How the Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is killing America’s grassland ecology
By Mike Hagen and Nick RaskinThe EPA is planning to kill the grasslands of the United States, which comprise the largest share of the nation’s land surface area and have been at the center of a fight between environmental groups and the Trump Administration over its stewardship of public lands.
The Trump Administration is moving ahead with a plan to remove all public lands from federal ownership and allow private ownership of most of them.
It’s one of several actions that the Trump team is considering for conserving public lands in the coming months, according to multiple administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.
Trump has taken steps to protect public lands under the Trump era, including an executive order that protects all public land from federal interference, a plan announced in April that would save hundreds of millions of dollars, and the signing of an executive memo in March to open up lands that have been closed since President Bill Clinton was in office.
While there are many ways to protect lands, the Trump government has begun to focus on one particular area that has become a major source of resistance from conservation groups and environmental groups.
The Environmental Protection, Energy, and Water (EPA), which oversees the country’s land management and natural resource protection agencies, has proposed removing public lands that it considers to be critical to the health of the grassland ecosystem.
These lands include the Great Plains and Great Lakes, where scientists believe the carbon-dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels lead to higher levels of air pollution.
The proposed rule would require the EPA to designate land that it says is critical to maintaining healthy grasslands, including parks, forests, and agricultural land.
While some of the land would be managed by private landowners, the plan would require that public lands be managed and managed for the benefit of the public.
The proposal is being closely watched by the public and private sectors because it would open up a major resource for private investment.
The National Forests Conservation Association (NFFA), a trade group that represents the nation´s forest managers, released a statement saying that “the public lands and water would be in danger from the elimination of public land management” under the plan.
The NFFA is among the many conservation groups who are concerned about the rule and have argued that the federal government should retain control over land management.
The move would be a huge win for the fossil fuel industry, which has been fighting for the removal of public forests for years.
In addition to the loss of public forestlands, the oil and gas industry is worried that the proposed rule could reduce investment in their carbon-free electricity production, and could result in fewer public lands being open to drilling.
“The fossil fuel lobby is going to be fighting this and they will win,” said Steve Gillett, the director of public affairs at the Sierra Club, a conservation advocacy group.
“But they will lose, and that is the real reason this is so bad for public lands.”
According to Gillets group, about 1.5 million acres of land would need to be designated under the rule, which would also require the federal Department of Agriculture to issue new regulations on where public lands could be developed.
The rule is part of the administration´s ongoing efforts to undo regulations put in place by former President Obama, which included protections for public forests and wildlife.
The new rule would be the largest public land preservation action in decades, and comes at a time when the Trump-era environmental agency is in the midst of rewriting a new rule that could affect millions of acres of public and privately owned land in the United Sates.
The Department of Interior has already rescinded nearly $600 million in protections for the Great Lakes and other public lands, as well as nearly $3.3 billion for the land conservation programs of the National Park Service.
The Trump Administration has also withdrawn some protection for public land in a handful of states, including New York, and in many states, the land has been off limits for years to developers and mining companies.
In a statement on Monday, the Interior Department said that the rule would create a “more transparent and robust system” for land managers to use land that is designated by the agency, and would eliminate uncertainty for land owners.
The department said that “any decision to remove or modify a public land designation will be subject to public comment, and it will be reviewed by a National Advisory Committee on Land Use and Landscape Management.”
However, a group of environmental groups including Friends of the Earth and Defenders of Wildlife, as part of their efforts to protect the public lands they live in, have said that there is nothing in the proposed rules that would allow them to sue over the rule.
In their letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Friends of a Different Color said the agency’s proposal to remove public lands would be an “historic, historic mistake” because