Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Gold Butte National Monument

 Today I continue my series on all 129 U.S. National Monuments. This is in follow up to my series that featured open access photos of all of the U.S. National Parks. In the coming years, I will highlight open access images all of the U.S. National Monuments in alphabetical order.

Today's featured monument is Gold Butte National Monument in Nevada. This is one of the monuments that was under review for delisting as per executive order by the former president. Following the photos is a list of U.S. National Monuments previously featured on this blog.

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Previous On the Brink posts on the U.S. National Monuments

Admiralty Island National Monument
African Burial Ground National Monument
Agate Fossil Beds National Monument
Agua Fria National Monument
Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument
Aniakchak National Monument
Aztec Ruins National Monument
Bandelier National Monument
Basin and Range National Monument
Bears Ears National Monument
Belmont-Paul Women's Equality National Monument
Birmingham Civil Rights National Monument
Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument
Booker T. Washington National Monument
Browns Canyon National Monument
Buck Island Reef National Monument
Cabrillo National Monument
California Coastal National Monument
Canyon de Chelly National Monument

Canyons of the Ancients National Monument

Cape Krusenstern National Monument
Capulin Volcano National Monument
Carrizo Plain National Monument
Casa Grande Ruins National Monument
Cascade Siskiyou National Monument
Castillo de San Marco National Monument
Castle Clinton National Monument
Castle Mountains National Monument
Cedar Breaks National Monument
César E. Chávez National Monument
Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument
Chimney Rock National Monument
Chiricahua National Monument
Colorado National Monument
Craters of the Moon National Monument
Devils Postpile National Monument
Devils Tower National Monument
Dinosaur National Monument
Effigy Mounds National Monument
El Malpais National Monument
El Morro National Monument
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument
Fort Frederica National Monument
Fort Matanzas National Monument
Fort McHenry National Monument
Fort Monroe National Monument
Fort Ord National Monument
Fort Pulaski National Monument
Fort Stanwix National Monument

Monday, March 15, 2021

Deb Haaland, First Native American Secretary of Interior, Confirmed

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One of the most noteworthy Cabinet appointments of President Biden, Deb Haaland, was just confirmed as the first Native American Secretary of Interior. This is a stunning shift from the previous administration that appointed industry insiders to the position. Haaland served in the House of Representatives from Albuquerque and its suburbs. She holds a Juris Doctorate from the University of New Mexico School of Law. She has been deeply involved with the Laguna Pueblo's operations for many years and has been a strong advocate for Native American issues.

She is the first Native American Cabinet member. 

The focus of the Department of Interior is: 

The Department of the Interior (DOI) conserves and manages the Nation’s natural resources and cultural heritage for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people, provides scientific and other information about natural resources and natural hazards to address societal challenges and create opportunities for the American people, and honors the Nation’s trust responsibilities or special commitments to American Indians, Alaska Natives, and affiliated island communities to help them prosper.

What is interesting about this appointment is that the Department of Interior has been run in recent years by business insiders. The last two appointments were energy lobbyists or executives. Many criticized these appointments as a stain on the Department.

The appointment of Haaland is a significant change of direction and one that is welcome by many sustainability advocates who want to advance the goals of the Department of Interior.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Carbon Capture Projects Gain Momentum in North Sea

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The New York Times recently published an interesting article by Stanley Reed on a new carbon capture project that is being planned in the North Sea. The project is unique in that it is seeking to capture emissions from a number of industrial sites on the coast of England and divert them via pipeline into porous rock beneath the North Sea. The project is quite large and will cost billions to build and operate. 

There are three interesting elements to this project.

First, it is being developed by BP. If you have been following the news about BP, it is the first major oil company to try to diversify their portfolio from oil to a range of energy products--particularly renewable energy. This move into carbon capture further showcases their initiatives to be a carbon neutral company by 2050.

Second, the project is working in a region of England that has intensive industrial energy use. While these companies could work toward fewer emissions, it is frankly easier for them to buy into the carbon capture scheme than convert. While everyone agrees that it is best not to create emissions, this type of project provides opportunities for regions that either cannot afford new technology or that have industries that are difficult to transform into zero emissions operations.

Third, it is one of the largest carbon capture plans ever developed. If it is successful, it could help to accelerate carbon capture as a tool for managing global climate change. Understanding the geology of a region really matters and the ability to find the appropriate reservoirs could open up a new form of geologic exploration.