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Rural News

Interior rescinds climate, conservation policies: 'inconsistent' with Trump energy goals

The Times Picayune | Posted on January 8, 2018

The Interior Department's number-two official issued a secretarial order just before Christmas rescinding several climate change and conservation policies issued under the Obama administration, saying they were "inconsistent" with President Donald Trump's quest for energy independence. Secretarial Order 3360, signed Dec. 22 by Interior Deputy Secretary David Bernhardt, wipes away four separate directives and policy manuals aimed at showing departmental employees how to minimize the environmental impact of activities on federal land and in federal waters, and calls for the review of a fifth one that applies to the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Instead, it directs officials to reinstate and update guidance issued during the final year of George W. Bush's second term by Jan. 22. While the documents in question are highly technical, the move underscores the extent to which Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and his deputies are uprooting policies and procedures aimed at factoring climate and environmental effects into the department's decision-making process. The manuals and handbooks include detailed instructions on how officials at the Bureau of Land Management, for example, should minimize activities on the agency's land that could harm certain species or accelerate climate change.

Judge throws out case against Bundys, bars retrial in devastating defeat for federal prosecutors

The Washington Post | Posted on January 8, 2018


A federal judge dismissed Monday all charges against rancher Cliven Bundy stemming from the 2014 Nevada standoff and barred prosecutors from retrying the case, citing “flagrant prosecutorial misconduct.” U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gloria Navarro’s dramatic ruling during a hearing in federal court in Las Vegas wasn’t entirely unexpected, given that she declared a mistrial last month after finding that federal prosecutors had willfully withheld evidence from the defense.


AFB and NFU team up for clearing house on opioids

Farm Strong | Posted on January 8, 2018

The opioid crisis has struck farm and ranch families much harder than the rest of rural America. Farm towns will overcome this epidemic through strong farmer-to-farmer support and the resilience of our communities.The nation's two largest farm organizations have teamed up to bring attention to the opioid epidemic in farm country and provide information and resources to help those struggling with opioid abuse.

American and Alaska Native Communities at a Glance

Housing Assistance Council | Posted on January 2, 2018

The Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act is an important tool in meeting tribal housing needs.

Infographic: Pet ownership rates of four US ethnic groups

Pet Food Industry | Posted on January 2, 2018

A survey by Branded of 14,755 residents of the United States found that nearly 66 percent of respondents own at least one pet, although pet ownership differed by self-reported ethnicity.

The Divide Between America’s Prosperous Cities and Struggling Small Towns—in 20 Charts

Wall Street Journal | Posted on January 2, 2018

About 1 in 7 Americans lives in rural parts of the country—1,800 counties that sit outside any metropolitan area. A generation ago, most of these places had working economies, a strong social fabric and a way of life that drew a steady stream of urban migrants. Today, many are in crisis. Populations are aging, more working-age adults collect disability, and trends in teen pregnancy and divorce are diverging for the worse from metro areas. Deaths by suicide and in maternity are on the rise. Bank lending and business startups are falling behind. Here is the data that tells the story.

He built a food pantry in his lawn for the hungry. His town followed.

CNN | Posted on January 2, 2018

This summer, Roman Espinoza put up what he called a "blessing box" on his lawn.It was a miniature food pantry, modeled after Little Free Libraries, those boxes full of books in people's front yards that others can borrow from.What Espinoza, a 46-year-old Army veteran, hoped to do was alleviate the problem of hunger in his community.What his small gesture ended up doing is reveal a town's big heart.Today, his town -- Watertown, New York -- boasts more than 20 of these boxes.

Feds stop North Cascades grizzly recovery

Capital Press | Posted on December 28, 2017

The National Park Service apparently is shutting down its efforts to reintroduce grizzly bears into the North Cascades Ecosystem. Conservation Northwest, a regional conservation organization strongly supportive of grizzly bear recovery, issued a new release, Dec. 18, lamenting what it said was a stop work order announced Dec. 13 at an Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee meeting in Missoula, Mont. The Missoulian newspaper reported that North Cascades National Park Superintendent Karen Taylor-Goodrich said at the meeting that her staff had been asked to stop work on its environmental impact statement for grizzly bear recovery by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s office.

Tribe will move from shrinking island to farm in Louisiana

ABC News | Posted on December 28, 2017

Louisiana officials have chosen a sugar cane farm as the next home for residents of a tiny, shrinking island — a move funded with a 2016 federal grant awarded to help relocate communities fleeing the effects of climate change. Dozens of Isle de Jean Charles residents are to be relocated about 40 miles (64 kilometers) to the northwest, in Terrebonne Parish,|The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate report.The state is negotiating to purchase the 515-acre (208-hectare) tract, which is closer to stores, schools and health care — and which is less flood-prone than the island, which has been battered by hurricanes and tropical storms.

Pennsylvania hunters donated almost 3,000 deer to food banks in 2016-17

Trib Live | Posted on December 28, 2017

Gov. Tom Wolf's office and the Pennsylvania Game Commission announced that almost 3,000 deer harvested by hunters in 2016-17 were donated to a nonprofit that distributes the venison to food banks. The donation sets a record for the nonprofit, Hunters Sharing the Harvest, now in its 26th season. The nonprofit coordinates the hunters' deer harvests with meat processors and distribution to food banks. Hunters do not have to pay for the processing of their donated deer because the nonprofit partners with the state Department of Agriculture to secure donations and to cover the costs to process the meat. In the last two years, the Department of Agriculture increased its share of financial support to process even more deer donations, according to a press release from the governor's office.