Interior secretary will not delay New Mexico land-use plan

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. interior secretary refused to delay a land-use plan that opponents say will lead to drilling thousands of new oil and gas wells.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt said Monday the Bureau of Land Management and the Bureau of Indian Affairs will go forward with the plan for the Greater Chaco region, The Farmington Daily Times reported.

A public comment period ended Sept. 25 for the Farmington Field Office Mancos-Gallup Resource Management Plan Amendment after being extended from May because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Opponents said the health conditions that led Bernhardt to extend the comment period have not changed and further action should be paused until in-person meetings can resume.

“We need to move forward and get this plan done,” Bernhardt said of the resource management plan amendment that has been in the works since 2014.

Staff will review public comments and weigh various alternatives outlined in the draft environmental impact statement, Bernhardt said.

The Navajo Nation was among the entities requesting the plan be postponed during the pandemic.

Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham echoed the calls to delay adoption, requesting an ethnographic study be completed before the plan is finalized. Congress allocated $1 million for an ethnographic study.

Bernhardt said while the study will be useful, there are laws in place protecting cultural sites including the National Historic Preservation Act.

Bernhardt plans to continue deferring leases within 10 miles (16 kilometers) of the park boundaries through the end of the year, which he said gives the New Mexico congressional delegation time to pass legislation to codify the buffer zone.

Source Article

Read more

Pelosi: House has ‘arrows in our quiver’ to delay SCOTUS nomination

Less than a day after the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Trump assured voters that his administration would be moving ahead with nominating a new justice before the election.

“We were put in this position of power and importance to make decisions for the people who so proudly elected us, the most important of which has long been considered to be the selection of United States Supreme Court Justices,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning. “We have this obligation, without delay!”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell supported that sentiment, promising that Trump’s nominee would “receive a vote on the floor of the United States Senate.”

The House plays no part in the confirmation process but could, in theory, take other actions that clog up the Senate calendar.

“We have a responsibility,” Pelosi added. “We’ve taken an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. We have a responsibility to meet the needs of the American people. When we weigh the equities of protecting our democracy, that requires us to use every arrow in our quiver.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar made similar remarks on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“As Sen. [Chuck] Schumer says, there’s a lot of things we can try to do,” the Minnesota Democrat said. “But in the end, I’m not going to concede any of that. My colleagues — and I do have facts on my side here — you have a number of them that haven’t said what they’re going to do. You have a number of them that have already said that the next president should make a decision.”

“You have the precedent of the only time a justice died this close to an election. Abraham Lincoln was president and he made the decision to wait until after the election. And you have the fact that people are voting right now. And I think that creates pressure on my colleagues, honestly — and that’s what a democracy is about.”

Ultimately, Pelosi said the best tool in their arsenal is to “just win the election” and encouraged everyone to vote.

“The fact is this administration has been a total failure in protecting the health and well-being of the American people, and it has had an impact on our economy,” she said. “The lives, the livelihood and the life of our democracy are threatened by the administration. So again, when people say, ‘What can I do?’ You can vote. You can get out the vote and you can do so as soon as possible.”

Source Article

Read more