Check Out What Happened Last Week at the BLM: July 6-10, 2015

On Friday, July 10, President Obama designated three new national monuments:  Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, Waco Mammoth in Texas, and Basin and Range in Nevada. Read the White House Fact Sheet about the new monuments. Read the press releases about the new BLM-managed national monuments: Berryessa Snow Mountain and Basin and Range.

The BLM announced that it will initiate 21 research projects aimed at developing new tools for managing healthy horses and burros on healthy rangelands, including safe and effective ways to slow the population growth rate of the animals and reduce the need to remove animals from the public lands. Read the press release.

Interior Secretary Jewell announced that the BLM will host a series of listening sessions on the federal coal program. The discussions will seek information from the public about how the BLM can best carry out its responsibility to ensure that American taxpayers receive a fair return on the coal resources managed by the federal government on their behalf. Read the press release.

Last week, the BLM’s virtual #mypubliclandsroadtrip traveled to Nevada for beautiful landscapes, behind the scenes stories, and historic adventures.  View the roadtrip journal: http://mypubliclands.tumblr.com/roadtripnevada




School Grade: 3rd (8 years old)

The origins of this character are somewhat obscure. 炭 is popularly explained as a combination of 屵 mountain/cliff and 火 fire, giving “flammable substance from under a mountain.” However, older forms suggest that it instead was a represenation of “the act of making ash (灰) under a mountain (山).”

New Wind Power Cheaper Than Coal

The new generation of wind power is cheaper than coal. New and better design, increased efficiency, and better turbine layout have all lead to this. For instance, a recent study found that the turbines are more efficient when staggered rather than being in a straight line.

In Australia the cost of a new wind farm is between $80 and $113 per megawatt-hour, while a new coal plant would be around $176/MWh according to Guy Turner of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Innovation is not the only factor behind wind power’s drop in price. It has become much, much harder to build a new coal plant due to strict environmental regulations and investors are uncertain if these plants could operate under these new regulations.







The #coal industry is destroying Appalachia, detonating millions of pounds of diesel fuel and explosives daily to rip the top off of mountains for coal. More than 22 peer-reviewed scientific studies have found that cancer, disease, and birth defect rates are significantly higher in these areas. It’s high time for Congress to pass the Appalachian Community Health Emergency Act (ACHE Act), which would place an immediate moratorium on new mountaintop removal mining permits.
—  Marty Hayden, Earthjustice Vice President of Policy and Legislation

Rising Appalachia: 200,000 Say End Mountaintop Removal in Historic Petition

The hand of man

This wonderful satellite photo highlights some of the ways in which we are modifying the surface and depths of the globe in order to keep our civilisation alive. The image was taken over a railyard in the Great Plains of Nebraska, and shows a bunch of trains laden with gleaming black coal to burn in power stations to produce electricity, emitting climate altering CO2 in the process and a semi circular irrigation pattern of a monoculture grain crop, sucking on some fast depleting aquifer (probably the Oglala) in order to keep us fed.

Power and food… satisfying these two needs for the 7 billion humans currently walking the Earth and desiring a comfortable lifestyle is putting the planet’s systems under a strain that only major geological events such as asteroid strikes or the eruption of continent sized volcanic provinces ever managed to do before. We certainly live in unprecedented and interesting times.


Image credit: Digital Globe


The full extent of the toll of mining coal on the body is well documented, and despite some significant changes in the technology and safety apparatus behind the practice, it still manages a startling number of deaths resulting from the work. The average lifespan of an american coal miner has hovered around 52 years.  25,000 per year in the U.S. alone. That’s on par with suicides, drug abuse and double the rate of gun-related homicides. Yet outside of the local communities, this number and scale is largely unknown. Worse still, the acceptance of it within mining communities, the inevitable reality such a life brings, makes such a bargain a given each and every day.

If you’d like to acquire the original piece, you may find it here:

If you’d like to check up on the previous portraits in our series, please do so here:

200,000 People Demand Congress Puts an End to Mountaintop Removal
More than 200,000 people have signed petitions calling on Congress to pass the ACHE Act and enact a moratorium on new mountaintop removal coal mining


Signaling a watershed shift in recognizing the national health crisis from cancer-linked strip mining in central Appalachia, more than 200,000 people have signed historic CREDO Action and Earthjustice petitions, calling on Congress to pass the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Act (H.R. 912) and enact a moratorium on new mountaintop removal coal mining (MTR).

With the Appalachian coal industry in a tailspin and the global banking community pulling out of mountaintop removal financing, the extraordinary show of support for the ACHE Act campaign effectively acknowledges that the only defenders of the cancer-linked radical strip mining operations are a handful of absentee coal companies, indicted coal baron Don Blankenship, and their fringe supporters in Congress.