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Return to The Scene of the Crime

DSCN9368As we’ve written about before, the Powder River Basin of northeast Wyoming and southeast Montana is ground zero in the fight to defend the climate here in America.

Last week, we again bore witness to the destruction unfolding in this region. On a trip to attend a hearing on a proposal by President Trump and his Interior Secretary, Ryan Zinke, to auction off more publicly owned coal, we also took the occasion to see firsthand how fracking and coal mining are both destroying public lands in the region and undermining our climate.

At the hearing in Wright, Wyoming, we spoke out against Trump and Zinke’s plans. Ostensibly, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management was there to objectively gather public input. However, the hearing started with Cloud Peak Energy, the company seeking to acquire more coal, giving a 20 minute dog and pony show about how great they think they are.

Undaunted, we stood before the crowd and together with our friend, Shannon Anderson from the Powder River Basin Resource Council, called out the Bureau of Land Management for its lack of objectivity, its failure to account for the climate consequences of more coal mining, and its failure to protect the public interest.

While the Bureau of Land Management didn’t record our testimony, we did. If you’re interested, watch for yourself our Facebook live video below.

Beyond the public hearing, we spent a lot of time in the field. We extensively toured the Wyoming portion of the Powder River Basin and even swung up to the Montana portion of the Basin.

All along the way, the devastating impacts of fossil fuel development were everywhere. However, even amidst this climate catastrophe, some public lands remain untouched and even wildlife continue to hang on for survival.

While it’s difficult to handle the destruction that companies like Cloud Peak Energy have wrought upon this region, it’s heartening that not all is lost. It means there is hope and that as we continue to keep coal in the ground in this region, things will get better.

Check out our pics from the field below and check out our more extensive album of what it looks like on the ground in the Powder River Basin.

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