Interior Funds Problematic Forest Fire Suppression Project

by | Apr 29, 2020

The Department of Interior approved a $275 million Bureau of Land Management plan to construct and maintain a system of up to 11,000 miles of strategically placed firebreaks — strips of land with trees, deadwood, and undergrowth removed — across 223 million acres of federal public lands in California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Advocates say the firebreaks will slow or stop spreading wildfires. Critics say it’s an expensive end-run around environmental regulations that protect native vegetation, as well as vulnerable species such as the greater sage-grouse. Status: Finalized April 1, 2020.

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Amy Westervelt is the editor-in-chief of Drilled News, creator and host of the Drilled podcast, and founder of the Critical Frequency podcast network, named AdWeek's Podcast Network of the Year in 2019. An award-winning print and audio journalist, Amy has contributed to The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post, as well as KQED, The California Report, Capital Public Radio, and many other outlets. She is the 2015 winner of the Rachel Carson award for "women greening journalism," and a 2016 winner of an Edward R. Murrow award for her series on the impacts of the Tesla Gigafactory in Nevada. In 2019, the Drilled podcast won the Online News Association's "Excellence in Audio Storytelling" award.

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Emily J. Gertz is senior editor of Drilled News. A longtime environmental reporter and editor, her work has appeared in HuffPost, Reveal, Arctic Today, The Guardian, Popular Science, Scientific American, Sierra, and more.