DAPL dispatch; forgotten funds; Obama’s rush to the end

HCN.org news in brief.

 

Cars head out of the Oceti Sakowin camp in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, after Standing Rock Sioux Chairman David Archambault II and other tribal officials urged protesters to go home. Thousands have left camp.
Andrew Cullen

DAPL DISPATCH
In early December, High Country News reporters traveled to North Dakota to find out more about the events unfolding at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation. In the weeks following, they witnessed a chaotic mix of law enforcement and protesters, unforgiving winter conditions and the celebrations that erupted at the Oceti Sakowin protesters’ camp following the Army Corps of Engineers’ announcement that a crucial easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline was denied. But they also discovered that the story is far from over. Tribal leaders said that the Army Corps would look for alternative reroutes for the pipeline after environmental review, but the companies behind the pipeline project say they intend to complete construction as planned. As the inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump — who has selected as his Energy Secretary Rick Perry, who sits on the board of Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the pipeline— looms, protesters are readying for more battles at Standing Rock. Despite the mass exodus from the camps, some protesters plan to stay through winter. “This victory is not a real victory. It’s just the first step,” said Jean du Toit, a film producer staying at the Oceti Sakowin camp. -Tay Wiles 

Read more of our on-the-ground updates and perspective. 

“It takes a long time for something like that (news) to make its way around the camp, because there’s no internet, there’s no cellphone connection. ... I was sitting in on a direct action training session when I overheard someone next to me whisper it to someone else: ‘Hey, did you hear the news about Army Corps denying the easement?’ And I said, ‘Wait, what’d you just say?’ And then I realized what all the whoops and hollers and
celebration sounds had been.”

—Reporter Tay Wiles, speaking about her experience in the camp at Standing Rock. 

$4 MILLION: Value of parcels still owed to Montana by the federal government, including one in the middle of Glacier National Park and another in Gardiner, and one just outside Yellowstone National Park.

In an era when many schools are underfunded, money might be found in forgotten school trust lands. After more than a century, some Western states are receiving school trust land that was allocated to them when they entered statehood. Homesteaders, Indian reservations or national forests had already claimed the allocations in some designated sections, so the government allowed states so-called “indemnity” selections, which gave them the chance to pick unreserved spaces instead. But federal and state bureaucracy has led to a century of delays. Eleven Western states, plus North and South Dakota, have slogged through the indemnity process with the Bureau of Land Management, and now only five remain unfinished: California, Colorado, Montana, Oregon and Utah. With the end in sight, state land boards signed an agreement with the BLM in 2012 to make resolving the issue a priority; the states began their final steps last year. -Laura Lundquist

statetrustlands.org

OBAMA'S RUSH TO THE END
In their final weeks in office, Obama administration officials are releasing a flurry of rules that could have implications for federal land for decades to come. Many rulings, such as nixing offshore drilling and a minerals withdraw near Yosemite National Park, bolster the president’s conservation legacy, but others do not. These rules have been years in the making but face imperiled futures. A Trump administration could not simply erase these actions in most cases — but it could get help from the GOP-controlled Congress to either block them or prevent funding from going to implement them. It also could settle industry lawsuits and ask courts to send the rules back to the agencies to be rewritten in ways that reflect President Trump’s pro-industry and fossil fuel-friendly stances. -Elizabeth Shogren and Anna V. Smith

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell at the National Solar Thermal Test Facility in Bernalillo, New Mexico, in 2015.
Sandia Labs/CC Flickr

LOOK BEFORE YOU SHOOT 
Several people each year are killed or injured by stray bullets or from guns fired into the air. In Arizona, a young girl’s death in 2002 lead to the passing of “Shannon’s Law,” making it illegal to discharge a firearm into the air. Yet in the wilderness, some holdouts think it’s still the Wild West and endanger hikers, backpackers and others in the backcountry when they fire their rounds, writes Marjorie “Slim” Woodruff in an opinion piece. But the crux of the issue is not really gun control: “Carrying a gun in the backcountry is not the issue. The irresponsible use of said gun is,” she writes. “Gun owners do themselves no favors when hikers, bikers, equestrians, or ATV riders unwittingly become moving targets.” -Marjorie “Slim” Woodruff, opinion

You say

Mike Lander: “Years ago, a friend was accidentally shot by a recreational shooter who assumed his rounds would never travel far enough to hit that guy loading his ATV on his trailer so far away in the distance. Tragic.”

Gordy Gowdy: “Carry one of those canned air horns and sound off if you hear gunfire to let everyone know you are there.”

Trevor Pellerite: “Recreational target shooting is NOT a Second Amendment issue, regardless of what the NRA claims to the contrary.

 

High Country News Classifieds
  • DISTRICT MANAGER
    The San Juan Islands Conservation District is seeking applicants for the District Manager position. The position is open until filled and application plus cover letter...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Mountain Time Arts, a Bozeman-based nonprofit, is seeking an Executive Director. MTA advocates for and produces public artworks that advance social & environmental justice in...
  • BEND AREA HOME WITH AMAZING CASCADE PEAKS VIEW
    Enjoy rural peacefulness and privacy with one of the most magnificent Cascade Mountain views in sunny Central Oregon! Convenient location only eight miles from Bend's...
  • MARKETING COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks a Marketing Communications Manager to join our...
  • EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
    High Country News, an award-winning media organization covering the communities and environment of the Western United States, seeks an Editor-In-Chief to join our senior team...
  • RESEARCH FELLOW (SOUTHWESTERN U.S. ENERGY TRANSITION)
    The Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) in partnership with the Grand Canyon Trust is seeking a full-time Fellow to conduct topical research...
  • LENDER OWNED FIX & FLIP
    2 houses on 37+ acres. Gated subdivision, Penrose Colorado. $400k. Possible lender financing. Bob Kunkler Brokers Welcome.
  • ONCE OR TWICE
    A short historical novel set in central Oregon based on the the WWII Japanese high altitude ballon that exploded causing civilian casualties. A riveting look...
  • HISTORIC LODGE AND RESTAURANT - FULLY EQUIPPED
    Built in 1901, The Crazy Mountain Inn has 11 guest rooms in a town-center building on 7 city lots (.58 acres). The inn and restaurant...
  • HOUSE FOR SALE
    Rare mountain property, borders National Forest, stream nearby. Pumicecrete, solar net metering, radiant heat, fine cabinets, attic space to expand, patio, garden, wildlife, insulated garage,...
  • COMMUNITY ORGANIZER- NORTHERN PLAINS RESOURCE COUNCIL
    Want to organize people to protect Montana's water quality, family farms and ranches, & unique quality of life with Northern Plains Resource Council? Apply now-...
  • CONSERVATION MANAGER
    The Rio Grande Headwaters Land Trust (RiGHT) is hiring an energetic and motivated Conservation Manager to develop and complete new conservation projects and work within...
  • POLLINATOR OASIS
    Seeking an experienced, hardworking partner to help restore a desert watershed/wetland while also creating a pollinator oasis at the mouth of an upland canyon. Compensation:...
  • ELLIE SAYS IT'S SAFE! A GUIDE DOG'S JOURNEY THROUGH LIFE
    by Don Hagedorn. A story of how lives of the visually impaired are improved through the love and courage of guide dogs. Available on Amazon.
  • COMING TO TUCSON?
    Popular vacation house, furnished, 2 bed/1 bath, yard, dog-friendly. Lee at [email protected] or 520-791-9246.
  • NORTHEASTERN UNIVERSITY
    All positions available: Sales Representative, Accountant and Administrative Assistant. As part of our expansion program, our University is looking for part time work from home...
  • RUBY, ARIZONA CARETAKER
    S. Az ghost town seeking full-time caretaker. Contact [email protected] for details.
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Powder River Basin Resource Council, a progressive non-profit conservation organization based in Sheridan, Wyoming, seeks an Executive Director, preferably with grassroots organizing experience, excellent communication...
  • ADOBE HOME
    Passive solar adobe home in high desert of central New Mexico. Located on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch.
  • STEVE HARRIS, EXPERIENCED PUBLIC LANDS/ENVIRONMENTAL ATTORNEY
    Comment Letters - Admin Appeals - Federal & State Litigation - FOIA -