Feb 6, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Interior Dept. to allow mining, drilling in Utah's national monuments

Hikers visit the House on Fire Indian ruins in Mule Canyon, inside Bears Ears National Monument, June 2019. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

The Interior Department's plans to allow mining, drilling and grazing on lands formerly protected as Utah's national monuments went into effect on Thursday, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: In 2017, President Trump reduced the size of Utah's Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and the Grand Staircase-Escalante by almost half, the acting assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management with the Interior Department said, per AP.

What's next: The lands, which contain thousands of cultural artifacts, "harbor significant amounts of oil, gas and coal that the administration hopes to develop, as well as grazing land valued by local ranchers," the Post reports.

What they're saying: The monuments remain under federal management, the Interior Department's Bureau of Land Management said in a press release on Thursday, and the agency has "developed new land use plans for the monuments."

  • "I'm happy to see the Administration develop management plans that protect areas with sensitive artifacts and yet still provide a way to use these lands for recreation, grazing, and management practices that will keep the lands healthy," Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said in the release.

Go deeper: Trump administration mulls privatizing national park campgrounds

Go deeper

SpaceX botches 50th Falcon rocket booster landing

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk after an in-flight abort test of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Crew Dragon capsule on Jan. 19. Photo: Paul Hennessy/NurPhoto via Getty Images

What would have been SpaceX's 50th successful Falcon booster landing was foiled on Monday, after the booster missed its touchdown point in the Atlantic Ocean, the Washington Post reports.

Our thought bubble, via Axios' Miriam Kramer: The most remarkable thing about SpaceX's failure to land one of its boosters is that this is the exception and not the rule.

Go deeperArrowFeb 17, 2020 - Science

Sanders and Bloomberg split over fracking

Bloomberg, Warren and Sanders at the Las Vegas debate. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Tonight's Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas laid bare the candidates' differences over fracking as Bernie Sanders defended his push for an outright ban and challenged concerns that it could hurt Democrats politically.

Driving the news: NBC's Chuck Todd asked Sanders what he would tell workers in Pennsylvania, a swing state where natural gas extraction via fracking is a major industry. Todd cited this New York Times piece on the politics of fracking there.

Scoop: Top NSC official reassigned to Energy Department amid "Anonymous" fallout

Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates will be reassigned as a senior adviser to Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette, the National Security Council said Thursday — and a senior White House official said that the administration "rejects" the rumors that she is "Anonymous."

Why it matters: Coates has battled claims that she is the still-unknown Trump administration official that penned a New York Times op-ed and book critical of President Trump.