Though 2020 was an unprecedented year in so many ways for Western Wire and our readers, we will attempt to maintain a sense of normalcy by wrapping up some of our highlights as we have in the past. Like we have previously, this year our reporting tracked several state and …

Maintenance projects at Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

Parks across the West are closer to tackling long-needed repairs after Interior Secretary David Bernhardt released a list of projects for the coming year funded through the Great American Outdoors Act. Assembled by a special task force earlier this year, the list includes repairs and improvements to iconic national parks across the country and work on some of the projects is expected to start soon.

With questions beginning to swirl around the prospect of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) headquarters moving back to Washington D.C. from Grand Junction, Colorado, a senior Democrat and long-standing supporter of the relocation of the headquarters to Colorado told Western Wire he wants to see a robust presence remain in the state.

Two top officials in the Trump Administration testified on Capitol Hill this week that the proposed Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act would greatly restrict the potential future development of key energy and mineral resources and undermine the nation’s energy dominance strategy.

Shutterstock / Dean Conway

The leadership of key committees on Capitol Hill is about to change. The faces on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, the House Natural Resources Committee, and the House Energy and Commerce Committee will look different in 2021. On the Republican side, retirements have left openings while appointments to the Biden cabinet may shake up Democratic leadership on committees handling public lands, energy, and the implementation of the Green New Deal.

The mainstream media’s projection that Joe Biden would win the race for the White House prompted the former vice president to claim a climate mandate from voters wanting bold action on energy and environmental issues. Delivering his victory speech in Wilmington, Del., Biden listed several issues that dominated the campaign including the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, systemic racism, and also climate. He announced the outcome of the election has “given us a mandate for action.”

After nearly three decades in the House, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) has lost his seat to Republican challenger Michelle Fischbach. Peterson, one of a dwindling number of Democrats representing rural districts, was a centrist, pro-energy legislator who seemed out of step with the national party’s increasingly radical environmentalist policies.

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