Week in review: April 28

Trump opens offshore drilling, an ode to cacti and a look at monument critics’ claims.

 

Trump reopens offshore drilling

On Friday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that could reopen offshore drilling in California and Alaska, as well as in the Atlantic Ocean. The move reverses a plan implemented in the final months of President Barack Obama’s administration to minimize leasing in the waters off Alaska and California. Offshore drilling proved divisive in Alaska. In 2015, HCN Correspondent Krista Langlois profiled a Barrow, Alaska, family divided over the risks of drilling nearby.

ICYMI: We fact-checked monument critics’ claims

This week saw no end of news from D.C. with big implications for the West. On Wednesday, Trump signed an executive order requiring a review of all monuments established since 1996 over 100,000 acres. The designation of Bears Ears National Monument in Utah has stoked antagonism from local Republicans. Contributing Editor Jonathan Thompson fact-checked common critiques of the monument and of monuments in general. For more context, explore our past coverage:

Land transfer advocates steer their focus to monuments

With more monuments, Republican backlash mounts

100 days: Trump and the environment

This Saturday will mark Trump’s 100th day in office. In collaboration with our partners at Climate Desk, we took a look at what his administration has accomplished and what the implications are for climate change and the environment out West and across the country. Read up on his mixed-up policies on energy, how his actions hurt the environment and already marginalized communities and how they alter the course of regulation at the EPA.

A federal court paused its review of the Clean Power Plan, at the request of the Trump administration. Last month, Trump signed an executive order starting the rollback of Obama’s signature climate change policy. Out West, the energy mix will likely continue to shift away from coal anyway, D.C. Correspondent Elizabeth Shogren reports.

Spare a care for the cactus

Cactus in flower in Capitol Reef National Park.
As rains continue to sweep the West after years of drought, a green feeling hangs in the air. The bushes behind our office have fully leafed out and the orchardists in town are earnestly discussing the fate of precious apricot trees. Elsewhere, this spring has given a very particular kind of plant lovers full hearts: cacti are blooming in abundance in California and elsewhere in the Southwest. “If somebody had taken me from rural Illinois, where I grew up, and dropped me here into this desert landscape to see all these fat succulent things,” Jon P. Rebman, the chief botanist at the San Diego Natural History Museum and a cactus taxonomist, told The New York Times, “I would have thought I was on Mars.” The New York Times delved into the latest in cactus research and came up with a host of interesting discoveries; the whole piece is an ode to the fascination the humble cactus holds. Read more: As Rains Ease in the West, Cactuses Shine Brighter Than Ever

With so much going on in the national news, we kept an eye out close to home this week. Here’s everything else you might have missed on hcn.org:

Bundy Ranch standoff case ruled a mistrial

Montana refuge divides natives and ranchers

Colorado’s Front Range is inundated with water

Local power gets results for Thompson Divide

West Obsessed podcast: The March for Science, out West

Photos: Canada’s coal flows into Montana’s streams

Opinion: My front seat view of climate change in California

Opinion: Why the West can learn from East Africa

Opinion: Marching for science feels good, but does it do any good?

Did you get through all that? Here's a little treat:

Who would you climb a tree with? VC: @villepaakkonen

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