Department of The Interior (DOI)

Trump admin opens 720,000 acres of land in California for oil drilling

Oil rig pump jacks work the oil fields near the town of Maricopa
Oil rig pump jacks work the oil fields near the town of Maricopa, Calif. in March 2013. Photo: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced on Friday plans to open about 720,000 acres of land in California’s central coast to oil and gas lease sales.

Why it matters: New federal land has not been freed up for fossil fuel extraction in the region since at least 2013, reports the San Francisco Chronicle. Environmentalists say new oil rigs will hurt California's land and water and contribute to climate change. However, the Interior Department claims the expansion will help ensure the U.S. achieves energy independence and economic growth.

Trump administration rolls back protections for endangered species

bald eagle
The Endangered Species Act helped save the bald eagle from extinction. Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Trump administration finalized sweeping changes on Monday to the Endangered Species Act that roll back protections for at-risk plants and animals and make it easier to delist species.

Why it matters: The landmark act from the Nixon administration contributed to saving the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator, per the New York Times. The Trump administration claims the changes will help reduce regulatory burden on the Interior Department.