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PUBLIC LANDS

Lawmakers eye protections for Southwest wildlife corridor

ABOVE THE RIO GRANDE — The river cut a red rock vein through New Mexico's high desert grassland, a vast dotted sea colored dusky green after a summer of rain.

Jeremy Vesbach, game commissioner with the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish, pointed from a single-engine plane to a recently restored population of bighorn sheep in the river gorge.

Farther north, the Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, which runs this span of the river, spread out along the Colorado line, home to wildlife that migrate from the southeast slopes of San Antonio Mountain to the northwest in summer. CONTINUE READING >>>

DEFENSE

Navy quietly shut down climate change task force

The Navy has quietly stood down its Task Force Climate Change, created in 2009 to plan and develop "future public, strategic, and policy discussions" on the issue.

The task force ended in March, a spokesperson said, and the group's tab on the Navy's energy, environment and climate change website was removed sometime between March and July, according to public archives.

There is still a climate change link in the lower right corner of the site that led, at last check, to an empty page titled "Climate Change Fact Sheets." CONTINUE READING >>>

CLEAN WATER ACT

'The river disappears, but the pollution doesn't'

BUTTE COUNTY, Idaho — The Big Lost River earns its name. Beginning in Idaho's tallest peaks, moving through irrigation dams and diversions, the river flows into the desert here and simply ends.

An ancient tributary to the iconic Snake River, the Big Lost was cut off by volcanic eruptions millions of years ago. Lava cooled into porous basalt, now covered by volcanic ash. When the river reaches the aptly named Sinks, it disappears underground.

Water "lost" today will reemerge in 200 years at the other side of the aquifer, 100 miles away, pouring into the Snake River from black canyon walls sprouting bright green vegetation.
CONTINUE READING >>>

NATIONAL PARKS

Emails show scramble to dump Stonewall pride flag: 'Oy vey'

After spending $66 to buy a new 3-by-5-foot nylon rainbow flag, the National Park Service flew it high at one of the agency's newest monuments: the historic Stonewall Inn in New York's Greenwich Village, where a riot on June 28, 1969, launched the modern gay rights movement 50 years ago this week.

But a trove of emails released under the Freedom of Information Act shows how that flag decision set off alarms for Trump administration officials in Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2017.

CONTINUE READING >>>

MORE STORIES

SECURITY

The inside story of the world's most dangerous malware

On Aug. 4, 2017, at 7:43 p.m., two emergency shutdown systems sprang into action as darkness settled over the sprawling refinery along Saudi Arabia's Red Sea coast. The systems brought part of the Petro Rabigh complex offline in a last-gasp effort to prevent a gas release and deadly explosion. But as safety devices took extraordinary steps, control room engineers working the weekend shift spotted nothing out of the ordinary, either on their computer screens or out on the plant floor.

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