Trump on energy; Obamacare numbers; guerilla archiving

HCN.org news in brief.

 

MAKING SENSE OF TRUMP'S ENERGY PLAN
President Donald Trump’s energy plan is short on details and full of contradictions and outdated assertions. Nonetheless, on the chopping block are an array of Obama initiatives, such as accelerating siting of renewable energy on public lands; controlling methane leaks; shrinking the federal government’s greenhouse gas footprint; and the Waters of the U.S. regulation. The biggest contradiction is Trump’s vow to revive the coal industry while also boosting natural gas production. The rise of natural gas is the biggest factor in coal’s sharp decline — and more gas production should only lower prices more, further reducing the demand for coal.
-Elizabeth Shogren

The West Elk Coal Mine near Paonia, Colorado, is the only mine out of three in the area that is still operating.
Brooke Warren/High Country News

96.5 PERCENT: Amount of national monument acreage Obama designated that is under water

200 NAUTICAL MILES OR LESS: Proximity to U.S. coast of proposed marine national monuments that would trigger requirements for approval from Congress and from any state within 100 nautical miles

Nearing the end of his term, former President Barack Obama enacted a flurry of national monument designations, including more than tripling one protected area on California’s coast and controversial proclamations like Bears Ears and Gold Butte. But a vocal group of congressional Republicans has long protested Obama’s monument designations, framing the issue as one of local versus federal land control. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee is considering a bill that would undo the 111-year-old Antiquities Act, taking the power to create national monuments away from the president and keeping federal lands and waters open to oil and gas exploration.
-Maya L. Kapoor 

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HOW MANY WESTERNERS COULD LOSE COVERAGE IF OBAMACARE WERE REPEALED? 
Under Obamacare, approximately 20 million Americans gained health insurance. According to the White House, the latest figures put the nationwide uninsured rate below 9 percent. But in the first hours after the new Congress convened, a resolution passed the House that is a first step towards repealing Obamacare (formally known as the Affordable Care Act). If they’re successful, nearly 9 million people in the West could lose coverage. States that didn’t opt into the expansion — Idaho, Utah and Wyoming — would stand to lose the least if Obamacare were repealed; Montana would lose the most.
-Paige Blankenbuehler

v. GUERILLA ARCHIVING [guh-ril-uh] [ahr-kahyv-ing]
The act of finding, collecting and saving data on a new server in case the government decides to delete it, or manipulate it.

This is what a Canadian team started doing before President Donald Trump was in office in order to protect climate change data.
-Sarah Tory

A DAMMED LEGACY
In 1962, the Site C dam burst near Moberly Lake, British Columbia, and the Williston Reservoir engulfed over 1,100 square miles of land, lake and river, flooding enormous sections of nearby river systems. The true scale and extent of the destruction in these drainages can only be guessed at, as adequate records weren’t kept before the great flood. Now, Peace River residents are still living with the dam’s legacy.
-Christopher Pollon

Ken and Arlene Boone scan their property for wildlife inside their home on the Peace River near Fort St. John.
Ben Nelms

PREDATOR CONTROL
Mule deer have been on the decline in states all over the West, including Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, where efforts to boost populations have been ongoing. In Colorado, two controversial studies will kill cougars and black bears to increase the ungulates in the Piceance Basin and the Upper Arkansas River. The studies, which start this spring, have drawn criticism from scientists and conservationists who say the primary cause of deer decline is not predation, but massive habitat loss to energy and housing development.
-Anna V. Smith

You say

Charles Fox: “Why not spend that $4.5 million on something that would actually work: acquiring habitat for mule deer. Without safe, undisturbed places for them to live they don’t stand a chance.”

Shelley Stallings: “We have absolutely no right to kill (predators) just because they might be competing with us for venison.” 

Scott A. McInnis: “Bears mostly scavenge the dead and are primarily omnivores. Predators like lions keep populations healthy by killing sick, old and slow deer. Habitat loss is the key to declining ungulates.”