatens national parks

In the heart of Bolivia, the Tariquía reserve faces upheaval as the government pursues gas reserves, igniting conflict and economic uncertainty.

Thomas Graham reports for The Guardian.

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Interior Department delivers a blow to giant open-pit mine near two national parks
Photo by Joris Beugels on Unsplash

Interior Department delivers a blow to giant open-pit mine near two national parks

A road critical to operating a proposed open-pit mine in a remote part of Alaska hit a new hurdle Friday when the Biden administration issued a finding that the road could threaten Alaska Native communities and their lifestyle more than previously estimated.

Interior Department delivers a blow to giant open-pit mine near two national parks
Photo by Joris Beugels on Unsplash

Interior Department delivers a blow to giant open-pit mine near two national parks

A road critical to operating a proposed open-pit mine in a remote part of Alaska hit a new hurdle Friday when the Biden administration issued a finding that the road could threaten Alaska Native communities and their lifestyle more than previously estimated.

coal power energy emissions pollution
Image by Benita Welter from Pixabay

EPA overrules Texas plan to reduce haze from air pollution at national parks

Inside Climate News reporter Martha Pskowski writes that critics call the state’s plan, which rejected a request to cut sulfur emissions at coal plants, a “do nothing” strategy. The EPA now wants six power plants to slash emissions by 80,000 tons.

In a nutshell:

Environmental groups, led by the National Parks Conservation Association, are urging state and federal regulators to address air pollution at national parks through the EPA's Regional Haze Rule. While Texas submitted an initial plan, it was deemed inadequate by the EPA, leading to proposed strategies including emission reductions from major coal plants. The debate continues over reducing pollution and protecting iconic parks in Texas, such as Guadalupe Mountains and Big Bend.

Key quote:

“Everyone tells you to go outside and get some fresh air,” says Cristina Ramirez, a participant in the Texas Young Leaders Advocacy Council. “But what happens when the places that you’re supposed to get outside are not really safe from the effects of air pollution?”

The big picture:

The burning of coal releases harmful pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter into the air, which can lead to respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis. These pollutants also contribute to the formation of smog and haze, reducing visibility and exacerbating respiratory issues. In addition, coal-fired power plants emit toxic heavy metals like mercury, which can contaminate water bodies and enter the food chain, posing risks to neurological development and overall health.

Read the article at Inside Climate News.

Brian Bienkowski notes that swapping out coal energy for solar would prevent 52,000 premature deaths in the United States every year.

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national parks climate change
Yosemite National Park sunrise. (Credit: Derrick Z. Jackson)

National Parks' grandeur degraded by global warming

If there is anywhere in the nation that holds the promise to inspire unified action on climate change, it is the national parks.

My window into global warming ruining a rite of summer came 16 years ago.

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Biden creates two national monuments
Ken Lund/Flickr

Biden creates two national monuments in the Southwest

The Spirit Mountain area in Nevada and Castner Range in Texas will be off limits to development.
Utah lawsuit threatens Antiquities Act

John Leshy: Utah wants to disable the law that led to the creation of four of its magnificent National Parks

A lawsuit all but invited by the country’s chief justice threatens one the most consequential authorities granted to presidents by Congress.
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