The National Park Service is withdrawing public comments submitted in response to a draft proposal of regulations for hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, proposed by the Bureau of Land Management following conservative attacks that the comments, which criticized the drilling technique as a possible health and environmental hazard, were unfounded, according to The Hill.
When NPS formally commented on the BLM’s proposed fracking rule in August the agency cited an op-ed written by Cornell University Professor Anthony Ingraffea, which raised the possibility that fracking is a contributor to global warming because it releases methane gas.
This sparked pushback from oil and gas industry groups and conservative lawmakers who charged that the op-ed was speculative rather than scientific. In September, Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, chairman of the House Public Lands and Environmental Regulation Subcommittee, wrote to Park Service Director Jonathan Jarvis calling the comments inconsistent with the agency’s scientific-integrity policy and asking the director to defend the response.
In mid-November, Jarvis wrote to Bishop with notice that the park service is formally withdrawing its previous comments on the rule.
Jarvis claims, in the letter, that the agency did not intended to submit the comments and that they were not properly vetted internally.
Bishop responded to the news with an attack on the administration.
“This thinly veiled attempt to vilify energy production and hydraulic fracturing on our public lands illustrates a shared agenda between the administration and anti-energy special-interest groups,” Bishop commented in a statement, adding: “I’m pleased that Director Jarvis will rescind the comments and hope that, moving forward, the NPS will direct their efforts toward promoting the responsible use of our diverse lands and resources and away from misleading the American people.”
What We're Following See More »
President Trump this afternoon announced another round of sanctions on North Korea, calling the regime "a continuing threat." The executive order, which Trump relayed to Congress, bans any ship or plane that has visited North Korea from visiting the United States within 180 days. The order also authorizes sanctions on any financial institution doing business with North Korea, and permits the secretaries of State and the Treasury to sanction any person involved in trading with North Korea, operating a port there, or involved in a variety of industries there.
"Seated next to Ukrainian President Poroshenko on his final day of meetings at the United Nations, Trump did not say when he might go to Puerto Rico, but spoke solemnly about the destruction to an island he said had been 'absolutely obliterated.'”
In response to a reporter's question, President Trump said "he’ll be looking to impose further financial penalties on North Korea over its nuclear and ballistic tests. ... The U.N. has passed two resolutions recently aimed at squeezing the North Korean economy by cutting off oil, labor and exports to the nation." Meanwhile, the Guardian reports that South Korea's unification ministry is sending an $8m aid package aimed at infants and pregnant women in North Korea. The "humanitarian gesture [is] at odds with calls by Japan and the US for unwavering economic and diplomatic pressure on Pyongyang."
Hurricane Irma "could even be the knockout blow for a product — orange juice — that has been slipping in popularity among Americans, although the beverage still ranks as the country's favorite 'fruit'...Ninety percent of the state’s $1 billion annual harvest is eventually processed into OJ." Per the executive director of the state citrus grower's association, "It’s somewhere between significant and catastrophic."