« Reveal

Behind Trump's Energy Dominance (Rebroadcast)

2019-03-23 | 🔗

Reveal received a secret recording of oil industry executives rejoicing over the “unprecedented access” they have to David Bernhardt, the No. 2 official at the Interior Department. President Donald Trump has nominated Bernhardt to the top slot at the department, following the resignation of Ryan Zinke, and Bernhardt’s confirmation hearings are this week. Don’t miss out on the next big story. Get the Weekly Reveal newsletter today.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Hey? It is your favorite host in all of pod custom. Now for the rest of the year, I'm gonna be asking you to join us by becoming a member of reveal reveal is all about going deep, pulling on threads telling stories that matter for more than three years now reveal has been fighting a lawsuit. That's been jeopardizing our very existence of restoring we about an organization called planet aid. Our story raises serious questions about whether international aid was actually reaching the people. It was intended to help and what's more, our story was truthful and we stand by it. We believe it's our duty to fight attacks like this, but fighting a lawsuit comes at a huge costs, are legal fees alone totalled more than seven million dollars? Luckily, we have pro bono legal support to help our in house counsel, but it still takes significant resources, resources that should be used to do more public service journalists. This kind of investigative
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get a reporting and p r ex this is reveal a mallet was starting this. We show with a secret record that raises questions about a former oil industry lobbyists. His name is David Bernhard. He has a confirmation hearing. This week to be the new secretary of the interior. The people in this recording have a lot at stake and who gets John, I know a new world for us here tell us who people are and why there is such a good mood is reveal reporter Lance Williams good to see how he lets. So you got this recording from a source. Tell us what we listening to you, while the audio imperfect, because it was recorded from the back of a conference room at a writs Carlton
in California. Back in two thousand. Seventeen event was a meeting of the Independent Petroleum Association of America or fractures, and rulers and energy developers. Many of them with business on federal land. So these people are oil, executives and lobbies. Why are they so excited? about who's running the Department of Interior, almost Americans. The Interior Department, is running our national parks and that's true but Interior also controls energy development on millions of acres of federal land. The issue permits they set leasing rates, they enforce environmental rules, and all of that affects the industry's financial bottom line. So tell us what's happening in this. Tape fell just a few months into the Trump era. Do you remember on the campaign trail, the president promised to deregulate the energy industry to make us energy independent, but would that actually happen here you hear that
Souci leaders saying that things are going very well indeed This is association, see you bury Russell, it's a little difficult to hear him, but he's The industry has unprecedented access to administration officials, who are trying to help us. I mean we know that Trump Administration has close ties to this industry, but to have the top officials from an industry. Lobbying grew just outright saying that people inside the government are trying to help. I mean that that's pretty blatant. Well, that's! What's going on and on the recording. They need. In their particular allies in the administration we hear the associations political, Rector Dan Matt, My declaring that he's a friend of David Bernhardt back then Bernhard
just been named. The powerful number two posts in the Interior Department fast forward Christmas time and his boss interior, Secretary Ryan's Inky was forced resign and an ethic scandal, now, as we men, and earlier Bernhard has a Senate confirmation hearing this week to replacing he is the interior. A case of this guy who were hearing is a close friend to industry. Lobbying groups is now up to run the whole department. Yes and stand? That says? They know him very well and they have direct access to him. Very well and can have a conversation about issues ranging on federal land, access to Dimas. Pc2.
May soon be running the department of the Interior, and here we have a bunch of oil industry, guys gloating talking about how they have his ear on everything from federal lands. To endangered species not spend almost two years since the recording was made, and during that time Bernhardt was the deputy secretary. Syria has Bernhard help them. What that meeting in southern California, the association passed out a regulatory update memo that detailed, the environmental laws and rules. The industry hoped a blunt or over turn of the five issues at the top of the list. They ve got underway on four of them, four out of five. So what did they get? Are these big ticket items. Are they just little regulations here and there these were major priorities. They got the Interior department to a and in its rule regulating fracturing on federal lines. As a rule that was intended to minute
There is a risk of water pollution. It's gone gone all it is a rule that sought to discourage energy companies from burning off methane. That's a greenhouse gas. It's often accidently released during oil production, the agency, shut down a restoration programme that required energy companies to pay for environmental damage, and They abandoned efforts to hold the energy industry responsible for the deaths of millions of migratory birds, accidently q. Old when they fly into energy development, on public land When I hear more about that in a minute, but if Bernhardt is confirmed, what can we expect to happen? He's dead it had to reducing the regulation of the energy industry
Have we been able to talk to the Independent Petroleum Association of Amerika about this recording? emailed and telephoned association officials repeatedly- and I just have not managed to elicit any comment. What about the department of the Interior and Inter Department spokeswoman said. Deputy secretary Bernhard has not met with Petroleum Association officials. She didn't offer other comment. We look department, calendars and noted that the Petroleum Association has met on five, the key
genes with other interior, the purple officials. Things are much dog. Does less my pleasure. Let's reveals lands Williams, we ve been reporting on David Byrne heart since he first start led the interior. Two years ago, from the beginning, we watched him emerge as one of president trumps most skilled lieutenants. His number one. Priority has been to get rid of regulations that the energy into she hates take the hundred year old Migratory Birds Treaty act. We see the Interior Department for Emacs heavily rejected, but we can
the Bernhard fingerprints everywhere, and his personal role in getting protections for birds he's dog it at sweeping aside regulations and his work has paid off. The United States is now the number one energy producer in the world that often just raised this present trumpets of timber growing about the? U S, overtaking. Saudi Arabia and Russia to become the world's largest producer of crude oil is the first time that's happened in forty five years. This is a huge deal for decades. U S, politicians worried about our dependence on foreign oil. We fought wars over now was swimming in oil, and so are the birds,
reveals Elizabeth Chauvelin saw that first hand which he went to an oil operation in northern. While me in the story, we first aired back in July. It's a blustery spring day. The land here is flat, but we can see mountains in the distance. Migrating songbirds are flitting through the sage brush near by tumbleweed are blowing what seems like a defunct oil production site could have for a long time Gary monad snoops around like a detective Gary's retired now, but during his head career as a law enforcement officers. For the. U S, vision, wildlife service. This would have been a crime scene near the rusted motionless pump jack. He crouches and points to a long black feather, tangled up with weeds and a mat of thick oil
the color of milk, chocolate oil, furred, feather right here, probably from a voice tat, but I wanna go with a goose just want to pick it up is no longer a federal agent, even though it looks like this. Welshman taken out of production and waiting for prices come back up these projects leak and that's that Bert got into it. Then he spots a single egg sitting in a gooey puddle nearby in his data agent. Gary would have collected these bits of oily evidence, killing birds or destroying their nests or eggs. Even inadvertently was a crime, a legal opinion from a Trump administration change that were here on the south side of the pit but that's the surface sludge he standing in the middle of several pits the size of swimming pools. This is where the oil companies wastewater goes. You wouldn't want to swim in one.
They are often polluted with oil and toxic chemicals, but Gary says decades of policing. These pits taught him birds, don't know any better air bird thanks. It's just waiting in a pool of water to rest and feed and drinking next. They know it's trapped and you know it had a miserable death pits either big bird killers oil production sites, thick oil sludge, it's heavy when it gets on em they try to pregnant. Off of them, so they get it into their their gullet than now. Once this in their system, they're not gonna, make it did you ever find life birds. Oh quite often found lie birds, lot of dock slotted songbirds when you ve they're still alive, know they're in really bad shape and have to use an item concerning going to rehab on just got wrenching just shouldn't have to do that. He broke their necks. It's what he had to do
from nineteen. Ninety two to two thousand five Gary and other agents collected more than two thousand birds at pits. Forensic analysis showed they represented a hundred and seventy two difference. He, including many rare birds. Originally the migratory Birds Treaty ACT, targeted, hunters, trappers and poachers. But in the nineteen Seventys the federal government started using it to crack down on industries that kill lots of birds unintentionally, meaning The birds were saved by doing a new legal opinion. The trumpet administration stopped using the act that way and halted the fines and prosecutions. This was a triumph of industries influence. I analyse Public lobbying records from twenty seventeen. That specifically, mention the migratory Birds Treaty ACT they show,
oil, gas industry groups paid lobbyists nearly a half million dollars to influence federal agencies and Congress. Other kinds of energy companies spent Molly to lobby on this to industry groups. So send emails to trumpet administration appointees at the Interior Department one of those emails led me to Kathleen Sagamore in her corner office on the twenty seventh floor of a skyscraper in downtown Denver, particularly clear day. But it's not bad, you know. So it's a good view. Kathleen represents oil and gas producers. As the president of the Western Energy Alliance, she downplays the impact of her industries lobbying on Trump appointees. They did not need much prodding from us. Actually, they were going down that path before we even talked one Kathleen Centre. Long wish list of environmental policies. Industry wanted. The Trump administration to weaken among them was the way the migratory Birds Treaty ACT was interpreted. We were
the ones who were being targeted. She points out that the federal government ranks cats as the largest bird killers collisions with buildings come next. Do we prosecute those who live in buildings who happen to have a bird smash into their window? No, those are inadvertent. Bird, that's just like. Sometimes birds get into oil and gas equipment and that's result as well. For decades, the federal government had argued that birds dying in oil pits was different than bird smashing into windows, because companies could take steps to protect birds. Some companies disputed this in court, trumps top lawyer at Interior sided with them. He wrote a legal opinion saying its own, illegal to kill migratory birds. If it's done on purpose, they administer patient later sent out a memo with examples. If you power wash in offshore oil platform to get rid of a birds nest, that's illegal
but if your power washing and offshore oil platform and the birds nest happens to get washed away, that's not really It's a reasonable way to continue to protect birds. Well, moving forward with energy development. With day new interpretation of day migratory Birds Treaty ACT, there will no more fines and there will be no more prosecutions of industry when birds I add oil operations. Do you think that or birds will die as a result of that, I dont think more birds will die because companies don't need a rule or prosecution hanging over their head to do the right thing. We want to protect birds, nobody wants to see a dead bird mean, everybody loves bursts.
I tell Kathleen than in a couple of days. I'm gonna go flying over oil pits with former agents of the fish and wildlife service. She insists. There will be nothing to see we ve gotten away from open pits. Most modern operations do not use open paths that again has taken away. Us course of potential bird DAS and will continue to operate in that manner, get started up in clear, head, Clear Prob, but many companies still do you spits. Remember Gary, my lad, the former. U S, vision wildlife, service agent. He takes me up an assessment, if pits and Northern Wyoming still threaten birds, we fly over rural landscape. Looking out the window, I see an oil companies site with several large pits were wearing headsets to talk
the engines roar, while they ve got tat stretched across the pits, keep the birds out of these guys. So the rules of the game, then a pungent odor The tiny cock been severely oil. This. What is the gas I did so five, that's Mark whereby pilot he's also a former agent and Gary's friend, it's a little bit like rotten eggs coming up right here. Let's see that my dear lives, that's about it completely oil and all on that first, no getting there. That's ugly me forever clusters boiling it's one after another. Many have black, oilers early rainbow sheens visible on the surface? There's another ugly want by two three,
right here by a number of fields, right, ear, gather, right side of the blame lies another set of pitch their discharging into this wetland here. Those are problems that you see the shame. You see the Earl that will kill birds in the early nineties. Nineties Gary saw pits just like these. He later drove back to one pit, he'd spotted from the air in the sand at the bottom. He saw the bones of what looked like found. Birds to me. The light bulb went off knowing that there were thousands or produced water bit There might be right away that this represents a major threat to migratory birds. That's why he came up with this strategy to get companies to clean,
east water pits. Gary and other agents flew low over oil fields. When they saw Willie pits are missing nets. They give companies thirty days to clean up and install nets. At that point of an oil producer fell to clean up their bid. Still oughta would dead migratory birds. We would then charge them fifty dollars a bird report catbirds out of their they get a twenty five hundred dollar fine. First, ninety percent of the Pittsburgh Oily, but most companies quickly got the message: agents even tipped off the oil companies in advance. The point was to get them clean up, not collect fines. We will put the word out that we would be flying reached us Wyoming. We may the programme started under the Clinton administration and continued through Bush and Obama. It was a great success. The federal government estimates the number
a bird des an oral pits plunged from two million a year to less than half that, and the Environmental Protection Agency gave Gary its top award. Bird DES may begin rising again. Now that the trumpet ministration has stopped prosecuting the oil industry for killing birds, this way this is painful for american bird watchers, whether their Democrats or Republicans. What with you right here, oh he's just, Pretty ass could be and staying still, which is something of a miracle. It's the peak of spring migration and I'm walking in the woods not far from Washington DC with Lynn, Scarlet she's, a passionate birder, who was a top official at the Interior Department under President George W Bush here, the with Russia
I love the sound of a wood thrush, sometimes I'll go in the woods and when their singing or just stand there with my eyes, shut up and listen, it's so beautiful. I can tell that you love birds, do did you so you need so beautiful, ten thousand of them in the world each one different and you start to look at we gosh today, she's intent Finding warblers they're here only bring play on their way. North Lynne has tucked her khakis into her socks to avoid ticks and convinced me to do the same. She hears melodies and what sound like a cacophony to me. One of Linz jobs as bushes, deputy interior secretary, was protecting birds and enforcing the migratory Birds Treaty act. So I ask her what she thinks of prompts attack for having sex. Well, I mean they act as a hundred years old. She and sixteen other high ranking officials from
republican and democratic administration back to Nixon were outraged They objected by writing a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan's Inky and it was such an abrupt change. Inconsistent with five decades in both parties. So I think that caused so many former officials to say this really off the mark zinc. He never responded, but Lynn hasn't given up she's now, atop executive at the nature, conservancy and as a republican Lynne has ends with a trumpet industry. That few environmental leaders have Shiva knows the guy who wrote the new legal opinion Daniel Johnny. He used to work for her and then for foundations funded by the coat brothers there. The fossil fuel billionaires, who spend a bunch of their money pressing government too.
Regulations have you met with General Georgiana or others to talk to them about this year. We have both about this and broader things. There anything you heard in these meetings that gives you optimism that this is something that they might change their minds on I haven't seen any signal that there are plans to change direction on this, and it's not just birds that will be hurt. The fine Its companies paid under the act were used to restore habitats after the twenty two deepwater horizon oil spill. Bp was fined when hunt million dollars because of the migratory hoary Bird Treaty ACT. That's a lot of money being spent to beef up coastal wetlands that also protect people some storms and sea level rise, so nature. As for nature matters, but people too, you know it breaks my heart to see.
Unnecessary diminishing of the focus the nature- and I say unnecessary because we can work in tandem. We can turn on our lights with energy and concerned They are not at odds that story from reveals. Elizabeth children and remember those warblers Lynde Scarlet was so keen defy. Some more worry sounding things in here. Her optimism paid off oh magnolia, happiness. Is a magnolia warbler nice? That's one bright spot. Since this story first aired, we ve got a hold of internal emails from the fish and why
my services that show the agency eliminated nine jobs of people who used to investigate bird debts in another emo. An oral company asks if we still have to count dead birds at or feels the agency's reply. No trumps determination to get rid of regulation goes much brow other than birds and oil. Bit he's also on doing a lot of what President Obama did on climate change as part of the story. We come back. This is reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and p R. From the centre for investigating reporting, p r ex this is reveal
That's it today we're looking at how the oil industry is getting, what it wants from the Trump Administration and one introduced a sum of money in his jaw planet. I was a former policy director and the farmer the terrier either interesting couple years. Yes, Has been interesting, a richer Joel is a whistle blower here from saving american refugees of climate change to becoming a bit of a refugee himself, a Trump refugee. First, we should tell you what George was doing at the Interior Department before President trumped took office. I was focusing my work on the alaskan native villages along the Arctic Coast facing the direct impact of climate change. I could not imagine how cold that must have been. I've been to fair banks in Juno from Florida, He's gonna die every second there. You know I'll tell you it's nice causes should be. We saw open water in fish. You worry well, there's a lot
controversy over climate change. Scientists agree. The polar ice cap is melting. Last winter was a warm ass, yet Alaska. Warmer temperatures are melting. The permafrost villages are literally disappearing. Congressional I, the army core of engineers, have identified these four alaskan villages in desperate need of immediate relocation, the Alaska Village in danger of being swallowed by the sea and what the people who live there are doing to preserve. Their way of life is a slow moving disaster taking place up there right now, because these villages along the Arctic, the very narrow islands and and pencils that been locked in place by permafrost and protected by the sea ice, Far when, when the storm season comes
and ass no longer the case, and those storm, searches and waves are chewing away this melting permafrost, so these villages are right on the brink of being why trade off the map, jewels job, was to figure out how to save them or even relocate those villages. His work get the attention of the white under President Obama, reduce sea levels, these villages unprotected from floods and storm searches. Some are in imminent danger. Some we'll have to relocate entirely Albano as the first president to visit the already He mentioned your work. That's right! There is a lot of focus on the Arctic. Once you have a sensor what's going on out there, you realize that it's not just ecosystems that are imperilled at that. There are Americans, it could become refugees in their own country any year now, if we don't take action, Obama, Ass Congress, the budget, four hundred million dollars to help those communities and move them. If necessary. President Obama has done everything he can,
to get in the way of american energy. Instead, tromp was elected with a very different approach to energy in the my administration- will seek not only the american Energy independence that we ve been looking for so long, but american energy dominance, as we heard earlier, the? U S is now achieving that goal. When I talk to you about this, he said he and his colleagues were worried about how trumps pro business approach would affect their work, of course, everyone's walking on pins and needles, but frankly it because I was working on addressing the impacts of climate change, that we were seeing right in front of us and there are people in danger and so on. I thought, despite the rhetoric It administration would still allow that work to continue, they mean celebrated, but they would allow it to continue and so will have so then I got a call from a friend who said: hey. I just was reassigned. You may want to check your email, and so I did I received an email and about eight o clock at night. Sure enough, I had been
from unceremoniously and without notice reassign from my job as the top climate policy adviser and the director of the policy on Too an unspecified role in the office of natural resources revenue, that's the office that collects and disperses royal to income from oil and gas running industry. So there was a very nonsense. A job at my profession they basically aren't you to work with your nemesis Well yeah. You know, I think that the offer the natural resources revenue does important work because their dispersing those monies tribes in some cases, but yes, I was being away. From advising on what I consider to be the most important issue facing the federal government right now into a job attaining an and working closely with the industry, it is causing the problem This was essentially a perch. I was one of dozens of exit. It is, there were reassign that night and
while every administration comes in and does a few of those for various reasons. No agency in any administration has ever come and an reassigned dozens of people without telling them worry talking with them. First, the office was This surprised as I was that had been reassign there, so I wasn't even on the orchard and they had to bend over backwards to try and figure out how to from hand to and auditing operation. My background, of course, is not hot husband, say you an accountant. Do you Not me. I tell you about my checkbook omitted that sort of thing course it's all online now, but I couldn't do it then, and I can't do it now if I got moved into feels accounting we'd, be it so you get reassigned what happens so I blew the whistle. I took the unusual step of also going public about it with an operating the Washington Post. So I have the abbot here. Let me just read a little business
I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska native communities venue. It is pretty damning since it is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with his work. Emma disclosures that I was reassigned, I mean if it feels like you're poking the bull. Well, I as you know, but I fully expect to be fired right away frankly, but I guess they had a good lawyer too, and they realised that would be foolhardy and and as a whistle blower I do or did enjoy. Some protections I surely, where I took some time off and the day, I came back. I got to the front door at Interior a deal I am. I hesitated. I texted my attorney us into a half into this. Have to go in here. How does it feel to walk into their new off? I opened the door and I walked in and I couldn't have been more welcomed by staff and
was extremely gratifying. Now I don't get them. Trouble by suggesting they were sympathisers, but they were just very professional and welcoming they point out this a fan mail, my new desk there from people around the country, both civil, servants, and otherwise that had been in my eyes, had been riding into the agency. Saying, hey great. Thank you very much. We needed someone to speak out thanks for being our voice. So now a little known climate change policy. Guy a bureaucrat starts making news very recently, Joel Clement had been working as a senior policy official in the department of the Interior. Basically welcome to the programme scenario, you kind of at this crucial juncture of do you stay d, go What do you do? It would be a fine. Today's working against climate change inside the Faro Gummy. What what did you I realise that I was gonna lose my voice. If I remain tucked away in this office and so
I wanted to keep my voice. I wanna keep talking about this stuff. My voice at that point was more valuable to me, then than the Inca, my hat from a job, so it was time to get out so that I could be more vocal in and not be tucked away in his office. So, on October forth and twenty seventeen, you write another letter and this one is too then Secretary, Ryan's Inky, any you say something that you took. A lot of people think is obvious. Climate change is real and it's dangerous, but then you take a step further by accusing secretaries, inky and president tramp of being shackled to energy interests, and you say they cannot be trusted with our name. Resources in the end up, that's that's prepare for stuff and your encouraging others to conform to speak out as well. Right here. That's right, I mean you know the standard alot of people, can't do it. I think that there are lots of different and creative ways that civil servants can have any
act right now, we're seeing some of that, in fact, the off the special council reports that they have had a huge uptake and whistle blower complaints is just that they're, not public, like mine was, and their speaking up when and things and appropriate. Unfortunately, this group of political appointees is ignored, bring the civil service and in unprecedented ways, and because it that their make an honest there screw, not ballade winding up in a lot and that's the way it goes right. That's why we have potential branch of the government. Of course they are making on president moves. It might stick for a while that was joke. Lament he used to be the top climate change official at the Department of Interior. Now he works for Harvard Firstly, in the union of concern scientists. Next we go to the Utah. Does we're? Not holes, are worried that the past will repeat itself
poison, the water, it poison the livestock. Although wells and springs dried up and cause division, amongst the families oil drilling on native lance, that's next unrevealed from the centre for investigative reporting, MP or X
from the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex. This is reveal a mallet today, we're talking about president trumps policy of energy damage and the consequences of making it easier to drilling for oil and gas. One of those places is in South eastern Utah. It's a remote corner. The state towering red rocks and surprising clusters of green trees pop up alone empty to highways. It feels like the middle of nowhere preferential backer its home, so this this is my outweighs land is why I'm taking your hair, Andalusia, younger, have Navajo, have HOPI he's a filmmaker any skimmings Phd in it,
how'd he says grandmother Helen, yellow, raised twelve kids here, and this place was green and prestige in you. You could actually live and sustain yourself here last year, while in gas companies, but rights to drill on landing, bring back memories of what happened years ago. In the nineteen fifties to companies humble and show made agreements with the Navajo tribe and the state of you taught drill here. Roads of punch acts like the one Angelo stand in front of started feeling in the landscape. He says this changed his grandma's life. For years ago he made a documentary about. She was very traditional Navajo woman and she didn't speak any english colonel one amendment that you saw in the film Angelos timing, grandmother clutches here, as they woke up to the traditional home wishes to live. It's called a whole then walk up to a pump Jack Angelo remembers what she told her she had to have her
words translated, but she basically said this. In came in a poisoner, water, it poison the livestock, although wells and sprang straight up and cause division amongst the families and on taking up eventually scram on her kids left because the problems she says she never received any compensation, but in two thousand and four Oil companies were forced to pay a multi million dollar settlement for dozens of spills on the Navajo nation. All of this family. History with his grandma happened decades ago, but So I was worried. Something similar could happen again does because last year
the Earl of Land management least huge swathes of land in South Eastern Utah to oil and gas companies over a thousand acres in an area knows paradox: basin reporter Jennifer Oldham investigates what's at stake, as the Trump administration tries to speed up energy development on Utah's public lands, Angelo backers biggest fear is that drilling for oil and gas here will damage native american artifacts for that never who and hope, tribes, these ancient relics, cliff dwellings and rock art are an important connection to what, left behind by their ancestors hundreds or even thousands of years ago. We're on our way to go visit one of those sites. It's ninety degrees outside but Angelos in our black genes, but answer sneakers we're getting closer and closer, so we turn off the main highway onto a dirt road drivers who more miles and then pull over
Look at that beautiful. What we're looking at it. Patrick, live carvings on a wide flat rock my you, Sir Leon, I walk over It is amazing that you just pull over and then this is here and if you weren't looking for it, you just go written by the rocker, shows people, birds, horses and some sort of covered wagon, the palm sized images or a light, tat, color, roughly pact over the face of a huge red, bolder. We ask Angelo to explain why rock are an ancient walls are so important. Will I think, if you reverse the same question, for You know euro american perspectives on heritage in history like. Why is that significant? Why is the hour
Sistine, chapel significant. The same thing applies for us, it's important because it's part of our past and in the end, because you're, an american citizen in your part of this country, it's your heritage too, conservation- is to say the least. Land has more archaeological sites than any other area put up for auction by the Belem ever this federal land, so it doesn't technically belong to any tribe, but native american people in these areas for thousands of years my relatives they come to some of these spots still and they do their prayers and they do their ceremonies. And you know it's just like going to church. It's going to Temple, Angelo says as people want to have a say in what happens here, but he says the Trump Administration is listening. I do feel like. There is definitely a like a fast tracking of natural resource extraction. This administration,
is very excited and really aggressive about doing any kind of extraction that would be profitable. The energy industry is excited too. I think there's been a resurgence of hope. This is the peacock. He was head of the Utah Petroleum Association from ninety ninety seven to two thousand eighteen. He says there are still some never can't regulations, but the more open policy to responsible development obviously has been welcome. Twenties companies from all over the country took part in the sales of land in South Eastern Utah last March in December. Both were wildly successful. The Berlin least one hundred percent of the land it made available. Companies won't necessary. Only ever drill here, but if they decide to they have ten years to start the process Parsons way.
Four anywhere between two dollars and ninety three dollars an acre. If that sounds cheap, that's because it is Quite honestly, the leasing areas is eaten in in the big scheme of the oil and gas industry relatively inexpensive, twenty actually start to develop areas that the big costs come in in all that best, Business is trying to find find oil and make it work both economically and responsibly, but some people, feel, like development, should not happen here at all. People like Jim Allison, an archaeologist at Brigham Young University in Provo Utah. He spends his days setting silent dusty and shattered artifacts piecing together. Their story is, basically, these boxes are just full Jim stores. The corn unzip flock bag. Next boxes filled with
leather and scraps of pottery, the corn and a lot of islamic system, one site, it's cheaper, unresting site, mostly at this early village, probably the earliest village in the area EL. It is then puzzling over this place for nearly a hundred years, categorization apartment style, construction suggest rooms, Rosen rose, the reasons are laid out kind of in the shape of a capital, ie and scam around there a circular spiritual structures called give us. The way out is amazing, but why is this also important? Because Jim says it says a lot about how people survived in Utah harsh desert are archaeology, is all about context in the media portrays. It is all about objects, finding cool things, but but that's not really what it's about it? It's putting those things in context and peace in this context together- and this is where the problem with the wailing gas development comes in, she does
By the same you came in with a bulldozer putting in a well pan. I mean you can't do any this. If you destroyed some of the context, you could lose the entire story and there's so much out here that still hasn't been studied in two thousand. Seventeen around a thousand new cultural sites were found on bail and land in Utah a few years the federal government shared gems concerns under the Obama administration. There was talk about leaving land for oil and gas. Development on the same ridge is the village, but to be alarmed, to leave it alone, so it could be studied further. Now, under the Trump administration, those parcels have been least I called at the be alarmed for responds to concerns about me least all day and talked innate Thomas he's been the alarm in Utah for almost ten years and is now the archaeologists there, the last tools.
Must have been the most thorough culture resource analysis that probably the agency has done. In my opinion, there are a lot of cultural resources in that area and there are a lot of sites, but were very cognisant of looking at indirect effects and cumulative effects of what's occurring. Each of these leases, I think, except for one, is already touching an existing lease. So much of this area has already been these for oil and gas. Still in reviewing hundreds of pages of documents for this story, I was struck by how much science was ignored. For example, a computer model showed its very likely. There are undiscovered artifacts within the leases, and the National Park Service wrote that oil and gas drilling could cause Erin pollution in nearby national monuments, people come to this part of Utah. For the quiet and a star gaze, the park service said development could spoil that
Variance, even so the least sale moved ahead. Name did admit there will definite we be more artifacts discovered in the areas that were least bad We also feel that you can develop without having an adverse effect, which is shown to be true, because we do have developments in the adjacent least parcels, but have not had adverse effects based oh yeah neat says: even if there are lots more artifacts out there, you can draw for oil and gas without destroying things so our native american artifacts, at a serious risk or not will that depends on your perspective on public and how they should be used. This is a huge and controversial question out West, because public lands are designated as multiple use for grazing hiking fishing and my this is better alot. Multiple use includes energy
development that tension you talk about in the public lands debate. I think it's kind of one over protection. Economic development, lifestyle and in others no It's no good answer. This is the peacock again for ahead head of the Utah Petroleum Association, their oars. Certainly areas in our state, the actual, absolutely deserve need in our protections. There are also a lot of areas in southern Utah, especially where you know that the land while beautiful in their own right are much like the lands, ten or twenty or fifty miles over Angelo bugger than ever human HOPI filmmaker totally disagree that these lands are just kind of all the same for him
there are culturally significance. We wanted and protected, and these encouraging young people to push for that too. After a day of touring, southeast outta, we drive to little town car white meat, so were making a short stop over to our youth ambassador, a youth ambassador with a group called the Utah DNA, the Kyar, a regional native american Organisation, We arrive at a little green house with a perfect view of a controversial area called bears Ears twin red boots, rising up The wide open landscape President Obama protected bears ears by creating a vast national monument. Donald Trump reduce the protected area by
Eighty five per cent a boy named our hundred Yazzi is waiting outside and talk to my producer, Lee thirty think about there's a good place like it's pretty sacred tat. Our people Angelos here to make a short video about the cultural importance of beers ears vondra. Take that a piece of paper practicing his line of the first line. Ok, our handrail Yazzi Angelou hopes the next generation of kids like I'm. A hundred will fight to protect their answers. Our lands. Re now is a very critical time for indigenous territory is all over the world. What we are seeing in the United States is a microcosm of what going on everywhere else, tribes want more say. I what happens on land- that's important too, that the Trump administrations pushing the opposite way
green lighting energy projects, despite strong native american opposition. First, there was the Dakota Access pipeline years, standing Rock and the Keystone Excel pipeline. Now oil and gas leases in Utah. This may seem like lost battles, but for Angelo their helping to mobilise native communities. It is making us coalesce and come together as one can. We are finally asserting our tribal sovereignty and becoming more autonomous and independent in protecting our lands. Conservation is felt protest with the veal em over oil and gas leases, but the agency dismissed him to be a lamb, is auctioning off an additional thirty two thousand acres of land in South Eastern Utah at the end of this month,
all in areas with native american artifacts, thanks to important for Oldham and producer Lee Patterson for bringing this that story I want to turn Joe permit. He worked on climate change policy at the Interior Department under Barack Obama. President trumped up over climate change was no longer a priority. Joy was transferred to a new department and eventually quit and Joel. You been keeping a close eye on what's happening at the Interior and this new
push towards energy dominance right yeah. It was very clearly gonna be a big issue when they came in and said, we actually want to be the Department of Energy Parent deal. I, where the real department advantage In- and they started talking about this term- energy dominance for a while. It was energy independence, but that wasn't enough energy darling. It was the new term. We all know the direct link between fossil fuel use and climate change, the more we use. Climate change gets worse. There's no question about the linkage and in this case, with federal lands,
its american taxpayers, their facilitating it there not being compensated appropriately for the most part and their essentially complicit in an industries, exploitation that is damaging us. Let me we're paying the costs up front. Our pay and costs on the back and it's bad for Americans. What do you see happening to the people living in Alaska alone, the Arctic, who you are trying to help before leaving government every fall? We cross our fingers and hope that monster storms come in off the barrier touchy see an end is right off the map amended its hair raising a year. You can imagine a bad storm on the care. In writing. While had an arctic conditions to that, and things can happen very quickly and there's no air support up there. I mean this did Then people out of harm's way in the moment is gonna, be an emergency exercise that could well lead to loss of life. So tenuous,
now. I know some of those villages won't be their job good to meet you man and thank you for your work thanks. Our pleasure to speak with you here reveal we're gonna continued report from the consequences of president trumps energy dominance policies and how they are affecting people and nature. I leave produce over the show was aimed Walter's thanks. Lee Patterson introduced our story: southern outta there, George and Turkey, tell needest editing. Thanks also to editor Marla Cone and producers, Catherine Miss Gower Ski Emily Harris for helpful today show and zip code. Any news of a document. Energy remaining are sound. Design team is a dynamic dual J, breezy Mister Jimmy. Banana Doberman Yo Aruba. Their help this week from Catherine Remodeling Caitlin banks are CEO cause to share from work that Thompsons editor in chief executive producers, Kevin Solvent fee music, is by coming.
Life support for provided by the Raven David Logan Foundation, the John D in Kathmandu, Macarthur Foundation, the Jonathan Logan Family Foundation for foundation, the Housing Simons Foundation and the ethics and excellence in journalism foundation reveal is a co production of the centre for investigative reporting, MP or X amount letter and remember. There is always more to the story. These are last few shows of the year, and let me tell you in twenty twenty we are bringing the fire launching some of our most ambitious projects we ve ever done. I can wait for you to hear them reveal, is all about going deep, pulling on threads
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Transcript generated on 2019-12-19.