TOP News

Politics: Trump sold off the Arctic Refuge — Congress must end this risky boondoggle

Prince Harry files court claim over UK police protection

  Prince Harry files court claim over UK police protection LONDON (AP) — Prince Harry has filed a claim for a judicial review against the British government’s decision not to let him personally pay for police protection while in the U.K. The Duke of Sussex’s legal representative said Saturday that Harry wants to bring his children Archie and Lilibet to visit his home country from the U.S. but that is too risky without police protection. The representative said Harry wanted to fund the police protection himself. His private security team in the U.S. doesn't have adequate jurisdiction abroad or access to U.K. intelligence information, they said.

Trump sold off the Arctic Refuge — Congress must end this risky boondoggle © getty Trump sold off the Arctic Refuge — Congress must end this risky boondoggle

One year ago today, President Biden issued an executive order to pause all oil and gas activities in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The order provided a temporary reprieve from fossil fuel development, but Congress must act now to end the Trump drilling program for good.

Two weeks before Biden made this announcement, the first-ever lease sale of the Arctic Refuge revealed what everyone knew all along: there was never any sound fiscal argument for selling off this land. On Jan. 6, 2021, as insurrectionists stormed the Capitol, the Bureau of Land Management auctioned off drilling rights for about 500,000 acres of the refuge's coastal plain. The sale netted the federal treasury a paltry $6 million dollars in revenue. That's $12 an acre.

Trump Spent Weekend Stewing That ‘Wiseguy’ DeSantis Won’t Kiss His Ring

  Trump Spent Weekend Stewing That ‘Wiseguy’ DeSantis Won’t Kiss His Ring Former President Donald Trump spent the long MLK Day weekend in reflection but not on anything related to the civil rights icon. Instead, he was fixated on one burning question, according to two people familiar with the matter: “Is he being a wiseguy?” The “wiseguy” was none other than Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a fellow Sunshine State resident and Republican Party star who just last week had gently dinged part of Trump’s record as president.

Let that sink in. Twelve dollars an acre for land that has been protected by the federal government since 1960; for land that has sustained and been stewarded by Indigenous peoples since time immemorial; for land that the vast majority of Americans has repeatedly said should be safeguarded as a wildlife refuge, not turned into an industrialized oil field.

Congress has the power to reverse this disastrous Trump-era policy. While slimmed down from its original version, the Build Back Better Act still makes a historic investment in addressing climate change and, crucially, would revoke all current leases and repeal the Arctic Refuge oil program. Now that the House has passed its version of the bill, it is imperative that the Senate approves this measure. Since drilling proponents used budget reconciliation in 2017 to launch the oil and gas leasing program, this process offers a procedurally justifiable vehicle to spare the Arctic Refuge from fossil fuel development-and to stop this risky financial investment from going forward.

New York attorney general's office says it has identified numerous 'misleading statements and omissions' in Trump Org. financial statements

  New York attorney general's office says it has identified numerous 'misleading statements and omissions' in Trump Org. financial statements New York Attorney General Letitia James' office says it needs the testimony of former President Donald Trump and two of his adult children to determine their knowledge of what investigators say they have identified as numerous "misleading statements and omissions" in tax submissions and financial statements used to obtain loans. © Spencer Platt/Getty Images People walk by Trump Tower on September 26, 2019 in New York City.

The only reason the Arctic Refuge leasing program became part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 was that drilling proponents claimed that it would bring in revenue to offset the bill's massive tax cuts. Even by their own estimates, though, the promised amount paled in comparison to the budget-draining impact of the tax plan. According to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and others, the leasing program would generate just over $1 billion-a miniscule fraction of the $1.5 trillion in tax cuts.

Yet Murkowski knew that even this small sum represented a wildly inflated estimate. She admitted as much when, in 2019, the House Appropriations Committee passed a measure that would require minimum bids to ensure the program generated the projected revenue. Murkowski balked, charging that such a provision would "kill exploration" in the Arctic Refuge, while Trump officials argued that the measure would set "unnecessary and unrealistic restrictions" on lease sales. From the outset, the false promises of fiscal responsibility were nothing more than a cover to push through a hugely unpopular and environmentally reckless drilling plan.

Steve Bannon's Supreme Court?

  Steve Bannon's Supreme Court? For anyone who listens to Bannon’s podcasts, the rhetoric from Gorsuch, Alito and Thomas should sound very familiar.Coldly ignoring the ongoing devastation of the COVID pandemic, that decision struck down the Biden administration's rule requiring businesses employing 100 people or more to act to stop the spread of the virus.

Indeed, it would be impossible to itemize or account for all that would be lost if fossil fuel development proceeded on the Arctic Refuge coastal plain. A biological nursery of transnational and global significance, this area nurtures an incredible community of life. Millions of birds migrate from across the United States and around the world, seeking sustenance and a place to replenish their populations. The coastal plain also provides denning sites for polar bears, all the more critical as climate change dramatically alters Arctic lands and waters. The list of species could go on, but the simple question remains: can a dollar value be assigned to the loss of life that would ensue, to the devastation of ecological communities that live and thrive in the coastal plain?

The monetary calculation of value also disregards Indigenous rights to justify colonial extraction. For thousands of years, the Gwich'in people, who live in communities dotted across northeastern Alaska and northwestern Canada, have relied upon and cared for the Porcupine caribou herd. Currently numbering over 200,000 animals, this herd migrates to the Arctic coastal plain to have their young. Because this land has been shielded from development, the Porcupine herd is one of the only caribou herds in North America not currently undergoing a catastrophic decline. But, if the caribou calving grounds ever became an oil field, the impact on the Porcupine herd-and on Gwich'in culture, identity, and food security-would be incalculable. It would amount, as Gwich'in leaders have testified, to cultural genocide.

Analysis: Supreme Court ruling is a bitter legal and personal blow to Trump

  Analysis: Supreme Court ruling is a bitter legal and personal blow to Trump The Supreme Court's refusal to block the release of Trump White House documents to the House January 6 committee represents a huge defeat for the ex-President's frantic effort to cover up his 2021 coup attempt. © Evan Vucci/AP The major blow on Wednesday -- yet another instance of the courts rebuking Donald Trump's attempts to use them for his own political gain -- will allow the committee to go even deeper inside his West Wing and understand what was going on before and during his mob's attack on the US Capitol.

Climate change is already wrecking havoc on Arctic ecosystems-shifting animal migration patterns, threatening fish populations, and creating dangerous conditions for people who hunt and fish on their ancestral lands. Drilling the refuge would only exacerbate its effects on lands and waters that sustain Gwich'in, Iñupiat, and other Indigenous communities. And the impact would extend well beyond the Arctic, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and undermining the nation's effort to address the climate crisis.

The Build Back Better Act offers Congress the opportunity to repeal the leases and put an end to the drilling program. To fulfill the promises made at the COP26 climate summit, the United States must close the chapter on this misguided boondoggle and undo the damage done during the Trump administration. By restoring protections to the Arctic Refuge, Congress can help create a more just, sustainable future-for wildlife, for Arctic Indigenous peoples, and for everyone facing the fierce urgency of a warming planet.

Finis Dunaway is professor of history at Trent University and the author of "Defending the Arctic Refuge: A Photographer, an Indigenous Nation, and a Fight for Environmental Justice." Follow him on Twitter @FinisDunaway.

Texas Rally-Goers Say They 'Miss' Trump's Tweets, Want to Take Back Country 'for God' .
One supporter told RSBN that Satan is controlling the government, while another promoted flat-Earth beliefs.Trump is slated to take the stage Saturday in Conroe, Texas, at around 7 p.m. local time, with the "Save America Rally" expected to draw thousands of supporters to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds. A number of those in attendance promoted conspiracy theories, while others sold unique pro-Trump items and waved large banners and flags in support of the former president.

See also