« Reveal

Behind Trump's Energy Dominance

2018-07-14 | 🔗

President Donald Trump has pledged allegiance to what he calls America’s “energy dominance.” This is good news for the oil and gas industry. We examine what this means for Alaskan villagers coping with climate change, Native American artifacts in Utah and birds flying over the U.S.  

* *To find out, we talk with a former Interior Department official who became a whistleblower after helping relocate Alaskan Native villages threatened by rising temperatures. We also examine the energy industry’s influence on the Trump administration and visit public lands in southeastern Utah, where parcels leased for oil and gas exploration contain sensitive Native American archeological sites.

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 restore 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
It takes time and it cost money. If you believe in the work, we do the absolute best way to support us is by becoming a member of reveal to do it just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven standard data rates apply and you can text stop or cancel at any time also all new members who donate at least five dollars a month. We get our facts, t shirt again just text. The word reveal two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven and all you who already support our work. I would offer a deep sincere thanks. We can't do this work without being willing afforded twenty twenty. We have big things plan. So let's go to some good work together. From the centre for investigative reporting in p r ex this is reveal a mallet. I want to start by introducing you to some money in his jaw, Clement former policy director
farmer. The interior is interesting couple years yes and has been interesting. A richer Joel is a whistle blower. He went from saving american refugees of climate change to becoming a bit of a refugee himself, a Trump refugee. First, we should tell you Joe, was doing at the Interior Department before Is it took office took office? I was focusing my work on the alaskan native villages along the Arctic Coast facing the direct impact of climate change. I cannot imagine how cold that must have been to Fairbanks fair banks and Juno from Florida. Die every secular there. You know I'll tell you. It's nice causes should be. We saw open water in fear. We worry well, there's a lot of contract see over climate change. Scientists agree. The polar ice cap is melting. Last winter was a warm as yet
Alaska warmer temperatures are melting. The permafrost villages are literally disappearing congressional And 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, particularly the fall when, when the storm season comes and that's no longer the case and those storm surges and waves are chewing away. This melting permafrost.
These villages are right on the brink of being. Why train 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 House under President Obama, renew sea levels, these villages unprotected from floods and storm surges. Some are in imminent danger. Some we'll have to relocate Tyrell Obama was the first president to visit the Arctic. He mentioned you work, that's right. There is a lot focus on the Arctic. Once you have it answer so, what's going on at 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 and the environment. My administration will seek not only the american Energy independence that we ve been looking for so long, but american energy dominance and all it sounds like Trump is saying that it's not enough to just produce more energy. He wants the? U S to produce the most energy, so we don't have to be dependent on the Middle EAST and Russia Approach business message for sure. But not much of an environmental one thence to be no whiplash for everyone. You are working with yeah. You know, of course, everyone's walking on pins and needles, but frankly it because I was working on addressing the impacts of climate change. We were seeing right in front of us and there are people in danger and so on. I thought, despite the rhetoric, the new Administration would still allow that work to continue. They may not celebrate it, but they would allow it to continue, and so what happened
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 and. I received an email and about eight o clock at night. Sure enough. I had been and unceremoniously and without notice reassign from my job as the top climate policy adviser and the director of the policy of his two. To an unspecified role in the office of natural resources revenue. That's the office that collects and disperses royalty income from oil and gas. Mining industry. So there was a very nonsense. Our job at my profession. They basically besides 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 two tribes in some cases. But, yes, I was being away from advising on what I consider to be the most important issues facing the federal government right now into a job,
updating and and working closely with the industry that is causing the problem, Then this was essentially a perch. I was one of dozens of executives, 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 or a talking with them. First, the office was a surprised, as I was then reassign there, so I wasn't even on the orchard and they had to bend over backwards to trial. Figure out how to work in hand to and auditing operation. My background, of course, is not hot. I was you look out. Do you know I mean I, I used to balance 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 reveals accounting we'd be dropped, so you get reassigned. What happens?
so I blew the whistle I took the unusual step of also going public about it with an opt out in order to impose. 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. Then you, it is pretty damning, since it is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures that I was reassigned. I mean if it feels like you're poking the bull. Well, I was you know, but I fully expect it to be fired right away, frankly, Yes, they had a good lawyer too, and they realized that would be foolhardy and and as a whistle blower, I do or did indeed some protections actually, 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 and to this end I have to go in here. How does it feel to walk into the new 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 it when troubled by suggesting they were sympathisers, but they were just very professional and welcoming they point out this a fan mail and my new desk there from people around the country, both civil servants and otherwise it Then, in my absence, had been riding into the agency. Saying, hey great, thank you very much. We needed someone to speak out thanks for beyond our voice, so now, a little known climate change policy. Guy a bureaucrat starts making news until very recently.
Your comments have been working as a senior policy official in the department of the Interior, Isabel and welcome to the programme scenario. You kind of at this crucial juncture of. Do you stay. Do you go? What do you do? It would be a fine today's working against climate change inside the Faro Gummy. What what did you do 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 income I have from that job? So it was time to get out so that I could be more
Colin and not be tucked away in his office. So on October, fourth, twenty seventeen. You write another letter, a resignation letter this one to Secretary, Ryan's Inky, and you say something that a lot of people would think is obvious. Climate change is real and it's dangerous, but then take it a step further by accusing secretaries, inky and present tramp of being shackled to energy interests, and you say they cannot be trusted with our nations resources. Yeah, that's pretty powerful stuff and your encouraging others to conform to speak out as well. Right here, that's right! I mean you know We stand at a lot 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
I want some inappropriate. Unfortunately, this group, a political appointees, is ignored in the civil service and in unprecedented ways, and because it but they're making a lot of their screwing up. A lot pulling up in court aloud and that's the way goes right. That's why we have you the judicial branch of the government, but I will see where they prevail. In some cases, of course, they are making Some unprecedented moves. It might stick for awhile, and that is what today show is all about. Those unprecedented move. Giving oil and gas companies land and leeway to drill, despite the consequences for greenhouse gases, public land or wildlife will hear more from joke. Lament the former policy directed at the interior debarment later and show, but first we're gonna. Take you around the country from Washington DC to public lives, neuter and oil. Waste bits in Wyoming hair bird thanks is just landing in a pool of water to rest in peace
didn't drinkin next, they know it's Rapid, and you know it had a miserable death. That's next on reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and p r from the centre for investigative reporting. It p. R expertise is reveal annihilated back in May twenty. Sixteen, when Donald Trump was just a candidate oil executives gathered in a ballroom in Bismarck, North Dakota Trump Jab did Hillary Clinton and President Obama and then redirected his fury at birds blaming them in the way the federal government was protecting them for strangling oil industry profits. Government misconduct goes on and on the Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against seven North Dakota oil companies for the death of twenty eight birds,
the oil executives in the rooms. Trot was talking about the migratory birds treaty, yet regulatory irritant for there was signed into law a hundred years ago this month and it makes it illegal to kill birds or destroy their nest and eggs without a permanent one. Shrunk was in the White House. His interior department defended weakening the government's authority to enforce the act, is a millions of birds are killed each year by things like wind turbines, power lies or wastewater bits, but now the government is no longer going after companies responsible for those deaths. Cornell university is home to the world's largest collection of bird cause. It's all anthology lab is dedicated to conserving birds. We talk to Amanda Roadway, professor and research. There she's work.
Chump change will reduce the number of birds, those already on the road to extinction and common ones too, like this western Meadowlark Stay bird of six western states, she's word for people to young birds are sentinels environmental conditions there, the canaries and the coal mines and, as many people would say, and so, if we allowing environments that are creating unhealthy conditions for birds. That also means we are creating copy environments that have the potential to impact us. We has reporter Lisbon children to find out. What's at stake starts at an oil operation in northern, while 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 sagebrush. Nearby tumble leans are blowing through what seems like the defunct oil production site.
And 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 map of thick oil. The color of milk chocolate, oiled bird feather right here, probably from our poorest, but I'm gonna go with a goose just want to pick it up, could no longer federal agents, even though it looks like this wells been taken out of production waiting for prices come back up. These objects leak. That's worth that Bert got into many spots, single eggs sitting in a gooey puddle nearby in these days,
agent Gary would have collected these bits of oily evidence, killing birds are destroying their nests or eggs. Even inadvertently was a crime, a legal opinion from the Trump administration last December changed that are here on the south side of the 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 landing 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 print it off of arms, so they get it into their their gullet and once once a cinder system they're not gonna make it did you ever find lifeboats? Oh quite often lie birds, a lot of dock slotted songbirds when you ve. I'm a nurse still alive and other really bad shape and have to use an item concerning any second rehab on it was just got. Wrenching should 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 Mrs, including many rare birds are really only 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, millions of birds were saved but by issuing a new legal opinion in December, the Trump administration stopped using the act that way and halted the fines and prosecutions. This was a triumph of industries influence. I analyze public lobbying records from twenty seventeen. That's Civically mention the migratory Birds Treaty act. They show oil and gas industry groups paid lobby nearly a half million dollars to influence federal agencies in Congress. Other kinds of energy company spent heavily to lobby on this to industry groups also sent emails to trumpet administration appointees at the Interior Department, one of those has led me to Catholics, are in her corner office on the twenty seventh floor of a skyscraper in downtown Denver,
kick 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 an Trump appointees. They did not need much prodding from us. Actually they were going down that path. Before we even talk to him. Last August, Kathleen sent along wishlist 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 are being targeted. She points out that the federal government ranks cats as the largest bird killers collisions with buildings. Come next Dewey prosecute those who live in buildings who happen to have a bird smash into their window. Now 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 come Chinese could take steps to protect birds. Some companies disputed this in court and in December trumps, top lawyer at Interior sided with them he wrote a legal opinion saying its own the illegal to kill migratory birds. If it's done on purpose,
the administration later sent out a memo with examples. If you power wash and offshore oil platforms to get rid of a birds nest that silly but if your power washing and offshore oil platform and birds nest happens to get washed away, that's not it It's a reasonable way to continue to protect birds. Well, move forward with energy development with day new interpretation of day migratory Bird Treaty ACT. There will be no more fun and there will be no more prosecutions of industry when birds die. At oil operations. Do you think that more 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 furred mean everybody loves,
I tell cancelling 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 us Pits most modern operations do not use open pets that again has taken way. A source of potential bird does and will continue to operate in that manner or river hadn't. You started up clear ahead, Clear Prob, but many Companies still do use pits. Remember Gary MO add the former: U S vision, wildlife service agent. He takes me up an assessment If pits and Northern Wyoming still threaten birds, we fly rural landscape looking out the window, I see an oil companies site with several large pits were wearing headsets too
over the engines, roar, they ve got tat, stretched across the best, keep the birds out of these guys. So the rules of the game when appointing odor seals that any cockpit smelly oil. Yes, what is it? I did so five, that's mark whereby piling 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 a bed in a play, we for our oil and oil on adverse no getting there. That's ugly me forever clusters. Billy pit one after another. Many have black oilers morally rainbow sheens visible on the surface. There's another ugly want by two or three sixty right here: there's a number of fields right, ear, gale side of the blame lies another set of their discharging it wetland here. Those are Bob
you see the shame. You see the oil that will kill birds. Early nineteen nineties Gary saw pits just like these. He later drawback to one pit he'd spotted from the air in the sand at the bottom, he saw the bones of what looked like thousands of birds to the light bulb went off, knowing that there were thousands or produced waterbed, 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 wastewater pits. Gary and other agents flew low over oil fields when they saw oily pits are missing nets. They give companies thirty days to clean up and install nets that point of of an oil producer fail to clean up their pit and it still had oil on it with dead by Kotori birds, we within charge them and two hundred and fifty dollars a bird.
Every polecat birgitta there they get a twenty five hundred dollar fine. First. Ninety percent of the pits oily, but most companies quickly got the message: agents even tipped off the oil companies in advance. The point was to get them to not not collect fines. We will put the word out that we would be flying reached us while we may the programme started under the Clinton administration and continued through Bush and oh bomber. It was a great success. The federal government estimates the number,
A bird deston oil 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 administration 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 or he's just pretty, as can be, and sting 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 I'll just stand there with my eyes, shut up and listen, it's so beautiful. I can tell you love birds. I do there just so you need. So beautiful, ten thousand of them in the world. Each one different, and you start to look at the many allowance gosh today, she's intent on finding warblers here? Only briefly, 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 Bird Treaty ACT. So I ask her what she thinks of prompts attack for having sex. Well, I mean the act is a hundred years old. She and sixteen other high ranking officials from every report.
But can in 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. That's inconsistent with five decades in both parties. So I think that caused so many former officials to say this really is off the mark. Zinc, 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 trump ministration that few environmental leaders have Shiva knows the guy. He 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 to cut
The elections have you met with an old Georgiana or others to talk to them about this year. We have both about this and broader things. Is 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 companies paid under the act were used to restore habitats after the twenty Ten deepwater horizon oil spill. Bp was fined. When Hunt million dollars because of their migratory birds. 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, we manage the people to do not 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 concern They are not at odds that story from reveals Elizabeth children I remember those warblers link scarlet was so keen to find it. The worry sounding things in here her optimism paid off. Oh magnolia happiness is a manual work. Are nice Elizabeth told me Linsky Optimism is mistaken. Egg down by industries like big agriculture, energy and construction, the Trump Administration is working to weaken,
major environmental laws like the Clean AIR Act, the clean Water act and toxic chemical loss, lint scarlet fears they'll be got it just like the migratory Birds Treaty at what are these birds sounding in alarm about what the Trump Administration is trying to do? I found Emails from headquarters in DC, saying in some way to show that we are trying to. As much energy. Out of our federal lands is possible because that's what we voted into office. To do that's next on reveal from the centre for investigative reporting and p r exe yeah. from the centre for investigative reporting and p r eggs? This is reveal a mallet weaving
talking about how President trumps policy of energy dominates may mean more birds die, but what does it mean for the environment and climate change in general, we are, there called the Washington Correspond for any moves to help us figure that out Zack reports environment and energy around the. U s he's been peeking into the interior departments, persist, and what he sees its pretty shocking. He says the interior Turning to look a lot like an arm of the energy industry, as I am now, you ve been looking at all these oil and gas leases auctioned off by the Interior depart The government is auction federal land of two energy companies for a while. Now me, that's not new, but something important has changed. The Trump administration they act, I have a new policy where they hold these. Least sales every quarter, so here we have the Trump administration putting out a book of candy or for the oil and gas industry. Thorough government put it on the auction block.
Once companies bit on the land they win the lease. They have a right to explore impossibly of oil and gas from next ten years, there's some good pieces in their there's chunks of law, the word. Gasser explore a certain point, though your left, the dregs of candy world, the Gooden Plenteous mike- and I examined I, like my colleagues- I don't know it's just my preference morbid target guy, but in the end the awesome the less desirable stuff just because it is being offered some very little as two dollars. Breaker, basically for free, so you actually got out of deceiving few days to the Colorado Rockies to see these places that could be developed exactly? I was able to go up in his little promptly and environment. Not organic while one uniform departing runway do three straight up: pardon you can a lot of the land at risk of being less. It could mean
structure of a road or to or could mean drilling in public on natural gas or recover lot of producing. That's the pilot Dan stuck her. There were big rectangular pools. Whole wastewater from France. The operations roads cut into the sides of these green maces, which are like flatter sloping mountains some of these areas have been clear cut of trees and I was able to check out the mountains that would be included in one of these least proposals right up. Ten thousand spell vows paid above it the amount of land that would be changed, valleys wells, it's hard conceptualize. I imagine the folks who live around. They are doing the same problems in their heads. The plot out the amount of land that would be changed. Valleys wells, it's hard conceptualize, Then the folks who live around they're doing the same problems in their heads decent makes the others. The people who really respect that this entered the development has been an engine for the
western economy, for the: U S economy, but at the, in time these are people who moved out because they loved their land. I thought to a hundred name MIKE Drake, whose concern that equally, the area, and, quite frankly, if most of the people that I've talked to the come up here to hide come up here to hot but cause. Wild land, and if you again. It's the cannibal thing. Some of this is not good. Candy or good land renders extraction. There's a glove natural Period is offering more land in the oil and gas companies even want or need again it's the cannibal thing. Some of this is not good. Candy or good land renders extraction, there's a lot of natural gas right now, oil price, or not as high as they ve, been in the past, or their starting to rise again. The point is no. Stop them from leasing alarm once its offered. What have you seen that the Trump Administration is doing to work with the energy companies to create this energy? prominence this administration has focused so
much on energy that that's the major difference. There was this report that came out the energy burdens report. The metric first success was to get energy out of the ground faster. That is in line with the base that supports Donald Trump. It's in line with me If these donors is in line with its politics- and you reporting has shown specific examples of this right in the interior department? Yeah well act I found some emails from headquarters in DC, saying in some way to show that we are trying to get as much energy out of our federal lands is possible because that's what we got vote into office. To do this land that they're trying to square he's, all the energy out of there belongs to every American to right, write that does. Indeed, there are some benefits. Two extracting energy from this land, taxpayers get money and then, if energy is
they produced there's a royalty payment. Basically twelve point: five percent fee, whatever comes out of the ground, the queen, now is whether taxpayers are getting enough for this trump is not gonna, be president forever. Can this be turned around by president too say, is not is friendly to the oil and gas companies. It may be a little more friendly to the environment, not for a while. I was there in the least last for ten years was not hard to renew them after that, so looking ahead, we know that those fossil fuels are adding to climate change Twenty percent of our emissions in this country come from federal land. So, if were pushing out all land energy companies right now that could be developed decades into the future. This is all happening in the Trump administration without even considering climate change. So that's the major difference they actually recent a policy that requires the entire. Department to think about climate change,
Zack home and is the White House correspond effort, d and e news that things are going it thanks for having me one place. The Trump administration is making it easier for energy companies to drilling for oil and gas Southeastern Utah, it's a remote, corner of the state towering red, rocks and surprising clusters of green trees pop up along empty two lane highways. It feels like the middle of nowhere, but for Angelo backup. It's all so this this is my family's land is why I'm taking your hair, Andalusia, young guy, have Navajo, have HOPI he's a filmmaker and he's getting his Phd in Anthropology. He says grandmother. Yellow race, twelve kids here and this place was green and prestige in you. You could
actually live and sustain yourself here. Oily gas company recently bought rights drill on landing, bring back memories of what happened years ago in the nineteen. Fifty two companies hub loyal and show made agreements with the neighbourhood tribe and the state of you taught drill roads if pump 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 of animals, tiny grandmother, clutched his here as they woke up to the traditional home wishing to live. It's called a hooker, then walk up to a puncture Angelo remembers what she told her. She had to have her Words translated, but she basically said this in
Street 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 happen decades ago, but Angelo is worse. Something similar could happen again. That's because in March The Bureau of Land management least huge swaths of land in South Eastern Utah to oil and gas companies over fifty thousand acres in an area known as paradox: basin, reporter Jennifer Oldham
investigate what stage as a Trump administration tries to speed up energy development on you, toss public glance, Angelo backers biggest fear? where's the drilling for oil and gas here will damage native american artifacts never who, in her be tribes. These ancient relics, cliff dwellings and rock art are an important connection to what was 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 had been Angelos in our black genes, battened down shirt, sneakers we are getting closer and closer. So we turn off the main highway onto a dirt. Will drive this you more miles and then pull over. Look at that of what we're looking at his Patrick LIVE carvings wide flat rock my producer Leon. I walk over in Asia.
Easing that you just pull over and emphasis here, yeah yeah and if you weren't looking for it, you just go written by the rocker, sues people, birds, horses and some sort of covered wagon, the poem sized images or light tat, color, roughly Peck dull, over the face of the EU. Tread bolder. We ask Angela to explain why rock are an ancient laws. Are so important? Will I think, Few reverse the same question for You know euro american perspectives on heritage in history like. Why is that significant? Why is they are on the 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 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 have lived 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 two Temple Angelou says is people want to have a say in what happens here, but he says the Tramp administration as it was I do feel like there is definitely 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's the head of the Utah Petroleum Association, and he says there are still significant regulations,
but the more open policy to responsible development obviously has been welcome. Twenty four companies from all over the country took part in the March sail. It was wildly success, the Bio Manliest, one hundred percent of the land it made available persons. And for 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 in in a big scheme of the oil and gas industry relatively inexpensive, twenty actually start to develop areas that the big costs come in You know that that's the business worryin is trying to find find oil and make it work both economically and responsibly, but some people feel like men should not happen here at all. People liked him Allison
an archaeologist at Brigham Young University in Provo Utah. He spends his days setting silent I see and shattered artifacts piecing together. Their story is basically these boxes are just full Jim stores, the corn and zip lock bag. Next, the boxes filled with hair leather, and scraps of pottery, the corn and a lot of the ceramics from one site. Its super unresting site, mostly it's this early village, is probably the earliest village. In the area El. It is then puzzling over this place for nearly a hundred years of additional apartment, style, construction suggest rooms, Rosen rose The reasons are laid out kind of in the shape of a capital, IE and Scott
the round there a circular spiritual structures called key. This. The latter is amazing, but why is this so important? Because Jim says it says a lot about how people survived in Utah, harsh desert are archaeology is all about context. In early in the media portrays it is all about objects and finding cool things, but but that's not really what it's about it is about putting those things in context and piecing those contexts 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 of 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 and studied last year, around a thousand new cultural sites were found on bail and land in Utah
A few years ago the federal government shared gems concerns under the above my administration, there was talk about leasing, land for oil and gas. Development on the same ridge is the village, but the beer. I'm decided to leave it alone, so it can be said. If further now, under the Trump administration, those parcels have been least I called at the be alarmed for responds to concerns about new lease all day and talked innate Thomas he's been with it. The alarm in Utah for almost ten years and is now the archaeologists there, the last tools also been the most thorough culture. Resource analysis that probably the agency has done my opinion. There are a lot of cultural resources in that area and there are a lot of sites, but were very
Agnes and of what you know, indirect effects and cumulative effects of what's occurring. Each of these leases, I think, except for one, is already touching and existing lease. So much of this area has already been least 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. So it's very likely there are undiscovered artifacts within the leases and the National Park Service wrote that oil and gas rolling could cause Erin light 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 experience. Even so the LISA moved ahead, nay, did admit there will definite please be more artifacts discovered in the areas that were least bad. We
so I feel that you can develop without having an adverse effect, which is I should in future. True, because we do have developments in the adjacent least parcels that have not had adverse effects. Basically yeah mate said, Even if there are lots more artifacts out there. You can draw for oil and gas without destroying things, so native american artifacts at a serious risk or not? Will that depends on your perspective on public lands 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. Sing and mining. This is federal law. Multiple use includes did you development that that tension talk about in the public lands debate, I think, is kind of one overprotection, verses economic development verses.
Style and, in others know, there's no good answer. This is the peacock again the head of the Eu Top Petroleum Association There are certainly areas in our state. The actual absolutely deserve a need in our protections. There are also a lot areas in southern Utah, especially where you know that the land while beautiful in their own right are much the lands, ten or twenty or fifty miles over answer back than ever, who, in HOPI filmmaker totally disagree that these lands are just kind of all the same for him they're, all culturally significance. We wanted and protected and he's encouraging young people to push for that too. After a day of touring south these data, we drive to a little town car white meat,
so were making a over to our youth ambassador. A youth ambassador with a group called the Utah DNA, the Kyar, a region, native american organisation. We arrive. A little green house with a perfect view of a controversial area called bears Ears twin red boots. Rising. Out of 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 wanting to find where the first line, ok, how our handrail, Yazzi Angelou, hopes the next generation of kids like I'm, a hundred will fight to protect their ancestral lands, re nails, a very critical time, her indigenous territory is all over the world. What we're seeing in the United States is a microcosm of what going on everywhere else. Tribes want more say about 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
These 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 farmer tee and becoming more autonomous and independent in protecting our lands. Conservationists have filed protest, with the b a lamp over the oil and gas leases, but they were dismissed by the agency in May. The groups now have appealed to the Department of Interior for ruling on their protest. In the meantime, the energy companies whose parcels and South Eastern Utah can far from it
It's too drill things to reporters Jennifer, Oldham and producer ITALY, Patterson for Brain, said story. I want to turn back to your comment. We heard from him at the top of the show he worked on climate change policy at the interior to forbid under Morocco above and President Trump took over climate change was no longer a priority. Joy was transferred to a new department and eventually quit and all you been keeping a close what's happening at the Interior and this new push towards energy dominance right yeah, it was very clearly gonna, be a big issue and they came in and said we actually want to be the Department of Energy Herod Deal. I, where the real department advantage in and they started talking about this term energy. Eminence for a while I was energy independence, but that wasn't enough energy DOM
this was the new term. We all know the direct link between fossil fuel use and Climate change, the more we use, I'm a chance gets worse, does not 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 industry, exploitation that is damaging us. Let me we're paying the costs of front our pay and costs on the back, and it's bad for Americans right now we're about half way through our second year of President trumps, energy dominance policy, the oil and gas pumping leases Trump is pushing or just a part of it they last for at least ten years now alike and change in a decade. What do you see happening to the people living in Alaska along the Arctic, who you
trying to help before leaving government. Frankly, I don't know where I see them. One year from now, every fall we cross our fingers and hope that a monster storm doesn't come in, The burying your check to see an end is wiped off the map, a minute its hair raising. Yeah, you can imagine a bad storm. The Caribbean right had had arctic conditions to that, and things can happen very quickly and there's no air support up there I mean this did Putting people out of harm's way in the moment is gonna, be an emergency exercise that could well lead to loss of life so ten years 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 a document is a former policy director in the Department of the Interior he's now consultant and senior fellow with the union of concern scientists at the Harvard Kennedy School. Where he's continuing to speak out, early producer. For this we show is Amy Waters thanks to Leap Harrison.
Use the story and southern Utah Deb George and Turkey to meet his edited, the shop- thanks to editor Molly COM for her help Amy NEWS for their collaboration of production, windy and also our sound design team is the dynamic do o J Breezy, Mr Jim Bricks and Fernando my man, your router. Their help this week from Catherine Raimondo are acting. Ceo is crucial any piles. Our editor in chief executive producer is Kevin Sullivan. Our theme music by Camerado, like support for a veal's provided by the Reverend David Logan Foundation, the John D Catherine T macarthur- foundation the Jargon Logan Family Foundation before Foundation, the highs Simon Foundation and the ethics and excellence and journalists foundation reveal is a cop action of the centre for investigative reporting in p or ex lesson, and remember. There is always more to the story.
Yeah,. 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 telling stories that matter and this kind of investigative journalism? Well, it takes time and it costs money. These are the final weeks end of the year membership campaign. We depend on listeners like you to help make this work possible to support us just takes. The word reveal to four seven four, seven, four seven standard data rates apply and you can take stop or cancel at any time again. Just takes a word ravine.
I'll do for seven, four, seven, four, seven, let's go! Do some good work together.
Transcript generated on 2019-12-20.