A halt on oil drilling on 10 million acres in Alaska; surprise support for draining Lake Powell, the second-biggest reservoir on the Colorado River; a new startup wants to siphon lithium from the Great Salt Lake; a baby beaver caught on camera in Palo Alto, where the species had disappeared decades ago; and more recent environmental news from the West.
The Biden Administration blocks much, but not all, Alaska oil drilling. About 10 million acres would be protected by a ban and leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge issued under President Donald Trump would be canceled. It would not block ConocoPhillips’ Willow project, which Biden approved there earlier this year and is poised to produce 576 million barrels of oil over the next three decades. WASHINGTON POST Conservationists say the move is a boon to wildlife in one of the fastest-warming regions on Earth. YALE E360
As Colorado River dwindles, California farmers push to drain Lake Powell. A cause long pushed by environmental groups is receiving support from influential farms in California’s Imperial Valley, who have some of the strongest water rights to the river’s flow. In a letter to the federal Bureau of Reclamation, two major growers promoted the idea of eliminating the river’s second-largest reservoir and sending its water on to Lake Mead. “Past proposals by environmental groups to decommission Glen Canyon Dam or to operate the reservoir without power production as a primary goal can no longer be ignored and must be seriously considered,” they wrote. LOS ANGELES TIMES
Wyoming’s Flaming Gorge Reservoir can’t serve as a safety valve for Lake Powell and Lake Mead much longer. It only has enough Colorado River water left for two releases to help fill the reservoirs downstream. WATER EDUCATION COLORADO
How do Solano County, California residents feel about a huge new development proposed by billionaires? SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
The Great Salt Lake of Utah has been shrinking for years and environmental groups are now suing the state for letting it happen. A dry Salt Lake would expose a lakebed full of noxious chemicals like arsenic and lead, potentially leading to “‘one of the worst environmental disasters in history,” according to Ben Abbott, a Brigham Young University ecologist. THE GUARDIAN
A startup wants to siphon lithium from 225,000 acre-feet of water from the Great Salt Lake, but unlike other mineral extractors, it claims it will put all the water back afterwards and harvest the coveted element without waste or emissions. THE SALT LAKE TRIBUNE