Interior Department

Two more lawsuits challenge proposed mine near Boundary Waters

(Photo by Brian Peterson)MINNEAPOLIS — Environmental groups filed two more lawsuits Monday challenging the Interior Department’s decision to reinstate the federal mineral rights leases for the proposed Twin Metals copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. One of the lawsuits was filed by three national groups: The Wilderness Society, the Center for Biological Diversity and the Izaak Walton League of America. The…

U.S. won’t restore Yellowstone grizzly protections

Review was launched when a federal appeals court said in a case involving gray wolves in the Great Lakes that the Interior Department needed to give more consideration to how a species’ loss of historical habitat affects its recovery – like wolves, grizzly bears in some parts of the U.S. have bounced back from widespread extermination, yet remain absent from most of their historical range. But, per grizzlies, Interior officials said that they disagreed with the ruling in the wolf case.

Zinke signs order to expand recreational opportunities

(U.S. Department of the Interior)WASHINGTON — Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has ordered his agency to expand recreational opportunities on public lands and waterways. An order signed Wednesday directs the Bureau of Land Management, the Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies to develop plans within 90 days that focus on expanding recreational opportunities. The order also directs bureau heads to…

Investigators: U.S. wildlife official broke law with grants

BILLINGS, Mont. — A senior official at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service broke the law with his involvement in awarding $324,000 in conservation grants to a nonprofit where his wife worked as a contractor, according to federal investigators. As chief of the agency’s international conservation division, Richard Ruggiero made a series of grant awards and extensions to the International…

Interior secretary touts effort to improve big-game habitat

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.SALT LAKE CITY — U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said that he’s taking steps to study and preserve habitat and migration corridors in Western states for big-game animals such as elk, mule and deer, a move that hunters and some experts applauded but that critics called an effort to cover up damage. Zinke’s order calls on…

Official: North Cascades grizzly bear recovery work halted

(Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks)MISSOULA, Mont. — Work to restore grizzly bears to the North Cascades Ecosystem has been stopped by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office, a national parks official told a Montana newspaper. But Zinke spokeswoman Heather Swift told The Associated Press Tuesday that Zinke did not direct a stop work order on the environmental review. Swift didn’t provide…

Two national monuments in Utah see huge acreage cutback in largest-ever reversal of federal monument protections

(Bears Ears National Monument Facebook photo)SALT LAKE CITY — President Trump signed proclamations cutting the acreage of two national monuments in southern Utah on Monday, Dec. 4, excising more than 2 million acres from them in the largest-ever reversal of federal monument protections. Trump undid protections for 85 percent of the 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Monument and nearly half of…