Protecting America’s Public Lands
Roughly 300 million acres of American lands, most in the West, are set aside as public lands and maintained using taxes paid by all Americans. These lands managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, and National Wildlife Refuge System are by charter supposed to be managed for multiple uses including recreation and provision of wildlife habitat and clean water sources. Increasingly, however, they are run for the benefit of extractive industries and with little regard for the preservation of the rare wildlife or iconic natural beauty for which they are famous.
With the help of conscientious range management specialists, scientists, law enforcement officers and other workers within these agencies, PEER is uncovering how our precious national heritage is being sold to the highest bidder, often under the direction of poorly qualified and illegally appointed political appointees.
Livestock grazing allows heavily subsidized private operators to degrade our public lands.
Off-road vehicle abuse is a growing problem on our public lands, especially in the West.
Oil and Gas Drilling
Environmental and public health risks are being ignored by regulatory agencies and decisions heavily influenced by profit-driven industries.
Park Service Employee Outreach Effort with Unsettling Results Shelved Since 2018
A detailed examination of the toxic work culture within the National Park Service (NPS) has gathered dust for the past three years despite promises that it would be used as a critical tool for healing. NPS commissioned an outreach campaign called “NPS Voices” that engaged staff in a series of in-person and web-based listening sessions. All NPS employees were invited to participate in what top officials called “a cornerstone in our efforts to change the culture that has allowed harassment to persist.” Unfortunately, shelving the report likely had the opposite impact on morale.
A New Era for the Bureau of Land Management
In January and February of 2021, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) conducted a series of in-depth phone interviews with current and former Bureau of Land Management (BLM) employees from nine states from Headquarters, State Offices and Field Offices. The purpose of this survey was to identify steps the Biden administration can take to strengthen the institutional capacity of the BLM to better address conservation and climate change goals. read the report»
NEWS FROM PEER
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PEER outlines the critical steps that the National Park Service must take in order to return the agency to its original mission and move into the future.
Lawsuit and Audit to Expose Shady Telecom Deals with National Parks
Former DOE scientist Bill Dam reveals groundwater contamination coming from several former uranium mills in Wyoming, endangering two Native American tribes.
Federal Vacancies Law Forbids Nominees to Serve as “Acting Officer”
In FOIA Suit, Pendley Admits Law Enforcement Policies Did Not Change
Trump plans to stage a dangerous distraction disguised as fireworks at Mt. Rushmore, risking both wildfires and potentially, public health from the crowds.
National Forests receive less attention than parks during COVID-19, but overcrowding, lack of resources, and risk to gateway communities are the same.
Trees Felled in Proposed Wilderness and Historic Landmarks Penetrated
Hurried Push to Finalize Regulation Amidst Pandemic Aims to Block Lawsuit
Prosecution Unlikely Amid Sharp Decline in Interior Criminal Enforcement
In the midst of a pandemic, corruption at the Department of Interior continues with slashed oil and gas royalties and fines on renewable energy companies.
In order for national parks to remain “America’s Best Idea,” park managers must move from merely maximizing crowds to actually managing them.
Disney World Will Embrace Public Health Measures NPS Eschews
PEER and Western Watersheds Project sued the Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt, alleging that Bernhardt has used temporary appointees to lead the National Park Service and the Bureau of Land Management in violation of federal laws and the U.S. Constitution.
Violations of Constitution and Vacancies Act Charged for Unconfirmed Chiefs
Interior Secretary Bernhardt ordered the Lincoln Memorial closed so that President Trump could give an interview on the current pandemic.
Within Two Years 23 National Parks Must Adopt Overflight Management Plans
Redelegations for Park Service and BLM Violate Federal Vacancies Reform Act
Long-Neglected Law Requiring “Carrying Capacities” Should be Dusted Off
The still-unfolding pandemic has underlined the public health risks that national parks and refuges pose both to the visiting public and their own employees. How can national parks dedicated to attracting crowds operate in a new era of social distancing?