Indian & Indigenous Developments

Environmental Developments

Jessica Corbett, "UN Experts Warn of 'Climate Catastrophe' by 2040 Without 'Rapid' and 'Unprecedented' Global Action: 'The climate crisis is here and already impacting the most vulnerable," notes's program director. 'Staying under 1.5ºC is now a matter of political will,'" Common Dreams, October 08, 2018, , reported, " Underscoring the need for "rapid, far-reaching, and unprecedented" changes to life as we know it to combat the global climate crisis, a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—the United Nations' leading body for climate science—details what the world could look like if the global temperature rises to 1.5°C versus 2°C (2.7°F versus 3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels, and outlines pathways to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the context of sustainable development and efforts to eradicate poverty.
    'Climate change represents an urgent and potentially irreversible threat to human societies and the planet
,' the report reads. 'Human-induced warming has already reached about 1°C (1.8°F) above pre-industrial levels at the time of writing of this Special Report... If the current warming rate continues, the world would reach human-induced global warming of 1.5°C around 2040.'
    Approved by the IPCC in South Korea on Saturday ahead of COP24 in Poland in December, Global Warming of 1.5°C was produced by 91 authors and reviewers from 40 countries. Its release has elicited calls to action from climate campaigners and policymakers the world over.
     'This is a climate emergency. The IPCC 1.5 report starkly illustrates the difference between temperature rises of 1.5°C and 2°C—for many around the world this is a matter of life and death,' declared Karin Nansen, chair of Friends of the Earth International (FOEI). 'It is crucial to keep temperature rise well below 1.5 degrees without offsetting, carbon markets, and geoengineering, but the evidence presented by the IPCC shows that there is a narrow and shrinking window in which to do so.'
    The report was requested when the international community came together in December of 2015 for the Paris agreement, which aims to keep global warming within this century 'well below' 2°C, with an ultimate target of 1.5°C. President Donald Trump's predecessor supported the accord, but Trump has vowed to withdraw the United States, even as every other nation on the planet has pledged their support for it. In many cases, however, sworn support hasn't led to effective policy.

current policies

'It's a fresh reminder, if one was needed, that current emissions reduction pledges are not enough to meet the long-term goals of the Paris agreement. Indeed, they are not enough for any appropriately ambitious temperature target, given what we know about dangerous climate impacts already unfolding even at lower temperature thresholds,' Rachel Cleetus, lead economist and climate policy manager for the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), wrote ahead of its release.
    'The policy implications of the report are obvious: We need to implement a suite of policies to sharply limit carbon emissions and build climate resilience, and we must do all this is in a way that prioritizes equitable outcomes particularly for the world's poor and marginalized communities,' Cleetus added.
    'We want a just transition to a clean energy system that benefits people not corporations,' Nansen emphasized. 'Only with a radical transformation of our energy, food and economic systems, embracing environmental, social, gender and economic justice, can we prevent climate catastrophe and temperature rises exceeding 1.5°C.'
    'The science in the IPCC report on 1.5°C speaks for itself. Staying under 1.5ºC is now a matter of political will," responded program director Payal Parekh. "The climate crisis is here and already impacting the most vulnerable and the least responsible for creating it. The only way to achieve it is to stop all fossil fuel extraction and redirect the massive resources currently spent on the fossil fuel economy towards the renewable energy transition.'
     The report's key findings—outlined in the Summary for Policymakers (pdf)—include:
     Climate models project robust differences in regional climate characteristics between present-day and global warming of 1.5°C, and between 1.5°C and 2°C. These differences include increases in: mean temperature in most land and ocean regions, hot extremes in most inhabited regions, heavy precipitation in several regions, and the probability of drought and precipitation deficits in some regions;
    Climate-related risks to health, livelihoods, food security, water supply, human security, and economic growth are projected to increase with global warming of 1.5°C and increase further with 2°C;
    Pathways limiting global warming to 1.5°C with no or limited overshoot would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems. These systems transitions are unprecedented in terms of scale, but not necessarily in terms of speed, and imply deep emissions reductions in all sectors, a wide portfolio of mitigation options, and a significant upscaling of investments in those options;
All pathways that limit global warming to 1.5°C with limited or no overshoot project the use of carbon dioxide removal (CDR);
    Limiting the risks from global warming of 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication implies system transitions that can be enabled by an increase of adaptation and mitigation investments, policy instruments, the acceleration of technological innovation and behavior changes;
    Strengthening the capacities for climate action of national and sub-national authorities, civil society, the private sector, indigenous peoples and local communities can support the implementation of ambitious actions implied by limiting global warming to 1.5°C. International cooperation can provide an enabling environment for this to be achieved in all countries and for all people, in the context of sustainable development. International cooperation is a critical enabler for developing countries and vulnerable regions.
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Jon Queally, "What's Not in the Latest Terrifying IPCC Report? The "Much, Much, Much More Terrifying" New Research on Climate Tipping Points: 'This is the scariest thing about the IPCC Report — it’s the watered down, consensus version,'" Common Dreams , October 09, 2018, , reported, " If the latest warnings contained in Monday's report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—which included pronouncements that the world has less than twelve years to drastically alter course to avoid the worst impacts of human-caused global warming and that nothing less than keeping all fossil fuels in the ground is the solution to avoid future calamities—have you at all frightened or despondent, experts responding to the report have a potentially unwelcome message for your already over-burdened heart and mind: It's very likely even worse than you're being told.
    After the report's publication there were headlines like: 'We have 12 years to act on climate change before the world as we know it is lost. How much more urgent can it get? ' and ' Science pronounces its verdict: World to be doomed at 2°C, less dangerous at 1.5°C ' and ' A major new climate report slams the door on wishful thinking
    But as Jamie Henn, co-founder and the program director for the international climate group, stated in
a tweet on Tuesday , the "scariest thing about the IPCC Report" is the fact that 'it's the watered down, consensus version. The latest science is much, much, much more terrifying.'
    Henn was actually responding to Penn State University climate scientist Michael Mann who was pushing back against those criticizing the IPCC report as too 'alarmist' in its declarations and warnings. 'If anything,' Professor Mann declared , 'it is the opposite. Once again, with their latest report, they have been overly conservative (ie. erring on the side of understating/underestimating the problem.)'
    This is very possibly true and there is much scientific data and argument backing this up. As Henn and Mann both indicate, the IPCC report is based on the consensus view of the hundreds of scientists who make up the IPCC – and its been consistently true that some of the most recent (and increasingly worrying) scientific findings have not yet found enough support to make it into these major reports which rely on near-unanimous agreement.
    According to Durwood Zaelke, founder of the Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development, speaking to The Guardian in the wake of the latest IPCC report, it 'fails to focus on the weakest link in the climate chain: the self-reinforcing feedbacks which, if allowed to continue, will accelerate warming and risk cascading climate tipping points and runaway warming.'
    The Leap In August, as Common Dreams reported , research published by Johan Rockström and his colleagues at the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden found that it is precisely these feedback loops and tipping points that should most frighten and concern humanity. While nascent and not conclusive in its findings—two of the reasons you won't find it referenced in the IPCC report—the study warned that humanity may be just 1°C away from creating a series of dynamic feedback loops that could push the world into a climate scenario not seen since the dawn of the Helocene Period, nearly 12,000 years ago.
    Quoted in Tuesday's Guardian article about the dangers of ignoring potential tipping points, Nobel prize laureate Mario Molina, who shared the award for chemistry in 1995 for his work on ozone depletion, said: 'The IPCC report demonstrates that it is still possible to keep the climate relatively safe, provided we muster an unprecedented level of cooperation, extraordinary speed and heroic scale of action. But even with its description of the increasing impacts that lie ahead, the IPCC understates a key risk: that self-reinforcing feedback loops could push the climate system into chaos before we have time to tame our energy system, and the other sources of climate pollution.'
    The purpose of recognizing the terrifying predictions is not to instill fear, however, climate campaigners and advocates for bold solutions say.
    In a paper authored last year—titled Leading the Public into Emergency Mode: A New Strategy for the Climate Movement —Margaret Klein Salamon writes that while a World War II-style mobilization is necessary to achieve the kind emission cuts and energy transformation that science now mandates, understanding the stakes does not necessarily mean being debilitated by that knowledge. In an op-ed for Common Dreams, she argued "that intense, but not paralyzing, fear combined with maximum hope can actually lead people and groups into a state of peak performance. We can rise to the challenge of our time and dedicate ourselves to become heroic messengers and change-makers."
    And as Rajiv Sicora, senior manager of research for The Leap, wrote to his group's supporters in an email on Tuesday: "This is not the time to turn away, whether in fear or in active denial of the facts. This is a time to use our fear as fuel: because the report also makes clear that the worst effects of global warming can still be prevented, and the urgency of transformative change should excite and empower all of us who are fighting for justice anyway."
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Kendra Pierre-Louis, “ Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accelerate Like a ‘Speeding Freight Train’ in 2018 ,” The New York Times, December 5, 2018,, reported, “ Greenhouse gas emissions worldwide are growing at an accelerating pace this year, researchers said Wednesday, putting the world on track to face some of the most severe consequences of global warming sooner than expected.
Scientists described the quickening rate of carbon dioxide emissions in stark terms, comparing it to a ‘speeding freight train’ and laying part of the blame on an unexpected surge in the appetite for oil as people around the world not only buy more cars but also drive them farther than in the past — more than offsetting any gains from the spread of electric vehicles
    The reports show that following a three year leveling offm for each of the last five years world oil use has increased andis expected to have gone up another 2.7% in 2018, following a 1.6% rise in 2017. China’s greenhouse gas emissions are enrout to a 4.7% rise in 2018, as the government encourages increased manufactureing – and coal use – to compensate for a slowing economy. India’s carbon wmission is expected to increase by 6.3% as the country works to provise electricity to an additional 300 million people. The European Union is moving toward a .7% decline in these emissions in 2018, but that is less than the 2.2 % reduction of 2017. The U.S. is expected to have an increase of over 2%
    With important exceptions, coal use is declining, but increased burning of oil and natural gasis more than exceeding that and the huge increase in solar and wind energy.
The research is published by the Global Carbon Project:
    The Full reports are at: and

Andrea Germanos, "Melting Permafrost Projections Reveal Paris Climate Goals at Risk: Study: 'We have to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we may never get back to safer levels of warming,' Common Dreams September 17, 2018,, reported, " Global policymakers have failed to account for a key factor in setting carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions budgets to rein in the climate crisis—melting permafrost— a new study finds, and warns that the world could exceed the global warming limits laid out in the Paris climate accord sooner than expected.
    'The scientific answer to 'How soon are we likely to exceed our Paris target?' is somewhere between 10 years ago and the next 20 years. Definitely not later than that,' lead author Thomas Gasser, a researcher with the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) Ecosystems Services and Management Program, told The Independent .
    The IIASA team of researchers, whose study was published Monday in the journal Nature Geoscience, says theirs is the first to account for the role of so-called "tipping" point of thawing permafrost in warming projections. Taking those dynamics into account, the study estimates how much carbon budgets may need to be slashed in order to meet the Paris targets.
     The area of active permafrost is already expanding , releasing with it not only carbon but the potent greenhouse gas methane. This melting also casts light on the problem of viewing as linear the relationship between global temperature rise and cumulative CO 2, the researchers say.
     'Permafrost carbon release from previously frozen organic matter is caused by global warming, and will certainly diminish the budget of CO 2 we can emit while staying below a certain level of global warming,' said Gasser.
    'It is also an irreversible process over the course of a few centuries, and may therefore be considered a 'tipping' element of the Earth's carbon-climate system that puts the linear approximation of the emission budget framework to the test,' he added.
    The Paris agreement commits nations to keeping 'a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.'
    The researchers say this 'overshooting'—hitting a 2-degree rise first and then attempting to bring it down—is problematic.
    'Overshooting is a risky strategy and getting back to lower levels after an overshoot will be extremely difficult. However, since we are officially on an overshooting trajectory, we have to prepare ourselves for the possibility that we may never get back to safer levels of warming. Policymakers should understand that there is no elementary proportionality between cumulative CO 2 emissions due to human activity and global temperature, as previously believed, and that overshooting may have serious consequences,' Gasser stated.
    To achieve the 1.5 degree Celsius target, 'reductions in the median remaining budget range from ~10% to more than 100%,' the researchers warned.
    'We should have changed course a while ago," Gasser told The Independent , "and we should now significantly increase our efforts to do so.'
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Jon Queally, " 'We Are Climbing Rapidly Out of Humankind's Safe Zone': New Report Warns Dire Climate Warnings Not Dire Enough: 'Climate change is now reaching the end-game, where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences,'" Common Dreams , August 20, 2018,, reported, "Offering a stark warning to the world, a new report out Monday argues that the reticence of the world's scientific community—trapped in otherwise healthy habits of caution and due diligence—to downplay the potentially irreversible and cataclysmic impacts of climate change is itself a threat that should no longer be tolerated if humanity is to be motivated to make the rapid and far-reaching transition away from fossil fuels and other emissions-generating industries.
    In the new report—titled What Lies Beneath: The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk (pdf)—authors David Splatt and Ian Dunlop, researchers with the National Centre for Climate Restoration (Breakthrough), an independent think tank based in Australia, argue that the existential threats posed by the climate crisis have still not penetrated the collective psyche of humanity and that world leaders, even those demanding aggressive action, have not shown the kind of urgency or imagination that the scale of the pending catastrophe presents.
    While the report states that 'a fast, emergency-scale transition to a post-fossil fuel world is absolutely necessary to address climate change," it bemoans the fact that this solution continues to be excluded from the global policy debate because it is considered by the powerful as 'too disruptive.' However, the paper argues, it is precisely this lack of imagination and political will that could doom humanity's future.
    As Splatt and Dunlop summarize at Renew Economy, their paper analyzes why:
Human-induced climate change is an existential risk to human civilisation: an adverse outcome that will either annihilate intelligent life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential, unless dramatic action is taken.
The bulk of climate research has tended to underplay these risks, and exhibited a preference for conservative projections and scholarly reticence.
IPCC reports tend toward reticence and caution, erring on the side of "least drama," and downplaying the more extreme and more damaging outcomes, and are now becoming dangerously misleading with the acceleration of climate impacts globally.
Why this is a particular concern with potential climatic "tipping points," the passing of critical thresholds which result in step changes in the climate system. Under-reporting on these issues is contributing to the "failure of imagination" in our understanding of, and response to, climate change
     'Climate change is now reaching the end-game,' reads the forward to the report by Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, head of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, 'where very soon humanity must choose between taking unprecedented action, or accepting that it has been left too late and bear the consequences.'
     David Spratt, @djspratt, 'When ‪#climate risks are understated, it’s time to understand 'What lies beneath' the scientific reports and policymaking.'
     'It is no longer possible to follow a gradual transition path to restore a safe climate,' write Spratt and Dunlop in an op-ed published in the Guardian on Monday. 'We have left it too late; emergency action, akin to a war footing, will eventually be accepted as inevitable. The longer that takes, the greater the damage inflicted upon humanity.'
    At the center of their argument, the pair explain, is that while the global scientific community—including the vital work of the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)—has been at the forefront of warning humanity about the processes and dangers of human-caused global warming, there has been simply too much 'reticence and caution' that has led researchers to downplay the most 'extreme and damaging outcomes' that lurk beneath their publicly stated findings and pronouncements.
    While this has been understandable historically, given the pressure exerted upon the IPCC by political and vested interests, it is now becoming dangerously misleading with the acceleration of climate impacts globally. What were lower probability, higher-impact events are now becoming more likely.
    This is a particular concern with potential climatic tipping points – passing critical thresholds which result in step changes in the climate system – such as melting polar ice sheets (and hence increasing sea levels), permafrost and other carbon stores, where the impacts of global warming are nonlinear and difficult to model with current scientific knowledge
     The extreme risks which these tipping points represent justify strong precautionary risk management. Under-reporting on these issues is irresponsible, contributing to the failure of imagination that is occurring today in our understanding of, and response to, climate change.
    'Either we act with unprecedented speed," Spratt and Dunlop conclude, "or we face a bleak future
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Jessica Corbett, " As World Busts Heat Records, Study Warns Global Warming Could Be Twice as Bad Climate Models Project: ' The carbon budget to avoid 2°C of global warming may be far smaller than estimated,'" Common Dreams, July 09, 2018, , reported, " As millions of people across the globe face extreme heat advisories, with temperatures even soaring beyond 90 degrees in Siberia last week, a recent study published in the British journal Nature Geoscience warns long-term global warming—and thus sea level rise—could be twice as bad as climate models project .
    Study co-author Katrin Meissner of University of New South Wales, Australia remarked that 'while climate model projections seem to be trustworthy when considering relatively small changes over the next decades, it is worrisome that these models likely underestimate climate change under higher emission scenarios, such as a 'business as usual' scenario, and especially over longer time scales."
    A team of 59 researchers from 17 countries assessed previous warm periods over the past 3.5 million years and found that during each of the three intervals analyzed, the rate of warming was much slower compared with the changes seen today—which are driven by burning fossil fuels that release heat-trapping greenhouse gases. As Meissner put it, 'In terms of rate of change, we are in uncharted waters.'
    The analysis focused on periods when global temperatures were 0.5-2°C above the 19th century pre-industrial temperatures, or the upper warming limit set by the Paris agreement. 'Two degrees can seem very benign when you see it on paper,' Meissner told the Guardian, 'but the consequences are quite bad and ecosystems change dramatically.'
    Researchers found that warming of 1–2°C has caused land and ocean ecosystems as well as climate zones to shift toward the poles or to higher altitudes, and while they concluded that 'there is a low risk of runaway greenhouse gas feedbacks for global warming of no more than 2°C,' they warned that 'substantial regional environmental impacts can occur' under such conditions.
    As the Oeschger Center for Climate Change Research (OCCR)—which partly funded the workshop for the analysis— explained , these ecosystem and climate zone shifts could ramp up permafrost thaw, which 'may release additional carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere, driving additional warming.'
    'This suggests the carbon budget to avoid 2°C of global warming may be far smaller than estimated,' emphasized lead author Hubertus Fischer of the University of Bern. 'Accounting for the additional release of CO 2 leaves even less room for error or delay as humanity seeks to lower its CO 2 emissions and stabilize global climate within reasonable limits.'
    Additionally, as OCCR outlined, the team found that warming even within the parameters of the Paris accord 'will be sufficient to trigger substantial long-term melting of ice in Greenland and Antarctica and sea-level rise of more than six meters that will last for thousands of years.'
    Acknowledging how sea level rise is already impacting coastal communities around the world, co-author Alan Mix of Oregon State University said, 'This rise may become unstoppable for millennia, impacting much of the world's population, infrastructure, and economic activity that is located near the shoreline.'
     'The research also revealed how large areas of the polar ice caps could collapse and significant changes to ecosystems could see the Sahara Desert become green and the edges of tropical forests turn into fire-dominated savanna," USA Today noted , though Meissner said that 'we cannot comment on how far in the future these changes will occur.'
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Jessica Corbett, " As Arctic Warming Stalls Summer Weather, Study Warns of Intensifying 'Very-Extreme Extremes': ' This is #climatechange, and the time to act on it is now," Common Dreams , August 20, 2018,, reported, "" A new climate study out Monday in Nature warns that 'accelerated warming in the Arctic' is stalling summer weather over North America, Europe, and Asia, and could lead to a future of even more 'very-extreme extremes,' including dangerous heat waves and flooding.
    'Giant airstreams encircle our globe in the upper troposphere—we call them planetary waves. Now evidence is mounting that humanity is messing with these enormous winds," explained co-author Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, director of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). "Fueled by human-made greenhouse-gas emissions, global warming is probably distorting the natural patterns."
    As the study outlines, greenhouse gas emissions are causing rapidly rising near-surface temperatures in the Arctic, which are increasing two-to-four times faster than the rest of the globe. While past studies have focused on how this phenomenon, called Arctic amplification (AA), impacts mid-latitude winters, this research team focused on summers.
     'This summer was where we saw a very strong intensity of heat waves. It'll continue and that's very worrying, especially in the mid-latitudes: the E.U., U.S., Russia, and China,' study co-author Dim Coumou of PIK told the Guardian, warning about the impacts on agricultural production and human health.
    The study's publication follows a series of devastating wildfires in Sweden , Greece , and California —where fires continue to force evacuations —and fatal flooding on India's Southern coast, where monsoon rains have just begun to ease. The recent extreme weather across the globe has caused climate experts to issue calls to actions and warnings about what's to come.
    Greenpeace, responding to the report, concluded on Twitter, 'This is #climatechange, and the time to act on it is now.'
     Since the temperature gradient between the Arctic and the equator drives the planetary waves eastward, as the Arctic temperature falls, the winds 'slow down so the weather in a given region gets stuck,' Schellnhuber explained. ' Rains can grow into floods, sunny days into heat waves, and tinder-dry conditions into wildfires.'
    'While it might not sound so bad to have more prolonged sunny episodes in summer,' Coumou added in a statement, 'this is in fact a major climate risk.'
     'Besides Arctic warming, there's also the possibility of climate-change-induced shifting of the storm tracks, as well as changes in the tropical monsoons,' noted co-author Simon Wang from Utah State University. 'Under global warming, the Indian summer monsoon rainfall will likely intensify and this will also influence the global airstreams and might ultimately contribute to more stalling weather patterns.'    
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Jessica Corbett, " Earth's Carbon Concentrations Have Soared to Levels Not Seen in 800,000 Years: One NOAA oceanographer warns that even if humanity 'stopped the greenhouse gases at their current concentrations today, the atmosphere would still continue to warm for next couple decades to maybe a century,'" Common Dreams, August 03, 2018,, reported, " As temperatures bust heat records across the globe and wildfires rage from California to the Arctic, a new report produced annually by more than 500 scientists worldwide found that last year, the carbon dioxide concentrations in the Earth's atmosphere reached the highest levels "in the modern atmospheric measurement record and in ice core records dating back as far as 800,000 years."
     While the most significant jump was the global average for carbon dioxide (CO2)—which, at 405.0 parts per million (ppm), saw a 2.2 ppm increase from the previous year—concentrations of other dominant planet-warming greenhouse gases, methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), also hit 'record highs,' according to State of the Climate in 2017 (pdf) released Wednesday.

    Considering those rates, Greg Johnson, an oceanographer at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, warned that even if humanity 'stopped the greenhouse gases at their current concentrations today, the atmosphere would still continue to warm for next couple decades to maybe a century.'
    The 332-page report—which was overseen by NOAA and published as a special supplement to the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society—also notes that 2017 is among the three hottest years ever, taking the top spot for warmest non-El Niño year since scientists began measuring in the 1800s. However, NOAA data released last weekend shows that 2018 is on track to set a new record.
     The report details how 'much-warmer-than-average conditions' across much of the world's lands and oceans has meant three years of 'unprecedented' coral bleaching , Arctic air temperatures that are 'warming at a pace that was twice the rate of the rest of the world,' rapidly melting glaciers and ice sheets, and devastating tropical storms—such as Hurricanes Irma and Maria—that reflect 'the very active state of the Atlantic basin.'
    In its regional analyses, the report notes that 'the United States was impacted by 16 weather and climate events that each caused over $1 billion (U.S. dollars) in damages. Since records began in 1980, 2017 is tied with 2011 for the greatest number of billion-dollar disasters. Included in this total are the western U.S. wildfire season and Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma. Tornado activity in the United States in 2017 was above average for the first time since 2011, with 1,400 confirmed tornadoes.'

    It also features a map that highlights notable climate anomalies and events across the globe during 2017. The graphic points out that both Argentina and Uruguay experienced their warmest years on record while Russia experienced its second wettest, and five of six observatories in Alaska documented record high permafrost temperatures.
     Permafrost is a layer of soil, rock, or sediment that remains frozen and contains massive amounts of carbon dioxide and methane. Climate scientists are growing increasingly concerned that 'as the global thermostat rises, permafrost, rather than storing carbon, could become a significant source of planet-heating emissions'

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Julia Conley, " Fueled by Floods, Storms, and Drought Made Worse by Climate Crisis, Global Hunger Levels Rise for Third Straight Year: 'The inescapable fact is that climate change is now leaving people around the world without enough to eat,'" Common Dreams , September 11, 2018,, reported, " Extreme weather events, driven by the climate crisis, are a key factor in the rising global food crisis of recent years—with the number of people now affected by inadequate food and water prompting fears that the past decade's gains have been reversed.
    A new study by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNICEF, the World Food Program, and the World Health Organization find that 821 million people worldwide—one in nine—lack sufficient food and water. Malnutrition and food shortages worsened in most of Africa and in large swaths of South America in the last year.
    'Hunger is significantly worse in countries with agricultural systems that are highly sensitive to rainfall and temperature variability and severe drought, and where the livelihood of a high proportion of the population depends on agriculture,' reads the study.
     The report, entitled The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2018, points to climate shocks including flooding, drought, and tropical storms as ones that have had the most adverse effects on food production.
     Drought causes 80 percent of all damage to agriculture, with farmers in Ghana, Tanzania, and Nigeria reporting to the agencies that frequent droughts as well as heatwaves have resulted in significant crop loss.
     In Asia, where more than half a billion of the world's hungry population lives, flooding is largely behind food scarcity. More than three million people in Bangladesh went without enough to eat in 2017 due to severe storms and resulting floods, while similar events combined with drought left more than 10 million hungry in Nepal, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
    The report offers a disconcerting contrast to numbers recorded in 2015, when 795 million people were found to be affected by hunger, and represents a return to levels found about a decade ago.
    Food scarcity has been steadily rising worldwide since 2015, the agencies found—with this year's report showing the third year-over-year increase since then.
    'It is shocking that, after a prolonged decline, this is the third consecutive year of rising hunger,' Robin Willoughby, head of food and climate policy at Oxfam, told The Guardian. ' The inescapable fact is that climate change is now leaving people around the world without enough to eat.'
    In addition to directly affecting food supplies, the study notes, the climate crisis is central to the worldwide hunger crisis because it has been shown to fuel armed conflicts and other crises which in turn leave populations with insufficient food.
     The climate crisis 'also exacerbate[s] other driving factors of food insecurity and malnutrition, such as conflict, economic slowdowns and poverty,' wrote the agencies. 'It is thus critical to investigate in more detail how climate variability and extremes can undermine the different dimensions of food security (food availability, access, utilization and stability) and nutrition.'
    As Cindy Holleman, a senior economist for FAO, said Tuesday, in addition to combating the climate crisis itself by shifting away from fossil fuel-based energy sources, governments must make strides to increase their 'climate resilience."
    'We know what needs to be done to solve this problem," Holleman said. "What we're talking about is climate resilience and scaling up programs and policies that support climate resilience. The main this it that we need to act now because hunger is starting to rise.'
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Jon Queally, "A 'Hothouse' Future for Humanity: Scientists Behind Terrifying Climate Analysis Hope They Are Wrong: 'This is, by far, the biggest political issue in the world. It is the one thing that will affect everyone on the planet for centuries to come. Why isn't everyone shouting it from the rooftops?'" Common Dreams, August 07, 2018,, reported, " Warning of a possible domino effect as multiple climate feedback loops are triggered within a dynamic cascade of rising temperatures and warming oceans, scientists behind a frightening new study say that for the sake of humanity's future they hope scenarios explored in their new models do not come to pass.
‘This study effectively suggests the human race could become extinct this century and it's not even the top story on the fucking Guardian.’
    'I do hope we are wrong, but as scientists we have a responsibility to explore whether this is real,' Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, where the research was done, told the Guardian. 'We need to know now. It's so urgent. This is one of the most existential questions in science.'
    Published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences , the new study, while not conclusive in its findings, warns that humanity may be just 1°C away from creating a series of dynamic feedback loops that could push the world into a climate scenario not seen since the dawn of the Helocene Period, nearly 12,000 years ago.
    The research, according to its abstract, explores 'the risk that self-reinforcing feedbacks could push the Earth System toward a planetary threshold that, if crossed, could prevent stabilization of the climate at intermediate temperature rises and cause continued warming on a 'Hothouse Earth' pathway even as human emissions are reduced. Crossing the threshold would lead to a much higher global average temperature than any interglacial in the past 1.2 million years and to sea levels significantly higher than at any time in the Holocene.'
    As Rockström explains, the 'tipping elements' examined in the research 'can potentially act like a row of dominoes. Once one is pushed over, it pushes Earth towards another.' And in an interview with the BBC, he added, "What we are saying is that when we reach 2 degrees of warming, we may be at a point where we hand over the control mechanism to Planet Earth herself. We are the ones in control right now, but once we go past 2 degrees, we see that the Earth system tips over from being a friend to a foe. We totally hand over our fate to an Earth system that starts rolling out of equilibrium."

Such feedback occurrences, the authors of the study write, would pose 'severe risks for health, economies, political stability, and ultimately, the habitability of the planet for humans.'
     Ellie Mae O'Hagan, @MissEllieMae, " This study effectively suggests the human race could become extinct this century and it's not even the top story on the fucking Guardian."
         With Arctic ice and glaciers melting away; increasingly powerful and frequent storms in the Atlantic and Pacific; coral reefs dying from warming oceans; record-setting wildfires in the U.S.; unprecedented heatwaves in Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere—climate researchers have been at the forefront of sounding the alarms about the frightening path humanity is now following.
    'In the context of the summer of 2018, this is definitely not a case of crying wolf, raising a false alarm: the wolves are now in sight,' said Dr. Phil Williamson, a climate researcher at the University of East Anglia, about the latest study. 'The authors argue that we need to be much more proactive in that regard, not just ending greenhouse gas emissions as rapidly as possible, but also building resilience in the context of complex Earth system processes that we might not fully understand until it is too late.'
     Nick_Swindon, @nick_swindon, 'This is, by far, the biggest political issue in the world. It is the one thing that will affect everyone on the planet for centuries to come. Why isn’t everyone shouting it from the rooftops?'
     In order to avoid the worst-case scenarios, the researchers behind the study say that 'collective human action is required" to steer planet's systems away from dangerous tipping points. "Such action," they write, "entails stewardship of the entire Earth System—biosphere, climate, and societies—and could include decarbonization of the global economy, enhancement of biosphere carbon sinks, behavioral changes, technological innovations, new governance arrangements, and transformed social values.'
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Nadia Popovich and Blacki Migliozzi, "Dangerous Days: Your Home Town Getting Hotter," The New York Times, September 25, 2018, reported, " As the world warms because of human-induced climate change, most of us can expect to see more days when temperatures hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) or higher. Data based on an analysis by Climate Impact Lab shows how the number of these very hot days could change across the United States by the end of the century compared to a 1950-to-1970 average for each location. "
    The print article includes a map of the U.S. indicating for numerous municipalities the increased number of days over 90 degrees Fahrenheit are likely by the end of the century if current heating trends continue.

Jessica Corbett, "'An Indication of What's Coming': Melting at North and South Poles Worse Than Previously Thought: While NOAA's annual report shows the Arctic has lost 95 percent of its oldest, thickest ice, NASA researchers have observed ice retreat in East Antarctica—a region they'd believed was stable," Common Dreams , December 11, 2018,, reported, "As the Trump administration tries to undermine the COP 24 climate talks in Poland, new U.S. government data shows that ice melt at both of the planet's poles—driven by rising air and ocean temperatures resulting from human-caused global warming—is worse than previously thought.
    The latest annual Arctic Report Card from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that over the past three decades, a ' stunning ' 95 percent of northern region's the oldest, thickest ice has disappeared.
    As the Washington Post reported :
    "The finding suggests that the sea at the top of the world has already morphed into a new and very different state, with major implications not only for creatures such as walruses and polar bears but, in the long term, perhaps for the pace of global warming itself.
    The oldest ice can be thought of as a kind of glue that holds the Arctic together and, through its relative permanence, helps keep the Arctic cold even in long summers...
     If the Arctic begins to experience entirely ice-free summers, scientists say, the planet will warm even more, as the dark ocean water absorbs large amounts of solar heating that used to be deflected by the cover of ice.'
     'The Arctic is an indication of what's coming to the rest of the globe," noted Walt Meier, a sea ice expert at the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC). And while the timeline is uncertain, the region appears on-track to experience an ice-free summer.'
    'In the Arctic Ocean, a difference of 2 degrees can be huge. If it goes from 31 Fahrenheit to 33 Fahrenheit, you're going from ice skating to swimming,' Meier told the Post. 'Looking down from the North Pole from above, for all intents and purposes, you're going to see a blue Arctic Ocean.'
     If ice-free summers become the Arctic's new normal, it would be an 'unmitigated disaster,' concluded Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a climate expert at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Such conditions, he warned, could add another half-degree Celsius (0.9 degrees Fahrenheit) to the already-alarming rates of global temperature rise.
    Meanwhile , at the world's southern pole, as the Guardian reported , NASA researchers have discovered that "a group of glaciers spanning an eighth of the East Antarctica coastline are being melted by the warming seas." This region, the newspaper noted, 'stores a vast amount of ice, which, if lost, would in the long-term raise global sea level by tens of meters and drown coastal settlements around the world.'
    East Antarctica is relatively unstudied compared with West Antarctica, where ' utterly terrifying ' findings have fueled demands for urgent action worldwide to dramatically cut planet-warming emissions . For this study, NASA researchers used satellites to analyze ice movements and heights, and measured ocean temperature over time by tagging seals.
    The ice retreat they saw, 'doesn't seem random, it looks systematic,' explained NASA's Alex Gardner. 'That hints at underlying ocean influences that have been incredibly strong in West Antarctica.' While the observations have experts worried, Gardner said they indicate a need for more research to determine 'whether these glaciers will enter a phase of rapid retreat or stabilize.'
East Antarctica
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Jessica Corbett, “As Study Ties 'Great Dying' of 252 Million Years Ago to Current Climate Crisis, Experts Say Still Time for 'Different Path': "Reading about this may make you may feel powerless, but collectively, our choices are the most powerful geological force in our planet's history," Common Dreams, December 06, 2018,, “For the first time ever, researchers have tied ‘climate change triggered by volcanic greenhouse gases’ to the largest extinction in Earth's history, often called the "Great Dying," 252 million years ago—and their findings , published Thursday by Science, are just the latest fuel added to the burning concern about the world's current extinction crisis.
The study adds to a growing body of research on alarming declines in biodiversity , offering a glimpse of what could come of the planet's inhabitants if global warming is allowed to continue unabated. The Great Dying, at the end of the Permian Period, wiped out 96 percent of all marine species and 70 percent of terrestrial species.
‘The ultimate, driving change that led to the mass extinction is the same driving change that humans are doing today, which is injecting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere,’ Justin Penn, a University of Washington doctoral student in oceanography and the study's lead author, told the Seattle Times.
‘The study tells us what's at the end of the road if we let climate [change] keep going,’ warned Curtis Deutsch, Penn's co-author and PhD adviser, as the latest projections show emissions hitting record-breaking levels this year. ‘The further we go, the more species we're likely to lose... That's frightening. The loss of species is irreversible.’
The research team, which also included scientists from Stanford, used a supercomputer to model the impact of greenhouse gases from volcanic eruptions near the end of the Permian Period on the species that existed at that time.
While scientists have long believed the volcanic activity was tied to the mass extinction, as United States Geological Survey geologist and volcanologist Seth Burgess put it, this new research ‘takes the next step in figuring out why things died at the end of the Permian... It couples what we think was happening in the climate with the fossil record, and it does it elegantly.’
The study determined that as ocean waters warmed and oxygen levels fell, marine animals suffocated and died out. "For the first time, we've got a whole lot of confidence that this is what happened," Deutsch told the Guardian. "It's a very strong argument that rising temperatures and oxygen depletion were to blame."

death 252m years ago

Given the comparisons to current events—scientists are also tracking oxygen depletion in the world's oceans that is happening now, this time due to massive human and industrial carbon emissions—the study has elicited calls for urgent and global action to mitigate the intertwined extinction and climate crises, as world leaders are gathered at COP24 in Poland to discuss how to meet the goals of the Paris agreement.
‘Voluminous emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, rapid global warming, and a decline in biodiversity—the storyline is modern, but the setting is ancient,’
Penn State geosciences professor Lee Kump, who was not part of the research team, wrote in a Science piece responding to the new findings.
‘As our understanding of the drivers and consequences of end-Permian climate change and mass extinction improves,’ Kump added, ‘the lessons for the future become clear.’
‘It's entirely within our control to steer the planet on a different path away from the brink,’ concluded meteorologist and Grist columnist Eric Holthaus. ‘Reading about this may make you may feel powerless, but collectively, our choices are the most powerful geological force in our planet's history.’
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The Climate Talks in Poland aimed at placing some details on what was promised by each nation, often vaguely, under the Paris agreement, have the promise of making it possible to put more pressure on countries to meet their stated goals, with them being spelled out more clearly. The first problem is that the combined promises, even if kept in full, are way short of what is needed to prevent a climate catastrophe.
    Second, many nations are nowhere near meeting their goals, though a few are
. The United States, under Obama had made the difficult commitment of cutting CO2 emissions 26%-28% by 2015, But the Trump administration has announced it is quitting the Paris Climate Accord, as of 2020, and is moving to allow extensive increases in fossil fuel use and emissions. China is on track to meet its goal, but the pledge has been seen by experts as being woefully too little reduction. India had made a very modest commitment, but the current move to use wind and solar for rapid rural electrical development appears to have India on track to exceed its targets. Brazil, with its new development oriented government and Indonesia have been increasingly failing to protect their carbon dioxide absorbing rain forests - which also bring about more carbon emissions from burning of the cut wood - as they allow the spread of agriculture (including cattle raising in Brazil and palm oil plantations in Indonesia).
    Third is that the Feuding of the United States and China was making it very difficult to make progress in negotiations as the meeting began. Without U.S. leadership in making significant action to slow climate change, it is extremely difficult to even come close to making the needed progress (Brad Plumer, "The Paris Climate Pledges Are Overly Modest. And they Are Not Being Met," The New York Times, December 9, 2018; and Somini Sengupta, " U.S.-China Friction Threatens to Undercut the Fight Against Climate Change," The New York Times, December 7, 2018,

Brad Plumer , "Climate Negotiators Reach an Overtime Deal to Keep Paris Pact Alive," The New York Times, Dec. 15, 2018,, reported, " Diplomats from nearly 200 countries reached a deal on Saturday to keep the Paris climate agreement alive by adopting a detailed set of rules to implement the pact." Extending the meeting into an all-night session, the delegates agreed to a uniform set of standards for all countries for measuring their greenhouse gas emissions and tracking their progress on meeting their climate goals.
    The U.S., despite President Trump's announced pulling out of the Paris Accords in late 2020, joined in the agreement, and collaborated with China on building transparency into the standards and procedures
     The agreement requires wealthier nations to specify more fully the aid they intend to offer poorer nations install more clean energy and become more resilient against natural disasters. it also provides a process through which countries that are struggling to meet their emissions goals can get help in returning to meeting their targets.
     Many attendees voiced strong concern that the meeting did not call for greater action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as the Paris goals fall well short of what is necessary, even if fully met.

Jessica Corbett, "'This Is a Scam': ExxonMobil-Backed Carbon Tax Will Not Save the Planet: 'It comes as no surprise that ExxonMobil and other oil companies are calling for anything and everything short of moving off fossil fuels entirely—most notably, the unwieldy and unproven concept of carbon taxes,'" Common Dreams , October 09, 2018,, reported, " Amid warnings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that there's a closing window to act to prevent a climate catastrophe—and critiques that its report released Monday was far too conservative —critics are calling out ExxonMobil for pledging a $1 million contribution to a campaign for a carbon tax as a sneaky attempt to control the debate on climate action and dodge greater financial liability.
    'This is a scam: Exxon wants a super low price on carbon so they can boost their natural gas business and avoid other regulations,' co-founder Jamie Henn responded in a series of tweets.
    'Read the fine print,' Henn continued. 'As part of the deal for supporting a price on carbon, Exxon wants to be freed from all climate liability. They know that just like Big Tobacco they could be on the hook for billions in damages for lying about climate change.'
    Progressives and climate campaigners have argued both for and against market-based solutions such as a carbon tax, but have tended to agree that fossil fuel giants back such proposals not because they support climate action, but because they want to undermine efforts such as lawsuits that have sought to hold Exxon and other oil and gas producers accountable for their decades of denialism and contributions to the global climate crisis.
     'Market-based carbon pricing schemes are a false solution to climate change, and a dangerous distraction from the urgent transition to a truly clean, renewable energy future we must undertake now," Food & Water Watch executive director Wenonah Hauter said in a statement on Tuesday.
    'It comes as no surprise that ExxonMobil and other oil companies are calling for anything and everything short of moving off fossil fuels entirely—most notably, the unwieldy and unproven concept of carbon taxes,' Hauter added. 'The IPCC report acknowledges that carbon taxes would have to be incredibly high to make even a dent in the crisis.'
    Responding to Exxon's latest move, Kate Aronoff, who has written extensively about the climate crisis, said, 'It's not a lot of money, but they're not very subtly trying to stake a claim to whatever climate policy debate happens.' She also noted that the tax proposed by the Exxon campaign group, Americans For Carbon Dividends, 'is way too low.'
    Referencing a new analysis from Alex Kaufman at the Huffington Post on the potential impact of a carbon tax, Henn pointed out: 'DC-types love carbon pricing but usually fail to mention that there's no political way you could get the price high enough to actually solve the climate problem. It's only one piece of the puzzle.'
    Writing within the context of the IPCC report released Monday, Kaufman outlined how its warnings—however conservative, when compared to other recent climate studies—challenged but 'doesn't seem to have shaken many Republican climate hawks' faith that market tweaks alone can deliver the unprecedented emissions cuts needed to avert disaster.'
While Josiah Neeley, a senior fellow at the right-wing climate policy think tank R Street     Institute, insisted to Kaufman that 'a market-based, revenue-neutral carbon tax is perfectly capable of achieving rapid decarbonization as is called for in the new IPCC report,' the actual authors of the report don't agree. As Kaufman noted:
    Asked during an IPCC press conference on Sunday night if carbon pricing could radically overhaul the global economy in the next decade, two IPCC authors started to laugh. James Skea, a co-chair of an IPCC working group, said it was "one among that portfolio of instruments that can be used" but could not serve as a panacea.
    'There are some areas where carbon pricing may not be the most appropriate approach,' he said from Incheon, South Korea.
    Referencing Kaufman's article and the IPCC report on Twitter Monday, Bill McKibben, another co-founder of, also concluded: 'One takeaway from today's climate report is that we've waited long enough that almost no-one thinks a carbon price alone can get us where we need to go. It's one part of a 'portfolio of solutions.''
    Hauter, meanwhile, urged Congress to pass the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act (OFF Act)— unveiled by Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) last year—which she called 'the most ambitious climate legislation ever introduced.'
    'The alarming findings of the latest IPCC report,' Hauter charged, 'validate an aggressive approach to deepening climate chaos that scientists, advocates, and elected officials across the country are steadily endorsing: a rapid transition off fossil fuels that would make our society almost entirely reliant on clean, renewable energy in the next ten years.
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Jessica Corbett, "'One for the History Books!': Dutch Court Puts World on Notice by Ordering Government to Move Faster on Emission Cuts: The government of the Netherlands, said the court, 'has done too little to prevent the dangers of climate change and is doing too little to catch up,'" Common Dreams , October 09, 2018,, reported, " Citing the urgent warnings issued by the global scientific community about the pending climate catastrophe while also putting governments across the world "on notice," a Dutch appeals court on Tuesday upheld a landmark legal ruling that requires the Netherlands government to be significantly more aggressive in cutting greenhouse gas emissions.
    With a ruling that 'was greeted with whoops and cheers in the courtroom,' the Guardian reports that the court called for emissions "reductions of at least 25 percent by 2020—measured against 1990 levels—higher than the 17 percent drop planned by Mark Rutte's liberal administration."

Julia Conley, "With Scores Dead and 1,000+ Missing in California Fires, New Study Warns Cities Will Soon Face Up to Six Climate Disasters at Once: 'We cannot accept the tragic loss of life and displacement from these wildfires as the new normal. We must honor the victims now by fighting for a better and safer tomorrow,'" Common Dreams , November 20, 2018, , reported, " While one-at-a-time disasters fueled by a rapidly warming planet have become commonplace in recent years—with the ongoing and deadly wildfires in California just one example—new research shows that by century's end the frightening new normal could be cities and states facing multiple extreme climate events all at once.
    Researchers at the University of Hawaii found that without keeping the warming of the planet below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, major cities like New York, Sydney, and Rio de Janeiro could soon face up to five catastrophic weather events in a single year—including wildfires, hurricanes, storm surges, and droughts.
     The phenomenon has already taken place, the report notes, with Florida experiencing more than 100 wildfires, drought, and the severely destructive Hurricane Michael in the past year—but with most news reports and climate researchers focusing on one disastrous weather event at a time, the current reality has been obscured.
    'A focus on one or few hazards may mask the impacts of other hazards, resulting in incomplete assessments of the consequences of climate change on humanity,' lead author Camilo Mora told the Agence France Presse.
    The report only bolsters the argument of those forced to issue urgent action demands in the wake of whatever climate-related disaster has most recently struck. In the U.S. right now, that means the unprecedented wildfires that have ravaged California in recent weeks.
    'The costs of inaction greatly outweigh the costs of taking action on climate change,' Michael Mann, a climatologist at Penn State University, told the AFP. "We can still reduce future damage and suffering if we act quickly and dramatically to reduce carbon emissions.'
    At least 80 people have been killed in the fires, with nearly 1,000 unaccounted for as of Tueasday morning, according to NBC.
    'An untold number of people lost their lives due to the Camp Fire wildfire in California, many are missing and communities have been destroyed. Last week, the air quality in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay were the worst on the planet,' said Abigail Dillen, president of Earthjustice, in a statement.
    'The increasing risks make it clear that this nation must deepen its commitment to stemming climate change now. We cannot accept the tragic loss of life and displacement from these wildfires as the new normal,' she continued. 'We must honor the victims now by fighting for a better and safer tomorrow for their families and communities.'
    One far-reaching solution was the subject of direct actions in lawmakers' offices across the country on Tuesday, as the youth-led climate action group Sunrise Movement demanded that Democrats back the Green New Deal—a bold set of proposals modeled on the Depression-era New Deal and aimed at investing in carbon-free energy infrastructure and the millions of jobs it would create.
    'It's these kinds of social movement actions that we know can change the zeitgeist,' May Boeve, executive director of, told The Real News last week. 'And we can't always be talking about what we don't want. That is why the Green New Deal is so essential, because it's about the future we need to build...and that is, I think, a way of really capturing that we can do better.'
     Proactive measures to combat the climate crisis will have far-reaching effects on the quality of life enjoyed by people all over the world, said Jonathan Patz, one of the authors of the University of Hawaii's study—not just the effect of avoiding destructive wildfires, hurricanes, and floods.
    'Our health depends on multiple factors, from clean air and water, to safe food and shelter,' Patz told the AFP. "If we only consider the most direct threats from climate change—heatwaves or severe storms, for example—we inevitably will be blindsided by even larger threats that, in combination, can have even broader societal impacts.'
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Somini Sengupta, "2018 Is Shaping Up to Be the Fourth-Hottest Year. Yet We’re Still Not Prepared for Global Warming. It’s hot. But it may not be the new normal yet. Temperatures are still rising," The New York Times, August 9, 2018,, reported, " This summer of fire and swelter looks a lot like the future that scientists have been warning about in the era of climate change, and it’s revealing in real time how unprepared much of the world remains for life on a hotter planet.
    The disruptions to everyday life have been far-reaching and devastating. In California, firefighters are racing to control what has become the largest fire in state history. Harvests of staple grains like wheat and corn are expected to dip this year, in some cases sharply, in countries as different as Sweden and El Salvador. In Europe, nuclear power plants have had to shut down because the river water that cools the reactors was too warm. Heat waves on four continents have brought electricity grids crashing."
     Heat-related deaths are on the rise, as illustrated by the many in Japan this summer. They are exoecred to increas by five times in the United States by 2080. Less wealthy countries are expected to have a greater increasin heat related deaths. In the Philippines the heat relted death toll is expected ot increase 12 times.
     The hottest three years in recorded hitory for the Earth have been 2015-17, with 2018 appearing to be the fourth hotest. 17 of the 18 hotest years have occurred since 2001. The science has long since made it clear that the cause is human action increasing greenhouse gas emissions, which continue to rise from direct human causes, which in turn are leading to positive (negative for us) feedbacks futther and further increasing greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, further increasing warming.
Globally, this is shaping up to be the fourth-hottest year on record.
    "Temperatures are still rising, and, so far, efforts to tame the heat have failed. Heat waves are bound to get more intense and more frequent as emissions rise, scientists have concluded. On the horizon is a future of cascading system failures threatening basic necessities like food supply and electricity.

2017 Was One of the Hottest Years on Record. And That Was Without El Niño.
Researchers reported Thursday that 2017 average global temperatures are just below the record set in 2016. The result was surprising because there was no El Niño, the weather pattern usually linked to record-setting heat."
Jan. 18, 2018
     In the 48 states of the continental United States, May and July reached record highs for those months. Around the world, the heat has created secondary problems. Some nuclear generating stations have had to shut down because the water they us for cooling became to warm. Increased demand for air conditioning, and use of fans, has been overtaxing power systems. Agriculture has been hard hit in many places from the heat. the impact of heat and drought on farms. In eastern El Salvador the corn crop has failed, as temperatures hit a record 107 degrees Fahrenheit, accompanied by drought, in some locations for up to up to 40 rainless days. Wheat production is expected to drop in many Eropean counties this year, including in Britain, and Germany, while in Sweden, record-high temperatures have parched fields, causing farms to try to find fodder for their livestock.
    Adaptive action is being undertaken by some national and local governments. In Melbourne, Australia, officials plan to plant more trees to cause local cooling, and absorb more carbon dioxide. In Ahmedabad, India roofs are being covered with reflective white pain, which is also being used on railway rails, to keep them from buckling under extreme heat in Switzerland. Agronomists are working to develop seeds for plants that will be better able to stand up to heat.

Kendra Pierre-Louis, “ Taking the Oceans’ Temperature, Scientists Find Unexpected Heat,” The New York Times, October 31, 2018, , reported, “How do you take the ocean’s temperature?
The question might sound like the prelude to a children’s joke. But for climate scientists, the answer has serious consequences.
Climate change is rapidly warming the world’s oceans, killing off aquatic organisms — like coral reefs and kelp forests — that anchor entire ecosystems. The warmer waters also cause sea levels to rise and make extreme weather events like hurricanes more destructive .
If scientists can more accurately measure the speed at which oceans are warming, they can better predict the future effects of climate change. And a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature suggests that oceans are warming far faster than the estimates laid out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the global organization for climate data.
The study, led by Laure Resplandy, a biogeochemical oceanographer at Princeton University, found that between 1991 and 2016 the oceans warmed an average of 60 percent more per year than the panel’s official estimates.
In October, the panel released a major report predicting that some of the worst effects of climate change, including coastal flooding, food shortages and a mass die-off of coral reefs, could come to pass as soon as 2040 if human greenhouse gas emissions continue at current levels. The I.P.C.C. report showed that scientists may have been underestimating the severity of the world’s present climate trajectory.

The new ocean temperature estimates, if proven accurate, could be another indication that the global warming of the past few decades has exceeded conservative estimates and has been more closely in line with scientists’ worst-case scenarios.
The researchers used a new approach that derived ocean temperatures by measuring the levels of carbon dioxide and oxygen in the atmosphere.” The amount of these gasses the ocean can dissolve varies with the temperature.
There are some caveats. This is a novel approach, and it is unclear if it will hold up to further scrutiny. Kevin E. Trenberth, a senior scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, noted that the methodology works best over long periods of time but does not detail what happens year to year.”

Pakalolo, " Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for the first time on record ," Daily Kos, August 21, 2018,, reported, " Arctic sea ice works as the planet’s air conditioner in that it keeps the polar regions cold and helps keep the global climate stable, according to the NSIDC. Sea ice has a bright white surface so that nearly 80% of the sunlight that strikes it is reflected back into space. When sea ice melts, it exposes the darker ocean surface. The dark water does not reflect solar energy but instead absorbs 90% of the sunlight while heating the ocean and causing Arctic temperatures to rise further. In climate science, this is called the albedo effect , and, it is a vicious feedback loop that should scare the bejeebus out of people.
     The Arctic Ocean’s thickest and oldest sea ice is located to the north of Greenland and in the Canadian Archipelago. The seawater in this area is frozen, even in the summer. The media has reported, without mentioning climate change of course, on this freakish weather year with records that have been broken for heat waves, floods, droughts, and wildfires in the world’s temperate zones; it also broke records in the Arctic, the fastest warming region on Earth. In an ominous sign of biosphere collapse, The Guardian reports that these frozen waters have been opened up not once, but twice so far this year due to warm winds (that tear the ice from where it’s fastened at the coastal bedrock) as well as climate change driven heatwaves in the northern hemisphere. This has never happened before and prompted Thomas Lavergne, a scientist at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute in a retweet to describe the phenomenon as 'scary.'"

Brad Plumer “ Can We Grow More Food on Less Land? We’ll Have To, a New Study Finds," The New York Times, December 5, 2018, , reported, “ If the world hopes to make meaningful progress on climate change, it won’t be enough for cars and factories to get cleaner. Our cows and wheat fields will have to become radically more efficient, too.
That’s the basic conclusion of a sweeping new study issued Wednesday by the World Resources Institute, an environmental group. The report warns that the world’s agricultural system will need drastic changes in the next few decades in order to feed billions more people without triggering a climate catastrophe.
The challenge is daunting: Agriculture already occupies roughly 40 percent of the world’s land and is responsible for about a quarter of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions. But with the global population expected to grow from 7.2 billion people today to nearly 10 billion by 2050, and with many millions of people eating more meat as incomes rise, that environmental impact is on pace to expand dramatically

Coral Davenport and Kendra Pierre-Louis, “ U.S. Climate Report Warns of Damaged Environment and Shrinking Economy ,” The New York Times, November 23, 2018, , reported, “A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end.
The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Trump’s agenda of environmental deregulation , which he asserts will spur economic growth.”
“But in direct language , the 1,656-page assessment lays out the devastating effects of a changing climate on the economy, health and environment, including record wildfires in California , crop failures in the Midwest and crumbling infrastructure in the South. Going forward, American exports and supply chains could be disrupted, agricultural yields could fall to 1980s levels by midcentury and fire season could spread to the Southeast, the report finds.”
The health consequences of warming include the spread of tropical diseases as climate change brings the insects that carry them further north. Heat stroke and other maladies from working or being too long in overly hot conditions will also rise in the warmer areas of the United States from late spring to early fall.
“Fourth National Climate Assessment, volume Ii: Impacts, Risks, And Adaptation In The United States: The National Climate Assessment (NCA) assesses the science of climate change and variability and its impacts across the United States, now and throughout this century,” is available at: . It shows not only the dangers from global warming, but what needs to be done in the way of hardening coastlines, rebuilding sewer systems and overhauling farming practices to protect against floods, wildfires and heat waves that are already causing havoc nationwide. Even if the U.S. and the world move quickly and strongly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it will take billions of dollars to make the necessary adjustments, and to the extent the adaptations are not made, the damage will be more expensive – to say nothing of the human cost. The less rapid and strong steps are taken, the greater the financial cost to adapt – which simply cannot be accomplished if sufficient reductions of warming emissions are not accomplished across the world.

Brad Plumer, “ Clean Energy Is Surging, but Not Fast Enough to Solve Global Warming," The New York Times, November 12, 2018, , reported, “ Over the next two decades, the world’s energy system will undergo a huge transformation. Wind and solar power are poised to become dominant sources of electricity. China’s once-relentless appetite for coal is set to wane. The amount of oil we use to fuel our cars could peak and decline.
But there’s a catch: The global march toward clean energy still isn’t happening fast enough to avoid dangerous global warming, at least not unless governments put forceful new policy measures in place to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
That’s the conclusion of the International Energy Agency, which on Monday published its annual World Energy Outlook , a 661-page report that forecasts global energy trends to 2040. These projections are especially difficult right now because the world’s energy markets, which usually evolve gradually, are going through a major upheaval.”

At first glance, some nations, such as those of Western Europe and the U.S., appear to be making headway in reducing carbon emissions. But when one considers that these nations have in effect exported much of their carbon pollution by importing more steel and cement, their improvements are seen, in fact, to be much less than officially announced (Brad Plumer, "Trailing Carbon footprints Across Borders," The New York Times, September 9, 2018).

Brad Plumer, “New U.N. Climate Report Says Put a High Price on Carbon," The New York Times, October 8, 2018,, reported, “In its landmark report on the fast-approaching dangers of climate change, a United Nations scientific panel said on Sunday that putting a price on carbon dioxide emissions would be central for getting global warming under control.
More than 40 governments around the world, including the European Union and California, have now put a price on carbon , either through direct taxes on fossil fuels or through cap-and-trade programs. But many of them have found it politically difficult to set a price high enough to spur truly deep reductions in carbon emissions.”

Jessica Corbett, "As UN Report Warns of Looming Climate Catastrophe, 13 Stories From Front Lines of Fight for Fossil-Free Future: The collection 'shows readers why we should all care more for this existential fight, and how each one of us can make the difference, not only through personal choices, but joining others, building grassroot movements from the ground up.,'" October 08, 2018,, reported, "As the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on Monday put out a report that warns, 'If the current warming rate continues, the world would reach human-induced global warming of 1.5°C (2.7°F) around 2040,' released a compilation of stories from 13 communities 'fighting against fossil fuel projects and for a fast and just transition to 100 percent renewable energy.'
     'With a planet barely 1°C warmer than pre-industrial times, we are witnessing a chain of catastrophic climate-related extremes all over the globe. If we want to avoid even more dramatic impacts, we have to stay under a 1.5°C increase in global mean temperatures,' program director Payal Parekh writes in The People's Dossier on 1.5°C (pdf).
    After outlining why 'scientists say we must stop global warming now,' the dossier details a collection of stories that, as Parekh explains, 'shows readers why we should all care more for this existential fight, and how each one of us can make the difference, not only through personal choices, but joining others, building grassroot movements from the ground up.'
     The Arctic
    As the Arctic warms more quickly than the rest of the world, the Saami people inhabiting regions of Finland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden face a variety of issues with herding reindeer, which they use for transportation and food. While melting ice sheets and deforestation pose threats, the report also points out that large energy projects do as well—such as hydropower dams and wind farms on reindeer grazing land, providing 'a stark reminder that clean energy solutions need to be implemented taking into account the needs of the ecosystem and of the local communities.'
    Ceará, a state in northeastern Brazil, has been enduring its longest drought in recorded history since 2010, and water scarcity has devastated local agriculture and fishery. 'With the reservoirs of the hydroelectric plants—the country's main source of electricity—empty and for lack of investments in other renewable energy sources, the government has to activate the fossil fuel-fired thermoelectric plants.' These dirty energy plants also require water, and extraction from supposedly protected areas have led to conflicts with indigenous groups in the region.
    Faced with mounting opposition from indigenous communities and environmental groups, fossil fuel giant Kinder Morgan sought to bail on the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline—and much to the frustration of local opponents, sold it off to the Canadian government. 'Despite increasingly dangerous climate impacts and strong public opposition, the government of Canada continues to promote and expand tar sands expansion—Canada's fastest growing source of emissions and a fossil fuel reserve that, if fully exploited, could burn up nearly a quarter of the entire world's remaining carbon budget for the 1.5°C threshold,' the report warns.
    Residents of Salento, a southern region of Italy, are fighting against the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), which, as the report notes, 'would come onshore in the beautiful seaside town of San Foca, Puglia.' Facing off against the Italian government and European Commission, locals are organizing peaceful protest of TAP, which they fear will "damage and pollute the local landscape, coastline, and clear blue waters." The project would also contribute to planet-warming emissions, which force up global temperatures that are already endangering "olive groves and grapes that have shaped the Salento region over thousands of years."
    In the historic city of Kobe—designated one of the most susceptible in the world to sea level rise—activists are working to quash plans to build two large-scale coal power plants. The steel manufacturer trying to construct the plants, the report points out, 'has a notorious history when it comes to air pollution.' Critics of the plants have turned to the courts, citing concerns about air pollution and climate change, in an efforts to stop them.
    Residents of Lamu Old Town—which 'is one of the oldest and best preserved Swahili settlements in East Africa, and was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 2001—are working to prevent the construction of a giant coal plant that they fear would harm the region's most vital industries, fishing and tourism, and displace some 120,000 people. Community members have pursued a court battle, arguing that the economic, environmental, and health impacts weren't adequately considered when the government approved plans for the plant.
    Pacific Islander and Australian activist have teamed up to take on the the Carmichael coal mine project, a proposal by the Indian fossil fuel company Adani that would entail shipping millions of ton of coal through the Great Barrier Reef, which is already significantly impacted by rising ocean temperatures. 'To build and run its proposed Carmichael coal mine,' the report notes, 'Adani also wants to extract a billion liters of water per year from a river in drought-stricken central Queensland for decades to come.'
     The Philippines
    Led by the Our Lady of the Angels parish, residents of Atimonan, Quezon are fighting plans to construct a coal plant in a vulnerable coastal area. 'While trying to block the construction of this giant coal power plant, the community has been eager to implement solutions to energy needs that offer an alternative path to energy independence for the region," the report notes, pointing out that the parish has installed rooftop solar panels "to power their church, convent, and the park outside the parish.'
    'The sleepy town of Barngy, Senegal, is one of the country's most vulnerable to coastal erosion,' the report explains. Its residents are also battling pollution from a nearby cement plant as well as plans for a new coal plant that would pose a local public health and environmental threat. Members of the community have organized in opposition to the plant since 2014, including a mass demonstration at COP21 in Paris. 'They want to get it up and running this month, but we're gonna do everything we can to stop it,' said local activist Fadel Wade.
    Women's groups, academics, community members, and environmental and civil society groups in Pattani Bay, southern Thailand have come together to oppose a proposed coal power plant that would endanger a bay and force hundreds of families to relocate. 'Women play a significant role in the local fishing industry and rely on Pattani Bay for nutrient-rich foods to feed their families,' the report explains. In addition to the pollution threats this plant poses to the region, Thailand at large is facing more extreme weather events that scientists have tied to the global climate crisis.
     United States: California
    As their state is devastated by increasingly dangerous wildfires, residents of California repeatedly have called on Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown to match his lofty rhetoric on climate action with actual policy changes, and completely end all fossil fuel extraction across the state. Amid mounting pressure by residents and activists, state lawmakers passed legislation that aims to transition the energy grid to 100 renewable sources by 2045.
     United States: Louisiana
    While coastal communities across southern Louisiana are increasingly threatened by rising sea level, activists are fighting to block the Bayou Bridge pipeline, which could cut across vital regional wetlands. Opponents of the project created the L'eau Est La Vie and continue to peacefully protest in spite of a recent state law pushed through by right-wingers that aims to criminalize actions that interfere with 'critical infrastructure' such as fossil fuel pipelines. In addition, as the report notes, 'Louisiana is one of the hardest hit regions of the United States when it comes to climate impacts such as intense hurricanes, which have devastated in particular low-income communities, people of color, and other vulnerable population.'
     United States: Montana and the Dakotas
    Advocates of clean energy continue to battle the use and development pipelines from the Alberta tar sands, including Keystone XL (KXL). The resistance to Keystone XL is being led by indigenous groups, farmers, landowners, and climate activists in the United States and Canada, and has seen creative actions such as the installation of solar arrays along the pipeline's proposed route.
    'The weight of the climate crisis falls on those who have the least to do with creating and perpetuating it.'
    — The People's Dossier on 1.5°C
    Around the world, as the report notes, 'the weight of the climate crisis falls on those who have the least to do with creating and perpetuating it, including indigenous communities, climate vulnerable countries, low-income communities of color, and the poorest communities bearing the brunt of fossil fuel extraction, overburdened with unsafe and unfair levels of exposure to pollution.'
    Thus, it asserts, 'tackling the climate crisis requires building a new economy that works for all and leaves no one behind.'
    In addition to explaining the threat the human-caused warming poses to the planet and those who inhabit it, and highlighting 13 communities fighting for a transition to clean energy, the dossier charges that in order limit warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century—the goal of the Paris agreement—the international community must halt all new fossil fuel projects, stop investing in dirty energy companies and projects, and 'dramatically accelerate the transition to 100 percent, locally distributed, renewable energy systems.'
     'Real climate action,' according to the report, means:
     Building decentralized renewable energy infrastructure that serves everyone's needs and doesn't just replace a big plant with another, excluding workers, citizens, farmers and wildlife;
    Addressing energy poverty by making leapfrogging to renewable, clean energy accessible for the many in the global South, for instance through investments in off-the-grid small scale renewable energy;
    That workers in the fossil fuel industry are given a chance to be part of the energy revolution;
    No swapping of one fossil fuel for another; and Jobs, innovation, and opportunities are possible with a low-carbon transition
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Eric Reynolds has started a company in Rwanda to eliminate most of the disease causing smoke from cooking with charcoal in much of rural Sub-Saharan Africa and lowering carbon emissions by selling much cleaner burning wood pellet stoves. This will also save trees, as much less wood in needed to make the pellets, which include saw dust and small wood pieces not usable for making charcoal (Peter S. Goodman, "Toxic Smoke Is Africa’s Quiet Killer. An Entrepreneur Says His Fix Can Make a Fortune," The New York Times, December 6, 2018,

Eric C. Evarts , “Gas stations OK, electric-car chargers too ugly?,” Green Car Reports, November 22, 2018, , reported, “ Delays in rolling out new electric-car charging infrastructure may not just be about economics. Aesthetics may be holding back installations in some places too, according to the manager of electric-car sharing company Zipcar in Britain
Jonathan Hampson, general manager for Zipcar in the United Kingdom told the Sunday Times that local political leaders are holding up permits for new rapid-charging installations over concerns that they're too ugly.
Last year the London government earmarked about $5.8 million to install Level 2 chargers on street-lights in 25 London boroughs, and charging networks have committed to installing thousands more fast chargers in the next few years. Installations, however, are falling behind.
‘Only a fraction of what we were told would be installed have been put in
,” he said, “and it’s really because, between the boroughs and City Hall they haven’t reached agreement on where they should go; how they’re going to be put in. The boroughs don’t want them on their land because they perceive them to be ugly.’"

Joseph E. Fargione, Steven Bassett, Timothy Boucher, Scott D. Bridgham , Richard T. Conant, Susan C. Cook-Patton , Peter W. Ellis, Alessandra Falcucci, James W. Fourqurean , Trisha Gopalakrishna, Huan Gu, Benjamin Henderson , Matthew D. Hurteau, Kevin D. Kroeger, Timm Kroeger, Tyler J. Lark , Sara M. Leavitt, Guy Lomax, Robert I. McDonald , J. Patrick Megonigal, Daniela A. Miteva, Curtis J. Richardson, Jonathan Sanderman , David Shoch, Seth A. Spawn, Joseph W. Veldman , Christopher A. Williams , Peter B. Woodbury, Chris Zganjar, Marci Baranski, Patricia Elias , Richard A. Houghton, Emily Landis, Emily McGlynn, William H. Schlesinger , Juha V. Siikamaki, Ariana E. Sutton-Grier and Bronson W. Griscom, “Natural climate solutions for the United States,” Science Advances 14 Nov 2018, Vol. 4, no. 11, eaat1869, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat1869,, reported,
Limiting climate warming to <2°C requires increased mitigation efforts, including land stewardship, whose potential in the United States is poorly understood
. We quantified the potential of natural climate solutions (NCS)—21 conservation, restoration, and improved land management interventions on natural and agricultural lands—to increase carbon storage and avoid greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. We found a maximum potential of 1.2 (0.9 to 1.6) Pg CO2e year−1, the equivalent of 21% of current net annual emissions of the United States. At current carbon market prices (USD 10 per Mg CO2e), 299 Tg CO2e year−1could be achieved. NCS would also provide air and water filtration, flood control, soil health, wildlife habitat, and climate resilience benefits.”
This is equivalent to all the CO2 produced by automobiles in the U.S.

Melissa Eddy, “ Why ‘Green’ Germany Remains Addicted to Coal,” The New York Times, October 10, 2018, , reported on Germany, “If the country is to meet its commitment to the Paris Climate Accord — to reduce carbon emissions by 80 to 95 percent by 2050 — it must also address the economic and social impact on the roughly 22,500 people whose jobs depend on coal.
Increasingly, for Chancellor Angela Merkel it is a question of wavering political will in the face of mounting challenges, including from the far right, in eastern regions where a bulk of those jobs would be lost

Kendra Pierre-Louis, "The Bugs Are Coming, and They’ll Want More of Our Food: Climate change is expected to make insect pests hungrier, which could encourage farmers to use more pesticides," The New York Times, August 30, 2018,, reported, "Ever since humans learned to wrest food from soil, creatures like the corn earworm, the grain weevil and the bean fly have dined on our agricultural bounty. Worldwide, insect pests consume up to 20 percent of the plants that humans grow for food, and that amount will increase as global warming makes bugs hungrier, according to a study published Thursday in the journal Science .
     That could encourage farmers to use more pesticides, which could cause further environmental harm, scientists said."

Julia Conley, “Urging Multi-Pronged Effort to Halt Climate Crisis, Scientists Say Protecting World's Forests as Vital as Cutting Emissions: ;Our message as scientists is simple: Our planet's future climate is inextricably tied to the future of its forest’," Common Dreams , October 04, 2018, , reported, With a new statement rejecting the notion that drastically curbing emissions alone is enough to curb the threat of human-caused global warming, a group of scientists are urging world leaders to take immediate action to stop deforestation—calling it a key solution to stem the planetary climate crisis .
Forty scientists from five countries signed a statement days before the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is scheduled to meet in South Korea, warning that stopping deforestation is as urgent as ending the world's dependence on fossil fuels.
‘We must protect and maintain healthy forests to avoid dangerous climate change and to ensure the world's forests continue to provide services critical for the well-being of the planet and ourselves,’ the statement read. ‘Our message as scientists is simple: Our planet's future climate is inextricably tied to the future of its forest.’
Because forests absorb about a quarter of the carbon released by human activity, the elimination of forests and jungles around the world would release more than three trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere—more than the amount that could be released from all of the world's oil, gas, and coal reserves.
‘The forest piece of the conversation is often lost and I don't think the IPCC report will highlight it enough,’ Deborah Lawrence, a professor at the University of Virginia who signed the statement, told The Guardian.
Deforestation represents a vicious cycle in the fight against the climate crisis. As the burning of fossil fuels leads to a warmer planet, changes in the climate have had multiple effects including wildfires like the ones that have swept through Europe and the U.S. in recent months, contributing to more deforestation which then releases more carbon.
We will have a hotter, drier world without these forests’ Lawrence told The Guardian. ’There needs to be an international price on carbon to fund the protection of forests.’
The IPCC is scheduled to meet Monday.
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Sher Watts Spooner , “ Rising Arctic temperatures triggering alarms about climate change ,” Daily Kos, November 11, 2018,, reported on the earth-wide implications of drastically rising temperatures in the Arctic – twice as fast as elsewhere – from global warming, “Last year’s temperatures in the Arctic were the warmest on record. “Of nearly three dozen different Arctic weather stations, 15 of them were at least 10F (5.6C) above normal for the winter,” said a story in The Guardian.”
“The rest of the world will feel the consequences of warmer winters in the Arctic soon enough. Some of those consequences will be rising sea levels from melting glaciers and ice caps, which could be catastrophic for the millions of people living in low-lying areas, especially in Asia; increased release of trapped carbon dioxide and methane gas into the atmosphere as permafrost thaws; less salinity in seawater, causing a change in ocean currents; changes in precipitation patterns; and greater likelihood of extreme weather throughout the Northern hemisphere.”
“Among the species affected by warming Arctic temperatures, many of which depend on Arctic Ocean sea ice cover to survive: polar bears , which could face starvation and reproduction problems by the year 2100, as thinning sea ice isn’t strong enough to sustain their weight; walruses , which are forced to come ashore and can’t find food; and caribou , which have less lichen to feed on. As the seas grow warmer, fish are moving north, which poses a risk for commercial and subsistence fishing.
What about the species Homo sapiens? As air over the Arctic warms up, it pushes frigid air south, and we all feel it in extreme weather.”

Julia Conley, “Humanity 'Sleepwalking Towards the Edge of a Cliff': 60% of Earth's Wildlife Wiped Out Since 1970: ‘Nature is not a 'nice to have'—it is our life-support system,’" Common Dreams, October 30, 2018, , reported, “ Scientists from around the world issued a stark warning to humanity Tuesday in a semi-annual report on the Earth's declining biodiversity, which shows that about 60 percent of mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles have been wiped out by human activity since 1970.
What is increasingly clear is that human development and wellbeing are reliant on healthy natural systems, and we cannot continue to enjoy the former without the latter." —World Wildlife Fund
The World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Index details how human's uncontrolled overconsumption of land, food, and natural resources has eliminated a majority of the wildlife on the planet—threatening human civilization as well as the world's animals.

‘We are sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff     Mike Barrett, executive director of science and conservation at WWF, told the Guardian. ‘If there was a 60 percent decline in the human population, that would be equivalent to emptying North America, South America, Africa, Europe, China, and Oceania. That is the scale of what we have done.’
Killer whales were named as one species that is in grave danger of extinction due to exposure to chemicals used by humans, and the Living Index Report highlighted freshwater species and animal populations in Central and South America as being especially affected by human activity in the past five decades.
‘Species population declines are especially pronounced in the tropics, with South and Central America suffering the most dramatic decline, an 89 percent loss compared to 1970,’ reads the report. ‘Freshwater species numbers have also declined dramatically, with the Freshwater Index showing an 83% decline since 1970.’
Destruction of wildlife habitats is the leading human-related cause of extinction, as people around the world are now using about three-quarters of all land on the planet for agriculture, industry, and other purposes, according to the report.
Mass killing of animals for food is the second-largest cause of extinction, according to the report, with 300 mammal species being ‘eaten into extinction.’
‘It is a classic example of where the disappearance is the result of our own consumption,’ Barrett told the Guardian.
The report stresses a need to that shift away from the notion that wildlife must be protected simply for the sake of ensuring that future generations can see species like elephants, polar bears, and other endangered animals in the wild.
Rather, the survival of the planet's ecosystems is now a matter of life and death for the human population, according to the WWF.
‘Nature contributes to human wellbeing culturally and spiritually, as well as through the critical production of food, clean water, and energy, and through regulating the Earth's climate, pollution, pollination and floods,’ Professor Robert Watson, who contributed to the report, told the Guardian. ‘The Living Planet report clearly demonstrates that human activities are destroying nature at an unacceptable rate, threatening the wellbeing of current and future generations.’
‘Nature is not a 'nice to have'—it is our life-support system,’ added Barrett.
Many scientists believe that studies like that of the WWF demonstrate that a sixth mass extinction is now underway—a theory that would mean the Earth could experience its first mass extinction event caused by a single species inhabiting the planet. The loss of all life on Earth could come about due to a combination of human-caused effects, including a rapidly warming planet as well as the loss of biodiversity.
"The Great Acceleration, and the rapid and immense social, economic and ecological changes it has spurred, show us that we are in a period of great upheaval,’ reads the study. ‘Some of these changes have been positive, some negative, and all of them are interconnected. What is increasingly clear is that human development and wellbeing are reliant on healthy natural systems, and we cannot continue to enjoy the former without the latter.’
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     Jessica Corbett, " Humanity Chopping Down Tree of Life, Warns New Research, 'Including Branch We Are Sitting On': 'We're entering what could be an extinction on the scale of what killed the dinosaurs,'" Common Dreams, October 16, 2018,, reported, " Underscoring the urgent need for increased and intensely focused conservation efforts, new research shows that human activity worldwide is wiping out plant and animal life—including our own—so rapidly that evolution can't keep up.
    Paleontologist and lead researcher Matt Davis of Denmark's Aarhus University warned, 'We are starting to cut down the whole tree [of life], including the branch we are sitting on right now.'
    'We are doing something that will last millions of years beyond us,' Davis told the Guardian. 'It shows the severity of what we are in right now. We're entering what could be an extinction on the scale of what killed the dinosaurs.'
    The analysis, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, specifically focused on mammals that currently exist as well as those which went extinct as humans spread across the globe, but it provides insight on the broader biodiversity crisis. It adds to a growing body of recent research that has warned of imminent mass extinction driven by unsustainable human activity, the climate crisis , and inadequate conservation efforts .
    Even under the best circumstances, with dramatic improvements to current conservation work, the new analysis posited it will take 3-5 million years "just to diversify enough to regenerate the branches of the evolutionary tree that they are expected to lose over the next 50 years. In addition, the study found it could take 5-7 million years "to restore biodiversity to its level before modern humans evolved," according to a statement outlining the findings.
The degree of biodiversity loss over the next five decades will be significantly influenced by the changes to current human behaviors, or lack thereof—but the impact of losing species can vary greatly.
    'Large mammals, or megafauna, such as giant sloths and saber-toothed tigers, which became extinct about 10,000 years ago, were highly evolutionarily distinct. Since they had few close relatives, their extinctions meant that entire branches of Earth's evolutionary tree were chopped off,' Davis explained. Today, meanwhile, 'there are hundreds of species of shrew, so they can weather a few extinctions.'
    While Davis said that 'we have no reason to assume we will ever be able to bring extinction rates back down to normal background levels,' he pointed out that the new research 'highlights species we should try to save and could help us prioritize conservation.'
    'We once lived in a world of giants: giant beavers, giant armadillos, giant deer, etc., we now live in a world that is becoming increasingly impoverished of large wild mammalian species. The few remaining giants, such as rhinos and elephants, are in danger of being wiped out very rapidly,' noted Jens-Christian Svenning from Aarhus University.
    The team determined that species which could benefit from extra conservation efforts now—before it's too late to save them—include the black rhino, the red panda, and the indri. As Davis concluded, "It is much easier to save biodiversity now than to re-evolve it later.'
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     Jake Johnson, "'One of Most Disturbing Articles I Have Ever Read' Scientist Says of Study Detailing Climate-Driven 'Bugpocalypse': "A truly scary new study finds that insect populations in protected Puerto Rican rainforests have fallen as much as 60-fold," Common Dreams , “October 16, 2018,, reported, "When a scientist who studies the essential role insects play in the health of the ecosystem calls a new study on the dramatic decline of bug populations around the world ' one of the most disturbing articles ' he's ever read, it's time for the world to pay attention.
    The article in question is a report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences ( PNAS) showing that in addition to annihilating hundreds of mammal species , the human-caused climate crisis has also sparked a global 'bugpocalypse' that will only continue to accelerate in the absence of systemic action to curb planetary warming.
     'This study in PNAS is a real wake-up call—a clarion call—that the phenomenon could be much, much bigger, and across many more ecosystems,' David Wagner, an invertebrate conservation expert at the University of Connecticut, said in response to the new report. 'This is one of the most disturbing articles I have ever read.'
    Authored by Bradford Lister of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Andres Garcia of National Autonomous University of Mexico, the study found that [a]rthropods, invertebrates including insects that have external skeletons, are declining at an alarming rate.'
     'We compared arthropod biomass in Puerto Rico's Luquillo rainforest with data taken during the 1970s and found that biomass had fallen 10 to 60 times, the researchers write. 'Our analyses revealed synchronous declines in the lizards, frogs, and birds that eat arthropods. Over the past 30 years, forest temperatures have risen 2.0 °C, and our study indicates that climate warming is the driving force behind the collapse of the forest's food web. If supported by further research, the impact of climate change on tropical ecosystems may be much greater than currently anticipated.'
     As the climate crisis intensifies, Lister and Garcia continued, 'the frequency and intensity of hurricanes in Puerto Rico are expected to increase, along with the severity of droughts and an additional 2.6–7 °C temperature increase by 2099, conditions that collectively may exceed the resilience of the rainforest ecosystem.'
    'Holy crap,' Wagner of the University of Connecticut told the Washington Post when he learned of the 60-fold drop of bug populations in Puerto Rico's Luquillo rainforest. 'If anything, I think their results and caveats are understated. The gravity of their findings and ramifications for other animals, especially vertebrates, is hyperalarming.'
The latest disturbing evidence of the destruction the climate crisis is inflicting across the globe comes just a week after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned that the world must cut carbon emissions in half by 2030 in order to avert global catastrophe as soon as 2040.
    'Unfortunately, we have deaf ears in Washington," concluded Louisiana State University entomologist Timothy Schowalter, who has studied the Luquillo rainforest for decades.
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    CSO Equity Review Group, " After Paris: Inequality, Fair Shares, and the Climate Emergency," CIDSE.Org, December 2018,, available as a pdf, reports that a major barrier to limiting global warming and the climate change it produces is the financial inequality in the world. If is no accident that several of the richest nations, each having very wealthy elites benefiting from fossil fuel production, are major barriers to the necessary rapid moves to limit global warming. They are the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Wide popular supoport for limiting climate change can be garnered, but only if people everyone, including the wealthy are soing their share in the effort.

Jessica Corbett, “Spain Unveils 'Groundbreaking' Plan to Slash Emissions and Transition to 100% Renewable Energy by 2050: ‘It sets a long-term goal, provides incentives on scaling up zero emission technologies, and cares about a good transition for the workforce,’" Common Dreams, November 13, 2018, , reported, “ Spain's government on Tuesday unveiled "groundbreaking" plans to transition to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050, dramatically slash planet-warming emissions, and outlaw new fossil fuel exploration.
Under the new draft law, Spain aims to draw at least 70 percent of its power from renewable sources by 2030 and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent from 1990 levels. By 2050, the nation would rely solely on sustainable sources and cut emissions by as much as 90 percent.
Over the next decade, the government would install at least 3,000MW of solar and wind power capacity annually. Most of the country's coal mines would be shut down with "just transition" contracts for workers featuring early retirement programs and training initiatives for clean energy jobs.
After 2040, the proposed legislation would end government subsidies and exploration permits for fossil fuels; outlaw fracking; and bar automakers from selling vehicles that run on gasoline or diese
European Climate Foundation CEO Laurence Tubiana, who called the measure "groundbreaking," said that "by planning on going carbon neutral Spain shows that the battle against climate change is deadly serious, that they are ready to step up, and plan to reap the rewards of decarbonization."
Spain's proposal is more ambitious than what's mandated by the European Union. As EURACTIV reports :
“The draft law also reveals that Madrid is keen to go beyond the targets adopted under the E.U.'s clean energy package, a set of new and updated laws that will govern important aspects of energy and climate policy through the next decade.
Earlier this year, MEPs, national representatives, and Commission officials agreed that member states will have to contribute to an E.U.-wide target of 32 percent for renewable energy generation and 32.5 percent for energy efficiency uptake.
But in keeping with its refreshed progressive approach to ecological transition, the draft legislation wants to meet a 35 percent target for both renewables and energy efficiency.”
Christiana Figueres, a former executive secretary of the U.N.'s framework convention on climate change (UNFCCC), said , ‘The draft Spanish climate law is an excellent example of the implementation of the Paris agreement: it sets a long-term goal, provides incentives on scaling up zero emission technologies, and cares about a good transition for the workforce.’
To move forward, though, the measure will need the support of Spanish lawmakers—and as Bloomberg noted , ‘With 84 Socialist deputies in Spain's 350-seat parliament, the government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez needs to build cross-party alliances to get major legislation passed.’
With this draft legislation, Sánchez, who took office earlier this year, is trying to make good on his promise to step up Spain's transition to renewable energy to battle anthropogenic global warming.
The climate crisis is ‘the biggest challenge we face globally,’ Sánchez reportedly said Sunday, and the international community must ‘act with urgency and determination’ to adequately address it.
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     Oliver Milman , "Flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years: Shoreline communities may be inundated in the next two years as ocean levels rise amid serious climate change concerns," The Guradian, Wed 6 June 2018,, reported, "The frequency of coastal flooding from high tides has doubled in the US in just 30 years, with communities near shorelines warned that the next two years are set to be punctuated by particularly severe inundations, as ocean levels continue to rise amid serious global climate change concerns."
    Oil Change International reported, July 11, 2018, in an E-mail, that in this July: " All-time heat records have been broken all across the planet this month, and the impacts are growing more dangerous. Los Angeles hit a record 111 degrees on Friday. Montreal hit 97.9 degrees on July 2nd, as part of a heat wave that caused 70 deaths. This week, historic rains in Japan, no doubt worsened by climate change, have caused floods and landslides — and 179 people are dead. More information: " Japanese PM to meet flood evacuees as death toll rises to 179 ," The Guardian, 07-11-2018; " Estimated 70 Deaths Linked To Canada's Heat Wave ," NPR, 07-10-2018; “ Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week ,” Washington Post, 07-05-2018; " Oil 'is killing us.' Activists call on Jerry Brown to halt California drilling ," Sacramento Bee, 04-11-2018; " Jerry Brown's work to seal his climate legacy is only half done ," The Los Angeles Times, 04-11-2018."
     Somini Sengupta , "In India, Summer Heat May Soon Be Literally Unbearable," The New York Times, July 17, 2018, , reported, "Extreme heat can kill, as it did by the dozens in Pakistan in May. But as many of South Asia’s already-scorching cities get even hotter, scientists and economists are warning of a quieter, more far-reaching danger: Extreme heat is devastating the health and livelihoods of tens of millions more.
    If global greenhouse gas emissions continue at their current pace, they say, heat and humidity levels could become unbearable, especially for the poor.
    It is already making them poorer and sicker.

Early July 2018 brought record day time high temperatures across the United States. But night time temperatures have also been rising, with night time lows the hottest on record in many places giving people less respite from day time heat. This is an increasing long-term trend (Kendra Pierre-Louis and Nadja Popovich, "Records Show Those Hot Sticky Summer Nights Keep Getting Stickier," The New York Times, July 12, 2018).

Motoko Rich, "Temperature Hits Record High in Japan as Nation Withers," July 23, 2018,, reported, " The temperature in a Japanese city outside Tokyo hit a high of close to 106 degrees on Monday, a record for Japan as the country suffered under a weekslong heat wave that has also afflicted the Korean Peninsula.
    With rescue workers still clearing out debris after deadly floods that hit western Japan this month , the heat blanketed a large part of the country, turning 2018 into a summer of environmental misery.
    Already, 21 people have died from heatstroke in Japan, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, while thousands more have been taken to hospitals for heat-related reasons, with no relief in sight for the rest of the week."

Julia Conley, " As Wildfires Rage and Heat Records Broken Worldwide, Corporate Media Urged to Cover Climate Crisis' Link to Extreme Weather: 'Sure would be nice if our news networks—the only outlets that can force change in this country—would cover it with commensurate urgency. Acting as if there's nothing to be done is not excusable.'" Common Dreams , " July 24, 2018,
     Climate scientists sounded alarms on Tuesday as reports circulated of extreme weather and record-breaking high temperatures all over the globe, with dozens of deaths and thousands of hospitalizations reported in some countries—while one journalist with a major platform on corporate cable news admitted the news media's failure to give serious attention to the link between the climate crisis and such events.
    On social media, climate action groups and advocates catalogued the overwhelming number of fires, droughts, floods, and heatwaves that have been exacerbated by the climate crisis in recent days and weeks.
    Dam collapse in Laos due to rain. Wildfires in Greece due to arson & exacerbated by heat. Killer heat wave in Japan. More fires in Sweden.
    Nowhere will be unaffected. We must work to engineer adaptations & provide solutions. #climatechange is our greatest nat sec threat .
     In Greece, today, people are jumping into the ocean to escape rapidly advancing wildfires.
    So far, this is Greece's hottest year on record
    Also on Twitter, MSNBC's Chris Hayes re-tweeted meteorologist Eric Holthaus's post about Greece's wildfires, prompting journalist Elon Green to reply, 'Sure would be nice if our news networks—the only outlets that can force change in this country—would cover it with commensurate urgency. Acting as if there's nothing to be done is not excusable.'
    Hayes offered an honest response, writing, 'Every single time we've covered it's been a palpable ratings killer. So the incentives are not great.'
    The reply prompted several followers to urge Hayes and other journalists in the corporate media to cover the climate crisis, its implications for the increasingly extreme weather that major news networks often report on, and how politicians like President Donald Trump, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and many others exacerbate the issue by aligning themselves with the interests of fossil fuel industries.
    Greek Interior Minister Panos Skourletis called the wildfires that have killed at least 74 people 'a biblical disaster' in an interview with Sky News. The fires began late Monday afternoon near Athens, and have injured nearly 200 and sent thousands of people racing toward the Aegean Sea to escape in boats, makeshift rafts, and even by swimming.
    Entire towns have been wiped out by the blazes, which have been made worse by a recent drought and heatwaves that have sent temperatures into the hundreds.
    In Japan, at least 65 people have been killed in the past week by an 'unprecedented' heatwave, according a weather agency spokesperson. Temperatures as high as 106 degrees have sent more than 22,000 people to hospitals—more than any other year since the country began recording cases of heatstroke in 2008
     In southern Laos, hundreds of people went missing on Monday after flooding caused by heavy rains resulted in a collapsed dam. Thousands of homes were destroyed and an untold number of people were killed as the equivalent of two million Olympic swimming pools of water burst into several villages.
    And in northern Sweden, above the Arctic Circle, more than 50 wildfires have raged in the past several days, forcing dozens of people to evacuate their homes.
    The climate action group Friends of the Earth noted that record-breaking high temperatures have been recorded in a number of other regions and cities in recent days, including the United Kingdom; Ottawa, Canada; Southern California; Ouargla, Algeria; Tibilisi, Georgia; and Sydney, Australia.
     'There is no doubt that the prolonged extreme temperatures and floods we are witnessing around the world right now are a result of climate change,' said Caroline Rance, climate campaigner for Friends of the Earth Scotland. `' Temperature records are being broken across the U.K. and globally, exactly as climate science has long warned, and with devastating consequences.'
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     The dam collapse in Laos from much earlier and stronger than normal monsson rains also caused serious flooding in Cambodia, devistating crops that ar essential to people's livelihood. The loss may cause starvation for some ( Julia Wallace and Len Leng, "News of Laos Dam Failure Didn’t Reach Them, but the Water Did," The New York Times, August 1, 2018,

    The rising temperatures in south Asia are reaching the point where they are beginning to put some 800 million people at risk (Somini Sangupta, "Warming puts 800 Milllion people at Risk in South Asia ," The New York Times, June 29, 2018).

Alissa J. Rubin, "Scorching Summer in Europe Signals Long-Term Climate Changes," The New York Times, August 4, 2018,, reported, " In Northern Europe, this summer feels like a modern-day version of the biblical plagues. Cows are dying of thirst in Switzerland, fires are gobbling up timber in Sweden, the majestic Dachstein glacier is melting in Austria.
    In London, stores are running out of fans and air-conditioners. In Greenland, an iceberg may break off a piece so large that it could trigger a tsunami that destroys settlements on shore. Last week, Sweden’s highest peak , Kebnekaise mountain, no longer was in first place after its glacier tip melted
     Southern Europe is even hotter. Temperatures in Spain and Portugal are expected to reach 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend. On Saturday, several places in Portugal experienced record highs, and over the past week, two people have died in Spain from the high temperatures, and a third in Portugal."
     Analysis of weather data shows that the further north one goes, the more extreme the weather, with the Arctic the fastest warming place on earth. Several cities and towns in Sweden, Norway and Finland suffered all-time record high temperatures, with some as far north as the Arctic circle experiencing temperatures in the 90s Fahrenheit. In Europe, not only was the weather hotter than normal over the summer of 2018, but, consistent with climate change, more erratic. France suffered a mix of violent thunderstorms, torrential rains and drought. Drought in the Netherlands, rather than rising oceans, was harmful to the countries system of dikes, as a result of insufficient fresh water to balance sea water. Many places in Europe suffered extreme water shortages this summer, and that combined with extreme heat has damaged trees in the Alps and elsewhere, while in Germany the heat caused some airport runways and other structures to buckle.
    The change in climate has been found so far to have doubled the likelihood of extreme heat waves in Europe, and as global warming continues, so will the frequency of heat waves and of other extreme weather. Currently, the percentage of Europeans facing extreme weather events has risen to 5%, but it could soon exceed 60%, Moreover, previously rare extreme high temperatures, such as those in the summer of 2003 European heat wave, that caused the deaths of at least 70,000 people on the continent, are predicted to be normal in summer by 2060. One quite visible sign of the change in climate in Europe is that for the first time one can see the melting of the Dachstein glacier causing it to shrink, as you stand there watching it.
    It is now clear to many people in Europe that climate change is beginning to have impacts on everyday life, including diminishing parts of the economy, and changing long enjoyed traditions. One example is that popular barbecues were banned in public places in areas of Sweden because of the danger that they might start wild fires. In many places across Europe growing patterns are changing, reducing farming and gathering, while milk and meat cattle raising has become more difficult from reductions in water and feed. Meanwhile, the seas are rising, and will continue to rise for centuries - though with less acceleration in rise - if the world rapidly reduces greenhouse gas pollution to levels that will prevent the most catastrophic climate events

Saw Nang and Richard C. Paddock , "In Myanmar, Flood Warnings Come After the Floods," The New York Times, July 30, 2018,, reported, "This year’s monsoon season has brought crippling floods to many parts of Southeast Asia. In some cases, poor dam construction, deforestation and a lack of emergency preparations have worsened the effects.
     In Myanmar, heavy flooding in eight states has killed at least 10 people since Friday and prompted the evacuation of more than 50,000, officials said."

Somini Sengupta, Tiffany May and Zia ur-Rehman , " How Record Heat Wreaked Havoc on Four Continents: We talked to people who found themselves on the front lines of climate change this year. Here are their stories," The New York Times, July 30, 2018 ,, reported, " Expect more. That’s the verdict of climate scientists to the record-high temperatures this spring and summer in vastly different climate zones .
     The contiguous United States had its hottest month of May and the third-hottest month of June . Japan was walloped by record triple-digit temperatures , killing at least 86 people in what its meteorological agency bluntly called a 'disaster.' And weather stations logged record-high temperatures on the edge of the Sahara and above the Arctic Circle.
    Is it because of climate change? Scientists with the World Weather Attribution project concluded in a study released Friday that the likelihood of the heat wave currently baking Northern Europe is 'more than two times higher today than if human activities had not altered climate.'
    While attribution studies are not yet available for other record-heat episodes this year, scientists say there’s little doubt that the ratcheting up of global greenhouse gases makes heat waves more frequent and more intense."
    Reports of particular events in the article are, "Ouargla, Algeria: 124°F on July 5;" "Hong Kong: Over 91°F for 16 straight days;" "Nawabshah, Pakistan: 122°F on April 30;" "Oslo: Over 86°F for 16 consecutive days;" "Los Angeles: 108°F on July 6."

With the world heating up, and bringing more extreme weather, 20% of the U.S. population now is at risk of extreme heat and flooding, and it will continue to get worse (John Bacon and Doyle Rice, "20% of Americans face extreme heat of floods," U.S.A. Today, July 25, 2018).

In New York State, dry hot weather reduced one typical farmer's corn yield by 20%, and then the deluge of rain damaged his spelt crop. Between climate related losses and Trump's tariffs, some farmers have been considering giving up farming (Tyler Pager, "Farmers Besieged by Trump Policies and Weather," The New York Times , August 23, 2018).

     The pattern of global warming induced climate change causing more extreme storms, and for storms, including hurricanes, to be larger, staying longer over areas and causing worse flooding by longer periods of intense rain over very wide areas, was shown in the simultaneous hurricanes hitting the U.S. East Coast, the Philippines and China.
     A particularly strong and wide hurricane hit North Carolina only two years ago, causing wide spread serious flooding, from which some people were still recovering in September 2018, when Hurricane Florence hit, causing still worse flooding over many days as the storm just sat over the cost to inland areas, pouring up to 20 inches of rain, while ocean storm surges backed up rivers, increasing the flooding. Transportation and power were disrupted across the entire state. At least 16 people had died, as of September 17. The flooding also spread into South Carolina ( David Zucchino , Alan Blinder and Jack Healy, "Storm ‘Has Never Been More Dangerous,’ Governor Warns," The New York Times, September 16, 2018,
     Similarly, in the Pacific, Gerry Mullany , Tiffany May and Steven Lee Myers, "Typhoon Mangkhut Slams Hong Kong and Southern China," The New York Times, September 16, 2018,, reported, " Typhoon Mangkhut battered Hong Kong and Macau on Sunday with 100 miles-per-hour wind gusts, drenching rains and 11-foot surges of seawater that inundated the first urban area of Asia to face the wrath of the year’s mightiest storm.
    Mangkhut left a swath of damaged buildings and scores of injuries in Hong Kong and Macau before churning across the southern coast of China. Barely a day earlier, it ravaged the northern Philippines and left dozens buried in landslides, including people sheltering in a church and a dormitory for miners.
    The unofficial count from the Philippine police put the number of dead as at least 59. The death toll was expected to rise as rescue workers continued digging into areas buried by mud, especially in mountainous parts of Benguet Province in the northern island of Luzon. The president’s office said 43 bodies had been recovered from the mine landslide and the search was continuing

Severe weather in Minnesota, in much of June, brought flooding and property damage, bringing the governor to declare an emergency across 36 counties and the Chippewa Reservation, July 5, 2018 (NM Governor declares emergency after severe weather," NFIC, August 8, 2018).

As the flooding spread from Florence's prolonged rains and backed up rivers across North Carolina and into South Carolina, Kendra Pierre-Louis , Nadja Popovich And Hiroko Tabuchi "Florence Floodwaters Breach Coal Ash
Pond and Imperil Other Toxic Sites," The New York Times, September 17, 2018,, reported, " Surging floodwaters from Florence, now a tropical depression, have swept away part of a retaining wall holding back a pond of coal ash – which contains mercury, arsenic and other toxic substances – and have also overrun several lagoons of pig waste in North Carolina. The mishaps amplified concerns about an array of danger zones including Superfund sites, chemical plants and the region’s industrial hog farms.
    The spreading of the toxic waste by the flooding is a direct threat to drinking water in several areas, as well as posing other human hazards.

    The wide size of Florence and the length of time it spent dropping huge amounts of rain has kept flooding expanding, and then continuing, long after the storm has left the Carolinas, leaving a great many people who evacuated unable to return home, and preventing damage assessment and repair to begin in a very wide area. As of October 2, the effects of the storm were continuing, with main areas in the Carolinas continuing to remain flooded. ( Alan Blinder and Chris Dixon “Florence’s Slow-Motion Havoc Leaves Thousands of Evacuees in Limbo, " The New York Times, September 26, 2018,; and Jack Healy , Julia Jacobs , Jacey Fortin and Adeel Hassan , “Scenes Across the Carolinas, Where Florence Is Far From Over,” The New York Times , October 2, 2018, ).

And once again, the new pattern of especially wide, but this time not slow moving, storms, dumping huge amounts of rain – with more storms – and many especially powerful – came with Hurricane Michael striking the Panhandle of Florida, the worst storm ever to hit the area, and the third most powerful to strike the U.S. It landed as a force 4, and almost a force 5 hurricane, with winds up to 155 MPH.. Richard Fausset , Alan Blinder and Patricia Mazzei, “ Hurricane Michael Leaves Trail of Destruction as It Slams Florida’s Panhandle,” The New York Times, October 10, 2018,, reported, “ Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful storms ever to hit the continental United States, slammed into the Florida Panhandle on Wednesday, unleashing a trail of destruction across 200 miles that splintered houses, peeled off roofs and stirred up a terrifying surge of seawater that submerged entire neighborhoods and sent boats careening down city streets.”
”Images from there showed swaths of shattered debris where houses once stood and structures inundated up to their rooftops; the streets of Panama City, farther west, were blocked by downed tree limbs and impossible tangles of power lines. Recreational vehicles, trucks and even trains were pushed over, surrounded by new lakes of water.”
Still early reports, by 2:00 pm, October 11: Richard Fausset, Patricia Mazzei and Alan Blinder, “Hurricane Michael Live Updates: A Trail of Destruction in the Florida Panhandle,” The New York Times, October 11, 2018, , reported, “ Search-and-rescue teams rushed on Thursday to reach communities that Hurricane Michael leveled, hoping to find survivors of the powerful storm after its rampage through the Florida Panhandle and beyond left buildings collapsed and splintered, hospitals damaged, roads and water systems compromised and more than a million homes and businesses without electricity.
Although it was clear by afternoon that the storm had caused widespread damage, some areas remained largely cut off, and the authorities were trying to deploy rescuers by helicopter and boat. At least five people were killed, and with the death toll expected to rise, the Panhandle and counties to the north were a vast, staggered disaster zone.
    “ Much of the coast of the Florida Panhandle, including parts of Panama City and Mexico Beach, was left in ruins. The area is dotted with small, rural communities, some of them among the poorest in the state. Evacuation was difficult.”
    “ At 11 a.m. on Thursday, Michael was about 25 miles south of Greensboro, N.C., heading northeast with sustained wind speeds of up to 50 miles per hour. Now a tropical storm, it is moving relatively quickly, at 23 m.p.h., and is expected to speed up as it crosses the Carolinas and blows out to sea by early Friday.”
    Two days after the storm, with most buildings along the coast for 100 miles shattered, and ground transportation still largely disrupted, and power, water and sewer systems still out, aid workers were having difficulty getting essential supplies to people in the stricken areas. By then heavy rains were falling in the western Carolinas, but with the storm moving quickly, no serious flooding was occurring. However, as Michael remained a force 3 hurricane as it passed into Georgia, with winds of 120-130 mph, the storm continued to do great damage in its inland march north. In some inland areas the storm was the most devastating ever known. The destruction was so great in the Florida Pan Handle that it may take many weeks before power is restored in many areas ( Richard Fausset, Audra D. S. Burch and Alan Blinder “‘We Need Answers’: Hurricane Michael Leaves Florida Residents Desperate for Aid," The New York Times, October 12, 2018,; Patricia Mazzei, “Far From the Shattered Coast, Hurricane Michael Packed an Unexpected Punch,” The New York Times, October 13, 2018, ; and Audra D. S. Burch and Patricia Mazzei, “ Thousands in Florida May Not Get Electricity Back for Weeks ," The New York Times, October 14, 2018,

Timothy Williams and Richard Fausset, " Heavy Early Snow Smacks the Southeast, Knocking Out Power and Snarling Travel ," The New York Times, December 9, 2018,, reported, "That beauty came at a price, though, as a powerful storm plowed across the South this weekend, dumping heavy snow in some areas and sleet and freezing rain in others. Power was knocked out to more than 200,000 customers in North and South Carolina, according to a major utility in the region, forcing people who were left without electricity and heat to stay in hotels and shelters until downed lines can be repaired.
     Hundreds of traffic accidents were reported on slick roads across the region, including an incident in Matthews, N.C., in which a falling tree struck a vehicle, causing it to careen into a church and killing the driver, according to the local police.
     Travel disruptions were widespread. More than 1,100 flights to or from Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a busy hub, had been canceled by Sunday morning because of the storm, according to FlightAware , a flight-tracking website. Raleigh-Durham International Airport reported more than 200 cancellations. Amtrak also canceled or altered service on a number of trains through Tuesday."

Aurelien Breeden , “French Flash Floods Kill at Least 11," The New York Times, October 15, 2018, , reported, “ Muddy rivers and streams swollen by torrential rains tore through southwestern France on Monday, swamping towns, cutting off roads and killing at least 11 people , according to French officials.
Most of the flooding occurred in the Aude region, named after the river that runs through it, after several months’ worth of rain fell within hours overnight — nearly 14 inches in some places, according to the Interior Ministry.”

Japan suffered greatly from weather in July, 2018, with an extreme heat wave killing 130 people, and then a powerful typhoon bringing floods, and landslides, killing more than 200 people, while stranding travelers at heavily damaged Kansai International Airport for several days (Motoko Rich, "9 Die and Thousands Flee as Typhoon Hits Japan," The New York Times, September 5, 2018).

A very strong storm struck eastern India, in early October 2018, killing at least 8 people, destroying homes and cutting off electric power (Kai Schultz, "Cyclone Strikes Eastern India, Killing at Least Eight," The New York Times, October 10, 2018).

Dionne Searcey, "Floods in Nigeria Kill More Than 100, Wiping Out Homes and Farms," The New York Times, September 17, 2018,, reported, " Rainy season flooding across Nigeria has killed more than 100 people, as water poured over the banks of the West African country’s two major rivers, and into numerous cities and towns.
    Officials prepared on Monday to declare a natural disaster, which would allow for the mobilization of military and other resources to 12 states that have been badly affected. President Muhammadu Buhari has authorized the equivalent of $8.2 million to aid relief efforts.
    Over the weekend, the Nigeria Hydrological Services Agency reported that the Benue and Niger Rivers were close to reaching levels that in 2012 led to floods that killed more than 350 people and wiped out scores of homes, farms and other property."

Climeworks,, accessed November 3, 2018, states, “ Climeworks [in Switzerland] has developed the first commercial carbon removal technology on the market today, allowing us to physically remove any organization’s or individual’s past, present and future CO2 emissions.
Are there any alternative approaches to carbon dioxide removal?
Carbon dioxide removal, also known as negative emissions technologies, covers a number of technologies which reduce the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere.
These include:
Bioenergy in combinations with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)
Afforestation: large-scale tree plantations to increase carbon storage in biomass and soil
Enhanced weathering: distribution of crushed silicate rocks on soil surfaces to absorb and bind CO2 chemically
Direct air capture of CO2 from ambient air through engineered chemical reactions
Our direct air capture approach has several advantages over other carbon removal technologies: it does not require water or depend on arable land; has a small physical footprint; and is scalable.”
     The captured CO2 can be injected into rock certain formations where it combines with the rock to forma a stable rock compound. With the current state of the global warming crisis, carbon capture is likely a necessary element in successfully reducing the warming-climate change damage. But to be effective, it needs to be put into practice, along with other approaches including greenhouse gas emmissions reductions, very quickly and extensively.

The Sunday, August 5 2018 issue of The New York Times Magazine,, is taken up entirely with, Nathaniel Rich, Photographs and Videos by George Steinmetz, August 1, 2018, " Losing Earth: The Decade We
Almost Stopped Climate Change
," "Editor’s Note: This narrative by Nathaniel Rich is a work of history, addressing the 10-year period from 1979 to 1989: the decisive decade when humankind first came to a broad understanding of the causes and dangers of climate change. Complementing the text is a series of aerial photographs and videos, all shot over the past year by George Steinmetz. With support from the Pulitzer Center, this two-part article is based on 18 months of reporting and well over a hundred interviews. It tracks the efforts of a small group of American scientists, activists and politicians to raise the alarm and stave off catastrophe. It will come as a revelation to many readers — an agonizing revelation — to understand how thoroughly they grasped the problem and how close they came to solving it. Jake Silverstein"

In summer 2018, California, like the U.S. west in general, was in the midst of another global warming increased fire season. As of July 28, there were 28 wild fires burning in California, several of them large, serious, spreading, and little contained. The Carr Fire, into, and stretching Northwest from Redding, had burned more than 80,900 acres, was 5% contained, had destroyed 500 structures, damaged 76, and threatened 4978 more, as some 10,000 people were ordered to evacuate. By the morning of July 30, 3 people had died in a house, and the fire was 95,368 acres and 17% contained. As of August 1, 6 people had died, 1,018 residences, 12 commercial structures, 435 outbuildings had been destroyed, with 181 residences, 6 commercial structures and 61 outbuildings damaged, as 115,538 acres had burned with the fire 35% contained. As of August 2, another fire fighter had died, and the fire had consumed more than 116,000 acres. The fire was so intense in places that people returning to where their homes had been found no sign of them, even the dirt was gone, and only rock remained. The fire had moved west, away from Redding by August 2. At its height, between 35,000 and 39,000 people had been evacuated. As of August 2, it was the 7th most devastating fire in California history. On August 6, The Carr Fire had burned 163,207 acres and was 45% contained, having claimed a 7th life. At that time destroyed were 1,080 residences, 24 commercial structures with 500 outbuildings destroyed, and 190 residences, 26 commercial structures and 62 outbuildings damaged. 1223 structures were threatened. As of August 8, the Carr Fire had consumed 173,522 acres, was 47% contained, had destroyed 1,077 residences, 22 commercial structures, and 500 outbuildings, damaged 191 residences, 26 commercial structures and 65 outbuildings, while threatening 935 other structures. As of August 22, the Carr Fire had consumed 229,651 Acres, destroyed 1,079 residences, 22 commercial structures, 503 outbuildings, damaged 190 residences, 26 commercial structures, and 61 outbuildings and was 93% contained.
    The Ferguson Fire East of Yosemite National Park, had consumed more than 49,600 acres, had forced closing of the park, and was 29% contained. On August 1, 62,883 acres had burned, with 39% containment. By August 6, 91,502 acres had been consumed with 38% containment. There had been 2 fatalities and 11 injuries to date. 10 structures had been destroyed. The Ferguson Fire is now the largest fire in the Sierra National Forest's History. On August 8, the Ferguson fire has consumed 94,992 acres, with 43% containment. 10 structures had been destroyed. On August 22, the fire was 100% contained, having consumed 96,901 acres.
     The RanchFire #MendocinoComplex off Highway 20 near Potter Valley, northeast of Ukiah in Mendocino, Lake, and Colusa Counties, had consumed 225,001 acres and 21% contained on August 6. It had destroyed 75 residences and 68 other structures and was threatening 9300 structures. As of the morning of August 8, it has consumed 251,166 acres, was 46% contained, had destroyed 116 homes and 105 other buildings, while threatening 10,300 structures. It is the largest fire in California History. In all 17 major fires were burning in the state, on August 8. On August 22, the Ranch fire was 74% contained, having burned 410,482 Acres

    Fire season used to be limited to the warmer months in California. But as of July 2018 , there has not been a month without a wildfire in the state since 2012. Three fire fighters had died so far in July, in California, two fighting the Carr Fire (Cal Fire Incident Information, July 28, 1018, 10:30 am PDT, and July 30,; and Scott Bransford, Jennifer Medina and Jose A. Del Real, "As Carr Fire Kills 2 in California, Firefighters Reflect on a Job Now ‘Twice as Violent’," The New York Times, July 27, 2018,; "Weary California Firefighters Mourn a Fallen Colleague, ‘Our Brother’ ," The New York Times, August 1, 2018,; and Cal Fire,
    The National Interagency Fire Center, on July 29 and then on August 8, listed 90 large fires nationwide: Alaska (14-16), Arizona (10-11), California (8-9), Colorado (10-13), Florida (1), Idaho (9-10), Montana (3-7), Nevada (5), New Mexico (3), Oklahoma (1-0), Oregon (15), Texas(0-1) Utah (6-7), Washington (1-7), and Wyoming (4-2). On August 8, there were 107 large active wild fires, nationwide, that had consumed 1,623,770 acres.

In the past, by November fire season in California was long over. But with climate change, that is no longer the case. As of November 9, 2018, three major fires were raging in California, causing at least 5 deaths, major property destruction and hundreds of thousands of people evacuated.
     The one day old Camp Fire, near Chico, had burned 90,000 acres, was 5% contained, had destroyed 6,453 residences and 260 commercial buildings, and threatened 15,000 structures, while causing the evacuation of thousands of people (Cal Fire Incident information, November 09, 2018 7:46 pm, ).
    By November 13, it had become clear that 48 people had died in the fast moving fire that almost totally destroyed the town of Paradise. It had become both the largest and deadliest wild fire in California history. By 7:39 pm, November 13, the Camp Fire had burned 130,000 acres and was 35% contained. 7,600 residences, 260 commercial structures had been consumed (“Camp Fire,” Cal Fire Incident Information, November 13, 2018, 7:30 pm, PST,
    As of November 16, the known death toll had reached 63, with over 600 missing, and 9,844 residences, 336 commercial and 2,076 other buildings destroyed, with 146,000 acres burned and the fire 50% contained (PBS Evening News; Cal Fire Incident Information, November 16, 2018 7:44 pm, ).
    By November 17, the number of known dead from the Camp Fire had risen to 71, with the list of missing over 1000 people.
By December 2, the number of known dead was 83 people, with about 200 still missing. With the town of Paradise destroyed, several thousand people face long term homelessness. The fire took 17 days to contain ( Thomas Fuller and Susan C. Beachy, “List of Missing in California Fire Is Over 1,000 People. Here Is How They’re Being Counted,” The New York Times, November 16,2018, ; an NPR News Report, December 2, 2018).

The Woolsey and Hill Fires, which began November 8, near Thousand Oaks, had consumed 35,000 acres and 4.531 acres, causing the evacuation of 75,000 people (Cal Fire Incident Information, November 09, 2018 ; and Kirk Johnson and Matt Stevens, “As ‘Camp Fire’ Burns in Paradise, Calif., Thousands Flee," The New York Times, November 8, 2018,
    As of November 16, the known death toll had reached 63, with over 600 missing, and 9,844 residences, 336 commercial and 2,076 other buildings destroyed, with 146,000 acres burned and the fire 50% contained (PBS Evening News; Cal Fire Incident Information, November 16, 2018 7:44 pm, ).
    By November 17, the number of known dead from the Camp Fire had risen to 71, with the list of missing over 1000 people. By December 2, the number of known dead was 83 people, with about 200 still missing. The fire took 17 days to contain ( Thomas Fuller and Susan C. Beachy, “List of Missing in California Fire Is Over 1,000 People. Here Is How They’re Being Counted,” The New York Times, November 16,2018, ; an NPR News Report, December 2, 2018).

Julie Turkewitz and Matt Richtel, " Air Quality in California: Devastating Fires Lead to a New Danger," The New York Times, November 16, 2018, , reported, “ The wildfires that have laid waste to vast parts of California are presenting residents with a new danger: air so thick with smoke it ranks among the dirtiest in the world.
On Friday, residents of smog-choked Northern California woke to learn that their pollution levels now exceed those in cities in China and India that regularly rank among the w
In the communities closest to the Paradise fire, an apocalyptic fog cloaked the roads, evacuees wandered in white masks and officials said respiratory hospitalizations had surged. Nearly 200 miles to the south, in San Francisco, the smoke was so thick that health warnings prompted widespread school closings. Even the city’s cable cars were yanked from the streets.”

Lisa Friedman, “…And the Best of the Rest," The New York Times,, reported, Climate leaders from around the world and thousands of activists, business executives and government officials are gathering in California for the Global Climate Action Summit . It’s being billed as the largest-ever meeting of states, regions, cities and companies which, in the absence of action from the United States under the Trump administration, will try to show the world that Americans are still serious about addressing global world warming.”

Henry Fountain , "California Is Preparing for Extreme Weather. It’s Time to Plant Some Trees: The state expects drier dry years and wetter wet ones in the decades ahead. That means projects to restore river habitats now serve another purpose: battling the coming floods," The New York Times, July 15, 2018,, reported, " For years, there has been a movement in California to restore floodplains, by moving levees back from rivers and planting trees, shrubs and grasses in the low-lying land between. The goal has been to go back in time, to bring back some of the habitat for birds, animals and fish that existed before the state was developed.
    But in addition to recreating the past, floodplain restoration is increasingly seen as a way of coping with the future — one of human-induced climate change. The reclaimed lands will flood more readily, and that will help protect cities and towns from the more frequent and larger inundations that scientists say are likely as California continues to warm

One side event at the Global Climate Action Summit was a display showing how municipalities can meet ocean rise in positive ways, as the Dutch have, with benefits to the area. (But this only works if ocean rise is only a limited number of feet, beyond a certain point, it becomes first too expensive, and with more rise, unworkable) (John King, "Sea Level Rise Meets Its Potential Match," San Francisco Chronicle, September 13, 2018).

The point is close to arriving, if it is not already here, when even a rapid intense action to cut greenhouse gasses will be insufficient to prevent global warming to bring horrendous world-wide disaster. Fortunately, important advances have been made in carbon capture that may well be necessary. A review of many of these is in Amanda Paulson, Carbon capture rises as a battlefront," Christian Science Monitor Weekly, November 26, 2018 - on line September 26, 2018, Other approaches to climate engineering have also been discussed, many of which are quite risky. A discussion of one of these, Solar Radiation Management (SRM) is discussed in Kate Aronoff, "The Plan to Block Out the Sun," In These Times, December 2018. An overview of the approach, without much analysis of possible problems with the approach, is on Big Think,

California, working with a private firm, announced in September that it was launching a satellite to help monitor climate change (Kurtis Alexander, "S.F. Firm's satellite to monitor Climate Change, San Francisco Chronicle, September 15, 2018),

The strongest hurricane to approach Hawaii, in some years, Hurricane Lane, weakened, winds dropping to 70 miles an hour before it struck land. However, its winds first started wild fires by breaking power lines, and then brought 40 inches of rain, with more coming as of early August 25, 2018, causing power outages, disruption of all transportation, flooding and land slides ("Hurricane Lane weakens to Tropical Storm, but drenches Hawaii in 40 inches of rain," The Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2018,

Aurelien Breeden , “French Flash Floods Kill at Least 11," The New York Times, October 15, 2018, , reported, “ Muddy rivers and streams swollen by torrential rains tore through southwestern France on Monday, swamping towns, cutting off roads and killing at least 11 people, according to French officials.
Most of the flooding occurred in the Aude region, named after the river that runs through it, after several months’ worth of rain fell within hours overnight — nearly 14 inches in some places, according to the Interior Ministry.”

Christopher F. Schuetze “The Rhine, a Lifeline of Germany, Is Crippled by Drought ," The New York Times, November 4, 2018, , reported, “One of the longest dry spells on record has left parts of the Rhine at record-low levels for months, forcing freighters to reduce their cargo or stop plying the river altogether.
Parts of the Danube and the Elbe — Germany’s other major rivers for transport — are also drying up. Some inland ports are idle, and it is estimated that millions of tons of goods are having to be transported by rail or road

Elisabetta Povoledo , “Venice Flooding Is Worst in a Decade; Severe Weather in Italy Kills at Least 11," The New York Times , Ocober 30, 2018,, reported, “ Violent thunderstorms, small tornadoes that blew roofs off homes, and hurricane-force winds lashed Italy from Piedmont to Sicily early this week, leaving at least 11 people dead, many more injured and firefighters and other rescue workers scrambling to respond to emergency calls.
    In Venice, ferocious winds drove the high tide to more than 61 inches, or 156 centimeters, above average sea level on Monday, one of the highest levels ever recorded, plunging much of the city under water. It was the highest flood in a decade in Venice, though far short of the record
, more than 76 inches above level, set in November 1966.”

“Deadly Storms in Italy Devastate 2 Families as Floods Hit Sicily," The New York Times, November 4, 2018,, reported, “Nine members of two families were killed in the same house in Sicily when the torrential rains and high winds that have been lashing Italy caused a river to burst its banks Saturday night.”

Meteor Blades , It's not just poverty and violence that are driving refugees to the U.S. border. It's climate change ,” Daily Kos, October 31, 2018, , reported that while increasing violence and poverty remain major reasons for people to flee Central American countries for Mexico and the U.S., the main reason is climate change, which could cause millions of more people to become refugees.
“Oliver Milman, Emily Holden, and David Agren at The Guardian write s:
’The focus on violence is eclipsing the big picture – which is that people are saying they are moving because of some version of food insecurity,” said Robert Albro, a researcher at the Center for Latin American and Latino Studies at American University.
The main reason people are moving is because they don’t have anything to eat. This has a strong link to climate change – we are seeing tremendous climate instability that is radically changing food security in the region.’
Migrants don’t often specifically mention ‘climate change’ as a motivating factor for leaving because the concept is so abstract and long-term, Albro said. But people in the region who depend on small farms are painfully aware of changes to weather patterns that can ruin crops and decimate incomes.
Jesús Canan is one of those the reporters talked to. He gave up after two years without rain that meant no corn to harvest. Nothing to eat, nothing to sell, not even any seed corn to replant. He left his family in western Honduras and joined the caravan. “It wasn’t the same before. This is forcing us to emigrate. In past years, it rained on time. My plants produced, but there’s no longer any pattern [to the weather].’”

Lisa Friedman , " Trump Administration Formally Rolls Back Rule Aimed at Limiting Methane Pollution ," The New York Times , September 18, 2018, , reported, "The Trump administration on Tuesday effectively reversed a regulation designed to prevent methane, one of the most powerful greenhouse gases, from escaping into the atmosphere during oil and gas operations.
    In the long- expected move , the Interior Department finalized its new rule, replacing one proposed by former President Barack Obama in the final days of his administration, that would have reduced leaking, venting and flaring of methane from drilling activity on federal and tribal land. The new regulation essentially reinstates the approximately 30-year-old guidelines that were in place when President Trump won the 2016 election."

Austin Frakt , “How Pollution Can Hurt the Health of the Economy : Many studies show a relationship between pollution and negative educational and earnings outcomes.
Nov. 27, 2018, , reported, “One argument, for rolling back environmental regulations — as is occurring under the Trump administration — is that a lighter touch on industry will lift investment and economic growth.
But increased pollution can also have long-term negative economic consequences. The effects on health are bad enough on their own, and are well understood.”
    The impacts reported in a new report include the health effects causing workers to work less well, to take time off, and in some cases to become disabled. Also children in school often do less well in school, and in some instances suffer long term disabilities lessening their employment opportunities, and sometimes causing disabilities. Not mentioned, is that areas where pollution effects are known can have lower property values, and may lose businesses as well as people

Julia Conley, “In 'Historic Moment' for Climate Action, Wales Pledges to Leave Its Remaining Coal in the Ground: ‘More countries must rapidly follow the path of Wales in leaving fossil fuels in the ground and transitioning to renewables,’" Common Dreams , October 22, 2018, , reported, “Climate action groups on Monday applauded the government of Wales for demonstrating that it is taking seriously the existential and planetary threat posed by fossil fuels by announcing that the country would end its extraction of coal.
Wales' new proposed plan to reject all future coal mining applications is set to be finalized by the end of the year, a government spokesperson told the BBC last week, as part of the country's new energy strategy which will aim to ensure that 70 percent of Wales' energy is derived from renewable sources by 2030.

‘We applaud the Welsh government in taking these vital steps for a climate safe future. Their actions are in direct contrast to its English neighbor who this week has given the green light to start fracking and created an unfavorable environment for renewable energy,’ said Anna Vickerstaff, spokesperson for, referring to fracking operations which restarted in Blackpool, England recently—days before five small earthquakes were recorded in the area.
‘It is a historic moment. This is the end of coal in Wales after a long association and history.’ —Haf Elgar, Friends of the Earth Cymru
The announcement came days weeks after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a harrowing report on the steps the world's government must take immediately in order to avoid the catastrophic effects of the climate crisis which would come about by 2040 if the Earth warms more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).
‘We have to be aware of our global responsibility and the impact all of the coal has had over the years and to make sure that we really do play our part in Wales now to be globally responsible and to reduce our carbon emissions," Haf Elgar, director of Friends of the Earth Cymru, told the BBC.
Payal Parekh, program director for, praised Wales for heeding the call of the IPCC and expressed urgent hope that other countries follow in its footsteps.
‘The IPCC report released last week should act as a wake-up call for leaders worldwide. More countries must rapidly follow the path of Wales in leaving fossil fuels in the ground and transitioning to renewables,’ said Parekh in a statement.
The government's decision was significant for a country which once counted the coal industry as its single biggest employer, producing 57 million tons of coal in one year at the beginning of the last century. Production has slowed significantly over the last 100 years, with the country extracting 2.5 million tons in 2014—but green groups expressed optimism about the plan to eliminate the fossil fuel from Wales' economy.
‘It is a historic moment. This is the end of coal in Wales after a long association and history,’ said Elgar.
The announcement makes Wales one of a small but growing group of nations which have pledged to take bold action and abandon long relied-upon energy sources for the sake of the planet and future generations.
Earlier this year, Costa Rica announced it would shift to 100 percent renewable energy by 2021, and fracking has been banned in Uruguay, Scotland, Germany, Australia, and a number of U.S. states.
The IPCC's report noted that putting a stop to fossil fuel emissions could feasibly be achieved, but that successfully limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius "would require rapid and far-reaching transitions in energy, land, urban, and infrastructure (including transport and buildings), and industrial systems"—the kind of change to which the Welsh government has now committed.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.”

Coral Davenport, “ E.P.A. to Eliminate Office That Advises Agency Chief on Science,” The New York Times, September 27, 2018, , reported, “ The Environmental Protection Agency plans to dissolve its Office of the Science Advisor , a senior post that was created to counsel the E.P.A. administrator on the scientific research underpinning health and environmental regulations, according to a person familiar with the agency’s plans. The person spoke anonymously because the decision had not yet been made public”.

Coral Davenport and Roni Caryn Rabin, “E.P.A. Places the Head of Its Office of Children’s Health on Leave,” The New York Times, 2018,, reported, “ The Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday placed the head of its Office of Children’s Health Protection on administrative leave, an unusual move that appeared to reflect an effort to minimize the role of the office.
Dr. Ruth Etzel, a pediatrician and epidemiologist who has been a leader in children’s environmental health for 30 years, joined the E.P.A. in 2015 after having served as a senior officer for environmental health research at the World Health Organization. She was placed on administrative leave late Tuesday and asked to hand over her badge, keys and cellphone, according to an E.P.A. official familiar with the decision who was not authorized to discuss the move and who asked not to be identified.
The official said Dr. Etzel was not facing disciplinary action and would continue to receive pay and benefits. No explanation was offered to the staff on Tuesday.”

Julia Conley, " Making 'Fringe' Scientist Who Argues Exposure Good for People a Key Witness, Trump's EPA Moves to Roll Back Radiation Safety Rules: 'The agency is ignoring scientific evidence by instead claiming a little radiation is good for you. This is clearly an attempt to save industry money at the expense of women and children's health,'" Common Dreams , “O ctober 03, 2018, , reported, " Provoking outrage among environmentalists, Trump's EPA sent toxicologist Edward Calabrese—who has argued that loosening radiation regulations could have positive health effects on humans, as well as saving money for businesses that currently work to limit exposure—as its lead witness to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
    The EPA sent toxicologist Edward Calabrese, who has argued that loosening radiation regulations could have positive health effects on humans, as well as saving money for businesses that currently work to limit exposure, as its lead witness to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

     'Trump's EPA is attempting to convince the committee that allowing more radiation will not be harmful by presenting long-rejected theories as mainstream,' said Cindy Folkers, a radiation and health hazard specialist at Beyond Nuclear, in a statement . 'The agency is ignoring scientific evidence by instead claiming a little radiation is good for you. This is clearly an attempt to save industry money at the expense of women and children's health.'
    For decades, the government has advised that any exposure to harmful radiation carries cancer risks for humans.
    The proposed rule would call on regulators to consider 'various threshold models across the exposure range' when setting guidelines for exposure to substances and chemicals. In a news release about the proposal in April, the EPA quoted Calabrese as calling the move 'a major scientific step forward" in assessing the risk of 'chemicals and radiation.'
In 2016, Calabrese suggested rolling back radiation regulations, saying , 'This would have a positive effect on human health as well as save billions and billions and billions of dollars." Two years earlier, he called on the government to right "the past deceptions and [correct] the ongoing errors in environmental regulation.'
    Calabrese's views have been “generally dismissed by the great bulk of scientists," physicist Jan Beyea told the Associated Press.
    The proposal would likely lead to 'increases in chemical and radiation exposures in the workplace, home and outdoor environment, including the vicinity of Superfund sites,' he added.
    As Beyond Nuclear explained, women and children are disproportionately more at risk from the regulatory rollback, with women suffering 50 percent more harm and female children suffering nearly 10 times more harm when exposed to radioactivity than adult males on which U.S. protection standards are based.
     'Current standards are already not protective enough of women and children, nor is their susceptibility accounted for in the public health costs,' Folkers said. 'If the EPA allows even greater exposure, the costs to society could be very high.'
    The EPA has argued that the regulation is aimed at 'increasing transparency on assumptions' about radiation exposure, and the agency demanded that the AP retract its reporting on Tuesday that the 'EPA says a little radiation may be healthy'—despite the fact that its own lead witness on Capitol Hill on Wednesday has said just that.
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

By loosening restrictions on CO2 emissions, the Trump administration moved, in December, to make it easier for new coal power plants to be built - though the lower prices than coal of natural gas and green energy may make this change irrelevant (Lisa Friedman, "E.P.A. Will Ease Path to New Coal Plants," The New York Times, December 5, 2018).

Juan Cole, "In Epochal Shift, California Votes for 100% Green Electricity by 2045," Informed Comment, August 31,2018,, "This week, the California state legislature voted to mandate that all the state’s electricity come from non-carbon sources (chiefly wind, solar and hydro) by 2045.
    Since California if it were a country would have the world’s fifth largest economy, and since so many other states are economically integrated with it, this plan, if signed by governor Jerry Brown, could help transform the entire country.
    The goal is less difficult than it seems on the surface. California had already committed to getting one third of its electricity from renewables by 2020, and reached that goal in 2017. It committed to getting 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2030, and in fact will likely reach that goal 10 years early, in 2020."
    Citizens Climate Education ( ) has produced the following two summary documents with links on the impact of climate change on national security.

     Washington State will consider a ballot measure in November, Initiative 1631, the Protect Washington Act, that would impose a carbon tax and require the state to reduce CO2 emissions by 2035 to 40% below the 2014 level. Money from the tax would go to revitalizing low income communities, including low income energy assistance (Sasha Abramsky, "A Green New Deal in the Evergreen State: Initiative 1631 tackles both climate change and economic inequality," The Nation, August 1, 2018).

Ivan Penn, “Cheaper Battery Is Unveiled as a Step to a Carbon-Free Grid,” The New York Times , September 26, 2018,, reported, “Lithium-ion batteries have become essential for powering electric cars and storing energy generated by solar panels and wind turbines. But their drawbacks are also by now familiar: They use scarce minerals, are vulnerable to fires and explosions, and are pricey.
A plentiful, safe and more affordable alternative would be worth a lot.
On Wednesday, an energy company headed by the California billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong announced that it had developed a rechargeable battery operating on zinc and air that can store power at far less than the cost of lithium-ion batteries.

Green Car Reports , December 17, 2019,, lists a number of new electric car models entering the market in surveying what is available in electric cars.


TABLE OF CONTENTS (with links to the rest of the 19 page document, not included here)

What types of security threats is climate change creating, and how?
What are some other examples of violent conflicts that climate change may create?

What do our national security experts – our military and our intelligence agencies – think about the threats of climate change?
What are some quotes from our security experts about the threats of climate and security?
Why don’t I hear more from our military about climate and security?
What types of overall actions are needed to reduce these threats to our national security?
Why should the United States be part of the global leadership in curbing climate change?
How can I learn more about climate and security?
Who in particular should I speak with regarding climate and security?
How can I get this issue strongly into the election campaigns?
What about getting local organizations and government involved?


Further Reading on the National Security Implications of Climate Change

The three areas where climate change impacts National Security

1- Climate Change and Military Installations – Norfolk and other coastal installations worldwide are at risk from sea level rise, storm surge, and flooding; inland training areas suffer from heat (more black flag training days: physical training suspended due to risk of heat related injury), drought (ranges closed due to fire risk), wildfires, floods, power outages; thawing permafrost is damaging foundations to buildings on bases in Alaska
    - Military Expert Panel Report: Sea Level Rise and the U.S. Military’s Mission, 2nd Edition
    - GAO: Flooding at Fort Irwin

2- Climate Change and New Missions – New trade routes and defense requirements have arisen due to the melting of the Arctic icecaps; increased severity of extreme weather events, droughts, disease proliferation, and sea level rise leads to increased need for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief abroad and Defense Support to Civilian Authorities domestically
    - Navy to Release Arctic Strategy This Summer, Will Include Blue Water Arctic Operations
    - Research paper - Reacting to Crisis: The Costs of First Response by the United States Navy
“The scale of humanitarian disasters in 2013 was extraordinary and so was the resulting demand for international humanitarian response. The money expended (by the Navy) in disaster relief in 2013 was a record US$22 billion.”

3- Climate Change and Global Instability – (“threat multiplier” or “catalyst for conflict”) The increased severity of extreme weather events, droughts, disease proliferation, and sea level rise contributes to resource competition between nations, mass migrations, and popular unrest; this unrest can make populations more susceptible to recruitment by violent extremist organizations
    - Climate Change Hastened Syria's Civil War

Selected studies, reports, assessments, and policy documents

Center for Naval Analysis May 2007 report, National Security and the Threat of Climate Change ” (PDF)
    - “The nature and pace of climate changes being observed today and the consequences projected by the consensus scientific opinion are grave and pose equally grave implications for our national security.”
    - “The increasing risks from climate change should be addressed now because they will almost certainly get worse if we delay”

DoD Quadrennial Defense Review 2010” (PDF)
Climate change will affect DoD in two broad ways. First, climate change will shape the operating environment, roles, and missions that we undertake... Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments. Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration...”
“Second, DoD will need to adjust to the impacts of climate change on our facilities and military capabilities... In 2008, the National Intelligence Council judged that more than 30 U.S. military installations were already facing elevated levels of risk from rising sea levels. “

Center for Naval Analysis May 2014 report, “ National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change ” (PDF)
    - From cover letter signed by the 16 Military Advisory Board members: “We are dismayed that discussions of climate change have become so polarizing and have receded from the arena of informed public discourse and debate.
    - From the report: “Actions by the United States and the international community have been insufficient to adapt to the challenges associated with projected climate change. Strengthening resilience to climate impacts already locked into the system is critical, but this will reduce long-term risk only if improvements in resilience are accompanied by actionable agreements on ways to stabilize climate change.”
    - “The projected impacts of climate change will threaten major sections of the U.S. economy.”

DoD “Quadrennial Defense Review 2014” (PDF)
    - ”As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing, and severe weather patterns are accelerating. These changes, coupled with other global dynamics, including growing, urbanizing, more affluent populations, and substantial economic growth in India, China, Brazil, and other nations, will devastate homes, land, and infrastructure”.

For deeper historical perspective in other 2008-2017 landmark DoD/DNI climate change documents, including National Intelligence Assessments, DoD Roadmap, DoD Directive, CoCom reports, etc., see:
Center for Climate and Security -- US Government Resources

DoD Climate-Related Screening Level Vulnerability Assessment Survey (SLVAS)- January, 2018
    - Over 50% of 3500 DoD worldwide sites affected by climate change

National Security Strategy (NSS) released by White House on Dec 18, 2017, with no mention of climate change threat to national security. Promotes fossil fuel strategy for energy security. House Member Jan 18 NSS letter to President with 106 signatures strongly objecting to the NSS omission of climate change as a threat to national security, including 11 Republicans. Urges President to reconsider. Press release and Newsweek article .

DNI Worldwide Threat Assessment , February 13, 2018
On Environment and Climate Change: “The impacts of the long-term trends toward a warming climate, more air pollution, biodiversity loss, and water scarcity are likely to fuel economic and social discontent—and possibly upheaval...”

Links for future (continuing) reference:
Center for Climate and Security – One Page Briefer Center for Climate and Security Forum , 2018
American Security Project -- Climate Security

The Burden

Jessica Corbett, “'Wow Wow Wow... Huge News' as New York Sues ExxonMobil for Defrauding Investors by Hiding Climate Threat: ‘The New York Attorney General is standing up for investors who may have been swindled, and indirectly for the seven billion of us who will suffer from Exxon's lies.’" CommonDreans, October 24, 2018 , , reported, “ After a three-year probe and amid mounting demands that the fossil fuel industry be held accountable for driving the climate crisis, New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood on Wednesday filed suit against ExxonMobil, the world's largest oil and gas company, for defrauding investors by downplaying the financial threat of regulations crafted to mitigate human-caused global warming.
‘Big oil may finally face some consequences for its role in wrecking the climate,’ declared co-founded Bill McKibben. ‘The New York Attorney General is standing up for investors who may have been swindled, and indirectly for the seven billion of us who will suffer from Exxon's lies.’
‘Investors put their money and their trust in Exxon—which assured them of the long-term value of their shares, as the company claimed to be factoring the risk of increasing climate change regulation into its business decisions. Yet as our investigation found, Exxon often did no such thing,’ Underwood said in a statement .
New York investigators, she said, concluded that ‘Exxon built a facade to deceive investors into believing that the company was managing the risks of climate change regulation to its business when, in fact, it was intentionally and systematically underestimating or ignoring them, contrary to its public representations.’
The complaint (pdf) details years of troubling actions by Exxon's leaders—including former CEO Rex Tillerson, who spent more than 40 years at the company prior to his short-lived tenure as the President Donald Trump's first secretary of state.
The state's probe, launched by Underwood's predecessor Eric Schneiderman, came to light in 2015 after the Los Angeles Times and InsideClimate News reported that the company had "conducted cutting-edge climate research decades ago and then, without revealing all that it had learned, worked at the forefront of climate denial."
Since those reports, Exxon has been named in multiple climate liability lawsuits brought by city , county , and state officials across the country as advocacy groups and the public have increasingly pressured politicians to hold oil and gas companies accountable for contributing to the climate crisis and lying about the devastating long-term impacts of dirty energy.
Exxon's ‘colossal climate denial operation’—which was also detailed in a Harvard study published last year—'significantly impacted how the climate change debate played out in business, science, and politics,’ noted Naomi Ages of Greenpeace USA.
And as Richard Wiles, executive director of the Center for Climate Integrity, observed, "Climate change deception is central to Exxon's business model." The company pocketed immense profits while it "bankrolled a 30-year, multi-million denial campaign, manufacturing doubt about climate science when it knew there was none."
While Exxon continues to make money from oil and gas production, coastal communities are facing the mounting financial and environmental costs of the climate crisis. Wiles, like many others who support the ongoing litigation against fossil fuel firms, said Wednesday that Exxon "needs to pay investors they misled and the cities and states now facing massive climate expenses."
In addition to making the companies pay for the consequences of their products, climate campaigners are demanding a worldwide transition to renewable energy. Referencing the recent IPCC report that stated the international community must take rapid action to prevent climate catastrophe, Ages pointed out: ‘The stakes have never been higher in capping carbon emissions.’
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.”

Glenn Branch, Deputy Director, National Center for Science Education, Inc., ,, in an E-mail, August 17, 2018, wrote, " A New Survey On Climate Change," "A record 60% of Americans now think that global warming is happening and that humans are at least partially responsible for the rising temperature," according to the latest survey from the National Studies on Energy and the Environment conducted by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College.
    Asked "From what you've read and heard. Is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades?" 73% of respondents -- the highest rate since the survey asked the question in 2008 -- said yes, 15% said no, and 12% volunteered that they were unsure.
     Asked about the causes of climate change, 34% of respondents attributed it to human activity, 26% attributed it to a combination of human activity and natural patterns or were not sure, 12% attributed to natural patterns, while 12% were not sure if climate is changing and 15% thought that climate is not changing.
    According to the NSEE report, there were 751 adult respondents for the survey, contacted via land line and cell phones between April 29 and May 25, 2018; the margin of error was +/- 4% at a 95% level of confidence. The data were weighted by gender, age, race, income, and education to reflect the population characteristics of the United States.
    For the NSEE report (PDF), visit: ."

Pakalolo, “ New phenomenon enables Polar jet circulation to bring Saharan dust to Arctic Circle ,” Daily Kos, October 15, 2018,, reported, “ Now a new threat to the ice has been discovered that has the effect of amplifying changes to the Arctic by decreasing reflectivity from snow and ice with layers of dust originating in Africa’s Sahara desert. EurekAlertpublished a press release on a recent study that found that the new mechanism is raising temperatures and melting ice in Greenland. Research scientists at NYU Abu Dhabi, along with other global researchers, have identified a new mechanism by which warm dust travels from the Sahara Desert to the Arctic Circle. This has been proven to affect rising temperatures and ice melt in Greenland.
The poleward transport of dust is caused by a meandering polar jet stream that was at the origin of both dust emission (through cyclogenesis over Northwest Africa) and poleward transport of the uplifted dust toward the Arctic (through circulation related to cut-off low formation).” The polar jet stream has been identified as the main driver for such events according to the study.”

Many of the world's airports are in low lying costal areas. Already, with so far limited rise in oceans, many are being swamped during storms, sometimes stranding travelers for days, in addition to being unable to land or take off aircraft (Hiroko Tabuchi, "Vulnerable Airports Swamped,” The New York Times, September 8, 2018).

Rising oceans, resulting from global warming, are now threatening archeological and cultural sites around the world. That includes some of the oldest structures in the world, the 5000 years old ruins on the Scottish Orkney Islands ( Jim Dwyer and Josh Haner , “Saving Scotland’s Heritage From the Rising Seas,” The New York Times,
    In New Mexico, warmer temperatures and drought are causing the Rio Grande to try up. During the summer of 2018, the 1900 mile waterway, third longest entirely within the U.S., almost stopped flowing from Colorado through New Mexico (Richard Parker, "The Rio Grande is Dying. Does Anyone Care,” The New York Times, September 9, 2018).

Several American startup airlines are planning to fly supersonic aircraft, which are very greenhouse gas polluting - more so than subsonic jet aircraft (Carl Pope, "A return Flight for Supersonics, " The New York Times, June 12, 2018).

Brad Plumer, "Germany's Coal Challenge," The New York Times, August 15, 2018, reported, " Germany, which has long cast itself as a global leader in the fight against climate change, is facing a moment of reckoning.
    The country is investing over $500 billion in clean energy but is still struggling to curb its reliance on coal power. As a result, it’s now in danger of missing its ambitious targets for cutting planet-warming emissions
    Stanley Reed, "Hydrogen-powered trains begin service in Germany," The New York Times, September 16, 2018,, reported, "In a breakthrough for a green fuel, two hydrogen-powered trains are expected to go into commercial service Monday on a rail line in northern Germany near Hamburg. The trains, which will serve cities including Bremerhaven and Cuxhaven, will be powered by hydrogen fuel cells that generate electricity through a chemical reaction. The trains are being promoted as a cheaper alternative to stringing wires on rail lines that are not electrified." The hydrogen fuel cells produce no carbon emissions.

Matt McGrath, "Organic solar cells set 'remarkable' energy record," BBC News, August 9, 2018, reported, " Chinese researchers have taken what they say is a major step forward for the development of a new generation of solar cells.
    Manufacturers have long used silicon to make solar panels because the material was the most efficient at converting sunlight into electricity.
    But organic photovoltaics, made from carbon and plastic, promise a cheaper way of generating electricity.
    This new study shows that organics can now be just as efficient as silicon."

Kai Schultz , Jeffrey Gettleman , Hari Kumar and Ayesha Venkataraman, “As World’s Air Gets Worse, India Struggles to Breathe ,” The New York Times, October 30, 2018,, reported, “ A toxic fog is creeping over New Delhi. Children trudge to school with plastic masks strapped to their faces. Sports events are canceled. Eyes burn. Throats itch. Chests heave.
It’s the dreaded pollution season in India, when the amount of vehicle fumes, dust and smoke from agricultural fires spikes to levels so high that experts say children breathing this air could cause permanent brain damage
Agra. Lucknow. Varanasi. New Delhi. India’s most fabled cities are now among the world’s most polluted. According to some recent rankings , India holds nine of the top 10 spots.

     Ken Belson , " Paradise Threatened: Fiji’s War Against Climate Change: The South Pacific nation faces major environmental challenges, from the destruction of coral reefs to rising sea levels. At least one resort is asking tourists to help," The New York Times, October 24, 2018,, reported on Fiji, "The country now faces major environmental challenges, including deforestation, unsustainable fishing practices, and the introduction of invasive species, such as the crown-of-thorns starfish, that have led to the destruction of coral reefs. Rising sea levels has led to the erosion of Fiji’s coastal areas, and the intrusion of saltwater has destroyed farmland and forced residents to move to safer ground."
     Fiji is also being hit by more, and more intense storms, many out of what was the normal storm season. "Winston cyclone, which hit Fiji in 2016. But what surprised islanders was that the storms arrived weeks after the cyclone season was supposed to have ended. Although there is still much scientific debate about the impact of climate change on tropical cyclones, to many islanders the timing of the storms are evidence that warming temperatures are leading to shifting weather patterns and leaving the island increasingly vulnerable."
    One resort was planning to add a pool. "'We literally said, ‘Let’s build the pool because the cyclone season is over,’ and then we got hit,' Luke Kercheval, one of the owners of Matava, told me, adding that the storms had scared off visitors. 'We got more rain in a week than some countries get in a year. That’s not normal.'”

Livia Albeck-Ripka , “Australia’s Other Great (and Threatened) Coral Reefs,” The New York Times, October 8, 2018,, reported, “ The United Nations issued a dire alert on Monday, warning that many of the world’s coral reefs could die as soon as 2040 as a result of climate change.
Already, warming waters have bleached more than two-thirds of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest coral reef ecosystem, which covers more than 130,000 square miles and is visible from space

Kendra Pierre-Louis , "Scientists Find Some Hope for Coral Reefs: The Strong May Survive ," The New York Times , December 10, 2018,, reported, "Among the threatened corals of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, one of the natural wonders of the world that has been ravaged by global warming, researchers have found a reason for optimism — or at least a reason not to despair completely.
     Coral reefs, which by some estimates support a quarter of all ocean life, are harmed by warming oceans. The effects can be seen in the loss of their vibrant colors, a phenomenon known as bleaching. But after ocean temperatures surged in 2016 around the Great Barrier Reef, causing severe damage, researchers found that the corals that survived were more resistant to another period of extreme warmth the following year."

To help protect coral reefs from chemicals that damage them, Palu has enacted a ban on Sun Screens, to go into effect in 2020 ("Vickey Xiuzhong Xu, "To Protect Coral Reefs Pslau Bans Sunscreens," The New York Times November 3, 2018).

Juliet Eilperin , "Trump administration proposes rule to relax carbon limits on power plants," Washington Post, August 21, 2018,, reported, " The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed relaxing pollution standards for power plants nationwide, a move that could slow the decline of U.S. carbon emissions and lead to hundreds more premature deaths and thousands of asthma attacks and missed school days.
    The Environmental Protection Agency’s Affordable Clean Energy rule , which President Trump planned to tout at a roundtable meeting in Charleston, W.Va., on Tuesday evening, represents the administration’s most ambitious proposal to bolster the nation’s coal industry. Although it probably would have a modest impact on curbing carbon dioxide emissions in the power sector, it could potentially increase human health risks from other pollutants.
    The measure, which would replace an Obama-era rule that set strict carbon dioxide limits for each state and encouraged the shuttering of coal plants, is likely to widen the environmental policy divide between red and blue states. Officials in conservative states may allow utilities to extend the life of coal-fired units, while those in liberal states are likely to keep pressing for steep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions."
    "Cost of New E.P.A. Coal Rules: Up to 1,400 More Deaths a Year," The New York Times,    August 21, 2018 ,, reported, "The Trump administration has hailed its overhaul of federal pollution restrictions on coal-burning power plants as creating new jobs, eliminating burdensome government regulations and ending what President Trump has long described as a “war on coal.”
     The administration’s own analysis, however, revealed on Tuesday that the new rules could also lead to as many as 1,400 premature deaths annually by 2030 from an increase in the extremely fine particulate matter that is linked to heart and lung disease, up to 15,000 new cases of upper respiratory problems, a rise in bronchitis, and tens of thousands of missed school days."

     California, in October 2018, was taking the first steps in constructing a series of off shore floating wind farms, as part as its effort to have carbon free energy production by 2045 ( Ivan Penn and Stanley Reed, “Something New May Be Rising Off California Coast: Wind Farms,” The New York Times, October 19, 2018,

Coral Davenport, “Trump Administration Prepares a Major Weakening of Mercury Emissions Rules,” The New York Times, September 30, 2018, , reported, “The Trump administration has completed a detailed legal proposal to dramatically weaken a major environmental regulation covering mercury, a toxic chemical emitted from coal-burning power plants, according to a person who has seen the document but is not authorized to speak publicly about it.
The proposal would not eliminate the mercury regulation entirely, but it is designed to put in place the legal justification for the Trump administration to weaken it and several other pollution rules, while setting the stage for a possible full repeal of the rule.”    

The National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), July 25, 2018,, stated, " As with other national parks in the west, oil and gas drilling is now making its way to the doorstep of Petrified Forest in Arizona. Secretary Ryan Zinke’s Interior Department is fast-tracking this energy exploration with little regard to impacts to the park.
    In fact, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is not conducting the necessary environmental review before green-lighting this development, which includes helium gas extraction. And what’s worse, the ridiculously short 10-day protest period announced Monday leaves only eight days to provide input!" NPCA was engaged in a campaign against the extraction, asking people to comment to the BLM.

Lisa Friedman and Coral Davenport “ Judge Blocks Disputed Keystone XL Pipeline in Setback for Trump," The New York Times, November 9, 2018, , reported, “As the Trump administration has moved aggressively to roll back environmental protections and speed up oil and coal projects, it has repeatedly been blocked by courts finding that the administration did not follow longstanding rules in making its sweeping changes.
Now, a federal judge has issued a repudiation of one of President Trump’s first acts as president, his decision to allow the disputed Keystone XL oil pipeline to proceed, saying that the administration failed to present a “reasoned explanation” for the move and “simply discarded” the effect the project would have on climate change.”
This means the administration must follow the required procedural steps, including environmental analysis, if it wishes to attempt to get approval of the pipeline.

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who had opposed the replacement pipeline, reached a settlement with Enbridge Energy , at the end of August 2018, on the firm's constructing pipeline 3 across its reservation ("Enbridge Energy, Fond du Lac Band reach deal on Line 3," NFIC September 2018).

     John Paul Tasker and Kathleen Harris, "Liberals 'absolutely committed' to Trans Mountain after Federal Court of Appeal quashes construction approvals: Some Indigenous groups and environmentalists oppose $7.4B project," CBC News, August 30, 2018,, reported, "In a stunning blow , the Federal Court of Appeal has quashed approvals to build the Trans Mountain expansion project, but the federal government is determined to proceed with the pipeline.
    Today's ruling is a major victory for Indigenous groups and environmentalists opposed to the $7.4-billion project.    
    In the decision released Thursday , and written by Justice Eleanor Dawson, the court found the National Energy Board's assessment of the project was so flawed that it should not have been relied on by the federal cabinet when it gave final approval to proceed in November 2016.
     The certificate approving construction and operation of the project has been nullified, leaving the project in legal limbo until the energy regulator and the government reassess their approvals to satisfy the court's demands."

Eric Lipton and Hiroko Tabuchi , “Driven by Trump Policy Changes, Fracking Booms on Public Lands: The administration is auctioning off millions of acres of drilling rights and rolling back regulations, raising environmental concerns in states like Wyoming,” The New York Times, October 27, 2018,, reported, “Reversing a trend in the final years of the Obama presidency, the Trump administration is auctioning off millions of acres of drilling rights to oil and gas developers, a central component of the White House’s plan to work hand in glove with the industry to promote more domestic energy production.
Seeing growth and profit opportunities at a time of rising oil prices and a pro-business administration, big energy companies like Chesapeake Energy, Chevron , and Anschutz Exploration are seizing on the federal lands free-for-all, as they collectively buy up tens of thousands of acres of new leases and apply for thousands of permits to drill.
In total, more than 12.8 million acres of federally controlled oil and gas parcels were offered for lease in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, triple the average offered during President Barack Obama’s second term, according to an analysis by The New York Times of Interior Department data compiled by Taxpayers for Common Sense, a nonpartisan group that advocates budget discipline.

     Jie Jenny Zou, Center For Public Integrity, "The U.S. is helping the natural gas industry make a profit — at the expense of the environment: The U.S. government has become a pitchman for the natural gas industry. That could raise profits — and temperatures," December 12, 2018,, reported, "Last November, diplomats from Brazil to Japan joined oil and gas executives at the headquarters of Washington’s largest lobbying group to christen a new partnership.
    Inside the marble walls of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a crowd of 200 welcomed the U.S. Gas Infrastructure Exports Initiative — a coalition of 25 companies, nine trade groups, five law firms, at least five federal agencies and a nonprofit think tank. Its mission: to drive sales of American natural gas by pumping dollars into pipelines and gas-processing facilities overseas.
    The initiative, coordinated in part by a natural gas lobbyist, is the latest federal effort to market the fuel as a “clean” energy source amid surging U.S. drilling and exports. American gas production is projected to account for almost 40 percent of the world’s gas growth through 2040, according to the International Energy Agency. Countries like China are buying up tank loads of LNG — natural gas that has been supercooled to liquefy it — to generate power, heat buildings and fuel trucks."

Food and Water Watch reported by E-mail, November 17, 2018, “The oil & gas industry may DOUBLE well density in northern New Mexico!” Hilcorp Energy has submitted an application to the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission that would result in thousands of new wells in San Juan and Rio Arriba Counties .
The New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission is holding a special hearing regarding this application on Monday, November 19 at 9 AM at the Wendell Chino Building in Santa Fe and they are accepting public comments online and in person.
Current rules require oil and gas operators to go through a public hearing process every time they seek an exemption that relates to the drilling, spacing, and operation of wells.
    However, the Hilcorp energy application to double well density, currently in the hands of the Oil Conservation Commission, would take away this process, depriving impacted communities the opportunity to participate in the decision-making process at all

The Canadian company Petroteq Energy, intends to begin tar sands oil mining near Vernal, UT, in September - the first in the U.S. The company claims the technology it is using is cleaner than previously applied, but environmentalists are very skeptical of the operation ( Clifford Krauss , " A Plan to Unlock Billions of Barrels of Oil From Utah’s Sands," The New York Times, August 21, 2018,

Sharon Kelly , " Fracking Wastewater Spikes 1,440 Percent in Half Decade, Adding to Dry Regions’ Water Woes," Truthout, August 18, 2018,, reported, " Between 2011 and 2016, fracked oil and gas wells in the US pumped out record-breaking amounts of wastewater, which is laced with toxic and radioactive materials, a new Duke University study concludes . The amount of wastewater from fracking rose 1,440 percent during that period.
    Over the same time, the total amount of water used for fracking rose roughly half as much, 770 percent
, according to the paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances."
    "The researchers predict that spike in water use will continue to climb.
    And over the next dozen years, they say the amount of water used could grow up to 50 times higher when fracking for shale gas and 20 times higher when fracking for oil — should prices rise
. The paper, titled “The Intensification of the Water Footprint of Hydraulic Fracturing,” was based on a study conducted with funding from the National Science Foundation."
    " More Water Than Oil
    The shale industry has been heavily focused on ramping up the amount of fossil fuels it can pump per well by drilling longer horizontal well bores and using more sand, water, and chemicals when fracking (which raises the costs per well and, as DeSmog recently reported , raises risks of water pollution).
    But the water use and wastewater production per well have been growing even faster than the per-well fossil fuel production, the researchers found, labeling the water demand and wastewater growth 'much higher' than the oil or gas increases.
    The researchers studied data from over 12,000 oil and gas wells representing each of the major shale-producing regions in the US.
Their findings are particularly troubling news for arid areas like the Permian Basin in Texas and New Mexico, where underground water supplies are already taxed by residential and agricultural demand, and where fights over water use are brewing
     On average, a Permian Basin well used 10.3 million gallons of water in 2016, according to a San Antonio Express-News investigation earlier this year — more than double the average per-well demand just a few years ago."
    'One of the biggest risks facing operators today is the issue of produced water,” wrote Ryan Duman , a Wood Mackenzie senior energy analyst, describing how in parts of Texas and New Mexico, wells can produce up to 10 gallons of wastewater for every gallon of crude oil. “The sheer volume of water is unprecedented.”
     And that wastewater can be a toxic blend that’s very difficult to treat, in part because it may contain high levels of corrosive salts, naturally occurring radioactive materials, and fracking chemicals whose identities are considered trade secrets and which even the US Environmental Protection Agency can’t list.
    The agency highlighted this fact in its 2016 national study on fracking and American drinking water supplies . While drafted under strong pressure from industry, the EPA study found that fracking not only generates vast amounts of wastewater but also can and has polluted drinking water supplies in areas nationwide."
    " Wastewater disposal — which often uses “injection wells” that pump toxic water down underground into areas where oil has been pumped out — is suspected not only of playing a role in causing earthquakes across the US, but also linked by scientists to the emergence of massive sinkholes in parts of Texas."
    "Wringing Water from the Desert
     The industry’s demand for water during fracking is also a growing concern, especially in the Permian Basin, which produces most of America’s shale oil and which stretches in part over the Chihuahuan Desert.
    Summer temperatures in the Permian can often top 100 degrees . The average annual rainfall in Pecos, Texas, located in the basin, is just 11.55 inches (compared to a Texas-wide average of 28.9 inches a year ). Much of New Mexico has been in the grips of a severe drought since the year began, and the same is true to a lesser degree in Texas as well.
    This means demand for water for drilling and fracking is one of the biggest challenges facing the industry. 'Next to profitability and safety, water may well be the next most important topic for an oil company,” Laura Capper, CEO at EnergyMakers Advisory Group in Houston, told Bloomberg . 'It has risen to the forefront over the last five years unlike anything I’ve ever seen.'”

     Sharon Kelly , "How Trump’s EPA Is Moving to Undo Fracking Wastewater Protections," Truthout, May 15, 2018, in 2008, residents of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and surrounding areas received a notice in the mail advising them to drink bottled water instead of tap water — a move that Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) internal memos at the time described as 'one of the largest failures in US history to supply clean drinking water to the public.'
     The culprit: wastewater from oil and gas drilling and coal mines. This included fracking wastewater that state officials had allowed to be dumped at local sewer plants — facilities incapable of removing the complex mix of chemicals, corrosive salts, and radioactive materials from that kind of industrial waste before they piped the 'treated' water back into Pennsylvania’s rivers.
     The levels of corrosive salt in some of the oil and gas wastewater was so high that at some sewage plants , it was suspected of killing off the “good bacteria” that removes fecal coliform and other dangerous bacteria from raw sewage."
    "Eight years after the Pittsburgh incident, in 2016, the EPA finished writing the rules that would stop that kind of failure from reoccurring, specifically forbidding sewage treatment plants from accepting untreated wastewater from fracked wells."
     Now, the Trump administration’s EPA is announcing that it wants to study the industry’s wastewater all over again. The Trump-era study will examine oil and gas wastewater, asking, in the administration’s words, “whether any potential federal regulations that may allow for broader discharge of treated produced water to surface waters are supported.”
     In other words, Trump’s EPA is questioning whether the rules should be changed, allowing wastewater from oil and gas wells, including fracked wells, to make its way into America’s rivers, streams, lakes, and reservoirs after some treatment ."

    Jessica Corbett, “'Shameless': Trump Repeals Rule Meant to Prevent Oil-Carrying 'Bomb Trains' From Derailing and Exploding: ‘Apparently there's no limit to the lengths the Trump administration will go to prioritize the desires of polluting industries over the health and safety of the American people,’" Common Dreams , September 25, 2018, , reported, “In a move that outraged environmentalists and increased the chances of deadly and destructive accidents, the Trump administration's Department of Transportation (DOT) has repealed an Obama-era rule that mandated safety upgrades for " dangerous " oil tanker trains to reduce the possibility of derailments, explosions, and spills.
The rule required trains carrying oil and other flammable materials—sometimes called ‘ bomb trains ’—to install electronically controlled pneumatic (ECP) brakes that decrease the likelihood of derailment by 2021.
While it was initially criticized by green groups that said it did not go far enough to protect communities, the Monday reversal was regarded as yet another move by the administration to appease polluters at the expense of the public.
‘Apparently there's no limit to the lengths the Trump administration will go,’ Martin said, ‘to prioritize the desires of polluting industries over the health and safety of the American people.’
The repeal was initially proposed in December of 2017, but finalized by the DOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) on Monday. PHMSA claimed that a congressionally-mandated analysis concluded "that the expected costs of requiring ECP brakes would be significantly higher than the expected benefits of the requirement." The change does not prevent railroads from using ECP brakes but the safety upgrade is no longer mandated.
‘The electronically controlled brakes would have been a long-awaited safety improvement,’ Fred Millar, an independent consultant specializing in chemical safety and transport, told BuzzFeed News.
By repealing the safety requirement, Millar added, ‘the cost will be borne by the people who die or are injured or who have terrible property damage.’
‘About 20 derailments of trains carrying oil and ethanol that have led to spills, fires, and, in some cases, evacuations have occurred since 2010 in the U.S. and Canada,’ according to Fortune.
Perhaps of the most high-profile derailment in recent years occurred in Quebec in 2013. A train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded, destroying the small downtown of Lac-Mégantic and killing 47 people. Five years after the tragedy, CBC reported in July, rail safety advocates say the Canadian government also has not done enough to prevent future disasters.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.”

   Jessica Corbett, " 'Moving in the Right Direction,' Mexican President-elect AMLO Promises to Outlaw Fracking: 'Environmentalists are urging him to "move even farther by pledging to transition Mexico to a fully clean, renewable energy future.'" Common Dreams , August 02, 2018,, reported, " Mexico's President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador , or AMLO, whose victory last month left many hopeful for the nation's next chapter , elicited praise from environmentalists for promising Wednesday to outlaw hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method of extracting natural gas that's often called fracking."

Fossil Free News reported via E-mail, August 5, 2018, " Three cities in Mato Grosso do Sul state in Brazil passed municipal fracking bans , thanks to concerted grassroots campaigning. Nova Alvorada do Sul, Bataguassu, and Rio Negro join over 380 other cities across Brazil to have banned fracking.
    Unfortunately, other places have backslid. On July 24, one day before summer recess, the UK government approved the first fracking site in the country after a decade of debate. Local groups there, like the community around the site in Lancashire, have been mobilizing to stop and ban fracking. The UK government is also trying to change the law to allow fracking without local planning applications. Find out more about what people are doing to stop them."

     Seven years after being stopped from drilling in England, because of causing small earth quakes, Cuadrilla Resources was given permission to attempt drilling again, on a go slow, monitored basis, in October 2018 (Stanley Reed, "Britan Gives fracking Another Try ," The New York Times, October 12, 2018).

Shasta Darlington, " Illegal Mining, ‘Worse Than at Any Other Time,’ Threatens Amazon, Study Finds," The New York Times, December 10, 2018,, reported, " Fueled by the surging price of gold, an epidemic of illegal gold mining in the Amazon is threatening indigenous territories and other protected lands in the world’s largest tropical rain forest, according to a study published by a group of environmental organizations this week.
    Analyzing data from six Amazon countries, researchers identified 2,312 illegal mining sites and 245 large-scale areas where miners have established sophisticated infrastructure, tearing down native forests and contaminating rivers with mercury as they dredge for gold and extract diamonds and coltan, which are used to make mobile phones.
'The problem is worse than at any other time in history,' said Alicia Rolla, one of the coordinators at the Amazon Geo-Referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network, known as RAISG, which published the study this week. 'We wanted to give visibility to the enormity of an issue that doesn’t respect borders.'"
    "Brazil’s recent election of Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right former army captain who has vowed to end the 'industry' of fines imposed on companies that violate environmental laws, and halt the demarcation of indigenous lands, could represent a serious setback."
    "Mr. Bolsonaro has made it clear he favors allowing more commercial activity in the Amazon, and wants to slash the budgets of government agencies that monitor and punish illegal activity there."
    And mining, which leads to heavy metal pollution of water among other serioujs dammage, isnot the only issue. " Experts say illegal logging and land invasions in the Brazilian Amazon rose as Mr. Bolsonaro gained traction ahead of his election in October. Between August 2017 and July 2018, deforestation rose 13.7 percent , the highest increase in a decade, according to Brazil’s Environment Ministry." And now it will almost surely get worse.

    Anne Barnard, "Climate Change Is Killing the Cedars of Lebanon," The New York Times, July 18, 2018,, reported, "Walking among the cedars on a mountain slope in Lebanon feels like visiting the territory of primeval beings. Some of the oldest trees have been here for more than 1,000 years, spreading their uniquely horizontal branches like outstretched arms and sending their roots deep into the craggy limestone. They flourish on the moisture and cool temperatures that make this ecosystem unusual in the Middle East, with mountaintops that snare the clouds floating in from the Mediterranean Sea and gleam with winter snow.
    But now, after centuries of human depredation, the cedars of Lebanon face perhaps their most dangerous threat: Climate change could wipe out most of the country’s remaining cedar forests by the end of the century. "

     Nicholas Casey , "As Seas Warm, Galápagos Islands Face a Giant Evolutionary Test," The New York Times, December 18, 2018,, reported," Yet not even Darwin could have imagined what awaited the Galápagos, where the stage is set for perhaps the greatest evolutionary test yet.
     As climate change warms the world’s oceans, these islands are a crucible. And scientists are worried. Not only do the Galápagos sit at the intersection of three ocean currents, they are in the cross hairs of one of the world’s most destructive weather patterns, El Niño, which causes rapid, extreme ocean heating across the Eastern Pacific tropics.
    Research published in 2014 by more than a dozen climate scientists warned that rising ocean temperatures were making El Niño both more frequent and more intense. UNESCO, the United Nations educational and cultural agency, Islands are one of the places most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change ."

     An indication of what is to come is the terrible impact of the last strong El Nino. The very warm waters blocked the rise of nutrients. This resulted in the deaths of the islands' sea born iguanas, while others survived only by shrinking their skeletons. Nearly all of the sealion pups died, as did 80% of the pelicans, and seabirds ceased laying eggs, while the small fish, the Galapagos damsel, vanished. Meanwhile, storms leveled giant daisy tree forests, which were replaced by invasive thorny bushes.

power in the face of the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle it.”

The International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), December 12, 2018,, reported, " Animals in Queensland are in crisis as a record-breaking heatwave and subsequent bushfires scorch the state.
Thousands of flying foxes and black bats are dropping from the sky due to heatstroke, leaving hundreds of orphaned babies in need of specialized care. Koalas are suffering from severe dehydration and will need ongoing care before they can be released back to the wild."

Somini Sengupta, "Ireland Moves to Divest From Fossil Fuels: A bill passed in the lower house of Parliament was a victory for the global divestment movement," The New York Times, July 12, 2018,, reported, " Ireland on Thursday moved to pull its public funds out of fossil fuels, a development that marks the most significant advance to date for a divestment campaign pushed by environmentalists worldwide.
    The lower house of Parliament passed a bill that requires the country’s sovereign fund, valued at 8.9 billion euros, or about $10.4 billion, to move out of fossil fuels 'as soon as practicable.'”

Mark Oswald, " BLM oil, gas leases on forest lands overturned: Environmentalists cheer ' precedent-setting ' ruling from U. S. district judge," Albuquerque Journal, June 16, 2018,, reported, " Environmentalists have won what they say is a precedent-setting court decision that overturns oil and gas leases on more than 19,000 acres in the Santa Fe National Forest that the Bureau of Land Management approved in 2015.
    Senior U. S. District Judge Christina Armijo of Albuquerque on Thursday ordered the BLM to conduct further analysis on environmental impact of the potential drilling.
    Most significantly, the judge found that federal environmental law requires the BLM to consider the 'downstream' and cumulative impacts on climate change of the use of the fuel produced from oil and gas leases on public lands.
    Armijo wrote that federal law acknowledges that the impact of one action alone' may be individually insignificant, but also that the impact of the action may be significant only in combination with other actions.'
    ' It is this broader, significant ' cumulative impact' which must be considered by an agency, but which was not considered in this case,' Armijo's ruling states."

"S tudy Suggests Buried Internet Infrastructure at Risk as Sea Levels Rise (, Posted by msmash on Slashdot, July 16, 2018,, reported, " Thousands of miles of buried fiber optic cable in densely populated coastal regions of the United States may soon be inundated by rising seas , according to a new study by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Oregon. From a report: 'The study, presented Monday at a meeting of internet network researchers, portrays critical communications infrastructure that could be submerged by rising seas in as soon as 15 years, according to the study's senior author, Paul Barford, a UW-Madison professor of computer science. 'Most of the damage that's going to be done in the next 100 years will be done sooner than later," says Barford, an authority on the 'physical internet' -- the buried fiber optic cables, data centers, traffic exchanges and termination points that are the nerve centers, arteries and hubs of the vast global information network. 'That surprised us. The expectation was that we'd have 50 years to plan for it. We don't have 50 years.'"

    Global warming induced climate change is playing a major role in a serious increase in diabetes in Southern Chaiapas. One of the rainiest parts of Mexico is less wet than before, with climate change, and with a Coca Cola plant taking 300,000 gallons a day from the ground, artesian wells are drying up, bringing a severe water shortage. With many household taps only occasionally flowing with small amounts of heavily chlorinated water, many people are drinking large quantities of sweet soft drinks. That in turn is a major contributor to the rise in diabetes ( Oscar Lopez and Andrew Jacobs, " In Town With Little Water, Coca-Cola Is Everywhere. So Is Diabetes," The New Yok Times, July 14, 2018,

    In England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, normally wet and lush areas were brown and after weeks of heat and no rain for weeks, summer of 2018, leading to rare brush fires and agricultural losses (Ceylan Yeginsu and Richard Perez-Pena, "England's Brown and Unpleasant Land," The New York Times, July 5, 2018).

Palko Karasz, "Flash Flood at Gorge in Italy Kills at Least 10 Hikers," The New Yok Times, August 21, 2018,, reported, "After a wall of water roared down a narrow canyon in southern Italy, killing at least 10 hikers and sweeping some as far as two miles downstream, rescue workers continued searching on Tuesday for survivors and more victims.
    A downpour on Monday during what is usually a dry time of year sent a flash flood down the Raganello Gorge, a popular destination for hikers in the Calabria region, overwhelming people with a surge that suddenly rose as much as eight feet, witnesses said. At least five people were missing on Tuesday."

The unusual heat in the Indian sub-continent in Spring 2018 has been paired with drought. Maria Abi-Habib and Hari Kumar, "Deadly Tensions Rise as India’s Water Supply Runs Dangerously Low," The New York Times, June 17, 2018,, reported, "A government report released on Thursday said that India was experiencing the worst water crisis in its history , threatening millions of lives and livelihoods. Some 600 million Indians, about half the population, face high to extreme water scarcity conditions, with about 200,000 dying every year from inadequate access to safe water, according to the report. By 2030, it said, the country’s demand for water is likely to be twice the available supply."
    An example is Shimla, on the edge of the Himalaya Mountains, in colonial times if was the British summer capital of Indiana, where officials could go and escape the heat. It has been a major tourist location. But there has been an extreme water shortage this spring, along with unusually hot weather, with water often not available in sections of the city for 20 days in May has found angry residents casting blame at various parties for the water crisis. Meanwhile, 30 percent of tourist reservations at hotels have been canceled, threatening the municipality's economy. Some of the reservations were canceled by tourists, others by the hotels.

Damien Cave, "Drought Relief Is Coming. Australia’s Farmers Say It’s Nowhere Near Enough," The New York Times, July 30, 2018,, reported, " The drought that has been suffocating Australia for months just keeps tightening its grip.
    In response, state officials in New South Wales announced a new assistance package on Monday worth 500 million Australian dollars, or about $370 million, that will expand existing loan programs and subsidize transportation for shipments of feed and water. The package also includes funding for mental health and critical services like road repair.
    But is it enough?
    Farmers across the affected region, an area of southeastern Australia larger than Texas that has not seen substantial rain in two years, said they were grateful but certain: It’s not even close."

Tryggvi Adalbjornsson and Melissa Gomez, "A Toxic Tide Is Killing Florida Wildlife," The New York Times, July 30, 2018,," reported, "Florida has an algae problem, and it’s big. This year, an overgrowth in the waters off the state’s southwestern coast is killing wildlife and making some beaches noxious.
The toxic algal bloom, known as a red tide, is not unusual. They appear off the state’s coast almost every year. But this one, still going strong after roughly nine months, is the longest since 2006
, when blooms that originated in 2004 finally abated after 17 months.
    The blooms can poison marine animals like sea turtles and manatees , while waves and ocean spray can carry toxins into the air and cause respiratory problems in people."

Maya L. Kapoor, " Climate change is making it harder to revive damaged land," High Country News , June 29, 2018,, "Today, Campbell is the restoration director for Sky Island Alliance, a nonprofit conservation organization based in Tucson, Arizona. She leads efforts to re-establish native plant communities in ' sky islands ' — isolated, ecologically rich mountain ranges that dot southeastern Arizona and New Mexico and northern Sonora, Mexico, and serve as home to some 7,000 species of plants and animals. Under Campbell’s guidance, Sky Island Alliance restores riparian habitat that’s been overrun by invasive species, such as fountaingrass, which crowds out local species and transforms the desert into fire-prone grassland.
     The point of Campbell’s job used to be relatively straightforward: She attempted to conserve local biodiversity by re-establishing the wild spaces where native plant and animal species once lived. But given the planet’s rapid climate shifts, the connections between wild organisms and their ecosystems are fraying, forcing restoration biologists, including Campbell, to rethink the purpose of their work. It no longer helps to remember what a site looked like 20 years ago. ' We need to be thinking about what it’s going to be like 20 years into the future ,' she said."
    " But increasingly, scientists who study ecosystems, as well as land managers who do restoration work, are questioning that model of ecological restoration, which relies on the idea of a stable ' climax community, ' even though many ecosystems are always changing. "
    As California now has sufficient solar and wind power, that at times its electric utilities need to give away, or even pay to have taken away, excess power, the City of Los Angeles has proposed building a pumping station below Hoover dam to pump water back into Lake Mead above the dam when there is excess power, so the dam's hydroelectricic generators can provide electricity when needed, especially when the sun is not shining or the wind blowing sufficiently. The project would cost about $3 billion, currently cheaper than an equivalent amount of storage batteries, and would reduce the amount of electricity that needed to be supplied by burning fossil fuels ( Steve Hanley "City Of Los Angeles Wants To Turn Hoover Dam Into World’s Largest Pumped Energy Storage Facility," Clean Technica, July 26th, 2018,
     Edward Wong , " China Is a Climate Leader but Still Isn’t Doing Enough on Emissions, Report Says," The New York Times, July 19, 2018,, reported, China has become a global leader in policy and diplomacy on limiting the effects of climate change, but it still needs to take significant steps to curb its own carbon dioxide emissions, according to a report released on Thursday ."
    "China has wide-ranging climate policies , enshrined in the national Five-Year Plans and in blueprints at provincial and local levels. As a result, the report says, it is on its way to meeting major climate change goals, including lowering a measure known as carbon intensity, having carbon dioxide emissions reach a peak no later than 2030 and having a fifth of energy come from non-fossil-fuel sources by that year.
    At the same time, the report says , if China’s carbon emissions continue at the current pace, nations will find it harder to meet important climate change policy goals — most notably limiting the average global temperature increase to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 degrees Celsius, above preindustrial levels.
    Even if China’s emissions decrease after 2030, that goal could be much harder to achieve unless they then drop rapidly.
     In 2017, China emitted 11.7 billion metric tons of heat-trapping gases, a quarter of the world’s total. That included 9.2 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide, the gas most responsible for accelerated climate change, more than the total for the United States and the European Union combined.
     After two years of holding steady, China’s carbon dioxide emissions increased in 2017, with leading estimates ranging from 1.4 percent to 4.1 percent growth, the report says. That was largely because it burned more coal, the main source of emissions."
     The question is how successful China will be in shutting down coal burning and switching to renewables.

Steven Lee Myers , “A New Culprit Is Identified in China’s Choking Smog,” The New York Times, October 18, 2018,, reported, “ Scientists have found a new culprit contributing to China’s notorious wintertime smog, and controlling it could help sustain the significant improvements in air quality that Beijing and other northeastern cities experienced last winter, according to research published on Thursday.
Scientists from Harvard” and two Chinese universities reported that emissions of formaldehyde — principally from vehicles and chemical and oil refineries — played a larger role than previously understood in producing the thick, toxic pollution that chokes much of the country each winter.” The other major smog making pollutant, Sulphur dioxide, had already been greatly reduced. The finding will allow China to further reduce choking smog.

The Great Barrier Reef off Australia is deteriorating increasingly quickly as hot spells in the ocean become more frequent and more often (Jacqueline Williams, "Deterioration of Great Barrier Reef Quickens," The New York Times, July 5, 2018).

Andrea Elyse Messer, "Self-heating, fast-charging battery makes electric vehicles climate-immune," Penn State News, June 28, 2018, " Californians do not purchase electric vehicles because they are cool, they buy EVs because they live in a warm climate. Conventional lithium-ion batteries cannot be rapidly charged at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, but now a team of Penn State engineers has created a battery that can self-heat, allowing rapid charging regardless of the outside chill."

Coral Davenport. "Trump Administration Unveils Its Plan to Relax Car Pollution Rules," The New York Times, Aug. 2, 2018,, reported , "The Trump administration on Thursday put forth its long-awaited proposal to freeze antipollution and fuel-efficiency standards for cars, significantly weakening one of President Barack Obama’s signature policies to combat global warming.
    The proposed new rules would also challenge the right of states, California in particular, to set their own, more stringent tailpipe pollution standards. That would set the stage for a legal clash that could ultimately split the nation’s auto market in two." There is a high probability that the regulation preventing tougher state standards would be thrown out in court, as that state authority is created by federal statute. If it were upheld, the states could get around it by using their taxing power.

“Thailand: Protect Environmental Defenders, Ensure Remedies: New report reveals decade of violations against environmental defenders in Loei Province,” Fortify Rights, October 2, 2018, , reported, " Thai authorities and a Thai gold-mining company have targeted and violated the rights of local environmental defenders involved in opposing a gold mine in northeastern Thailand for more than a decade, Fortify Rights said today in a new report. The Government of Thailand should investigate and prosecute perpetrators who attacked local community members and provide remedies and reparations for those whose rights were abused and violated.
‘This community is facing ongoing reprisals for standing up for their environment, their rights, and their livelihoods for years,” said Amy Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights. “The Thai government must ensure environmental defenders can carry out their legitimate work without fear of abuse or retaliation.’
The new report, “We Fight to Protect Our Home:” Reprisals Against Environmental Defenders in Loei Province, Thailand , documents ten years of abuses against a mining-affected community in Wang Sa Phung District, Loei Province. Documented abuses and violations include judicial harassment, arbitrary detention, death threats, and violations of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and a healthy environment. The report exposes unchecked environmental contamination of rivers and streams surrounding the gold mine as well as impunity for a coordinated, violent attack by a soldier-led masked militia against community members in 2014.”

Chris Buckley, “ More Evidence Points to China as Source of Ozone-Depleting Gas,” The New York Times, November 3, 2018, , reported, “An environmental group says it has new evidence showing that China is behind the resurgence of a banned industrial gas that not only destroys the planet’s protective ozone layer but also contributes to global warming.
The gas, trichlorofluoromethane, or CFC-11, is supposed to be phased out worldwide under the Montreal Protocol, the global agreement to protect the ozone layer. In May, however, scientists published research showing that
CFC-11 levels in the atmosphere had begun falling more slowly . Their findings suggested significant new emissions of the gas, most likely from East Asia.
Evidence then uncovered by The New York Times and the Environmental Investigation Agency pointed to rogue factories in China as a likely major source.”

Jack Healy, “ Rural America’s Own Private Flint: Polluted Water Too Dangerous to Drink,” The New York Times, November 3, 2018, , reported, “ Rural communities call it their own, private Flint— a diffuse, creeping water crisis tied to industrial farms and slack regulations that for years has tainted thousands of residential wells across the Midwest and beyond.”
With Republican governments in numerous states and the Trump administration reducing what regulations and budgets for inspections that protect water, the issue has become an intense one for the midterm elections in many rural areas. In many cases the water so contaminated that many people will not drink it or provide it for livestock, and arr reluctant to shower in it.
There are no precise water-quality surveys of the galaxy of private wells that serve 43 million people in the United States, but sampling by the United States Geological Survey has found contamination in about one of every five wells .”
    “ In Wisconsin, a state report recently found that as many as 42,000 of the state’s 676,000 private wells, or 6 percent, were likely to exceed the federal health standards for nitrates, which can come from fertilizer use and manure spreading. Nitrates have been linked to a dangerous blood condition in babies and may increase cancer risks in adults.”

     World-wide, a new study finds that air pollution, which in varying concentrations is most everywhere, on average takes at least a year off people's life expectancy - and far more in some places (Somini Sengupta, "In the Air Everywhere You Go, And Taking Weeks Off Your Life," The New York Times, August 23, 2018).

Rebecca Moss, "Trump administration moves to neuter nuclear safety board," The Santa Fe New Mexican, July 22, 2018,, reported, "The Trump administration has quietly taken steps that may inhibit independent oversight of its most high-risk nuclear facilities, including some buildings at Los Alamos National Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy document shows.
    An order published on the department’s website in mid-May outlines new limits on the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board — including preventing the board from accessing sensitive information, imposing additional legal hurdles on board staff and mandating that Energy Department officials speak 'with one voice' when communicating with the board."
     Lisa Friedman, Kendra Pierre-Louis and Livia Albeck-Ripka, "Law That Saved the Bald Eagle Could Be Vastly Reworked," The New York Times, July 19, 2018,, reported, "The Interior Department on Thursday proposed the most sweeping set of changes in decades to the Endangered Species Act, the law that brought the bald eagle and the Yellowstone grizzly bear back from the edge of extinction but which Republicans say is cumbersome and restricts economic development.
     The proposed revisions have far-reaching implications, potentially making it easier for roads, pipelines and other construction projects to gain approvals than under current rules. One change, for instance, would eliminate longstanding language that prohibits considering economic factors when deciding whether or not a species should be protected.
     The agency also intends to make it more difficult to shield species like the Atlantic sturgeon that are considered 'threatened,' which is the category one level beneath the most serious one, 'endangered.'”

Coral Davenport , “Trump Drilling Plan Threatens 9 Million Acres of Sage Grouse Habitat,” The New York Times, December 6, 2018, , reported, “The Trump administration on Thursday detailed its plan to open nine million acres to drilling and mining by stripping away protections for the sage grouse, an imperiled ground-nesting bird that oil companies have long considered an obstacle to some of the richest deposits in the American West.”

Mitch Smith and Lisa Friedman, " After Flint, Watchdog Urges E.P.A. to Monitor Drinking Water More Closely," The New York Times, July 19, 2018,, "The Environmental Protection Agency’s failure to intervene earlier and stop the water crisis in Flint, Mich., exposed a need for wholesale changes to how federal officials monitor drinking water systems, a government watchdog said Thursday.
     A report from the E.P.A.’s Office of Inspector General said management weaknesses hobbled the agency’s response to the lead and other contaminants that poisoned Flint’s drinking water for more than a year and that federal officials should have taken stronger action to correct repeated blunders by state regulators."

Lisa Friedman , "E.P.A. Staff Objected to Agency’s New Rules on Asbestos Use, Internal Emails Show
The New York Times, August 10, 2018,, reported, " Top officials at the Environmental Protection Agency pushed through a measure to review applications for using asbestos in consumer products, and did so over the objections of E.P.A.’s in-house scientists and lawyers, internal agency emails show."
    "The E.P.A. says it is toughening oversight. However, the way its new rule is written has spawned a spirited debate over whether it will actually make it easier for asbestos to come back into more widespread use. Consumer groups say the agency should be looking for ways to prohibit asbestos entirely."

As well known movers for weakening and removing environmental regulations continue to be appointed to key positions in EPA, Peter C. Wright, a lawyer long involved with the Dow Chemical Company and in developing its strategy for dealing with environmental issues, has become in charge of the Superfund toxic cleanup program (Hiroko Tabuchi and Tryggvi Adalbjorson, "'Dioxin Lawyer' Is Poised to Lead Superfund Sites," The New York Times, July 29, 2018).

Damien Cave and Isabella Kwai, "Australian Prime Minister Abandons Climate Targets, Bowing to Party Pressure," The New York Times, August 20, 2018 ,, reported, " Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia abandoned plans for emission targets Monday, bowing to pressure from conservatives who considered toppling Mr. Turnbull’s government over an energy policy that aimed to reduce prices and bring the country into line with international climate change commitments."

It was reported in May 2018, that there had been a sudden increase in the internationally banned production of CFC-11, which destroys the ozone layer of the atmosphere, letting in destructive levels of ultra violate radiation. It now appears that the major source of the current increase in production of CFC-11 is a group of factories in Xingfu, China who in order to save money have ignored the ban on CFC-11, particularly in making insulation foam ( Chris Buckley and Henry Fountain , "In a High-Stakes Environmental Whodunit, Many Clues Point to China," The New York Times, June 24, 2018,

A heat wave across the Southwest in mid-June 2016, brought record 120 degree Farenheit temperature to Phioenix, AZ, June 19 (,

Pakalolo, " Wildfires are raging inside the Arctic Circle," Daily Kos, Julyt 19, 2018,, reported, " Dozens of wildfires are raging in parts of Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden. Eleven of the fires are within the Arctic Circle. The fires are a result of a dry and intense heatwave that has turned large swaths of Europe into a tinderbox.
    Sweden has seen the most extensive Arctic fires, which have forced four communities to evacuate, according to The Guardian . The Swedish government has requested emergency assistance from the European Union to help put out the flames.
    The Copernicus Earth observation programme , which gives daily updates of fires in Europe, shows more than 60 fires burning across Sweden, with sites also ablaze in Norway, Finland and Russia, including in the Arctic Circle."
burning across Sweden, with sites also ablaze in Norway, Finland and Russia, including in the Arctic Circle."

Pakalolo " Vietnamese farmers are migrating en masse to escape climate change ," Daily Kos, July 20, 2018, reported," " At the Southern end of Vietnam lies the Mekong Delta. It’s Vietnamese name, Cuu Long means “Nine Dragons,” referring to the nine rivers that come from six countries, and meet there, ending a journey of several thousand kilometres to the sea . The Mekong Delta is the most fertile area in Vietnam, and also the most fragile. It is the country’s rice bowl, and it is now slowly sinking into the sea. Kannicker Petchkaew
The Mekong Delta is one of Earth’s most fertile areas for agriculture. The land is carpeted with lush green vegetation with rice paddies and fruit trees that feed a third of the nation and in addition, provides 60 percent of its shrimp and fish. Like all river deltas, the Mekong brings minerals from upstream and deposits them across the delta. The river delta provides tons of all the minerals and elements that a food crop needs to grow, it can grow more plants per acre than regular soil, which is limited in nutrients.
     The Mekong Delta is the only place in the entire river basin where rice can be grown and harvested 7 times a year. But climate change and other human activity has begun to turn this oasis into a waste land. The delta is rapidly urbanizing and that is requiring more extraction of groundwater to provide for the needs of a burgeoning population. The water extraction projects have caused many local waterways to sink and dry up providing seawater an entry way into the delta poisoning the rich soil. Meanwhile, erosion and drought is affecting productivity while leaving homes and infrastructure to collapse."

Increasing and longer lasting algae blooms, including of toxic algae blooms, have been a problem in fresh and salt water all over the world in recent years. There are several causes, but the two most important in many cases are warming water, and runoff of fertilizer from farms. In the summer of 2018, Laske Superior on the U.S. Canada border has the larget algae bloom in its known history ( Christine Hauser, " Algae Bloom in Lake Superior Raises Worries on Climate Change and Tourism,” The New York Times, August 29, 2018,

Coral Davenport , “Trump Rule Would Limit E.P.A.’s Control Over Water Pollution,” The New York Times, December 6, 2018, , reported, The Trump administration is expected to put forth a proposal on Tuesday that would significantly weaken a major Obama-era regulation on clean water, according to a talking points memo from the Environmental Protection Agency that was distributed to White House allies this week.”

Mike Ives, "Pollution May Dim Thinking Skills, Study in China Suggests,” The New York Times, August 29, 2018,, reported, " A large study in China suggests a link between air pollution and negative effects on people’s language and math skills.
    The link between pollution and respiratory diseases is well known, and most experts now believe that small particulates may also raise the risk for strokes and heart attacks. Whether this form of air pollution impairs cognition is not yet certain, but several studies have hinted at a connection."

In the face of Trump administration rollbacks on pollution controls, discussion has been coming to the forefront on the ill effects of pollution. The direct health effects are known, though not always considered. For example, many chemicals and smoke, including from wild fires, aggravate people's airways and can trigger asthma attacks. Carbon monoxide, among other toxic chemicals, in the air can have a variety of harmful affects, and in high enough concentration cause grogginess, dizziness or much worse, up to death. But these and other health harms also have economic consequences. They often lower the ability to work, and to work well, reducing productivity and causing errors - which can be quite damaging. For young people - and also adult students - they often reduce ability to learn, reducing educational success. This lowers both personal economic achievement and contribution to the economy. Dealing with pollution related health issues is also financially expensive, for individuals and society. Then there are the direct harms that pollution causes to equipment and other property, requiring increased maintenance, repair and replacement (Austin Frakt, "Pollution Takes Long-Term Economic Toll ," The New York Times, November 28, 2018).

Global Forest Watch released a report, in June, finding that 2017 suffered the second largest loss of the world's tropical forests in any year. Contributors of note to the loss included an explosion of logging and clearing of land for farming in Columbia, following the peace accord with the largest rebel group, and the flattening of trees in the Caribbean by particularly intense hurricanes (Brad Plumer, "Tropical Forests Suffered Near-Record Tree Losses in 2017 ," The New York Times, June 12, 2018).

Glenn Thrush. " In Overture to Democrats, Trump Administration May Challenge Peru on Deforestation ,” The New York Times, December 19, 2018,, reported, " The Trump administration is considering an international challenge to Peru’s deforestation of the Amazon, the first time the United States has prepared to act against a trading partner for violating environmental standards in a trade agreement, according to people with knowledge of the proposed action.
    In a signal to Democrats that he is willing to act aggressively on issues they consider important, the United States trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, is considering challenging Peru’s decision to dismantle an agency created to stop the illegal harvesting of trees in the Amazon rain forest under the 2007 United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement.

Jon Queally, “Beyond Neonics: New Study Shows Glyphosate Also Major Threat to World's Honey Bee Population: ‘We need better guidelines for glyphosate use, especially regarding bee exposure, because right now the guidelines assume bees are not harmed by the herbicide. Our study shows that's not true,’” Common Dreams , September 25, 2018, , reported, “ While it has been widely established by the scientific community that the class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids (or neonics) have had devastating impacts on honey bees and other pollinators, new research shows that Monsanto's glyphosate—the world's most widely used chemical weed-killer—is also extremely harmful to the health of bees and their ability to fend off disease .
Documented in a new study by scientists at the University of Texas at Austin and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the findings show, according to the Guardian, that glyphosate negatively impacts ‘beneficial bacteria in the guts of honeybees and makes them more prone to deadly infections’ by damaging ‘the microbiota that honeybees need to grow and to fight off pathogens.’
Erick Motta, one of the researchers and co-author of the study, said, ‘We demonstrated that the abundances of dominant gut microbiota species are decreased in bees exposed to glyphosate at concentrations documented in the environment.’
Based on their study, Motta and her colleagues are urging farmers and homeowners to avoid spraying glysophate-based herbicides on flowering plants that are likely to attract bees.
Bee experts and advocates worldwide in recent years have been warning that humanity's insatiable use of pesticides has been causing serious harm to bee populations that are essential to the global food supply.
While previous research has shown that use of glyphosate—the main active ingredient in Monsanto's pesticide Roundup—indirectly harms bees by devastating certain flowers on which they depend, the new research is significant for showing the direct harm it has on the health of bees.
‘The biggest impact of glyphosate on bees is the destruction of the wildflowers on which they depend,’ Matt Sharlow, with the conservation group Buglife, told the Guardian. ‘Evidence to date suggests direct toxicity to bees is fairly low, however the new study clearly demonstrates that pesticide use can have significant unintended consequences.’
According to Motta, ‘We need better guidelines for glyphosate use, especially regarding bee exposure, because right now the guidelines assume bees are not harmed by the herbicide. Our study shows that's not true.’
Speaking to The Advocate, Professor Dave Goulson, a bee expert from the University of Sussex, added: ‘Those of us that study bees have long ago come to the conclusion that colony health is adversely affected by a number of interacting stressors, including exposure to cocktails of insecticides and fungicides, impacts of pathogens, and effects of poor nutrition.’
Now, he said, ‘It now seems that we have to add glyphosate to the list of problems that they face.’
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Catherine M. Allchin, "Honeybees Are Hurting. What Else Can Pollinate Our Food? The dominant pollinator is under siege, straining the business of farming. Now growers are turning to alternative species to help their crops," The New York Times, August 21, 2018,, reported, — "Jim Freese grows apples, pears and cherries on 45 acres in the north-central part of this state, on sagebrush-studded land his grandfather bought in 1910.
    Walking among trees laden with shiny red cherries, Mr. Freese recalled that four years ago his trees were not producing well and his farm was financially struggling. Like many growers, he had been relying on rented honeybees to pollinate his cherry trees every spring, along with wild bees and other insects.
    But that year, spring was expected to be cool. 'Honeybees will just sit in the hive in cooler weather,' Mr. Freese said. He needed a way to ensure more flowers would develop into fruit than in the past.
At a horticulture meeting, he learned that blue orchard bees — a native species that doesn’t make honey or live in hives — could be used to supplement honeybee pollination. Blue orchard bees will fly at cooler temperatures.
    Mr. Freese bought 12,000 cocoons and set them in his orchard to emerge when the trees bloomed. His investment paid off. 'We doubled our cherry production from any previous record year,' he said."
    " The Freese orchard is one of many commercial agricultural operations around the United States considering pollination with alternative bee species now that the honeybee is beset by problems."

James Gorman , " Saltmarsh Sparrows Fight to Keep Their Heads Above Water," The New York Times , September 17, 2018,, reported, " Rising sea levels are bringing more nest-flooding tides that threaten to push the birds that breed in coastal marshes along the Atlantic Coast to extinction ."

     John Schwartz, " Why Are Puffins Vanishing? The Hunt for Clues Goes Deep (Into Their Burrows)," The New York Times, August 29, 2018,, reported, "Overfishing, hunting and pollution are putting pressure on the birds [puffins], but climate change may prove to be the biggest challenge.

Killer Whales in the Pacific Northwest are in serious decline from lack of food and habitat threats. Their population reached a 30 year low at the end of June 2018 (Jim Robbins, "Starvation and Habitat Threats Stalk Killer Whales," The New York Times, July 7, 2018).

Karen Weintraub, “Killer Whales Face Dire PCBs Threat: Concentrations of the toxins are very high, lingering in the orcas’ blubber, and are passed from mother to calf,” The New York Times, Sept. 27, 2018, , reported, "Most people thought the problem of polychlorinated biphenyls — known as PCBs — had been solved. Some countries began banning the toxic chemicals in the 1970s and 1980s, and worldwide production was ended with the 2001 Stockholm Convention.
    But a new study based on modeling shows that they’re lingering in the blubber of killer whales — and they may end up wiping out half the world’s population of killer whales in coming decades.
    'It certainly is alarming,' said Jean-Pierre Desforges, a post-doctoral researcher at Aarhus University in Denmark and the lead author on the new study published Thursday in the journal Science.
    Whales sit at the top of their food chain. Chemicals like PCBs are taken up by plankton at the base of the food chain, then eaten by herring and other small fish, which are themselves eaten by larger fish, and so on. At each step in this chain, PCBs get more and more concentrated. The most at-risk killer whales are those that eat seals and other animals that are themselves fairly high on the food chain and quite contaminated, Dr. Desforges said."

    Jon Queally, “Trump Greenlights Another 'Violent, Destructive' Assault on Marine Life With Seismic Testing Approval: Trump, warn conservationists, is essentially giving the fossil fuel industry the permission ‘to harass, harm and possibly even kill marine life... all in the pursuit of dirty and dangerous offshore oil,’" Common Dreams , November 30, 2018, , reported, “ Defenders of ocean habitats and marine life are up in arms on Friday as the Trump administration is set to approve new abilities for the fossil fuel industry to conduct widescale and ‘deafening’ underwater seismic in federal waters off the U.S. Atlantic coast.
The decision is expected to come from the National Marine Fisheries Service, a division of the Commerce Department, but conservation groups say it is a smack in the face to ocean ecosystems and a political nonstarter they vow to fight tooth and nail.
‘This action flies in the face of massive opposition to offshore drilling and exploration from over 90 percent of coastal municipalities in the proposed blast zone,’ said Diane Hoskins, campaign director at Oceana. ‘These permits were already denied because of the known harm that seismic airgun blasting causes. President Trump is essentially giving these companies permission to harass, harm and possibly even kill marine life, including the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale – all in the pursuit of dirty and dangerous offshore oil. This is the first step toward offshore drilling in the Atlantic and we're going to make sure coastal communities know what's happening and fight this.’
Michael Jasny, director of the Marine Mammal Protection Project at NRDC, said the president's action is totally detached from the reality of the threats the world's ecosytems now face.
‘Just one week after issuing dire warnings on the catastrophic fallout of climate change to come, the Trump Administration is opening our coastlines to for-profit companies to prospect for oil and gas—and is willing to sacrifice marine life, our coastal communities and fisheries in the process," fumed Jasny. "This is the first step towards drilling and scientists warn that seismic activity alone could drive the endangered North American right whale to extinction. We'll stand with citizens, coastal businesses, scientists, lawmakers, and commercial and recreational fishermen who oppose seismic blasting, and we will fight this illegal action.’
According to the Washington Post:
In addition to harming sea life, acoustic tests — in which boats tugging rods pressurized for sound emit jet engine-like booms 10 to 12 seconds apart for days and sometimes months — can disrupt thriving commercial fisheries. Governors, state lawmakers and attorneys general along the Atlantic coast say drilling threatens beach tourism that has flourished on the coast in the absence of oil production.
Seismic testing maps the ocean floor and estimates the whereabouts of oil and gas, but only exploratory drilling can confirm their presence. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill that soiled the Gulf of Mexico resulted from an exploratory drill. Another gulf disaster that looms almost as large has spewed oil for more than 14 years. The Taylor Energy Co. spill of up to an estimated 700 barrels a day started when a hurricane ripped up production wells, and could continue for the rest of the century, according to the Interior Department.
Seismic blasting is a violent, destructive precursor to unnecessary offshore oil drilling,’ said Angela Howe, Surfrider Foundation Legal Director, in a statement. "According to estimates from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the seismic exploration projects could directly harm tens of thousands of whales and dolphins, in addition to thousands of manatees, seals, and sea turtles. This type of damage to our coastal resources is unacceptable. The Surfrider Foundation and our strong coalition of allies will stand up to protect our ocean, waves and beaches for the future."
While the seismic blasting is awful enough, Earthjustice warns that this is only a part of the Trump adminstration's assault on the oceans and marine life. As the group notes:
While destructive in their own right, the seismic tests are only a first step in the Trump administration’s broader plans for dramatic expansion of offshore drilling in the Atlantic and beyond. The Department of the Interior has proposed opening 90 percent of U.S. federal offshore waters to the fossil fuel industry, exposing nearly every coastline in the nation to the risk of an environmentally devastating oil spill and the degradation that comes with industrializing more of our rich ocean environments. Since the planning process for this offshore leasing expansion got underway, more than 1.45 million Americans have demonstrated intense opposition with rallies, marches and comments submitted to the Department of Interior agency responsible for crafting the plan.
‘As usual, the Trump administration is pulling out all the stops to give favors to the fossil fuel industry, whatever the cost to coastal communities and wildlife,’ said Athan Manuel, the lands protection program director for the Sierra Club. ‘We will continue to fight back against their dangerous plans to subject our coasts to seismic blasting and expanded offshore drilling.’
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Agata Mrowiec, "Overfishing and pollution have trashed the Mediterranean," Oceana, Agata Mrowiec August 16, 2018,, " The Mediterranean is the world’s most overfished sea, with the highest percentage of unsustainably harvested fish populations, according to a recent report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization. Increasing human activity makes Mediterranean marine ecosystems some of the most imperiled in the world."

Climate change, bringing rising seas and more frequent and larger storms, brought environmental damage to Hawai’i with Hurricane Walaka. FishOutofWater , “ NW Hawaiian Island Vanished: Was Critical Breeding Ground for Turtles, Monk Seals & Birds ,” Daily Kos, October 23, 2018, , reported, “Seven government scientists, who were on teams that had been studying and protecting endangered monk seals, green turtles and sea birds at French Frigate shoals East Island for decades, had to evacuate East Island on October 2 ahead of category 4 hurricane Walaka, one of the strongest hurricanes on record in the central Pacific. The island was the breeding ground for about half of Hawaii’s endangered green sea turtles and 30% of Hawaii’s highly endangered monk seals. When scientists recently examined satellite photos after the hurricane they discovered the whole half-mile long 400 ft wide island had vanished.”

Climate change has brought about a huge increase in purple urchin activity in the waters off northern California, resulting in their eating, and thus destroying, 93% of the kelp forests in the area, from 2018 to 2018. The kelp forests, like rain forests on land, are major absorbers of carbon dioxide – helping to slow global warming – as well as food sources for many sea species ( Kendra Pierre-Louis “ California’s Underwater Forests Are Bei ng Eaten by the ‘Cockroaches the Ocean’ Water," The New York Times, October 22, 2018,

     The huge toxic red tide of algae that for many months sat off the Florida coast appears to be the cause of the collapse of the stone crab industry in Florida, as there have become very few to catch ("‘The Worst I’ve Ever Seen It’: Lean Stone Crab Season Follows Red Tide in Florida: A prolonged red tide in Southwest Florida has hurt the iconic stone crab — and the fishermen, whose family businesses go back generations, who catch it," The New York Times , December 16, 2018,

    Overfishing of sea cumbers off the coast of Yucatan has crashed the population and lead to the deaths of several divers (Natalie Schachar, “ How a Seafloor Blob Became Mexico’s ‘Black Gold’: A frenzy for sea cucumbers, driven by demand in Asia, has brought their populations near collapse in the waters off the Yucatán Peninsula," The New York Times, October 5, 2018,

Amy Yee, “Rescuing Sea Turtles From Fishermen’s Nets : An organization on the coast of Kenya tries to persuade local residents to help return the trapped reptiles to the ocean, rather than sell their meat and shells for a living," The New York Times , October 15, 2018,, reports that when a hawksbill turtle is accidentally caught in a net in the Indian Ocean off Kenya’s coast, “The fisherman called Local Ocean Conservation, a nonprofit based in the town of Watamu that is the only turtle rescue and rehabilitation center on the East African seaboard. The hawksbill, critically endangered in this region, was a mere seven pounds; adults can weigh up to 160 pounds.”
Turtles are reptiles that have existed for at least 110 million years and survived the mass extinction that killed off dinosaurs. But today, sea turtles worldwide are threatened with extinction. And it’s estimated that only one of 1,000 turtle eggs laid survive to adulthood.
Worldwide, hawksbills are critically endangered, while green and loggerhead turtles are endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Olive ridleys and leatherbacks are vulnerable. All five species of these sea turtles are found in Kenyan waters. The global green turtle population has declined by an estimated 50 to 70 percent since 1900.
Conservationists are trying to protect turtles from a wave of threats, including pollution. Since its founding in 1997, Local Ocean has protected about 1,000 nests, conducted more than 17,000 turtle rescues and treated more than 480 turtles in its rehab center. About 60 to 70 percent of turtles are released back in the ocean.
Ten to 15 percent of the center’s turtle patients are sick from eating plastic. Most of them do not survive.”

Daniel Victor, “1,000 Pieces of Plastic Found Inside Dead Whale in Indonesia ,” The New York Times,
November 21, 2018,, reported, “ More than 1,000 assorted pieces of plastic, including 115 cups, 25 bags, four bottles and two flip-flops, have been found inside a dead sperm whale in Indonesia, according to local officials.”

Ceylan Yeginsu, " European Parliament Approves Ban on Single-Use Plastics," The New York Times , Oct. 25, 2018,, reported, "The European Parliament has overwhelmingly approved a ban on single-use plastics such as straws, plates, cutlery and cotton-swab sticks in Europe by 2021, joining a global shift as environmentalists emphasize the urgency of halting the use of materials that are detrimental to the planet."

A team based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, but sailing out of San Francisco, has begun a project to begin to clean up the plastic in the Pacific Ocean, Ocean Cleanup, using a 2000 foot boom with a nine foot skirt to corral plastic, which is hauled away by a collecting boat (Elizabeth Weise, "Ocean Cleanup system heading to the Pacific," USA Today, September 10, 2018).

Jim Robbins, “Hunt of Yellowstone Grizzly Bears Canceled as a Result of Judge’s Ruling: A federal court decision found that the United States Fish and Wildlife Service erred in stripping the grizzlies’ status as a threatened species," The New York Times, September 25, 2018,, reported, “ Yellowstone-area grizzly bears, scheduled to be hunted this month for the first time in decades, were granted a reprieve by a federal judge who ordered the animal restored to full protections under the Endangered Species Act.
United States District Judge Dana Christensen ruled in favor of the Crow Indian Tribe and other tribes and environmental groups who had argued that the Fish and Wildlife Service had erred in removing the bear’s threatened status in June 2017 .”

Rachel Nuwer, “Divide and Preserve: Reclassifying Tigers to Help Save Them From Extinction: Are there many subspecies of tiger, or only two? A correct accounting is the only way to preserve what is left of the animal’s genetic diversity, some scientists say," The New York Times, Ocober. 25, 2018,, reported, “ Fewer than 4,000 tigers remain in the wild. New research aims to give conservationists an improved understanding of their genetics in order to help save them.
After years of debate, scientists report in the journal Current Biology that tigers comprise six unique subspecies. One of those subspecies, the South China tiger, survives only in captivity.” Previously, tigers were considered to have two subspecies. The report finds that only by considering them to have six subspecies can the full diversity of tigers be maintained.

“Congress Approves Critical Water Projects: Natural Infrastructure and Everglades: Bill Provides Important Wins for Birds, People and Ecosystems Nationwide. ‘More cement isn’t the answer,’” National Audubon Society, October 10, 2018,, reported, “ Today, the U.S. Senate passed, in a 99 to 1 bipartisan vote, the America’s Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 (S. 3021). “With both floods and drought plaguing people and birds across the U.S., the need for urgent action on water policy has never been more clear,” said David Yarnold, (@david_yarnold) president and CEO of the National Audubon Society. “More cement isn’t the answer. This bill provides for more natural infrastructure along our coasts, which is particularly timely as the Gulf and Atlantic coasts get pounded by more frequent and more severe storms.”
The bill includes water projects and policy changes that promote clean water and storm mitigation through restoring barriers like wetlands that benefit birds and people. The U.S. House passed the bill (S.3021) earlier this month.
The following provisions that impact important water and other conservation resources are included in this compromise legislation
A requirement that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers consider natural infrastructure alternatives in projects that manage risks from flooding, hurricane and storm damages. Hurricane Florence serves as a reminder of the vulnerability of our coasts, which can be made more resilient with “natural infrastructure” such as wetlands and restored barrier islands. Following the devastation from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, National Audubon Society published a report to highlight the importance of natural infrastructure as the first line of defense for our coasts. .
Authorization of the Everglades Agricultural Area Reservoir . This project will help store fresh water south of Lake Okeechobee in the Everglades and recreate a more natural water flow that mimics the historic ecosystem. It provides new water storage options and links up with treatment marshes that remove nutrients from the water. When the more than $3 billion restoration feature is completed, the reservoir can hold water that is currently discharged to sensitive coastal estuaries and move that water south where it is needed rather than allow it to continue to contribute to devastating algal blooms. This critical step makes Audubon’s top priority Everglades project, that is so important for wading birds like the Roseate Spoonbill, eligible for federal construction funding.
A two fold increase in the number of pilot projects for restoring barrier islands. Audubon has a proven track record of working with the Army Corps of Engineers and states to use dredged material to restore habi­tat that is important to birds and outdoor recreation economies. This work has created islands that provide excellent nesting habitat for birds such as Black Skimmers, Snowy Plovers, and Least Terns, and is leading innovations in thin-layer dispersal of dredged sediment to protect tidal marsh habitat in the face of sea-level rise.
Authorizes the Long Island Sound Program in the Environmental Protection Agency. The Long Island Sound is a vital place for an enormous variety of birds and other wildlife: over 1,200 species of invertebrates, 170 species of fish, and dozens of species of migratory birds, including the federally endangered Roseate Tern and federally threatened Piping Plover and Red Knot. It is also supports 54 IBAs (important bird areas) and is home to Great Gull Island, one of the most important tern nesting sites on earth with approximately 10,000 pairs of Common Terns and nearly 2,000 pairs of Roseate Terns. This program funds projects that restore and preserve the Sound and its ecosystems, including wastewater treatment plants updates, wetlands protection and restoration, and abatement of widespread pollutants such as fertilizer, pesticides and oil.
Included in the bill is also a project of concern:
Approval of the Pearl River Demonstration Project. This damaging project will dam the Pearl River near Jackson, Mississippi, ultimately destroying over 2,500 acres of habitat downstream that supports Bald Eagles, songbirds, and a variety of fish and other wildlife. It will eliminate or alter critical habitat for several state and federally threatened species including the Wood Stork. Audubon will continue to emphasize the need to halt this destructive effort.”

WildEath Guardians, “A fighting chance for endangered Jemez Mountain salamanders!
Court: Forest Service must not harm salamander or its habitat,” September 26, 2018, , stated, “ The endangered Jemez Mountain salamander now has a fighting chance at recovery thanks to Guardians’ advocacy.
The Jemez Mountain salamander faces a number of threats—among them roads, trails, and off-road vehicles—and was listed as “endangered” under the Endangered Species Act in 2013. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated more than 50,000 acres of the Santa Fe National Forest as critical to the salamander’s survival and recovery. The U.S. Forest Service attempted to ignore effects on the salamander when proposing to designate roads and trails through the species’ sparse, dwindling, and delicate home. Today, District Court Judge Martha Vazquez ordered the Service to immediately reinitiate consultation on its Santa Fe Travel Management Decision to ensure the decision will not harm the salamander or its habitat.
The win is not only a victory for the salamander, but also for the Endangered Species Act, which depends on federal agency implementation to be effective. Legal victories like today’s bolster the Act’s power in the face of the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle it.”

The Bearded Seal is now threatened by climate change, and thus also threatening the sacred seal hunt of the Inuit people of the Bering Sea (Laureli Ivanov, "The Bearded Seal My Son May Never Hunt" The New York Times, October 20, 2018,

The Dhimurru Rangers are one of about 100 groups, of mostly Aboriginal people, who patrol the beaches on the north coast of Australia, removing plastic, that often traps turtles and other ocean life, and other pollutants, to protect their territory and help preserve their ocean connected culture (David Maurice Smith, "Preserving a Culture by Cleaning Beaches," The New York Times, October 9, 2018).

     Yonette Joseph, "Hold Still, Butterflies. Britain Is Counting," The New York Times, July 20, 2018 , reported, " To gauge the health of the environment, look to the butterfly.
    The delicate, colorful insects that help to pollinate many an English garden may not live very long (the monarch butterfly has a life span of two to six weeks), but knowing how well their colonies are faring and how many are flitting around can be crucial indicators of a calamitous or a thriving environment.
     That’s where the Big Butterfly Count in Britain comes in.
The call has gone out for legions of volunteers to join the campaign, which runs from Friday to Aug. 12, and submit their sightings of butterflies and day-flying moths

Cherry blossoms in Japan in 2018 bloomed in October, instead of waiting until April. The occurrence followed a major typhoon, which may have been the trigger. However, it may be a result of climate change, that might eventually threaten the trees (Daniel Victor, "Cherry Blossoms in Japan: Pretty, Pink and Very Early ," The New York Times , October 10, 2018).

     Climate change is threatening baobab trees, some of them hundreds of years old, in Senegal, whose leaves are eaten and whose bark is used to make rope. They are among many species in the region now threatened by global warming induced climate change (Dionne Searcy, "Centuries-Old Giants, Beloved but in Peril," The New York Times , September 30, 2018).

James Gorman “World Beer Supply: A new study says a warming globe will be bad news for barley, an essential ingredient in the world’s most popular alcoholic beverage," The New York Times , October 15, 2018, , reported, “In a report in Nature Plants , researchers in China, Britain and the United States say that by the end of the century, drought and heat could hurt barley crops enough to cause intense pain to beer drinkers. Imagine a worst case of a 20 percent drop in supply in the United States, or a doubling of prices per bottle in Ireland. That’s no abstract end of civilization talk; that’s an empty display case at the Stop ’N Go.”

Sergey Ponomarev, “ In Russian Village Swallowed by Sand, Life’s a Beach. Just Not in a Good Way," The New York Times, November 11, 2018, , reported, “ Shoyna, a Russian fishing village on the frigid shores of the White Sea, is slowly vanishing under sand that engulfs entire houses, their roofs just barely visible above the dunes.”
    It was once a busy and bounteous fishing port. “But overfishing not only depleted local stocks; it probably ruined the area’s ecosystem. Trawlers scraped the sea floor clean of silt and seaweed. And with nothing to hold the sand in place anymore, waves started washing it ashore, each of the trillions of grains a reminder of the reckless depredation of the seas
This disruption of the seabed, perhaps combined with a natural change in the bed of the river that flows through Shoyna and into the White Sea, is the best suspect to blame for the sand invasion, said Sergey Uvarov, the marine biodiversity project coordinator for the World Wildlife Fund in Russia. But no formal environmental studies of the remote region have been conducted.”

The U.S. Defense Department agency, DARPA, is engaged in a project to develop insects and viruses so that millions of insects can spread DNA changing virus to plants, to make them more resistant to drought, floods, foreign attacks, etc., in the hopes of securing a safe long term food supply. Many scientists object that this is similar to banned biological warfare research, and could easily turn into a program to attack an enemies crops. Even if the intent is totally benign, playing with genetics in this way can all too easily lead to very broad disaster (Emily Baumgaertner, "Critics Warn Project Could Turn Insects Into Weapons," The New York Times , October 5, 2018).

Indigenous Communities and Climate Change Symposium," Facebook Events, December 7, 2018,, announced at Princeton University, " A two-day international symposium bringing together activists, journalists, and scholars to discuss impacts on Indigenous communities from the changing climate.
    Thursday, December 6 at 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM at the Princeton Public Library: Candis Callison (University of British Columbia, Pathy Distinguished Visitor in Canadian Studies), Deborah McGregor (York University), Tanya Talaga (Journalist), and Kyle Whyte (Michigan State) and in conversation about Indigenous Communities and Climate Change.
    Friday, Dec. 7 at 8:30 AM– 6:45 PM in Betts Auditorium: High school students from the Stuart Country Day School of the Sacred Heart who have drafted a recognition of Lenni-Lenape history and home on this land will lead a session discussing their recognition text and participate in the wider conference discussion.
    Hosted by Canadian Studies at Princeton University
    Organized by Simon Morrison, Director, Fund for Canadian Studies, and Candis Callison, University of British Columbia, Pathy Distinguished Visitor in Canadian Studies.

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U.S. Developments

Many of the reports in this issue of U.S. government legislation, agency action, and court decisions are informed by electronic flyers from Hobbs, Straus, Dean and Walker, LLP, 2120 L Street NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037, . Reports from Indian Country Today, from the web, are listed as from ICT. Repots from News from Indian Country are listed as from NFIC.

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Congressional Developments

“Tribal Social Security Fairness Act Enacted, Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-036,” October 3rd, 2018, . Reported, “On September 20, 2018, the President signed HR 6124, the Tribal Social Security Fairness Act ("Act"), as PL 115-243. The Act provides long-sought parity for tribal governments with regard to Social Security and Medicare coverage for tribal council members. It provides a process by which tribal governments, like state and local governments, can opt-in to Social Security and Medicare taxes and coverage for appointed or elected tribal council members and tribal council leadership ("members"). The Act also retroactively provides a process by which tribal council members who had erroneously paid (and were not refunded) Social Security and Medicare taxes prior to enactment of the Act can receive Social Security and Medicare credit for the payment of those taxes.
In our General Memorandum 17-033 of June 28, 2017, we wrote in detail about previous iterations of the legislation, including a summary of past efforts to provide tribal governments with parity in this regard. It appears that the main difference between the Act and its earlier versions is that the Act provides a process by which tribal council members can retroactively obtain credit for past Social Security and Medicare taxes paid. The Act was sponsored by Representative Reichert (R-WA) and co-sponsored by Representatives: DelBene (D-WA); Cole (R-OK); Kilmer (D-WA); Schweikert (R-AZ); Gallego (D-AZ); and O'Halleran (D-AZ). Their statements of support for the Act when it was considered on the House Floor are at:

“Water Resources Development Act Reauthorization (with Tribal Provisions) Sent to President,” Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-037, October 18th, 2018, , reported, “On October 10, 2018, the Senate voted 99-1 to approve the 2018 reauthorization of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) clearing the measure for the President's expected signature. Previously, the reauthorization was approved in the House by a voice vote, under a procedure for ‘suspending the rules’ for the bill's consideration that is saved for non-controversial legislation with strong support. The bill is titled "America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018" (AWIA, S. 3021) and contains a range of provisions which are specific to tribes or may be of interest to tribes.
Background. WRDA provides the authorizations for a range of water infrastructure projects and programs including those addressing water storage, irrigation systems, maintenance of dams, hydropower, drinking water and waste water systems, reservoirs, levees, and ports. AWIA is organized into the following titles:
Within each title, WRDA reauthorizations usually contain some sections specific to tribes (generally); some sections which include tribes or could impact tribes; and some sections which, for example, address a water rights settlement for a particular tribe. With respect to AWIA, we highlight a number of these sections below. For further reference, we also attach the full Section by Section summary of AWIA prepared by the staff of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
Sections Specific to Certain Tribes.
Sec. 1133. – Columbia River
. – Clarifies the Secretary of the Army's obligations to provide assistance to those Indian tribes displaced as a result of the of the construction of the Bonneville, John Day and Dalles dams in Oregon and Washington.
Sec. 2001. – Indian Reservation Drinking Water Program. – Authorizes the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make grants ($20 million, per fiscal year), through FY 2022, to carry out a program consisting of 10 projects for Indian tribes on reservations in the Upper Missouri River Basin and 10 projects for Indian tribes on reservations in the Upper Rio Grande Basin to connect, repair, or expand existing drinking water services or improve water quality, pressure, or water services.
Sec. 4311. – Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement. – Adjusts the authorization for the Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement to allow the Blackfeet Tribe to receive access to funding in a timely manner.
Sections Specific to Tribes, Generally.
Sec. 1129. – Inclusion of Tribal Interests in Project Consultations. – Directs the Secretary of the Army to carry out all existing tribal consultation policies, regulations and guidance.
Sec. 1155. – Indian Tribes. – Provides a more comprehensive definition of federally recognized Indian tribes that may work in partnership with the Army Corps of Engineers on water resources development projects. Specifically, tribal organizations, as defined in the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, are now eligible.
Sec. 1156. – Inflation Adjustment of Cost-Sharing Provisions for Territories and Indian Tribes. – The Secretary of the Army is required to waive local cost-sharing requirements (up to $200,000 and indexed for inflation) for all studies and projects for tribes and territories. This section updates the date used to calculate inflation. (For reference, the amount was $200,000 in 1986.)
Sec. 1157. – Corps of Engineers Continuing Authorities Program. – Subsection (i) increases the limit for the federal share of the cost of a water resources development project authorized by the Tribal Partnership Program from $10 million to $12.5 million. Expands the authorization to not only apply to a "project" but alternately to a "separable element of a project". Stipulates that if the federal share of the cost of the "project or separable element of a project" is more than $12.5 million, then a law must be enacted to specifically authorize it.
Sec. 4312. – Indian Irrigation Fund Reauthorization. – Extends the authorization for the Indian Irrigation Fund, at current levels ($35 million plus accrued interest, per fiscal year), through FY 2028.
Sec. 4313. – Reauthorization of Repair, Replacement, and Maintenance of Certain Indian Irrigation Projects.– Extends the authorization for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of irrigation projects funded by the Indian Irrigation Fund through FY 2028 and continues the biennial reporting requirements.
Sec. 4314. – Indian Dam Safety Reauthorization. – Extends the authorization for the High Hazard Indian Dam Safety Deferred Maintenance Fund at current levels ($22.7 million, plus accrued interest, per fiscal year) and the Low Hazard Indian Dam Safety Deferred Maintenance Fund at current levels ($10 million, plus accrued interest, per fiscal year), through FY 2030. Extends the authorization for the maintenance, repair, and replacement of dams funded by the Funds through FY 2030. Extends the Flood Plain Management Pilot Program, at current levels ($250,000 per fiscal year, from either Fund), through FY 2026.
Sections Which Include Tribes or may be of Interest to Tribes.
Sec. 1114. – Assistance Relating to Water Supply
. – Directs the Secretary of the Army to provide assistance to municipalities whose water supply has been adversely affected by construction carried out by the Corps of Engineers.
Sec. 1131. – Ice Jam Prevention and Mitigation. – The previous WRDA reauthorization created a pilot program to authorize the Secretary of the Army from FY 2017-FY 2022 to carry out certain projects under the Flood Control Act of 1948 to prevent and mitigate flood damage associated with ice jams. This section of AWIA removes the time limitation, doubles the number of projects and requires that "not fewer than one" project be carried out on a reservation "that serves more than one Indian tribe."
Sec. 1214. – Community Engagement. – Directs the Secretary of the Army to furnish a report on any potential disproportionate and adverse health or environmental effects of programs, policies, and activities of the Army Corps of Engineers related to water resources development projects on minority communities, low-income communities, rural communities, and Indian tribes. The report is to include any recommendations of the Secretary for addressing such effects, including recommended changes to the statutory or regulatory authorities of the Corps of Engineers, or changes to the policies or guidance of the Corps of Engineers.
Sec. 4103. – Technical Assistance for Treatment Works. – Authorizes the EPA to make grants ($25 million, per fiscal year) through FY 2023, to qualified nonprofit organizations to provide technical assistance relating to achieving Clean Water Act compliance, or obtaining financing for wastewater infrastructure in rural, small, and tribal municipalities.
Sec. 4105. – Authorization of Appropriations for Columbia River Basin Restoration. – Extends the authorization for the Columbia River Basin program ($30 million, per fiscal year) through FY 2021.
Sec. 4107. – Assistance for Individual Household Decentralized Wastewater Systems of Individuals with Low or Moderate Income. – Authorizes assistance for the repair or replacement of existing individual household decentralized wastewater treatment systems, or the connection to a publically owned treatment works, in low or moderate-income households. Requires the EPA Administrator to furnish a report to Congress on the prevalence throughout the United States of low- and moderate-income households without access to treatment works.
Sec. 4305. – Regional Liaisons for Minority, Tribal, and Low-Income Communities. – Requires each regional office of EPA to designate one employee to be the point of contact for minority, tribal, and low-income communities.”

    Acee Agoyo, "President Trump signs two more Indian Country bills into law," December 12, 2018,, reported, " President Donald Trump signed two more Indian Country bills into law on Tuesday, putting an end to policies adopted during more paternalistic eras."
    The first was H.R.5317 , the Repeal of Prohibition on Certain Alcohol Manufacturing on Indian Lands Act, discussed just below.
    "The second bill signed on Tuesday addresses a vestige of the disastrous termination era . H.R.1074 repeals a federal law authorized the state of Iowa to prosecute citizens of the Meskwaki Nation for crimes on their own lands."
    "Under the existing system, tribal citizens faced the prospect of being prosecuted twice -- by the tribe and by the state -- for the same crime. Non-Indians weren't subjected to the same disparate treatment.
    The state already relinquished its jurisdiction on the settlement in anticipation of final action on H.R.1074. And the state will continue to exercise jurisdiction over non-Indians so there will be no changes in the justice system on that level."
“Legislation to Allow Distilleries on Tribal Lands Headed to the President ,” Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-039. December 3rd, 2018, , reported, “On November 29, 2018, the Senate, by Unanimous Consent, approved HR 5317, a bill to repeal the federal ban on the establishment and operation of alcohol distilleries in Indian Country, sending it to the President for his expected signature. The original ban on such distilleries was enacted in 1834 as one provision in a set of laws commonly known as the ‘Indian liquor laws’ that made it a federal crime to sell, give away, or otherwise introduce alcoholic beverages into Indian Country. Congress substantively amended the Indian liquor laws in 1953 by rendering the prohibitions and penalties inapplicable if a tribe has enacted a tribal law that is ‘in conformity’ with state law and has been certified by the Secretary of the Interior. The House Committee report on HR 5317 states that, although the prohibition on distilleries ‘may have served a valid public policy goal in the mid-19th century, it is not compatible with the modern policy of promoting tribal self-determination and economic diversification.’
HR 5317 is sponsored by Rep. Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and had passed the House by voice vote under suspension of the rules on September 12, 2018. The Senate companion bill, S 3060, is sponsored by Senators Cantwell (D-WA) and Murray (D-WA). A press release from Rep. Herrera Beutler is attached and contains statements of support from the legislation's sponsors as well as links to articles which provide further context on the original 1834 ban.
In addition to repealing the 1834 prohibition on the establishment and operation of alcohol distilleries in Indian Country, HR 5317 also contains a savings clause which clarifies that the repeal does not: (1) affect state or federal taxation; or (2) affect a state's authority to regulate the importation and sale of alcoholic beverages within its own borders.”>

Acee Agoyo, "Congress sends more Indian Country bills to President Trump: H.R.3764, the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act, has been added to the list of legislation pending in the 115th Congress. The bill restores federal recognition to the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians, based in Montana. The bill passed the House on September 12, 2018, and awaits further action in the Senate," IndianZ, December 11, 2018,, reported, "On Monday, the Republican- controlled House passed S.245 , the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments, and debated S.825 , the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Land Transfer Act, before putting it to a final vote on Tuesday . Both previously cleared the Senate so all that's needed for them to become law is Trump's signature.
    A third bill on its way to the White House too. Lawmakers took final action on S.943 , the Johnson-O’Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act, on Tuesday afternoon."
    "Assuming Trump signs those two measures and the three new ones, 12 stand-alone Indian Country bills will have become law during the 115th Congress ." Twelve Indian bills still awaited action in the House, and seven in the Senate.
    " Awaiting action in House
    The following is a non-exhaustive list of the Indian Country bills that have already passed the Senate and await further action in the House.
S.254 , the Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act.
S.269 , a bill to provide for the conveyance of certain property to the Tanana Tribal Council located in Tanana, Alaska, and to the Bristol Bay Areal Health Corporation located in Dillingham, Alaska,
S.302 , the John Smith Act, or the Tribal Infrastructure and Roads Enhancement and Safety Act (TIRES Act).
S.343 , the Repealing Existing Substandard Provisions Encouraging Conciliation with Tribes Act, also known as the RESPECT Act.
S.607 , the Native American Business Incubators Program Act.
S.669 , the Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty Fishing Access Sites Improvement Act.
S.995 , the Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation Equitable Compensation Act.
S.1116 , the Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act.
S.1223 , the Klamath Tribe Judgment Fund Repeal Act.
S.1333 , the Tribal HUD-VASH Act.
S.1942 , Savanna's Act.
S.2515 , the Practical Reforms and Other Goals To Reinforce the Effectiveness of Self-Governance and Self-Determination for Indian Tribes Act, otherwise known as the PROGRESS for Indian Tribes Act.
    Awaiting action in Senate
The following is a non-exhaustive list of the Indian Country bills that have already passed the House and await further action in the Senate.
H.R.146 , the Eastern Band Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act.
H.R.597 , the Lytton Rancheria Homelands Act.
H.R.1491 , the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians Land Affirmation Act.
H.R.1532 , the Poarch Band of Creek Indians Land Reaffirmation Act.
H.R.2606 , the Stigler Act Amendments.
H.R.3764 , the Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians Restoration Act.
H.R.4032 , the Gila River Indian Community Federal Rights-of-Way, Easements and Boundary Clarification Act ."
    Congress.Gov (www.congress.cov, accessed December 30, 2018) summarizes the following bills passed by the Congress:
    "S.245 - Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017 (
    (Sec. 101) This bill amends the Energy Policy Act of 1992 to direct the Department of the Interior to provide Indian tribes with technical assistance in planning their energy resource development programs.
    The Department of Energy (DOE) Indian energy education planning and management assistance program is expanded to make intertribal organizations eligible for grants and to allow grants to be used to increase the capacity of tribes to manage energy development and energy efficiency programs.
    Eligibility for DOE energy development loan guarantees is expanded to include tribal energy development organizations.
    (Sec. 103) This bill allows leases and business agreements that pool, unitize, or communitize a tribe's energy resources with other energy resources.
    An energy-related tribal lease, business agreement, or right-of-way does not require Interior's approval if it complies with a tribal energy resource agreement or it is a lease with a tribal energy development organization that Interior has certified, and the term does not exceed specified limits.
    The process and conditions for Interior's approval of tribal energy resource agreements are revised.
    This bill revises the process for determining whether an interested party has a valid claim to be suffering an adverse environmental impact due to a tribe's noncompliance with such an agreement.
    Interior must make available to a tribe the amount Interior would have expended to carry out an activity that the tribe is carrying out pursuant to a tribal energy resource agreement.
    (Sec. 104) DOE must collaborate with the Directors of the National Laboratories in making the full array of DOE technical and scientific resources available for tribal energy activities and projects.
    (Sec. 201) This bill amends the Federal Power Act to require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to give tribes, in addition to states and municipalities, preference for the receipt of preliminary hydroelectric licenses.
    (Sec. 202) This bill amends the Tribal Forest Protection Act of 2004 to direct Interior, for land under Bureau of Land Management jurisdiction, and the Department of Agriculture (USDA), for land under Forest Service jurisdiction, to enter into agreements with tribes to carry out demonstration projects to promote biomass energy production on Indian forest land and in nearby communities by providing them with reliable supplies of woody biomass from federal lands.
    Interior and USDA must enter into agreements with tribal organizations to carry out additional biomass demonstration projects.
    (Sec. 203) This bill amends the Energy Conservation and Production Act to revise requirements for direct home weatherization grants to tribes.
    (Sec. 204) Interior, an affected tribe, or a certified third-party appraiser under contract with the tribe must appraise mineral or energy resources involved in a transaction requiring Interior's approval.
    (Sec. 205) This bill amends the Long-Term Leasing Act to allow the Navajo Nation to enter into mineral resource leases on their restricted lands without Interior's approval. The maximum term of a Navajo Nation lease that does not require Interior's approval is extended for commercial and agricultural leases.
    (Sec. 206) The Crow Tribe of Montana may enter into leases of their land held in trust for a term of up to 99 years.
    (Sec. 207) This bill sets forth provisions for money held by Interior in connection with the review and approval of a sale, lease, permit, or other conveyance of Indian land.
    S.825 - Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Land Transfer Act of 2017(
(Sec. 2) This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to convey specified property in Sitka, Alaska, to the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium for use in connection with health and social services programs.
    Such conveyance shall not require any consideration from, or impose any obligation, term, or condition on, the consortium or allow for any U.S. reversionary interest in the property.
    (Sec. 4) The consortium shall not be liable for any environmental contamination that occurred before such conveyance.
    S.943 - Johnson-O'Malley Supplemental Indian Education Program Modernization Act (
    This bill requires the Department of the Interior to annually update the count of Indian students eligible for the Johnson-O'Malley Program (JOM Program). The JOM Program awards contracts to tribal organizations, schools, states, and others to support the cultural and academic needs of Indian students. The contract amounts are based on the number of students served.
    Contracting parties must annually report to Interior on the number of students they serve. If they fail to submit the report, then Interior may not give them program funds for the next fiscal year.
    The bill sets forth a process to revise funding allocations provided under the program.
Interior must consult with Indian tribes and state and local education agencies that have not participated in the program to determine their interest in entering into contracts.
    The Bureau of Indian Education must determine how: (1) the regulatory definition of eligible student may be clarified for contracting parties, and (2) the program funding formula may be updated to ensure the full participation of contracting parties and provide clarity on the funding process."

House-Senate Negotiations to Resolve Farm Bill Differences Expected Soon,” Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-030, July 13th, 2018,, reported, “The Farm Bill is one of the United States' largest pieces of domestic legislation and Congress reauthorizes it every five years. The Farm Bill authorizes United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs and covers a variety of issues, including: (1) commodities; (2) conservation; (3) trade; (4) nutrition; (5) credit; (6) rural development; (7) research; (8) forestry; (9) energy; (10) horticulture; and (11) crop insurance. As all of these issues touch on important aspects of Indian Country and quality of life for Native people, we encourage tribes to engage with Congress on the Farm Bill reauthorization. Now is the time, as the Farm Bill is in the final stages of revision before being finalized.
On June 21, 2018, the House passed HR 2, the ‘Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018’ and on June 28, the Senate passed its substitute to HR 2, better known as the Farm Bill. The House has indicated that it will proceed with a Conference Committee to work out the significant differences between the bills instead of passing the Senate version of the bill as-is. This is the last step in the process of the Farm Bill reauthorization. Congress last enacted a Farm Bill in 2014, and many of those provisions will expire on September 30, 2018 unless Congress enacts a 2018 Farm Bill.
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Roberts (R-KS) will preside over the Farm Bill Conference Committee. Other members of the Conference Committee have not been announced yet, but in past years Conferees have included: the Chairman and Ranking Member from the Senate and House Agriculture Committees; the Chair and Ranking Member from each Senate and House Agriculture Subcommittee; Representatives appointed by House Leadership from each party; and staff for other House Committees, including Foreign Affairs and Ways and Means.
As the Farm Bill has many titles and covers numerous issues critically important to Indian Country, this report does not contain a comprehensive analysis of the legislation. Within this General Memorandum, we highlight some of the provisions pertinent to tribes in each bill. These provisions have been assembled by the Native Farm Bill Coalition and us. However, Hobbs, Straus, Dean & Walker, LLP is tracking and reporting on Farm Bill developments in detail for clients who have requested such work. Please contact us to let us know if you would like a more comprehensive analysis or assistance contacting Members of Congress to communicate your Tribe's priorities.
Summary of Key Tribal-Specific Provisions
House Farm Bill
As we previously reported , two fundamentally important food assistance programs for Indian Country—the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)—are under attack in the House Farm Bill, as there is a push in the House to increase work requirements for SNAP beneficiaries with no American Indian/Alaska Native or tribal exception. It is unclear whether these changes will be included in the final bill, in whole or in part through a compromise.
Key tribal-specific provisions in the House Farm Bill include:
• Under the FDPIR program, the bill expands the traditional foods purchase provision to include "regionally grown" foods; requires traditional foods purchased to be produced "cost-effectively;" and allows funds to carry over for two years.
• Requires a GAO study on access to agriculture credit under the Farm Credit System for tribes and tribal producers.
• Makes tribes eligible to compete for USDA/HHS grants under the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network program.
• Funding for Tribal College and University Essential Community Facilities is cut from $10 million to $5 million (reauthorized at the same level in the Senate Farm Bill).
• State and Private Forestry Landscape-Scale Restoration Program: tribal-owned forest lands are included in the definition of "Private Forestry Land" (in the Senate Farm Bill, forest land owned by a corporation or a tribe is included in the definition of "nonindustrial private forest land" as eligible for a competitive grant with a state agency).
• Includes tribes and tribal organizations as eligible entities for Good Neighbor Agreements (is in the Senate Farm Bill as well, which also includes certain tribal lands).
• Expedites the environmental review and approval process for tribes under the Tribal Forest Protection Act of 2004.
• Through demonstration projects, extends 638 self-determination authority for tribes to assume the role of the federal government under the Tribal Forest Protection Act.
• Permits tribes to regulate pesticide use under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicides, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) and to use methyl bromide in response to an emergency.
• Includes tribes and tribal organizations as eligible for the new National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program.
• Moves the USDA Office of Tribal Relations from the Office of the Secretary to the new Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement.
Senate Farm Bill
The Senate Farm Bill does not include the significant work requirement changes to SNAP that the House Farm Bill does. Notably, one common theme in the Senate Farm Bill is parity
, as many provisions are amended to include tribes as eligible participants. Key tribal-specific provisions include:
• Makes tribes and tribal organizations eligible producers for the Supplemental Agriculture Disaster Assistance program; Makes tribes eligible producers for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program; Makes tribes eligible for technical assistance/training programs under the Rural Business-Cooperative Service; Makes tribes eligible for a new Wood Innovation Grant Program that prioritizes using existing milling capacity; Makes tribes eligible for the Local Agriculture Market Program; Makes tribes eligible for grants for rural emergency medical equipment and training.
• Mandates that USDA enter into alternative funding arrangements for conservation programs, which would allow tribes to be the contracting entity for large projects and increase access to conservation project funding.
• Increases access and opportunities for Native agriculture entities to participate in international trade missions.
• Through demonstration project agreements, extends 638 self-determination authority for tribes to administer FDPIR.
• Other changes to FDPIR include: 80% of administrative costs are paid by USDA and 20% by the tribe, with the option to request a waiver if the match is a "substantial burden," but federal funding may be used to meet the matching requirement (as well as for the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Program); and allows administrative funds to carry over for two years.
• Makes tribal consortia eligible for grants for water systems for rural and Native villages in Alaska and includes a 2% set aside.
• Makes electric, broadband, and water infrastructure projects in Substantially Underserved Trust Areas (SUTAs) eligible for refinancing.
• Legalizes industrial hemp farming for States, Tribes and tribal organizations and includes model plans for creation and advancement of hemp production.
• Creates a 90% insurance premium subsidy for first time Native producers of livestock commodities the source of feedstock of which is pasture, rangeland, and forage.
• Establishes a new Tribal Advisory Council to advise the Secretary on tribal matters within USDA and a permanent Rural Development Tribal Technical Assistance Office to provide technical assistance across all areas of rural development funding for tribal governments, tribal producers, tribal businesses, tribal business entities, and tribally designated housing entities.
• Aims to improve integration of USDA and HHS programs to support rural health through a new USDA Rural Health Liaison position to work in consultation with HHS.
• Creates a micro-grant ($5,000-$10,000) program for tribes to implement projects to address food security, such as small-scale gardening, herding, and livestock operations.
Conference Committee Amendment Sought
Our Firm is working with a client to seek an amendment to the Farm Bill during Conference Committee negotiations that would enhance the industrial hemp provisions in the Senate Farm Bill to make it stronger for tribes. If accepted, this amendment would help facilitate greater tribal participation and would address some of the unique aspects and hurdles facing Indian Country for hemp farming and production activities.
We encourage Tribes to engage in the reauthorization of the Farm Bill and now is the time. It is important that the progress achieved so far not be lost during Conference. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further information or to discuss approaches for engaging with the Farm Bill Conferees (once announced), Committee leadership, or your congressional delegation about your Tribe's positions regarding the Farm Bill.”

“Tribal Energy Self-Determination Bill Poised for Enactment,” Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-038, November 30th, 2018, , reported, “On November 15, 2018, the House Natural Resources Committee approved S 245, the "Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act Amendments of 2017", clearing it for House Floor action. Sponsored by Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman Hoeven (R-ND), S 245 was approved by the Senate by Unanimous Consent on November 29, 2017.
S 245 is composed of two Titles . Title I would amend the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act ("the 2005 Act") to address grants and technical assistance, loan guarantees, and tribal energy resources agreements (TERAs). Title II "Miscellaneous Amendments," would amend several statutory provisions that were enacted in legislation other than the 2005 Act. S 245 is substantively identical to a bill with the same title that was introduced in the 114th Congress. See our General Memorandum 15-035 of May 11, 2015. Similar bills were also introduced in the 112th and 113th Congresses.
Grants and Technical Assistance
. The 2005 Act authorizes the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Energy to administer a variety of programs to assist tribes in developing energy resources . Section 101 of S 245 would amend the authorization for such assistance by adding a mandate that the Department of the Interior (DOI), in cooperation with the Office of Indian Energy Policy and Programs (OIPP) of the Department of Energy (DOE) provide technical assistance to tribes to develop energy plans, which could address the following activities: electrification; oil and gas permitting; renewable energy permitting; energy efficiency; electricity generation; transmission planning; water planning; development of energy resources; and protection of natural, historic, and cultural resources.
Section 101 would also amend the authorization for the competitive grant program administered by DOE OIPP (25 U.S.C. § 3502(b)) by adding intertribal organizations as eligible recipients and by adding tribal capacity building for managing energy development and energy efficiency as an authorized activity. In addition, a paragraph would be added to this subsection providing that "the Secretary shall collaborate with the Directors of the National Laboratories in making the full array of technical and scientific resources of the Department of Energy available for tribal energy activities
and projects."
Section 102 would amend the provision enacted by the 2005 Act (25 U.S.C. § 3503) that authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to provide grants and other assistance to tribes for resource inventories, feasibility studies, development and enforcement of tribal laws (including regulations), development of technical infrastructure to protect the environment, and staff training. The amendment would make tribal energy development organizations (TEDOs) eligible for the "scientific and technical information and expertise" provided by the Secretary "for use in the regulation, development, and management of energy resources."
Loan Guarantees. The authorization for the DOE loan guarantee program would also be amended by section 101. In addition to loans made to tribes, loans made to, or by, TEDOs would also be eligible for the guarantee program, and the Secretary of Energy would be directed to promulgate implementing regulations within one year of the legislation's enactment.
TERAs. Section 103 addresses TERAs. As authorized by the 2005 Act, a TERA is a mechanism through which tribes can eliminate the requirement for the Secretary's designee (usually the Bureau of Indian Affairs) to approve leases, rights-of-way, and business agreements for the development of energy resources on tribal lands. Eliminating Secretarial approval renders inapplicable federal environmental laws that are triggered by federal action, such as the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act.
The TERA mechanism, however, has not been used. As the Senate Committee Report on S 245 states, "implementation of Title V was more burdensome than Congress intended." Title I of S 245 is concerned to a large extent with amendments relating to the TERA mechanism. Several of the amendments are intended to streamline the process for approval of such agreements
. For example, section 103 would amend the statute to provide that if the Secretary does not disapprove a TERA in 270 days, it would be deemed approved. The requirement that a tribe demonstrate capacity to regulate energy resources would be eliminated for any tribe that certifies it has carried out a Self-Determination contract or Self-Governance compact that includes programs for managing tribal land for three years without material audit exceptions.
Environmental Review under a TERA. The bill would change the requirements for environmental review under tribal law for transactions to be approved by a tribe pursuant to a TERA. The intent appears to be to make the requirements under a TERA conform to the requirements under the HEARTH Act, in which the requirement to inform the public and respond to comments is limited to environmental impacts that would be significant.
Exemption from Secretarial Approval without a TERA. The bill would eliminate the requirement for Secretarial approval of leases, rights-of-way, and business agreements on tribal trust or restricted land when such transactions are between a tribe and a TEDO that is majority owned and controlled by the tribe and has been so certified by the Secretary. A tribe would not need to enter into a TERA to exercise this option. The Senate Committee Report’s rationale for exempting such transactions from Secretarial approval is that a certified TEDO would be, in effect, an agency or instrumentality of the tribe and a tribe’s decision "to develop its own resources (i.e., without relying on a lease or agreement with a third, non-tribal party) on its own tribal land does not require approval by the Secretary."
Hydropower Licensing. Section 201 would amend the Federal Power Act (16 U.S.C. § 800(a)) to include Indian tribes in the preference that states and municipalities have for hydroelectric project licenses from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Biomass Demonstration Project. Section 202 would amend the Tribal Forest Protection Act of 2004 to establish a Tribal Biomass Demonstration Project "to promote biomass energy production (including biofuel, heat, and electricity generation) on Indian forest land and in nearby communities by providing reliable supplies of woody biomass from Federal land." The Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management could enter into agreements with tribes to carry out demonstration projects, in accordance with selection criteria set out in the bill. A separate subsection would authorize an Alaska Native Biomass Demonstration Project.
Weatherization Assistance Program. Section 203 would amend the Energy Conservation and Production Act of 1976 (42 U.S.C. § 6863(d)) to change the process for tribes to seek direct funding from the DOE Weatherization Assistance Program. Tribes could receive direct funding on behalf of their low-income members if DOE makes a determination that the services to be provided through the tribe would be equal to or better than services through the state. For this determination, section 203 provides that if the tribal organization seeking the funding is a tribally designated housing entity that has operated without material audit exceptions for three years there would be a presumption that tribal members would be equally or better served.
Appraisals. Section 204 of the bill would add a new section to Title 26 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992 establishing revised standards and procedures for transactions that require Secretarial approval and involve mineral or energy resources.
Sections 205 and 206 would amend the statute commonly known as the Long-Term Leasing Act relating to the Navajo Nation and Crow Tribe, respectively. Section 207 would require the Secretary to hold in trust "any advance payments, bid deposits, or other earnest money received by the Secretary in connection with the review and Secretarial approval . . . of a sale, lease, permit, or other conveyance of any interest" in trust or restricted land.

Savanna’s Act Passes Senate," FCNL's Native American Legislative Update, December 17, 2018,, reported, " The Senate passed Savanna’s Act (S. 1942), a top legislative priority for FC
    In August 2017, Savanna LaFontaine Greywind, a Spirit Lake Dakota and Turtle Mountain Chippewa woman, went missing and was found brutally murdered by her neighbor. The 22-year-old Savanna was eight months pregnant at the time. It took 8 days from the time Savanna was reported missing for law enforcement to discover her body.
     The crisis of missing and murdered Native American women is well-known in Indian Country, but their stories rarely make the headlines. To honor Savanna’s memory and bring awareness to this crisis, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (ND) introduced Savanna's Act. The bill increases coordination and communication between State, Federal, Tribal, and local law enforcement agencies. It improves collection of data related to missing and murdered Indians including collecting tribal affiliation and enrollment information of victims. Savanna’s act also requires the Department of Justice to include statistics on missing and murdered cases in its annual Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions report to Congress.
    Savanna’s Act passed out of the Senate Committee of Indian Affairs on November 14. FCNL submitted written testimony (available at: supporting Savanna’s Act and Sen. Heitkamp added our letter to the Congressional record. On Dec. 6, Savanna’s Act passed the Senate."

United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, "Gila River Indian Community Clarification Act passes Senate: H.R. 4032 will now go to the President to be signed into law," ICT, December 13 , 2018,, stated, "Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, announced Senate passage of H.R.4032, the Gila River Indian Community Federal Rights-of-Way, Easements and Boundary Clarification Act. The bill will now head to President Trump for his signature.
     H.R. 4032 Establishes, ratifies, documents, and confirms the Federal electrical, irrigation, and road rights-of-way and easements that exist within the exterior boundaries of the Reservation as of the date of the enactment of this Act.
    Establishes a fixed location of the northern boundary of the Reservation and provides for the Secretary of the Interior to ensure that the northern boundary is resurveyed and marked in conformance with the public system of surveys.
Authorizes and directs the Secretary of the Interior to place certain lands into trust for the benefit of the Gila River Indian Community.
    Substitutes the benefits provided under this Act to the Gila River Indian Community, its members and allottees for any claims that the Community, its members and allottees may have had in connection with alleged failures relating to the northern boundary of the Reservation and the documentation and management of Federal rights-of-way on the Reservation.
    'This legislation provides for the accurately surveyed northern boundary of the Reservation to be established, bringing much needed clarity and resolution to a dispute between the Gila River Indian Community and the Federal government that began in 1895,' Hoeven said. 'More importantly, this legislation affirms the Federal government’s respect for the rights of the Gila River Indian Community and reconciles Federal mismanagement of the Tribe's trust funds and non-monetary trust assets and resources .'
    H.R. 4032 was introduced by Congressman Tom O'Halleran on October 12, 2017. It passed the House of Representatives on July 17, 2018. On November 14, 2018 the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a Legislative Hearing to receive testimony on the bill. On November 28, 2018, the Committee held a Business Meeting on the bill and ordered it to be reported without amendment favorably. It will now go to the President to be signed into law."

    United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, "Senate passes Resolution commemorating Indian Child Welfare Act 40th Anniversary: S. Res. 707 will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration," ICT, December 13 , 2018,, stated, "Senators John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Tom Udall (D-NM), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, announced that the Senate passed S. Res. 707, a resolution commemorating the 40th Anniversary of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
    'The Indian Child Welfare Act is a landmark piece of legislation which upholds the principle of Tribal sovereignty and respects government to government relationships between the Federal government and Tribes,' said Hoeven.
    'Native American children, like all children, thrive when they are able to grow up with the support of their families, communities, and cultures,' said Udall.'Congress enacted the Indian Child Welfare Act in 1978 to ensure that best practices in child custody for Native communities are in place, keeping families together and kids healthy and safe. Now, 40 years after its passage, I’m proud to have worked with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to pass this resolution and mark the important impact that this law has had on generations of Native kids.'
     S. Res. 707
    Commemorates the 40th anniversary of the enactment of the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978.
    Reaffirms that the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
    Protects the best interests of Indian children.
    Promotes the stability and security of Indian Tribes and families.
    Respects the sovereign authority of both the States and Indian Tribes.
    Calls on the Federal Government to continue working with Indian Tribes and States to fully uphold and implement the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978
    S. Res. 707 was introduced by Senator Tom Udall (D-NM), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, on November 27, 2018. The Resolution will now go to the House of Representatives for consideration."

    United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, "Bill to Restore tribal homelands of Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe passes Senate: S. 2599 now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration," December 13 , 2018,, stated, "Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, announced that the Senate has approved S. 2599, the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act.
    S. 2599 would transfer approximately 11,760 acres of Federal land located in the Chippewa National Forest in Cass County, Minnesota from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Interior (DOI) for the benefit of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe
    The bill was introduced by Senator Tina Smith (D-MN) on March 22, 2018. The Committee held a Legislative Hearing to receive testimony on S. 2599 on July 11, 2018. On September 26, 2018, the Committee ordered the bill to be reported with an amendment favorably. This legislation will now move to the House of Representatives for consideration."

United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, " Senator Hoeven announces Senate passage of the Stigler Act Amendments of 2018: H.R. 2606 headed to the House of Representatives for swift action," ICT, December 13 , 2018,, stated, "Senator John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, announced Senate passage of the Stigler Act Amendments of 2018 with an amendment supported by Senators James Lankford and Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma.
     H.R. 2606 repeals certain provisions in Federal law regarding the restricted lands of members of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma.
The legislation is specific to the allotted tribal member lands of the five civilized tribes of Oklahoma- Choctaw, Chickasaw, Mvskoke (Creek), Cherokee, and Seminole. It amends the Stigler Act of 1947 by removing the one-half degree Indian blood quantum requirement needed to retain the restricted status of inherited allotted tribal member lands and brings parity to probate related matters in Oklahoma.
    H.R. 2606 was introduced by Congressman Tom Cole (R-OK-4) on May 23, 2017 and passed the House of Representatives on September 12, 2018. The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a Legislative Hearing to receive testimony on the bill on November 14, 2018. The Committee held a Business Meeting on the bill and reported favorably on the bill on November 28, 2018. The bill was amended in the Senate, so it will now return to the House for consideration."

    “Federal Legislation to Protect State and Tribal Marijuana Activities Introduced,” Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-029, July 13th, 2018, , reported, “On June 7, 2018, Senators Warren (D-MA) and Gardner (R-CO) introduced the ‘Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States Act’ or the "STATES Act" as S 3032. The STATES Act would authorize states and Indian tribes, in certain instances, to approve and regulate the growth, production and sale of marijuana free from federal penalties or criminal enforcement. The bill would not change the scheduling of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) – it will remain a Schedule I controlled substance – but it would exempt lawful state and tribal regulated cannabis activities from the penalties of the CSA. The bill would remove hemp from Schedule I of the CSA.
The STATES Act would not provide a blanket exemption from the CSA for marijuana growth, production and distribution by Indian tribes. Instead, the bill is tied to what each state has done, and it would protect only those tribes located in states that have legalized marijuana. Thus, the bill's protections would not extend to tribes located in states that still prohibit marijuana.
The bill would provide protection and certainty to commercial marijuana activity by tribes located in states that have approved commercial marijuana such as Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, Alaska, Maine, and Massachusetts. The bill would also provide clarity and certainty for tribes engaged in medical marijuana activity in states that permit only medical marijuana. As currently drafted, however, it is not clear whether the bill would protect a tribe engaging in commercial marijuana activity if that tribe is located in a state that has approved only medical marijuana.
Here is the relevant language of the STATES Act, which provides that the CSA will not apply to:
[A]ny person acting in compliance with State law relating to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana . . . any person acting in compliance with the law of a Federally recognized Indian tribe within its jurisdiction in Indian Country . . . related to the manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana so long as such jurisdiction is located within a state that permits, respectively, manufacture, production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.
The STATES Act would keep in place the CSA penalties for the sale or distribution of marijuana to people under the age of 21 for other than for medical purposes, as well as the penalties for marijuana businesses employing people under 18. Notably, the STATES Act would provide tribal- and state-run marijuana businesses with financial security by clarifying that marijuana-related banking transactions are not drug trafficking and are not transactions involved in the proceeds of an unlawful transaction.
We also note that the President Trump has expressed some support for the legislation. When asked about the STATES Act earlier in June, President Trump said, "I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he's doing. We're looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that."
The STATES Act was introduced with co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle: Senators Paul (R-KY), Cortez Masto (D-NV), Murkowski (R-AK), Booker (D-NJ), Sullivan (R-AK), and Bennet (D-CO) and has since garnered more: Senators Flake (R-AZ), and Klobuchar (D-MN). The STATES Act has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. The companion bill in the House, HR 6043, sponsored by Representative Joyce (R-OH) is also a bi-partisan effort with 23 co-sponsors. It has been referred to the House Judiciary and Energy & Commerce Committees.”

United States Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, stated, December 14, 2018, "Legislation introduced to improve hiring process for BIA law enforcement," ICT,, "Senators John Hoeven (R-ND), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Tom Udall (D-NM), Vice Chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs introduced legislation this week to help improve the hiring process for Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) law enforcement positions. The legislation would put in place a demonstration program enabling the BIA to conduct background checks for the agency’s law enforcement positions.
    Currently, the BIA runs their background checks through the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), which often takes as long as 12 to 18 months to complete the investigation.
    'This legislation would establish a demonstration program within the BIA to help address the backlog of background checks for those seeking to become BIA law enforcement officers. BIA law enforcement positions often go unfilled due to a lengthy background check process. It is critical that we fill those vacancies with qualified individuals and give BIA law enforcement the support they need,' Hoeven said. 'This legislation will give BIA the authority to conduct their own background checks and fill those positions in a timely manner.'
    'As I pointed out in the Indian Affairs Committee’s hearing on missing and murdered Indigenous women, one of the biggest public safety issues facing Indian Country is the need for more law enforcement personnel. When qualified candidates apply for Bureau of Indian Affairs law enforcement positions, they often face a needlessly cumbersome and lengthy hiring process – which sometimes stretches out for a year or more. This discourages applicants and worsens the officer shortage in tribal communities. That is totally unacceptable,' said Udall. 'I’m glad Senator Hoeven and I were able to work together on this bipartisan legislation. It is an important step in the right direction that would cut red tape and improve the background check process so that we can put more officers on the ground in Native communities to help keep Indian Country safe.'
     The Bill:
    Gives the Secretary of the Interior authority to conduct background investigations for law enforcement positions within the BIA for the duration of the demonstration program.
    Directs the Secretary to consider prior background checks in the process of their investigation.
    Gives the Secretary the authority to enter into memorandums of agreement with State, Local, and Tribal governments to expedite the process.
    Sets forth reporting requirements for BIA, and requires GAO to review the program to ensure the program’s integrity

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held ab oversight hearing on Wednesday, December 11, 2019, to address the "silent crisis" of missing and murdered people in Indian Country. a shawl ceremony during a vigil for missing and murdered indigenous women at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C., on September 11, 2018 (Acee Agoyo, "'Silent Crisis': The missing and murdered in Indian Country," IndianZ, December 11, 2018,

A bipartisan bill to establish a Veterans Administration advisory committee on Tribal and Indiana Affairs was introduced in the Senate aimed at increasing tribal-VA communications, and enhancing the VA's ability to overcome unique barriers to obtaining proper care of some Native veterans ("Bipartisan Bill to establish VA Advisory Committee on Tribal and Indian Affairs Introduced," NFIC, August 2018).

     Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced, in September 2018, Senate bill 2628 and house bill 5244, ‘The Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe Reservation Reaffirmation Act,’ that would prevent the Mashpee Wampanoag reservation from being taken out of trust, which could otherwise occur following a decision of Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, Tara Sweeney (“Cultural Survival Stands With The Mashpee Wampanoag Nation,” Cultural Survival, September 12, 2018, ).

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Federal Agency Developments

“Administration Seeks Comments on Potential Changes to NEPA Regulations; Comments Due July 20,” Hobbs-Straus June 29th, 2018, , reported, “ The Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) seeking comments on potential changes in the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970. 83 Fed. Reg. 28591 (June 20, 2018)(copy attached). NEPA is the federal statute that requires the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for any major federal action “significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2)(C). The ANPRM suggests that CEQ is contemplating making rather major changes – the request for comments is framed as twenty questions, covering a wide range of issues, many of which may be of concern to tribes. Two of the questions specifically ask about involvement of tribes in the NEPA process, but tribes can and should comment on any issues of concern. We do think it is likely that some of the entities filing comments in response to the ANPRM may favor limiting tribal involvement in the review of off-reservation projects. As such, we think it is important for tribes to file comments to make sure that CEQ is aware of their concerns.
The deadline for filing comments is July 20, 2018. The ANPRM is available here:
Background. NEPA is implemented through regulations promulgated by CEQ in 1978. 40 C.F.R. Parts 1500 – 1508. In the four decades since, CEQ has issued numerous guidance documents, but the regulations have been substantively revised only once, in 1985. The ANPRM is part of CEQ’s response to Executive Order 13807, ‘Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects.’ 82 Fed. Reg. 40463 (Aug. 24, 2017). The policy section of E.O. 13807 calls for environmental reviews and authorization processes to be conducted in a “coordinated, consistent, predictable, and timely manner.” In furtherance of the policy statement, section 5 of the E.O. directs federal agencies to use ‘One Federal Decision’ in processing environmental reviews and authorizations for major infrastructure projects. E.O. 13807 directed CEQ to develop “an initial list of actions to enhance and modernize the Federal environmental review and authorization process,” and CEQ published its ‘initial list’ on September 14, 2017. 82 Fed. Reg. 43226. One item on that list is ‘review existing CEQ regulations implementing the procedural provisions of NEPA in order to identify changes needed to update and clarify those regulations.’ The ANPRM appears to be CEQ’s announcement that it is launching a project to revise the regulations.
Questions That Mention Tribes. Among the twenty questions in the ANPRM, the two that explicitly refer to tribal governments are numbers 2 and 18:
2) Should CEQ’s NEPA regulations be revised to make the NEPA process more efficient by better facilitating agency use of environmental studies, analysis, and decisions conducted in earlier Federal, State, tribal or local environmental reviews or authorization decisions, and if so, how?
18) Are there ways in which the role of tribal governments in the NEPA process should be clarified in CEQ’s NEPA regulations, and if so, how?
Issues for Tribes to Consider. Tribes that administer environmental review processes under tribal law may want to respond to question 2 drawing on their experience. With respect to question 18, one specific point on which the role of tribal governments could be clarified is participation in the NEPA process as cooperating agencies. The regulations provide that a tribe may be a cooperating agency “when the effects are on a reservation.” 40 C.F.R. § 1508.5. Tribes are frequently concerned about environmental impacts outside of reservation boundaries, and many tribes do not have reservations. In practice, CEQ has not interpreted the “on a reservation” regulatory language as a prerequisite for a tribe to be a cooperating agency. Rather, CEQ has issued two guidance documents clarifying that there are two key criteria: a non-federal governmental agency can be a cooperating agency if it has either “jurisdiction by law” or “special expertise.” The guidance documents ignore the “on a reservation” regulatory text. In 2008, when the Department of the Interior (DOI) moved much of its NEPA implementing procedures from the Departmental Manual to the Code of Federal Regulations, DOI adopted the same approach: if a DOI bureau is the lead agency for an EIS, a tribal government agency with either jurisdiction by law or special expertise is eligible to be a cooperating agency. 43 C.F.R. § 46.225. If CEQ is going to make some changes in the regulations, this is one point that ought to be fixed.

Potential Impacts on Tribes. Given the emphasis in E.O. 13807 on making the NEPA process ‘predictable’ and ‘timely,’ several of the 20 questions seek comments on ways to expedite the process and reduce ‘unnecessary burdens and delays’ (e.g., questions 1, 3, 4, 6, 13, 17, 19). Changes in the regulations that are intended to improve ‘efficiency and effectiveness’ may also have the effect of limiting opportunities for tribes to become engaged in the NEPA review of projects outside of reservation boundaries

Changes Proposed for Endangered Species Act Regulations,” Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-033, August 29th, 2018, , reported, “On July 25, 2018, three proposed rules were published in the FEDERAL REGISTER to make changes in the regulations implementing the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA is administered by two different agencies: the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) in the Department of the Interior, and the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in the Department of Commerce. (NMFS has jurisdiction over marine and anadromous species, FWS over everything else.) Two of the proposed rules were jointly published by both Services; the other proposed rule was published by FWS. One of the jointly published rules would revise the regulations for listing species as endangered or threatened and for designating critical habitat (83 Fed. Reg. 35193), and the other would change the regulations for interagency consultation pursuant to ESA section 7 (83 Fed. Reg. 35178). The proposed rule published by FWS alone would change the FWS regulations regarding prohibited activities affecting threatened wildlife and plants (83 Fed. Reg. 35174). The deadline for filing comments on each proposed rule is September 24, 2018. The notices can be found here: (interagency cooperation) (designating critical habitat) (threatened wildlife and plants)
Issues of Concern for Tribes. Two of the proposals expressly include tribes among the entities from which comments are being sought and all three include the obligatory reference to Executive Order 13175 on "Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments." Other than that, however, none of the proposed rules include any specific reference tribes, or to issues of particular concern for tribes, in either the preamble or the proposed regulatory text. Many tribes have experiences relating to the ESA, and some listed species have major cultural and/or economic importance. In 1997 the two Departments issued Joint Secretarial Order 3206, ‘American Indian Tribal Rights, Federal-Tribal Trust Responsibilities, and the Endangered Species Act.’ The proposed rule on listing species and designating critical habitat mentions the Secretarial Order and says that the Services ‘are considering possible effects of this proposed rule on federally recognized Indian Tribes. We will continue to collaborate/coordinate with tribes on issues related to federally listed species and their habitats.’ Both of the joint proposed rules express willingness to consider comments raising issues that are not expressly addressed in the proposal, as ‘the Services are comprehensively reconsidering the processes and interpretations of statutory language’ (proposed rule on listing and critical habitat, 83 Fed. Reg. 35194; proposed rule on interagency consultation, 83 Fed. Reg. 35179).
One set of issues that occurs to us is how to better define the role of tribal governments in consultation pursuant to section 7 of the ESA for situations in which tribal agencies, through self-determination contracts and/or self-governance compacts, administer programs that would otherwise be the responsibility of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA). The existing regulations on section 7 consultation (50 C.F.R. Part 402) do not even mention tribes. The proposal to revise Part 402 is an opportunity to advocate for changes that would provide appropriate recognition of the sovereign status of tribal governments and their roles in implementing BIA programs
Overview of the ESA. Congress enacted the ESA in 1973 to establish a program to conserve endangered and threatened species as well as to conserve the ecosystems on which such species depend. 16 U.S.C. §§ 1531 – 1544. An ‘endangered species’ is a ‘species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range,’ and a threatened species’ is one ‘which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.’ 16 U.S.C. § 1532(6), (20) (emphasis added). The program authorized by the ESA includes listing species as endangered or threatened, prohibiting the ‘take’ of listed species, designating critical habitat, and requiring federal agencies to consult with the Services in order to avoid jeopardizing the continued existence of any listed species or causing destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat. ‘Take’ is statutorily defined as meaning ‘to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct.’ 16 U.S.C. § 1532(19). In some circumstances there are exceptions to the take prohibition. For federal actions, a biological opinion issued by one of the Services in the consultation process typically includes an incidental take statement. For non-federal entities, incidental take may be permitted in conjunction with a habitat conservation plan.
The Threatened Species Proposed Rule. In the FWS proposal to change its regulations regarding threatened species (this proposed rule that is not a joint proposal), FWS would adopt the approach that NMFS uses. Section 9 of the ESA sets out a list of activities that are prohibited with respect to endangered species. Section 4(d) authorizes the Services to establish prohibitions for threatened species through regulations. The FWS approach has been to use the authority of section 4(d) to render most of the section 9 prohibitions also applicable to threatened wildlife species. 50 C.F.R. §§ 17.31, 17.71. The NMFS has taken a different approach; rather than extending the section 9 prohibitions to all threatened wildlife species, NMFS has used the section 4(d) authority, in some cases, to adopt species-specific protective regulations. FWS says in the preamble of the proposed rule that an emphasis on species-specific regulations will allow FWS to make ‘better use of our limited personnel and fiscal resources.’
The Listing, Delisting, and Critical Habitat Proposed Rule. ESA section 4 directs each of the Secretaries (Interior and Commerce) to determine whether any species is endangered or threatened. The statute provides that determinations of whether to list any species as endangered or threatened ‘shall’ be made ‘solely on the basis of the best scientific and commercial data available.’ The regulations add the phrase ‘without reference to possible economic or other impacts of such determination.’ 50 C.F.R. § 424.11(b). One of the proposed changes would delete this added phrase. As a rationale for this change, the Services say, ‘While Congress precluded consideration of economic and other impacts from being the basis of a listing determination, it did not prohibit the presentation of such information to the public.’
With respect to delisting, the existing regulations, which allow for delisting on the basis of recovery, include the statement: ‘The principal goal of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service is to return listed species to a point at which protection under the Act is no longer required.’ The proposed rule would provide that delisting determinations will be made by applying the same criteria that are used in listing determinations. Coincidentally, this set of changes would result in the ‘principal goal’ statement being deleted.
With respect to the criteria for designating critical habitat (50 C.F.R. § 424.12), the proposed rule would add circumstances in which the Services could determine that designation of critical habitat would not be prudent. The proposed rule would also make changes in the provision authorizing the Services to include specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by the species that are essential for its conservation. As proposed, such a determination would include consideration of ‘societal conflicts’ and of whether the expenditure of resources would be ‘commensurate with the benefit to the species.’
The Proposed Rule on Interagency Consultation. Section 7 of the ESA requires each federal agency to consult with the relevant Service to ‘insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out by such agency . . . is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat.’ This requirement is implemented through joint regulations which provide that consultation can be either ‘informal’ or ‘formal’ (50 C.F.R. §§ 402.13, 402.14). The process typically begins with the federal agency (or the agency’s designated non-federal representative) preparing a "biological assessment" to determine whether any listed species or critical habitat are likely to be adversely affected by the action. Informal consultation is an optional process that may result in a determination by the federal agency, with concurrence by the Service, that "the action is not likely to adversely affect listed species or critical habitat," and that, therefore, formal consultation is not required. Formal consultation involves the preparation, by the Service, of a ‘biological opinion’ on whether or not the action is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of a listed species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat (a ‘jeopardy’ opinion or a ‘no jeopardy’ opinion. A ‘no jeopardy’ opinion may include statements authorizing incidental take. The proposed rule would make a number of changes in the Part 402 regulations. This memorandum notes only a few of the changes.
Destruction or adverse modification. One proposed change is in the definition of the term ‘destruction or adverse modification.’ In 2016, a sentence was added to this definition stating that among the kinds of alterations that fit the definition are ‘those that alter the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of a species or that preclude or significantly delay development of such features.’ The Services propose to delete this sentence, although they assert that this change neither raises nor lowers the bar for whether a proposed action would result in destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat, and that the practice of the Services in carrying out section 7 consultation will not change as a result of this change in a defined term. We note, however, that the preamble devotes more than three Federal Register pages to explaining the rationale for changing the regulatory text of this definition.
Applicability. The Services suggest revising the regulations to specify circumstances in which federal agencies would not be required to consult with the Services, and to authorize federal agencies to determine for themselves when such circumstances apply. This suggestion is discussed in the preamble; no regulatory text is proposed.
Programmatic consultation. The proposed rule would add language authorizing ‘programmatic consultation,’ an approach that the Services say can be used in either informal or formal consultation. Under this approach, consultation can address categories of actions, or proposed programs or policies, at a generalized level before site-specific is known. The Services promote this concept as a way to streamline the consultation process.
Deadline for informal consultation. Another way to streamline the process, the Services suggest, would be to establish a deadline for informal consultation. There is a deadline in the existing regulations for formal consultation, a deadline based on the statutory text: the process is supposed to be completed within 90 days from initiation of the process, with an extension of 60 days allowed by mutual agreement. There is no prescribed timeframe for informal consultation. The Services say that they are considering setting a 60-day deadline for informal consultation, though the proposed rule does not include any regulatory text on this point. The Services ask for comments on whether such a deadline would be helpful, whether 60 days is the appropriate time frame, when the clock should begin to run, and when to allow extension of the deadline.
Formal consultation. The proposed rule would make several changes in formal consultation intended to streamline the process. One change would "clarify" the information to be included in the package submitted by a federal agency to initiate formal consultation. One proposed new paragraph says that a federal agency "may submit existing document prepared for the proposed action such as [National Environmental Policy Act] analyses or other reports in substitution for the initiation package" (emphasis added). The preamble adds that documents prepared for compliance with state laws may be used. Arguably, documents prepared for compliance with tribal laws should also be acceptable. Tribes could ask the Services to clarify this point in the final rule. Another change would authorize the relevant Service, in preparing its biological opinion, to adopt all or part of the federal agency’s initiation package.
Mitigation measures. Another proposed clarification addresses the level of certainty that mitigation measures will in fact be implemented for the Services to consider such measures in issuing a ‘no jeopardy’ opinion. The proposed rule says, in effect, that the Services will simply assume that an action agency will implement mitigation measures described in the package it submits to initiate formal consultation. The preamble explicitly disagrees with a ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals holding that the Services can only consider mitigation measures that are supported by a ‘clear, definite commitment of resources.’ Tribes may want to seek assurance that the same assumption will apply to tribal commitments to mitigation measures.”

Richard Walker , "BIA qualifies Samish Nation to have lands put into trust: BIA: Samish Nation was federally recognized prior to 1934. Samish Nation Chairman: ‘We deserve a seat at the table.’," ICT, November 30 , 2018,, reported, " The Samish Indian Nation, which does not have a reservation, qualifies to have its lands put into trust, thanks to the BIA Northwest regional director’s determination that it was federally recognized in 1934 when the Indian Reorganization Act was adopted ."

"U.S. Senate Confirms Tara Mac Lean Sweeney as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs," NCAI, June 28, 2018, reported, "Today, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) announced the unanimous confirmation of Tara Mac Lean Sweeney as the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs at the Department of the Interior."

Kimberly Barker "Quapaw Nation expands tribal lands in Kansas," The Joplin Globe, November 27, 2018,, reported, The Quapaw Nation has obtained additional property in Cherokee County, Kansas, after its request for a 211-acre acquisition was approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs."
     “Indian Health Service Tribal Management Grants,” Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-028, July 9th, 2018,, reported,The Indian Health Service (IHS) has announced in the attached July 5, 2018 FEDERAL REGISTER notice the availability of $2.4 million in FY 2018 funds for Tribal Management Grants (TMG). The TMG program provides funding to federally-recognized tribes and tribal organizations to assume all or part of existing IHS programs, services, and functions and activities under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination Act. Grants may also be used for technical assistance and planning. The deadline for receipt of applications is August 17, 2018.
    Applications must be for one of the following four projects: 1) feasibility studies (maximum funding $70,000; 12-month period); 2) planning (maximum funding $50,000, 12-month period);
3) evaluation studies (maximum funding $50,000, 12-month period); or 4) health management structure (average funding $100,000 for 12 months; maximum funding $300,000 for 36 months). There is no cost share or matching requirement. The IHS expects to make 16-18 new and continuation awards. A signed resolution must accompany the application.
The IHS will fund applications according to a priority system, beginning with the Priority I applications. Priority I applications are those from tribes who have received federal recognition within the past five years (March 2013). Priority II applications are those from all other eligible federally-recognized tribes or tribal organizations whose new or competing continuation applications are for the sole purpose of addressing audit material weaknesses; Priority II applications are available only for health management structure projects. Priority III applications are from eligible Direct Service and Title I federally-recognized Indian tribes or tribal organizations submitting a competing continuation application or a new application. Priority IV applications are from eligible Title V Self Governance federally-recognized tribes or tribal organizations submitting a competing continuation or a new application.
The funding of approved Priority I applicants will occur before the funding of approved Priority II applicants; funding of approved Priority II applicants will occur before the funding of approved Priority III applicants; and funding of approved Priority III applicants will occur before the funding of approved Priority IV applicants.”

“HHS-Tribal Town Hall Meeting on Combatting Opioids and Substance Abuse,” General Memorandum 18-031, General Memorandum 18-031, July 17th, 2018, , reported, “In this Memorandum we report on the upcoming Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) July 24 Town Hall Meeting on Combatting Opioids and Substance Abuse. The meeting is specific to tribal interests. See the HHS notice below which provides additional detail and contact information.
The deadline to register for the meeting is July 23 while the meeting itself is July 24 at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building, 200 Independence Avenue S.W. Washington, DC 20201..The meeting is also available in live streaming.
Save the Date! Partnerships to Advance Tribal Health
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 | 8:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Eastern Time
HHS invites you to participate in the Partnerships to Advance Tribal Health (PATH): A National Town Hall on Combatting Opioids and Substance Abuse on Tuesday, July 24, 2018, 8:30 a.m.–12 p.m. eastern time, at the Hubert H. Humphrey Building - Great Hall in Washington, DC. PATH provides a national forum for tribal and federal officials to engage in dialogue to improve outcomes in tribal communities.
The PATH Town Hall will include special remarks from HHS leadership, members of Congress, and tribal leaders.”

"Department of Justice Releases Annual Report to Congress on Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions," November 23, 2018,, reported, "The Department of Justice released today its annual report to Congress, Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions, which provides a range of enforcement statistics required under the Tribal Law and Order Act, as well as information about the progress of the Department’s initiatives to reduce violent crime and strengthen tribal justice systems.
 The report reveals that in 2017, U.S. Attorney Offices prosecuted a majority of Indian country cases presented to them. U.S. Attorney Offices declined prosecution of a minority of cases presented to them primarily due to insufficient evidence or referral to another prosecuting authority, such as a tribal prosecutor. The report also shows that the FBI closed 12.5 percent more investigations in 2017 than in 2016 (see detailed findings below).
 'The Department of Justice is committed to public safety in Indian country,' said Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein. '“We have demonstrated this commitment over the past two years by investing substantial resources and supporting innovative programs that empower federal and tribal prosecutors and build the capacity of tribal justice systems. Today’s report demonstrates that our work makes a difference. Lasting public safety improvements in Indian country are best achieved when federal, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies work together.'
 'The Justice Department’s Indian Country Investigations and Prosecutions Report reflects that the many coordinated efforts among United States Attorneys and tribal justice officials are making a difference,' said Trent Shores, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Oklahoma, and Chairman of the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Native American Issues. 'Our work continues, and we must be resolute, in order to meet the challenges prevalent in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. In August, the Attorney General's Native American Issues Subcommittee met and renewed our commitment to finding meaningful and practical tools to help put an end to the disproportionate rates of violence afflicting Native Americans. Among these, the department is expanding the use of cross-deputization agreements, access to criminal databases, funding for juvenile programs serving at-risk native youth, and services to victims and their families. We must continue to work together and find solutions to violent crime and drug trafficking in Indian Country. United States Attorneys are committed to upholding the federal trust responsibility and the rule of law in Indian Country.'
 The Trump Administration has strengthened the Department’s commitment to Indian Country by prioritizing the reduction of violent crime throughout the United States—including in Indian Country. This reflects a recognition that Native Americans suffer from persistently high rates of violent crime, particularly domestic and sexual abuse of women and children, and like many communities in the United States, have been hit hard by both opioid and methamphetamine abuse.
 In April 2017, as part of the Department’s efforts under the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a series of actions the Department would take to support law enforcement and maintain public safety in Indian Country.
 The Justice Department recognizes that investigating crime and prosecuting those responsible is critical to public safety in Indian Country. To that end, the Justice Department’s partnerships with tribes, as well as all federal, state and local law enforcement, are crucial to success. The Department deploys innovative programs such as the Tribal Access Program , Tribal Special Assistant U.S. Attorneys , and numerous grant programs that enhance partnerships, increase information sharing, build capacity for local criminal justice systems, and provide services to victims of crime.
 According to the report, in 2017 implementation of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 (VAWA 2013) remained an important priority for the Department. Federal prosecutors continued to utilize the federal assault charges created by VAWA 2013. In Calendar Year (CY) 2017, federal prosecutors filed cases against 139 defendants under VAWA 2013’s enhanced federal assault statutes, which include enhanced sentences for certain crimes of domestic violence such as strangulation and stalking. They obtained 134 convictions (an increase of 30% from CY 2016 (103)). Also in CY 2017, prosecutors filed cases against 43 defendants in Indian country cases using the domestic assault by a habitual offender statute, 18 U.S.C. § 117, and obtained 29 convictions.
 Cooperation among federal and tribal law enforcement and victim advocates is key to successfully prosecuting sexual assault crimes in Indian country. As of 2017, every U.S. Attorney Office with Indian country responsibilities has developed federal sexual violence guidelines designed to improve the federal response to sexual abuse in tribal communities.
 The report also notes that the Tribal Liaison Program remains one of the most important components of the Department’s efforts in Indian country. TLOA requires that the U.S. Attorney for each district with Indian country appoint at least one Assistant United States Attorney to serve as a Tribal Liaison for that district. They foster and facilitate relationships between federal and tribal partners that are vital to reducing violent crime. As part of their duties, Tribal Liaisons assist in developing multi-disciplinary teams to combat child abuse, work with SART teams on sexual abuse response, conduct community outreach, and coordinate the prosecution of federal crimes.
    The information contained in the report shows the following:
     FBI’s CY 2017 statistics show a 12.5 percent increase in total closed investigations (2,210 total) compared to FBI’s CY 2016 statistics (1,960 total). The FBI has investigative responsibility for federal crimes committed on approximately 200 Indian Reservations. This responsibility is shared concurrently with BIA-OJS and other federal agencies with a law enforcement mission in Indian country
    Approximately 79.5 percent (1,511 out of 1,900) of Indian country criminal investigations opened by the FBI were referred for prosecution.
    Of the 699 Indian country investigations that the FBI closed administratively without referral for prosecution, the primary reason for closing (approximately 21 percent) was that the case did not meet statutory definitions of a crime or U.S. Attorney’s Office (USAO) prosecution guidelines. In addition, analysis of CY 2017 data indicates that 15 percent of investigations closed administratively were closed due to unsupported allegations, meaning no evidence of criminal activity was uncovered during the investigations. Another reason for non-referral (20 percent) was that the deaths under investigations were determined to be the result of accident, suicide, or natural causes.
84 percent (141 out of 167) of the death investigations that were closed administratively by the FBI in CY 2017 were closed because the death was due to causes other than homicide (i.e., accidents, suicide, or natural causes).
    In CY 2017, the USAOs resolved 2,390 Indian country matters.
    The majority of Indian country criminal matters resolved by the USAOs in CY 2017 (1,499 out of 2,390) were prosecuted (charges filed in either District or Magistrate Court).
The USAO declination rate remained relatively steady. USAO data shows that in CY 2017, 37% (891) of all (2,390) Indian country matters resolved were declined. USAOs declined cases at a similar rate in prior years: 34% (903) of all Indian country matters resolved (2,666) in CY 2016; 39% (1,043) of all Indian country matters resolved (2,655) in CY 2015; 34% (989) of all Indian country matters resolved (2,886) in CY 2014; 34% (853) of all Indian country matters resolved (2,514) in CY 2013; 31% (965) of all Indian country matters resolved (3,097) in CY 2012; and 38% (1,042) of all Indian country matters resolved (2,767) in CY 2011.
    The most common reason for declination by USAOs was insufficient evidence (70.9% in CY 2017, 68.0% in CY 2016, 71.7% in CY 2015, 59.6% in CY 2014, 55.6% in CY 2013, and 52% in CY 2012). The next most common reason for declination by USAOs was referral to another prosecuting authority (13.2% in CY 2017, 16.4% in CY 2016, 13.8% in CY 2015, 16.3% in CY 2014, 20.8% in CY 2013, and 24% in CY 2012).
 The data presented in this report covers only those offenses reported to the FBI and federal prosecutors. The majority of criminal offenses committed, investigated, and prosecuted in Indian Country are adjudicated in tribal justice systems. In much of Indian Country, tribal law enforcement and tribal justice systems hold criminals accountable, protect victims, provide youth prevention and intervention programs, and confront precursors to crime such as alcohol and substance abuse. These efforts are often in partnership with federal agencies or accomplished with support from federal programs and federal funding opportunities.
    Read the entire report at .
    Read about the Justice Department’s efforts to increase public safety in Indian County at ."

“August 6 Deadline to Apply for $110 Million from New Tribal Victim Services Program,” Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 18-026,, reported, On June 26, 2018, the Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a press release announcing an August 6 deadline for tribes, tribal consortia, and tribal designees to apply for $110 million in grants under the new tribal allocation from the Crime Victims Fund. DOJ also issued a detailed application package which may be found here:
We reported in our General Memorandum 18-022 of June 1, 2018, that the FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Act provided the first ever direct tribal allocation (three percent) under the Crime Victims Fund for the purpose of tribes improving their services for victims of crime. The pending FY 2019 appropriations bills for DOJ would increase the allocation to five percent.
DOJ notes in its press release that the ‘FY 2018 set-aside program has expanded the types of crimes addressed to cover victims of human trafficking, victimization as a result of opioid/drug-related crisis, child abuse and neglect, as well as victims of cybercrime and financial crime, among other areas.’
The application process is in two phases:
Phase 1 – The deadline for submitting Phase 1 application materials is 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on August 6, 2018. Applicants who are approved in Phase 1 will be contacted on or before September 30, 2018, and invited to submit Phase 2 materials.
Phase 2 – Applicants who are invited to submit Phase 2 materials must submit them no later than 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time on January 4, 2019.
DOJ expects to make three-year awards, with annual amounts generally not exceeding $720,000. The awards will be in the form of grants; there are no matching requirements. The expectation is that the awards will be for services that will begin on or before April 15, 2019.”
Josamine Bronnvik, “Jeff Sessions' Ruling Might Disproportionately Affect Indigenous Women,” Cultural survival, August 6, 2018,, reported, “On June 11, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ruled that domestic violence is not a valid reason to seek asylum in the United States. His decision overturned a previous ruling made in 2016 by the Justice Department’s Board of Immigration Appeals, which allowed an abused woman from El Salvador to seek and obtain asylum on the basis of her abuse. Sessions’ ruling affects many women seeking asylum from Latin American countries, but might disproportionately affect Indigenous women and their children .
Sessions wrote that domestic abuse is “private violence,” as opposed to violence perpetrated by the government, and as such is not a qualifying factor for asylum unless an asylum seeker can show that the government not only has difficulty protecting her from violence, but actually condones the violence or is totally incapable of stopping it.
Sessions goes on to say that asylum is based on protection of a person who is under threat as a result of her social group, and argued that domestic violence is not such a threat. Instead, he claims that it is based on a personal relationship with the victim. Sessions wrote in his ruling that “generally, claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence or gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will not qualify for asylum…. The mere fact that a country may have problems effectively policing certain crimes — such as domestic violence or gang violence — or that certain populations are more likely to be victims of crime, cannot itself establish an asylum claim.” A study conducted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, on the other hand, says that “UNHCR’s long-standing interpretation of refugee law recognizes that gender violence (including intimate partner violence)... meet the criteria for protection.”
The new ruling is especially significant because women in Latin America, and elsewhere, are at high risk of injury, long-lasting psychological harm, chronic pain, and death from domestic abuse. While all women are in danger of domestic assault, and potentially negatively affected by Sessions’ ruling, there is reason for particular concern for Indigenous women. Cultural Survival’s recent reports on the state of Indigenous women’s rights in Mexico and Guatemala showed that gendered violence disproportionately affects Indigenous women.
Many women who are victims of any sort of gender-based violence do not report, in part because they do not trust the authorities, but Indigenous women face additional systemic barriers to seeking and obtaining help from their governments because they are often located in rural areas with fewer sources of care and because they cannot always find someone in authority who speaks their language. Indigenous women might also face discrimination based on ethnicity from their home governments and judicial processes if they do report violence. As such, Indigenous women are more likely to be unable to gain help from their home governments or communities.
Even when women manage to report violence, they seldom receive justice
. The Public Prosecutor's Office in Guatemala receives more than 40,000 cases of violence against women every year but few cases are brought against perpetrators of violence against women, and even fewer sentences are carried out. One to two women are murdered every day in Guatemala, where the impunity rate in cases of femicide is estimated at 98 percent.
In Mexico in 2017, seven women were killed every day and domestic violence is a key cause of women’s deaths in the country. In almost half of the reported cases of violence against women in Nicaragua, the attack took place at home. In 2015, the deaths of 275 women were reported in Argentina, 39 of whom had reported violence to the police before their deaths. 171 of the killings took place inside the women's homes, making the home one of the most dangerous places to be a woman. One El Salvadoran woman said that she went to the police to report domestic violence and was told simply “well, he’s your husband.” These stories and statistics paint a clear picture that domestic violence is a serious threat from which Indigenous women have little chance of escape, especially if we no longer count it as a reasonable cause to flee to safer ground.”

An agreement describing joint management roles for Canyon de Chelly, within the Navajo Nation reservation, was signed by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Navajo Nation, in June 2018, following a series of public hearings on the proposed agreement (Cindy Yurth, "Agreement signed for Canyon de Chelly," Navajo Times, June 28, 2018).

It was announced in September 2018, that ground is expected to be broken on September 21,2018, on the National Native American Veterans Memorial, on the grounds of the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, DC (David Karas, "Native American veterans get spotlight with memorial," Christian Science Monitor Weekly, September 17, 2018).

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Federal Indian Budgets

“Two Week Extension of FY 2019 Continuing Resolution through December 21; Impasse on Southern Border Wall Funding Could Lead to Partial Government Shutdown,” Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 18-040, December 6, 2018, , reported, “ Congress has approved and the President will sign another Continuing Resolution (CR), H.J. Res.143, to fund those federal agencies for which no FY 2019 appropriations bill have been enacted. The CR will extend funding through December 21, 2018, at largely FY 2018 terms and spending levels. The House and Senate each approved H. J. Res. 143 via voice vote. The previous CR was to expire December 7.
The agencies funded under the CR are: Interior, Environment and Related Agencies; Agriculture; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies; Financial Services; Homeland Security; State-Foreign Operations; and Commerce-Justice-Science. It is likely that funding for these agencies will be combined into one appropriations package.
For information comparing FY 2018 enacted levels with FY 2019 House and Senate proposals, see our General Memoranda 18-025 of June 26, 2018, for the Indian Health Service (IHS) and 18-032 of August 16, 2018, for Indian Affairs.
The main impediment to enactment of the remaining appropriations bills is the President's insistence on $5 billion as a down payment for construction of a wall on our Nation's southern border. Originally, the President had requested $1.6 billion in his FY 2019 budget for the wall, an amount contained in the Senate FY 2019 Homeland Security funding bill for securing the border. Later, the President changed that amount to $5 billion; however, the Administration has never filed a budget amendment with Congress detailing how this increased funding would be used. Despite the lack of a formal budget amendment request, the House obliged and has included the $5 billion in their FY 2019 Homeland Security funding bill. At times, the President has said he will stand firm for the $5 billion and would veto the appropriations bill if it did not contain that funding level, thus causing a partial government shutdown.
The CR which provides funding through December 21 also continues provisions from the previous CR including:
• Extension of the authorizations to December 21, 2018, for the Violence Again Women Act (VAWA), the National Flood Insurance Program, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF). We note that the TANF program receives its funding on a quarterly basis and so has already been funded through December 2018 via the previous CR.
• Authority for agencies to make entitlement payments that are due within 30 days of the expiration of the CR; and
• IHS staffing and operations funding for facilities that were opened, renovated or expanded in FY 2018: $14,112,000 from the Services Account and $1,200,000 from the Facilities Account in addition to the funding that would be provided in the CR.
As is common in CRs, the funds will not be distributed for programs that may have high initial rates of operation or for funds which are fully distributed at the beginning of the fiscal year. This is because of the possibility that Congress might eliminate or reduce funding for those particular programs in a final appropriations bill. Agencies are to use the most limited funding action permitted in the Act in order to provide for continuation of projects and activities. Agencies will be allowed to apportion funds in a manner that would avoid furloughing employees.
The agencies for which FY 2019 appropriations have already been enacted are Defense and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education (PL 115-245); and Energy-Water; Military Construction-Veterans Administration; and Legislative Branch (PL 115-244).

Senate Passes FY 2019 Continuing Resolution through December 7; House Passage Expected Next Week
Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-034, September 19th, 2018
“On September 18, 2018, the Senate overwhelmingly approved HR 6157, a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government through December 7, 2018, at largely FY 2018 terms and spending levels. The House is not in session this week but the measure is expected to be considered expeditiously when the House returns next week. The CR is designed to give Congress leeway to continue negotiating the remaining FY 2019 spending bills even after the beginning of the new fiscal year (October 1, 2018).
In addition to the CR, the following are included in HR 6157:
• Full year FY 2019 appropriations for Defense and for Labor-Health and Human Services-Education;
• Extension of the authorizations to December 7, 2018, for the Violence Again Women Act (VAWA) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), both of which are set to expire October 1, 2018;
• Authority for agencies to make entitlement payments that are due within 30 days of the expiration of the CR; and
• Indian Health Service (IHS) staffing and operations funding for facilities that were opened, renovated or expanded in FY 2018: $14,112,000 from the Services Account and $1,200,000 from the Facilities Account.
As is common in CRs, the funds will not be distributed for programs that may have high initial rates of operation or for funds which are fully distributed at the beginning of the fiscal year. This is because of the possibility that Congress might eliminate or reduce funding for those particular programs in a final appropriations bill. Agencies are to use the most limited funding action permitted in the Act in order to provide for continuation of projects and activities. Agencies will be allowed to apportion funds in a manner that would avoid furloughing employees.
Completed FY 2019 Appropriations. Congress earlier this month approved and sent to the White House for signature a package of FY 2019 spending bills covering Energy-Water, Military Construction-Veterans Administration, and Legislative Branch.
Remaining FY 2019 Appropriations. A pending package of FY 2019 appropriation bills covering Interior, Environment and Related Agencies (which funds Indian Affairs and the IHS), Agriculture, Transportation-Housing, and Financial Services is still being worked on by conferees. Apparently still unresolved are matters regarding several policy riders and the issue of a federal pay raise.
Still to be conferenced are State-Foreign Ops and Commerce-Justice-Science. Regarding Homeland Security, we understand that further action will not take place on that bill until after the mid-term elections, thus putting off the highly contentious issue of funding for a wall on our southern border.”

President Signs FY 2019 Continuing Resolution through December 7; Interior and Related Agencies Appropriations to be Funded through the CR
Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-035, September 30th, 2018

Today, the President signed HR 6157, a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund those federal agencies through December 7, 2018, at largely FY 2018 terms and spending levels, for which FY 2019 appropriations bills have yet to be enacted. The CR is designed to give Congress leeway to continue negotiating the remaining FY 2019 spending bills even after the beginning of the new fiscal year (October 1, 2018). Attached to the CR is full year FY 2019 appropriations for the Defense and the Labor-Health and Human Services-Education agencies.
We had hoped that the FY 2019 appropriations package which would have funded Interior, Environment and Related Agencies; Agriculture; Transportation and Housing; and Financial Services would have also been finalized and enacted for the full year. While negotiations took place over the course of several weeks, a number of issues were not able to be resolved before the beginning of the new fiscal year, October 1, 2018. These agencies will instead be funded by the CR through December 7, 2018. For our General Memoranda comparing FY 2018 enacted levels with FY 2019 proposals, see General Memorandum 18-025 of June 26, 2018, for the Indian Health Service (IHS) and General Memorandum 18-032 of August 16, 2018, for Indian Affairs. Other agencies that will be funded under the CR are Homeland Security; State-Foreign Operations; and Commerce-Justice Science.
The agencies for which appropriations have already been enacted (in addition to Defense and Labor-Health and Human Services-Education), are Energy-Water; Military Construction-Veterans Administration; and Legislative Branch (PL 115-244).
In addition to the CR, the following are included in HR 6157:
• Extension of the authorizations to December 7, 2018, for the Violence Again Women Act (VAWA) and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program (TANF), both of which are set to expire October 1, 2018;
• Authority for agencies to make entitlement payments that are due within 30 days of the expiration of the CR; and
• IHS staffing and operations funding for facilities that were opened, renovated or expanded in FY 2018: $14,112,000 from the Services Account and $1,200,000 from the Facilities Account in addition to the funding that would be provided in the CR.
As is common in CRs, the funds will not be distributed for programs that may have high initial rates of operation or for funds which are fully distributed at the beginning of the fiscal year. This is because of the possibility that Congress might eliminate or reduce funding for those particular programs in a final appropriations bill. Agencies are to use the most limited funding action permitted in the Act in order to provide for continuation of projects and activities. Agencies will be allowed to apportion funds in a manner that would avoid furloughing employees.

FY 2019 Indian Affairs Administration's Request vs House and Senate Recommendations
Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-032, August 16th, 2018
“In this Memorandum we report on the House and Senate's recommendations for the FY 2019 Indian Affairs budget (which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)), as well as a few other selected programs in the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill, compared with the Administration's request. The House's Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations bill and accompanying report are HR 6147, H. Rept. 115-765, while the Senate's bill and report are S 3073 and S. Rept. 115-276. To get to a House Floor vote, the House Interior appropriations bill was packaged with the House Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill. Subsequently, the Senate took up the House-passed package and amended it with its own bill language for Interior, Environment and Related Agencies; Financial Services and General Government; Agriculture; and Transportation-Housing and Urban Development. Differences between the two proposals will need to be worked out in conference committee when both Chambers return in September. Because the fiscal year begins October 1, 2018, Congress may resort to a Continuing Resolution to fund some federal agencies at FY 2018 terms and conditions while the conference committees negotiate.
Fortunately for Indian Country, the House recommends $3.1 billion for Indian Affairs while the Senate recommends $3 billion—a stark contrast to the $2.4 billion requested by the Trump Administration. (For reference, the FY 2018 enacted amount is $3 billion.) The FY 2018 enacted funding levels and Congress's FY 2019 recommended funding levels reflect a broad two-year deal reached by Congress to readjust the spending caps for FY 2018 and FY 2019 for both domestic and defense accounts.
For FY 2019 the Administration requested lower spending levels and the zeroing out of many programs, including much of the funding associated with the Tiwahe Initiative. Further, throughout the budget the Administration had estimated, "Administrative savings attained by consolidating and sharing administrative services such as procurement, Information Technology and Human Resources, and by shifting acquisition spending to less costly contracts."
The House and Senate responded by generally ignoring the Administration's request and recommending funding levels similar to FY 2018 with increases for fixed costs as well as some targeted increases.
The House Report explains:
All subactivities and program elements presented in the budget estimate submitted to the Congress are continued at fiscal year 2018 enacted levels and adjusted for requested fixed costs and transfers. None of the requested program changes are agreed to unless specifically addressed below.
The Senate Report also reminds the Administration of previously requested information, which remains outstanding:
… budget reductions proposed in the request are not included in the recommendation. Other budget reductions proposed in the request are not included in the recommendation. The Committee has included fixed costs and internal transfers as proposed along with the following instructions.
The Committee would like to remind the Bureau of the importance of meeting reporting requirements and notes that the Bureau has not submitted reports as directed over the last several fiscal years. The Committee directs the formation of these reports in order to help determine funding levels for programs; therefore, if the Bureau cannot produce information as requested, the Committee may not be able to properly evaluate programs and future funding levels may be impacted.
The addition of many Bureau programs to the Government Accountability Office’s [GAO] 2018 high risk list (GAO–17–317) indicate there are several challenges to overcome in order to improve the Federal management of programs that serve Tribes and their members. The Committee stands ready to work with the Bureaus to implement the GAO recommendations and strongly encourages the Bureau to make these necessary changes.
The In keeping with prior years, the following statement of values is included in the House Report:
The Bureau of Indian Affairs, Bureau of Indian Education, and Office of the Assistant Secretary—Indian Affairs (together, "Indian Affairs") programs serve 573 federally recognized Indian Tribes, a service population of approximately two million American Indians and Alaska Natives in Tribal and Native communities. The Bureau of Indian Affairs provides direct services and funding for compacts and contracts for Tribes to provide Federal programs for a wide range of activities necessary for community development. Programs address Tribal government, natural resource management, trust services, law enforcement, economic development, and social service needs. The Bureau of Indian Education manages a school system with 169 elementary and secondary schools and 14 dormitories providing educational services to 47,000 individual students, with an Average Daily Membership of 41,000 students in 23 States. The BIE also operates two post-secondary schools and administers grants for 29 Tribally controlled colleges and universities and two Tribal technical colleges. In preparation for the fiscal year 2019 appropriation bill, the Subcommittee held two days of hearings and received testimony from over 80 witnesses on a variety of topics pertaining to American Indian and Alaska Native programs. The Federal government has a legal and moral obligation to provide quality services to American Indians and Alaska Natives. On a nonpartisan basis, the Committee continues to protect and, where possible, strengthen the budgets for Indian Country programs in this bill in order to address longstanding and underfunded needs [emphasis added].
Department of Interior Reorganization. For FY 2019, to comply with President Trump's Executive Order 13781 on a Comprehensive Plan for Reorganizing the Executive Branch, each federal agency is creating a reorganization plan. See our General Memorandum 17-025 of April 14, 2017. The Department of Interior is proposing to reorganize around common regional boundaries to "enhance coordination of resource decisions and policies and simplify how citizens engage with the Department". Since iterations of the proposed reorganization plan have been made public, there has been significant pushback from tribes. Secretary Zinke has indicated that BIE will not be part of this since it is already in the process of reorganizing and that it could be up to tribes to determine whether the BIA is included in the proposed reorganization or not. Many tribes have expressed concern about the proposed reorganization—both in terms of the structure of the proposed reorganization as well as the level of consultation with tribes. One concern about the proposal to align offices along regional boundaries and push more decisions to the regional level is that tribes interact with other bureaus and offices in the Department of Interior beyond Indian Affairs so it might not be easy for tribes to simply "opt out." The House's and Senate's responses are found under the EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES and the OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY—DEPARTMENTAL OPERATIONS sections of this report.
Public Lands Infrastructure Initiative. For FY 2019, the Administration is proposing the creation of a new Public Lands Infrastructure Fund (Fund) to "address repairs and improvements in national parks, national wildlife refuges, and Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools." However, in order for the Fund to accrue a balance that can be spent on these projects, the Administration is proposing that 50% of any revenues from energy leasing above the current FY 2018 baseline be deposited into the Fund for a period of 10 years, with the total deposits capped at $18 billion (the other 50% of increased revenues would go to the Treasury to support deficit reduction). The Administration estimates that this would result in $6.8 billion in expenditures from the Fund over 10 years. On the other hand, the Department of Interior's Royalty Policy Committee is also considering sharply lowering the royalty rate for these energy leases. Thus, there would need to be substantially more energy development on public lands in order for the proposed Fund to accrue this estimated amount. Congress is currently considering this proposed Public Lands Infrastructure Fund as separate legislation. Further information about the Administration's request for regular appropriations for school maintenance and repair—as well as the House's and Senate's responses—are found under the EDUCATION CONSTRUCTION subsection of this report.
FY 2018 Enacted $2,411,200,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $2,002,996,000
FY 2019 House $2,436,821,000
FY 2019 Senate $2,403,890,000
Operation of Indian Programs (OIP) budget includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).
Tribal Priority Allocations (TPA). The House Report affirms the importance of TPA programs:
The recommendation includes $706,373,000 for Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) programs, $15,289,000 above the fiscal year 2018 enacted level and $127,698,000 above the budget request. TPA programs fund basic Tribal services, such as social services, job placement and training, child welfare, natural resources management, and Tribal courts. TPA programs give Tribes the opportunity to further Indian self determination by establishing their own priorities and reallocating Federal funds among programs in this budget category.
FY 2018 Enacted $1,496,787,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $1,261,146,000
FY 2019 House $1,518,278,000
FY 2019 Senate $1,504,232,000
Activities within the Bureau of Indian Affairs are: Tribal Government; Human Services; Trust-Natural Resources Management; Trust-Real Estate Services; Public Safety and Justice; Community and Economic Development; and Executive Direction and Administrative Services.
FY 2018 Enacted $317,967,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $291,514,000
FY 2019 House $323,438,000
FY 2019 Senate $319,973,000
The Tribal Government sub-activities are: Aid to Tribal Government; Consolidated Tribal Government Program; Self-Governance Compacts; New Tribes; Small and Needy Tribes; Road Maintenance; and Tribal Government Program Oversight. (For funding levels by sub-activity, see attached budget charts from p. 175-176 of the House Report and p. 129 of the Senate Report).
The House and Senate rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out funding for the Small and Needy Tribes sub-activity. For some sub-activities, modest increases are recommended.
Consolidated Tribal Government Program. The Senate Report states:
The Committee is concerned about the funding and allocation for the Consolidated Tribal Government Program and has included the fiscal year 2018 enacted level for this program along with fixed costs. The Committee again requests the Bureau report back to the Committee within 30 days of enactment of this act with a description of the number of Tribes that use this program and how increases for this program compare to others that offer similar services.
Self-Governance Compacts. This sub-activity provides resources to new and existing self-governance tribes, enabling them to plan, conduct, consolidate and administer programs, services, functions, and activities for tribal citizens. The Senate recommended a $1.1 million increase above FY 2018.
New Tribes. This sub-activity provides $160,000 in Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) base funding per tribe to support newly federally-recognized tribes. Once a tribe has been acknowledged, it remains in this category for three fiscal years. Congress concurred with the Administration's request for $1,120,000 to provide initial federal support for the six Virginia tribes federally recognized by an Act of Congress in January 2018: the Chickahominy, the Eastern Chickahominy, the Upper Mattaponi, the Rappahannock, the Monacan, and the Nansemond. The Senate Report elaborates that, "the Committee is also aware that new Tribes seeking Tribal recognition are often met with delay. The Committee expects the Bureau to efficiently administer the Tribal recognition process and strongly encourages action on pending requests."
Small and Needy Tribes. The purpose of this sub-activity is to provide small tribes with a minimum Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) base funding by which they can support their tribal governments. The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to zero out this sub-activity, instead proposing level funding ($4,448,000). The Senate Report explains that, "This funding will enable all small and needy Tribes to receive the maximum base level provided by the Bureau to run Tribal governments and directs the Bureau to make these payments quickly after the apportionment is approved."
Road Maintenance. The House recommends a $3.6 million increase for this sub-activity while the Senate recommends near-level funding. With regard to school bus routes, the House Report directs: "Indian Affairs is urged to use the increase to improve the condition of unpaved roads and bridges used by school buses transporting students." The Senate Report once again requests an update on the implementation of the Government Accountability Office's recommendations:
The Committee is concerned about the future funding of the Road Maintenance account, the backlog for deferred maintenance of roads in Indian Country, and the implementation of roads data in the National Tribal Transportation Facility Inventory; therefore, the Committee directs the Bureau to report back to the Committee within 60 days of enactment of this act on how the Bureau plans to allocate the funds provided in the bill and the progress being made to implement the GAO recommendations outlined in the report GAO–17–423. Within the program funding for road maintenance, $1,000,000 is continued for the implementation of the NATIVE Act of 2016.
FY 2018 Enacted $161,063,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $115,358,000
FY 2019 House $161,416,000
FY 2019 Senate $161,416,000
The Human Services sub-activities are: Social Services; Welfare Assistance; Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA); Housing Improvement Program (HIP); Human Services Tribal Design; and Human Services Program Oversight. (For funding levels by sub-activity, see attached budget charts from p. 176 of the House Report and p. 129 of the Senate Report).
Tiwahe Initiative. The House and Senate once again rejected the Administration's proposed cuts to the individual Human Services sub-activities (many of which support the broader Tiwahe Initiative) as well as the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Tiwahe Initiative demonstration project and the Housing Improvement Program sub-activity.
The House Report provides the following direction:
Funding for the Tiwahe (family) initiative is restored. As originally proposed by the Department and supported by the Congress, fiscal year 2019 is the fifth and final year of the initiative. After the fiscal year has ended, and in consultation with affected Tribes, the Bureau is directed to publish a final report that includes measures of success and guidelines for other Tribes wanting to implement the model with Tribal Priority Allocation funds.
The Senate Report elaborates:
The recommendation includes funding to continue the Tiwahe Initiative at the enacted levels. The Committee believes this initiative is a way to help strengthen Tribal communities by leveraging programs and resources; however, it is important to measure program effectiveness. The Committee directs the Bureau to report back within 90 days of enactment of this act on the performance measures being used to monitor and track the initiative’s effectiveness in Indian country. Within the amounts provided for Tiwahe, at least $300,000 is to be used to support women and children's shelters that are serving the needs of multiple tribes or Alaska native Villages in the areas served by Tiwahe pilot sites. The Committee continues to support the Tiwahe pilot initiative; however, the Committee understands there are significant social service needs in Indian Country. The Committee directs the Bureau to report back within 180 days of enactment of this act on the status of the National Training Center for Indian Services and how this Center will seek to improve social services across Indian Country.
Welfare Assistance. Once again, the Senate Report requests the following information:
The Committee remains concerned about the funding distribution for welfare assistance and directs the Bureau to report back to the Committee upon enactment of this act on how this funding would be distributed.
FY 2018 Enacted $204,202,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $153,424,000
FY 2019 House $207,370,000
FY 2019 Senate $204,870,000
The Trust–Natural Resources Management sub-activities are: Natural Resources, general; Irrigation Operation and Maintenance; Rights Protection Implementation; Tribal Management/Development Programs; Endangered Species; Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation; Integrated Resource Information; Agriculture and Range; Forestry; Water Resources; Fish/Wildlife & Parks; and Resource Management Oversight. (For funding levels by sub-activity, see attached budget charts from p. 176-177 of the House Report and p. 129-130 of the Senate Report).
The House and Senate rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, as well as the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation sub-activity. Instead, the Chambers recommended funding the Trust–Natural Resources Management sub-activities at close to FY 2018 enacted levels.
Tribal Management/Development Program, including Cooperative Agreements and Alaska Subsistence. The Senate Report directs:
Within the amounts, $12,036,000 is provided for the Tribal Management/Development Program. The recommendation does not include the proposed cuts to the rights protection implementation program or the invasive species program. It is the Committee's understanding the Bureau has entered into cooperative agreements with Ahtna Inter Tribal Resource Commission and the Kuskokwim River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission with other organizations interested in establishing similar agreements; therefore, it is the Committee’s expectation that within the funding provided, pilot projects and programs for Alaska subsistence will continue.
Funding Distributions for Tribes East of the Mississippi River. The Senate Report states:
The Committee recognizes that many Tribes west of the Mississippi River tend to have reservations that are larger in terms of land mass than those east of the Mississippi River and face challenges including drought. However, the Committee expects that Tribes across the country who have resource challenges receive appropriate.funding.
Resource Management Agreements with Tribes. The Senate Report directs:
The Department of the Interior is expected to promote and expand the use of agreements with Indian Tribes to protect Indian trust resources from catastrophic wildfire, insect and disease infestation, or other threats from adjacent Federal lands, as authorized by law. The Committee directs the Bureau to coordinate with the Office of Wildland Fire to submit a report describing how the Department determines the use of wildfire suppression and rehabilitation resources and prioritizes Indian forest land.
Coastal Tribes. The House Report directs:
The Committee supports the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ efforts to address the needs of coastal Tribal communities by working to address threats to public safety, natural resources, and sacred sites. Consistent with the Federal government’s treaty and trust obligations, the Committee directs the Bureau of Indian Affairs to work with at-risk Tribes to identify and expedite the necessary resources.
Fish, Wildlife, and Parks. The House Report directs:
Within the amounts provided for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, the
recommendation continues $545,000 for substantially producing Tribal hatcheries in BIA’s Northwest Region currently not receiving annual BIA hatchery operations funding. This funding should be allocated in the same manner as in fiscal year 2018 but should be considered base funding in fiscal year 2019 and thereafter.
Pacific Salmon Treaty. The Senate Report directs:
The Committee directs the Bureau to report back in 30 days of enactment of this act with a detailed cost estimate of the Bureaus responsibilities under the Pacific Salmon Treaty.
Tribal Partnerships with USGS. The Senate Report directs:
The Committee continues direction for the Bureau to enter into a formal partnership with local Tribes and the United States Geological Survey to help develop a water quality strategy for transboundary rivers. .
FY 2018 Enacted $129,841,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $105,484,000
FY 2019 House $130,680,000
FY 2019 Senate $130,680,000
The Trust–Real Estate Services sub-activities are: Trust Services; Navajo-Hopi Settlement Program; Probate; Land Title and Records Offices; Real Estate Services; Land Records Improvement; Environmental Quality; Alaska Native Programs; Rights Protection; and Trust-Real Estate Services Oversight.
The House and Senate rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, including the Administration's proposal to zero out funding for the Alaska Native Programs sub-activity and the Litigation Support/Attorney Fees program element within the Rights Protection sub-activity. The Senate Report explains that the recommended increase above the FY 2018 enacted level is to cover fixed costs and internal transfers.
Alaska Native Programs. Not only did the House and Senate reject the Administration's request to zero out the sub-activity, the Senate Report specifies that within the amount recommended, there continue to be a program level of $450,000 for "the certification of historical places and cultural sites, including Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act sites."
Realty Trust Acquisition Program. The House Report directs:
The Committee directs the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to identify the funding determined necessary, in collaboration with congressional and agency stakeholders, within the Trust—Real Estate Services budget activity to improve the efficiency of the Realty Trust acquisition program at BIA. The Committee understands that the program has long suffered from shortages of personnel which has resulted in a history of backlogs, slow processing times and has hindered engagement with Tribes and Tribal members.
Furthermore, the Committee understands the program is transitioning to a more automated tracking process and looks forward to more timely and accurate processing and reporting. The Committee expects the Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs to be in regular communication with the Committee regarding direction or assistance needed until the problems of backlogs and slow processing times have been adequately resolved.
Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act. The House Report, echoing the FY 2018 Joint Explanatory Statement, directs:
The Committee directs the Secretary, or his designee, to work with the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to identify appropriate lands in Clallam County, Washington, to satisfy the requirements of section 7 of the Elwha River Ecosystem and Fisheries Restoration Act (P.L. 102–495).
Abandoned Wells. The Senate Report, echoing the FY 2018 Joint Explanatory Statement, directs:
The Committee directs the Bureau to conduct an inventory of wells for which BIA is responsible to reclaim, including cost estimates, for submission to the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act.
Fee-to-Trust. The Senate Report states:
The Committee notes the Bureau's ongoing public comment period concerning the revision of fee-to-trust regulations and directs the Bureau to report to the Committee within 30 days of the date of the enactment of this act concerning the status of all pending applications before the Bureau, including detail on tribal consultation undertaken during the revision process.
FY 2018 Enacted $405,520,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $350,131,000
FY 2019 House $418,915,000
FY 2019 Senate $407,267,000
The Public Safety and Justice sub-activities are: Law Enforcement; Tribal Courts; and Fire Protection. (For funding levels by sub-activity, see attached budget charts from p. 179 of the House Report and p. 131 of the Senate Report).
The House and Senate rejected the Administration's proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out Tribal Justice Support for tribes in PL 280 states and for the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). While the Senate proposed largely level funding, the House Report specifies the following increases:
The recommendation includes $418,915,000 for Public Safety and Justice. Program increases include: $2,500,000 in Criminal Investigations and Police Services to bring the total to $10,303,000 for additional patrol officers in areas hit hardest by the opioid epidemic; $1,148,000 for facility operations and maintenance; and $8,000,000 for Tribal courts. The Committee recognizes that one of the most fundamental aspects of the Federal government's Trust responsibility is the obligation to protect public safety on Tribal lands.
Tiwahe Initiative: Reducing Recidivism. The Senate Report emphasizes, "The Committee also expects the recidivism initiative administered through the Tiwahe initiative to be continued at current levels."
Impacts of Opioid Addictions. This funding first appeared in the FY 2018 Omnibus. The Senate Report specifies, "… and $7,500,000 is continued to help people affected by opioid addiction."
NAGPRA Implementation. This funding is also a recent addition. The Senate Report specifies:
Within the funding provided for criminal investigations and police services, $1,000,000 is to be continued for the implementation of Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.
Law Enforcement Funding for Restored Tribes. The Senate Report once again provides the following direction and once again requests following report:
The Committee understands that several Tribes who were terminated and then subsequently restored now face significant challenges in securing law enforcement funding through self-determination contracts. The Bureau is directed to work with affected Tribes to assess their law enforcement needs and submit a report to the Committee within 60 days of enactment of this act that details the amounts necessary to provide sufficient law enforcement capacity for these Tribes.
Educational and Health-Related Services for Individuals in Tribal Detention Centers Considered Allowable Costs. The House Committee continued report language from FYs 2017 and 2018, stating:
For the purpose of addressing the needs of juveniles in custody at Tribal detention centers operated or administered by the BIA, educational and health-related services to juveniles in custody are allowable costs for detention/corrections program funding. Indian Affairs is urged to provide mental health and substance abuse services when needed by juvenile and adult detainees and convicted prisoners.
Tribal Courts and Tribal Justice Support in PL 280 States. The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to zero out judicial funding for tribes in PL 280 states. The Senate Report provides the BIA with the following continued direction:
The Committee does not accept the proposed decrease for Tribal justice support and restores this amount to ensure $13,000,000 remains available to address the needs of Public Law 83–280 States. The Committee remains concerned about the Tribal courts needs as identified in the Indian Law and Order Commission’s November 2013 report which notes Federal investment in Tribal justice for Public Law 83–280 States has been more limited than elsewhere in Indian Country. The Committee expects the Bureau to continue to work with Indian Tribes and Tribal organizations to consider options that promote, design, or pilot Tribal court systems for Tribal communities subject to full or partial State jurisdiction under Public Law 83–280.
VAWA Implementation and Tribal Justice Support. The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to zero out funding for VAWA Implementation. The Senate Report provides the BIA with the following continued direction:
Within the amounts provided, the Committee also continues $2,000,000 for the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act [VAWA] for both training and VAWA specific Tribal court needs. .
FY 2018 Enacted $46,447,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $35,826,000
FY 2019 House $51,579,000
FY 2019 Senate $46,579,000
The Community and Economic Development sub-activities are: Job Placement and Training; Economic Development; Minerals and Mining; and Community Development Oversight.
The House and Senate rejected all of the Administration's proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out the elements of the Tiwahe Initiative funded under Job Placement and Training sub-activity. The Senate Report states that the Committee "expects the funding for the Tiwahe initiative will continue at enacted levels." The House and Senate also continue targeted increases to fund implementation of the NATIVE Act and to modernize the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System (NIOGEMS).
Implementation of the NATIVE Act. The House and Senate agreed to continue directing $3.4 million of Community Development-Central Oversight funds towards implementation of the Native American Tourism and Improving Visitor Experience Act (NATIVE Act). The House Report explains that this implementation can continue to occur "via cooperative agreements with Tribes or Tribal organizations…"
Minerals and Mining and NIOGEMS. The House and Senate propose to continue directing a portion of funding under the Minerals and Mining sub-activity to the modernization of oil and gas management (including the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System (NIOGEMS)).
The House Report proposes a $2 million increase:
The recommendation includes a program increase of $2,000,000 in Minerals and Mining Projects for modernizing oil and gas records management in Bureau of Indian Affairs Agency Offices, including: digitizing oil and gas lease and other records; deploying computer systems such as the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System (NIOGEMS); and providing petroleum engineers and geologists to train and advise Agency Office staff and Tribal Minerals Oversight entities.
The Senate Report proposes a $1 million increase and requests following report:
The recommendation continues program increases of $1,000,000 for the modernization of oil and gas records including the National Indian Oil and Gas Management System [NIOGEMS]. The Committee understands the NIOGEMS has been distributed to some Tribes and regional offices and instructs the Bureau to report back within 120 days of enactment of this act on the cost to further expand this system to more reservations and offices.
GAO High Risk Report. The Senate Committee once again requests the following response to the high risk GAO report (GA0-17-317):
The recent GAO high risk report found the Bureau does not properly manage Indian energy resources held in trust and thereby limits opportunities for Tribes and their members to use those resources to create economic benefits in their communities. The Committee requests the Bureau work to make the necessary changes recommended by the GAO report and report back to the Committee outlining any barriers, statutory or regulatory, that prohibit or slow the pace of resource development as well as a status update on the open items that still need to be implemented according to the GAO report.
Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development. The House Report proposes the following increase and expectations:
The recommendation includes a program increase of $3,000,000 for the Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development to provide more assistance for: feasibility studies of development projects; greater access to private financing for such projects; technical assistance for more Tribes to establish commercial codes, courts and other business structures to enhance economic development; building Tribal capacity for leasing Tribal lands and managing economic and energy resource development; and incubators of Tribal-owned and other Native American-owned businesses. The Office is expected to track accomplishments for each of these purposes, and to report annually in its budget justification.
FY 2018 Enacted $231,747,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $209,409,000
FY 2019 House $224,880,000
FY 2019 Senate $233,447,000
The Executive Direction and Administrative Services sub-activities are: Assistant Secretary Support; Executive Direction; Administrative Services; Safety and Risk Management; Information Resources Technology; Human Capital Management; Facilities Management; Intra-Governmental Payments; and Rentals.
The Administration requested a number of cuts, the most substantial being:
• a $6 million cut to the Administrative Services sub activity, largely in the form of a staffing cut of 44 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions. The House concurred with this request for cuts to Administrative Services (Central) and (Regional) program elements but not for the Administrative Services (Tribal Priority Allocation) program element.
• a $9 million cut to the Information Resources Technology sub-activity, which includes a staffing cut of 11 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions.
The Administration also requested a number of smaller cuts to other sub-activities and certain program elements. The House concurs with the requested spending levels for the following sub-activities and program elements: Assistant Secretary Support; Executive Direction (Central); Executive Direction (Regional); and Rentals.
Reorganization to Common Regional Boundaries. The Administration did request one modest, targeted increase to the Human Resources sub activity "to support the Department's migration to common regional boundaries to improve service and efficiency." The Administration explained, "Organizing the bureaus along common geographic lines will allow for more integrated and better coordinated decision making across the Department. The Department will hold a robust consultation process with tribal nations before actions are made with respect to Indian Affairs regions." The House Report concurs with this request, stating, "The increase requested for common regional boundaries is provided from within funds."
Health and Safety Inspections at BIE System Facilities. The House Report continues language from FY 2018, directing, "Indian Affairs is directed to complete annual health and safety inspections of all BIE system facilities and to publish quarterly updates on the status of such inspections."
BIE Vacancies. The House Report directs "Human Resources is directed to make filling vacancies within the Bureau of Indian Education its highest priority."
Operating and Law Enforcement Needs for Treaty Fishing Sites on the Columbia River. The Senate Report continues language from FYs 2017 and 2018, once again requesting the following report:
The Committee notes that the Bureau has not yet complied with the fiscal year 2018 directive to provide a report on funding requirements associated with operating and law enforcement needs for congressionally authorized treaty fishing sites on the Columbia River. The Bureau is directed to transmit the report no later than 30 days following enactment of this act. The Bureau is also urged to incorporate unfunded needs for these sites as part of the Bureau's fiscal year 2020 budget.
Implementation of Amendments to the "477" Program. The Senate Report states, "The Committee is concerned the Indian Employment, Training and Related Services Act, as amended, has not been fully implemented. The Bureau shall report back within 60 days of enactment of this act on the status of implementation."
FY 2018 Enacted $914,413,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $741,850,000
FY 2019 House $918,543,000
FY 2019 Senate $899,658,000
The Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) category displays funds for the BIE-funded elementary and secondary school systems as well as other education programs including higher education and scholarships. The Bureau of Indian Education sub-activities are: Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded); Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded); and Education Management.
The House and Senate rejected the dramatic cuts proposed by the Administration but differ on how to handle the one-time $16.8 million increase provided in FY 2018 to complete the transition to a school year (forward funded) funding cycle for all Tribal colleges and universities. The House is proposing to continue that increased funding level from FY 2018 but distribute the increase across a number of other BIE sub-activities, described in more detail below. The Senate is largely proposing to continue FY 2018 spending levels but omit the amount attributed to the one-time increase.
Implementation of the BIE Transformation and GAO Recommendations.
The House Report states:
Consistent with GAO report 13–774, the Secretary is urged to reorganize Indian Affairs so that control and accountability of the BIE system is consolidated within the BIE, to present such reorganization proposal in the next fiscal year budget request, and to submit to the Committees a corresponding updated workforce plan.
The Senate Report states:
The Committee fully supports making the needed reforms to the Bureau of Indian Education [BIE] in order to improve the quality of education offered to address the performance gap of student's education at BIE-funded schools. The first phase of the current reform effort was approved in 2015; however, the Committee has not received any updated information on the next phase nor has the Bureau complied with Committee directives to report on the status of multiple programs as part of the fiscal year 2018 appropriations process.
Over the past 3 years, the GAO has issued several reports (GAO–13–774, GAO–15–121, GAO–17–447, GAO–17–421, and GAO–16–313) outlining management challenges at the Bureau and there are still outstanding open recommendations to address as well as additional issues outlined in the high risk report (GAO–17–317). The Committee is fully supportive of efforts to reform and better the system, but concerns about how the Bureau manages funding, tracks school conditions, and manages the overall school system remain. The Committee stands ready to work with the administration on the appropriate steps forward and directs the Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to report back within 60 days of enactment of this act on the progress made towards implementing all the GAO recommendations and the current status of the reform effort as well as the status of Congressional directives.
Inter-Agency Coordination to Serve Native Children. The House and Senate Reports continue language from prior fiscal years urging greater inter-agency coordination in order to better serve Native students:
The House Report states:
The BIE is encouraged to coordinate with the Indian Health Service to integrate preventive dental care and mental health care at schools within the BIE system.
The Senate Report states:
The administration's emphasis on education must be complemented by efforts to improve interagency coordination for the multiplicity of programs that affect the wellbeing of Native children. In addition to education, these include healthcare, social service, child welfare and juvenile justice programs. The Committee encourages the Bureau to work with other relevant Federal, State, local, and Tribal organizations to begin the process of identifying ways to make programs more effective in serving Native Children.
The Bureau, working with the Indian Health Service as appropriate, is also urged to consider integrating school-based preventative health services such as dental care into elementary schools in order to improve health outcomes of Tribal students.
Bill Language Continuing Limitations on New Schools and the Expansion of Grades, Charter Schools, Satellite Locations and BIE-funded Schools in Alaska. For FY 2019, the Administration requested the continuation of this limiting language from fiscal years prior to FY 2018. Notably in FY 2018, Congress modified the restriction on BIE funds being used to support expanded grades for any school or dormitory beyond its current grade structure to provide additional (limited) circumstances when this can be permitted. The House and Senate Reports propose to continue this modified language.
The House Report explains the intent of these restrictions and also clarifies how the restrictions on charter schools and satellite locations should be interpreted:
The bill continues language limiting the expansion of grades and schools in the BIE system while allowing for the expansion of additional grades to schools that meet certain criteria. The intent of the language is to prevent already limited funds from being spread further to additional schools and grades. The intent is not to limit Tribal flexibility at existing schools. Nothing in the bill is intended to prohibit a Tribe from converting a Tribally-controlled school already in the BIE system to a charter school in accordance with State and Federal law.
The bill continues language providing the Secretary with the authority to approve satellite locations of existing BIE schools if a Tribe can demonstrate that the establishment of such locations would provide comparable levels of education as are being offered at such existing BIE schools, and would not significantly increase costs to the Federal government. The intent is for this authority to be exercised only in extraordinary circumstances to provide Tribes with additional flexibility regarding where students are educated without compromising how they are educated, and to significantly reduce the hardship and expense of transporting students over long distances, all without unduly increasing costs that would otherwise unfairly come at the expense of other schools in the BIE system.
Elementary and Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)
FY 2018 Enacted $579,242,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $511,788,000
FY 2019 House $584,368,000
FY 2019 Senate $580,681,000
The Elementary and Secondary forward funded sub-activity includes the following program elements: ISEP Formula Funding; ISEP Program Adjustments; Education Program Enhancements; Tribal Education Departments; Student Transportation; Early Childhood Development; and Tribal Grant Support Costs (formerly titled Administrative Cost Grants). Funds appropriated for FY 2019 for these programs will become available for obligation on July 1, 2019, for SY 2019-2020. (For funding levels by program element, see attached budget charts from p. 177 of the House Report and p. 130 of the Senate Report).
The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request for overall cuts and request to zero out funding for Tribal Education Departments and for Early Childhood Development (commonly referred to as the FACE program). Further, they rejected the Administration's lower estimate for what would constitute full funding for Tribal Grant Support Costs. While the Senate is proposing level funding, the is House proposing a $1.1 million increase.
ISEP and Language and Culture. The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to cut $24.8 million from ISEP Formula Funds and instead recommend a $1.2 million increase. Further, they rejected the requested $2.8 million cut to ISEP Program Adjustments. The Senate Report emphasizes that ISEP funds should be used to enhance access to Native language and culture programs:
The Committee fully supports broadening access to Native language and culture programs, which have been linked to higher academic achievement for Native youth. The Committee expects the Individual Student Equalization Program should continue to enhance access to Native language and culture programs in BIE-funded schools and directs the Bureau to report within 60 days of enactment of this act on how previous funding provided has been and can continue to be used to support these programs.
Education Program Enhancements and Language Immersion. The House and Senate rejected the Administration's proposal to cut $5.9 million from this program element; however, they differ on how much to set aside for capacity building grants to expand Native language immersion.
The House Report states:
Education Program Enhancements … include $3,000,000 for capacity building grants for Bureau and tribally operated schools to expand existing language immersion programs or to create new programs. Prior to distributing these funds, the Bureau shall coordinate with the Department of Education and Department of Health and Human Services to ensure that Bureau investments complement, but do not duplicate, existing language immersion programs.
The Senate Report states:
Within the funds provided for education program enhancements, $2,000,000 is directed to continue native language immersion grants. The Bureau is expected to report within 60 days of enactment of this act regarding the status of fiscal year 2018 funds and the planned distribution of funds in this act.
Student Transportation. The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to cut $5.4 million from this program element. The House proposes a $2.6 million increase while the Senate once again requests the following report:
The Committee is concerned by the recent Government Accountability Office report (GAO–17–423) on Tribal transportation, which identified potential negative impacts of road conditions on Native student school attendance. The Committee recommends BIE take steps to improve its data collection on the cause of student absences, including data on road and weather conditions, and to report back to the Committee within 120 days of enactment of this act regarding its actions to improve student absence data tracking and analysis.
Elementary and Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)
FY 2018 Enacted $141,563,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $114,128,000
FY 2019 House $151,972,000
FY 2019 Senate $141,972,000
The Elementary and Secondary non-forward funded sub-activity includes the following program elements: Facilities Operations; Facilities Maintenance; Juvenile Detention Center Grants; and Johnson-O'Malley Assistance Grants. (For funding levels by program element, see attached budget charts from p. 178 of the House Report and p. 130-131 of the Senate Report).
Facilities. The House and Senate also rejected the Administration's request to cut $6.2 million from the Facilities Operations and $5.8 million from Facilities Maintenance program elements. While the Senate proposes level funding for both Facilities accounts, the House recommends a $10.1 million increase for Facilities Operations.
Juvenile Detention Center Grants. In FY 2016, Congress initiated this grant program to meet the education and health-related needs of Native youth detained or incarcerated in currently operating, BIA-funded, juvenile detention centers for an extended period of time. The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to zero it out.
Johnson O'Malley Assistance Grants. The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to zero out funding for the Johnson O'Malley program and while neither Chamber recommends a decrease for this grant program, the Senate Report once again raises concerns about the accuracy of the student count:
The Committee remains concerned about the distribution methodology of the Johnson O’Malley [JOM] assistance grants and requests the Bureau report back to the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act on the status of updating the JOM counts and the methodology used to determine the new counts. The Committee would like the Bureau to include what, if any, barriers there are to providing updates to the JOM count.
Post Secondary Programs (Forward Funded)
FY 2018 Enacted $ 94,183,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $ 72,128,000
FY 2019 House $105,190,000
FY 2019 Senate $ 99,992,000
This sub-activity includes forward funded Tribal Colleges and Universities and forward funded Tribal Technical Colleges (United Tribes Technical College (UTTC) and Navajo Technical University (NTU)) and now, finally, Haskell and SIPI. (For funding levels by program element, see attached budget charts from p. 177 of the House Report and p. 130 of the Senate Report).
In FY 2018, Congress provided an additional $16.8 million in one-time funding to ensure that BIE-run Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell) and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) finally joined the rest of the tribal technical colleges, colleges and universities on a forward funded schedule. In FY 2019, the House is proposing to redistribute a portion of that $16.8 million as follows for these Post Secondary accounts: a $1.8 million increase for Haskell and SIPI; a $3 million increase for Tribal Colleges and Universities and a $350,000 increase for Tribal Technical Colleges.
Study of Unfunded Tribal College Needs. The Senate Report once again requests the following:
The Committee also recognizes that many Tribal colleges have significant unfunded needs and directs the Bureau to work with Tribal leaders and other stakeholders to develop a consistent methodology for determining Tribal college operating needs to inform future budget requests. The Committee expects the methodology to address operating and infrastructure needs including classrooms and housing. .
Post Secondary Programs (Non-Forward Funded)
FY 2018 Enacted $64,171,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $20,524,000
FY 2019 House $41,658,000
FY 2019 Senate $41,658,000
The non-forward funded Post Secondary Programs sub-activity includes: Tribal Colleges and Universities Supplements; Scholarships and Adult Education; Special Higher Education Scholarships; and the Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund. (For funding levels by program element, see attached budget charts from p. 178 of the House Report and p. 131 of the Senate Report).
The difference between the FY 2018 enacted level and what the House and Senate recommend for FY 2019 is that it reflects the fact that Haskell and SIPI have been moved to a forward funded schedule. The Chambers rejected the Administration's request to cut Tribal Colleges and Universities Supplements and to zero out everything else.
Education Management
FY 2018 Enacted $35,254,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $23,282,000
FY 2019 House $35,355,000
FY 2019 Senate $35,355,000
The Education Management sub-activity consists of Education Program Management and Information Technology.
The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to cut $9.4 million from Education Program Management and $2.5 million from Information Technology.
High-Speed Internet Access for Schools. The Administration, while requesting a $2.5 million program cut, stated in their FY 2019 budget justification that, "The BIE's highest priorities are expanding available bandwidth at BIE-funded schools and maintaining a modern IT infrastructure to keep pace with developments in education."
The Senate Report continues language from FY 2018, once again requesting the following report:
The Committee understands the importance of bringing broadband to reservations and villages, but remains concerned about how these funds are used and the planning process used for this type of investment. The Committee directs the agency to report back within 90 days of enactment of this act on a scalable plan to increase bandwidth in schools, procure computers, and software. This report should also include how the Bureau is working with other Federal agencies to coordinate and plan for the technology buildout.
FY 2018 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $241,600,000)
FY 2019 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $247,000,000)
FY 2019 House Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $247,000,000)
FY 2019 Senate Such sums as may be necessary
(Estimated: $247,000,000)
The House and Senate concurred with the Administration's request that Contract Support Costs (CSC) continue as an indefinite appropriation at "such sums as may be necessary" and that it continue in its own separate account comprised of Contract Support (such sums as may be necessary, estimated to be: $242,000,000) and the Indian Self-Determination Fund ($5,000,000).
The House Report states:
The Committee recommends an indefinite appropriation estimated to be $247,000,000 for contract support costs incurred by the agency as required by law. The bill includes language making available for two years such sums as are necessary to meet the Federal government's full legal obligation, and prohibiting the transfer of funds to any other account for any other purpose.
The Senate Report states:
Contract Support Costs.—The Committee has continued language from fiscal year 2018 establishing an indefinite appropriation for contract support costs estimated to be $247,000,000 which is an increase of $5,400,000 above the fiscal year 2018 level. By retaining an indefinite appropriation for this account, additional funds may be provided by the Bureau if its budget estimate proves to be lower than necessary to meet the legal obligation to pay the full amount due to Tribes. The Committee believes fully funding these costs will ensure that Tribes have the necessary resources they need to deliver program services efficiently and effectively.
General Provisions Continued. At the Administration's request, the House and Senate continue by reference the following general provisions:
Contract Support Costs, Prior Year Limitation
Sec. 405. Sections 405 and 406 of division F of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Public Law 113-235) shall continue in effect in fiscal year 2019.
Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2019 Limitation
Sec. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2019 under headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2019 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payment of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayment of payments for settlement or judgments awarding contract support costs for prior years.
FY 2018 Enacted $354,113,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $133,288,000*
FY 2019 House $354,485,000
FY 2019 Senate $359,419,000
*(The Administration is requesting to spend $133,288,000 but "cancel" $21,367,000 in unobligated, prior fiscal year balances for a total of $111,921,000.)
The Construction budget includes: Education Construction; Public Safety and Justice Construction; Resources Management Construction; and Other Program Construction/ General Administration.
Recognizing the substantial unmet need in Indian Country, the House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to cut $220.8 million from the overall Construction budget and rejected the Administration's request for a rescission of $21,367,000 in unobligated balances from prior fiscal years. The House and Senate instead propose near-FY 2018 spending levels with increases provided for fixed costs. In addition, the Senate is proposing a number of targeted increases.
FY 2018 Enacted $238,245,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $ 72,851,000
FY 2019 House $238,250,000
FY 2019 Senate $238,250,000
The Education Construction sub-activities are: Replacement School Construction; Replacement Facility Construction; Employee Housing Repair; and Facilities Improvement and Repair.
Despite the substantial demonstrated need for school repair and replacement funding, the Administration once again asked Congress to zero out funding for Replacement School Campus Construction and Replacement School Facility Construction in FY 2019. Instead, the House and Senate continued the robust funding levels they provided in FY 2018, proposing to apportion the funding as follows:
• Replacement School Campus Construction $105,504,000
• Replacement Facility Construction $ 23,935,000
• Employee Housing Repair $ 13,576,000
• Facilities Improvement and Repair $ 95,235,000
School Campus Replacement Construction List. The House Report provides the following direction:
The Committee recognizes the School Facilities & Construction Negotiated Rulemaking Committee established under Public Law 107–110 for the equitable distribution of funds. Appropriations in this bill for campus-wide replacement are limited to the 10 schools selected via the rulemaking committee process and published by Indian Affairs on April 5, 2016. Indian Affairs should submit a similar list for facilities with the fiscal year 2020 budget request.
Innovative Financing for Repair and Replacement. The House Report continues to express support for innovative financing options for school campus replacement:
The Committee continues to strongly support innovative financing options to supplement annual appropriations and accelerate repair and replacement of Bureau schools, including through the use of construction bonds, tax credits, and grant programs. Indian Affairs is urged to work with any Tribes willing to include such financing in ongoing and future projects.
Facilities Improvement and Repair: Deferred Maintenance and Safety Inspections. The Senate Report provides the following direction and requests the following reports:
The Committee expects the increases continued for the facility improvement and repair program shall be used to address deficiencies identified by annual school safety inspections.
The Committee remains concerned about the deferred maintenance projects at schools and directs the Bureau to submit the allocation plan as required by Public Law 115–31.
The Committee is encouraged to learn that BIA and BIE continue to work together to ensure annual safety inspections are completed for all BIE school facilities. However, the Committee is concerned that, as recommended by the Government Accountability Office in report GAO–16–313, BIA and BIE have not developed concrete tracking and capacity-building systems to ensure safety issues flagged by these inspections are addressed in a timely manner. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned by reports from tribally operated BIE schools that BIE does not provide timely access to or training about the Facilities Improvement and Repair Program and other available emergency maintenance funding. The Committee directs BIE and BIA to report back within 90 days with a detailed implementation plan to address these remaining concerns.
Long-Term Facilities Plan. The Senate Report continues to request a long-term facilities plan for BIE-system schools modeled after the one produced by the Department of Defense Education Activity:
The Committee understands many schools are in need of repair, improvement, and upgrades in order to bring schools into good condition. The Committee stands ready to work with the administration and Tribes to develop a comprehensive strategy that provides safe, functional, and accessible facilities for schools. The Committee directs the Bureau to report back within 90 days of enactment of this act on the progress the Bureau has made towards implementing a long-term facilities plan similar to the Department of Defense process in 2009 as encouraged in the joint explanatory statement accompanied by Public Law 114–113.
FY 2018 Enacted $35,309,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $10,421,000
FY 2019 House $35,310,000
FY 2019 Senate $35,310,000
The Public Safety & Justice Construction sub-activities are: Facilities Replacement/New Construction; Employee Housing; Facilities Improvement and Repair; Fire Safety Coordination; and Fire Protection.
The House and Senate continued the robust funding levels from FY 2018 proposing to apportion the funding as follows:
• Facilities Replacement and New Construction $18,000,000
• Employee Housing $ 4,494,000
• Facilities Improvement and Repair $ 9,372,000
• Fire Safety Coordination $ 170,000
• Fire Protection $ 3,274,000
Master Plan Development. The House Report continues language from FY 2018 calling for the following master plan to be maintained:
The Bureau is directed to maintain a master plan detailing the location, condition, and function of existing owned and leased facilities relative to location and size of the user populations. The plan shall be used to prioritize facilities replacement and new construction to fill in the largest service gaps first. Regional justice centers that combine functions and serve multiple user populations, while providing for reasonable driving distances for visitation and transport, should be strongly considered.
FY 2018 Enacted $67,192,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $38,026,000
FY 2019 House $67,231,000
FY 2019 Senate $72,231,000
The Resources Management Construction sub-activities are: Irrigation Project Construction; Engineering and Supervision; Survey and Design; Federal Power and Compliance; and Dam Projects.
The House and Senate rejected the Administration's proposed cuts and instead propose near level funding following the substantial increases that were provided in FY 2018. The Senate also includes an additional $5 million for Irrigation Projects and proposes the following funding breakdown, including for projects authorized by the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act (WIIN Act), Public Law 114-322. The Senate Report states:
Resources management receives a total of $72,231,000 and includes: $29,695,000 for irrigation projects, with at least $10,000,000 for projects authorized by the WIIN Act, $38,265,000 for dam projects and $1,016,000 for survey and design, $2,605,000 for engineering and supervision, and $650,000 for Federal power compliance.
The Committee expects the funds designated for WIIN Act activities will be deposited into the Indian Irrigation Fund and fund those projects authorized by Public Law 114–322.
Dam Safety Classification. The Senate Report provides the following direction:
The Committee continues the increases for dam safety and is concerned there is an unknown number of dams on reservations that have not received a hazard classification and that the current review process is behind schedule resulting in delays for dams to receive a comprehensive review. The Committee strongly encourages the Bureau to begin the work on the dams and report back to the Committee on the best way to effectively quantify the potential pool of dams on reservations in need of a review and/or classification.
FY 2018 Enacted $13,367,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $11,990,000
FY 2019 House $13,694,000
FY 2019 Senate $13,628,000
The Other Program Construction sub-activities are: Telecommunications Improvement and Repair; Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair; and Construction Program Management.
The House Report provides the following direction:
Other Program Construction.—The recommendation includes $13,694,000 for other construction. The Fort Peck Water System is funded at $2,247,000 as requested. There is a $300,000 program increase to improve officer safety by eliminating radio communications dead zones.
The Senate Report provides the following direction:
General administration or other Program Construction receives $13,628,000 and includes $1,119,000 for telecommunications repair, and $8,590,000 for construction program management with increases in order to fully fund the Ft. Peck water system, and $3,919,000 for facilities improvement and repair.
FY 2018 Enacted $55,457,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $45,644,000
FY 2019 House $50,057,000
FY 2019 Senate $55,457,000
(For funding levels by individual settlements, see attached budget charts from p. 180-181 of the House Report and p. 132-133 of the Senate Report).
The Administration, when drafting their FY 2019 request, indicated that it would ultimately be based on final FY 2018 appropriations. However, at that time, the federal government was operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) so the Administration estimated an annualized rate of $44,739,000 for this account. Ultimately, the FY 2018 Omnibus provided a higher funding total as well as settlement-level specificity. The House and Senate Reports provide the following explanation and the attached charts provide recommended amounts by settlement.
The House Report recommends:
The Committee recommends $50,057,000 for Indian Land and Water Claim Settlements and Miscellaneous Payments to Indians. The recommended level enables Indian Affairs to make a balloon payment in the final year of any settlement agreement if needed to complete the Federal obligation. The Navajo Water Resources Development Trust Fund project and the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project will be completed in fiscal year 2019. A detailed table of funding recommendations below the account level is provided at the end of this report.
The Senate Report recommends:
The bill provides a total appropriation of $55,457,000 for the Indian Land and Water Claim Settlements account which is equal to the enacted level. The Committee appreciates the importance of settling the numerous land and water settlements and directs the Department to submit a spending plan to the Committee within 90 days of enactment of this act for how it plans to allocate the funds provided by the bill for the specific settlements detailed in the budget request. The Committee recommendation notes that sufficient funding has been provided to complete required payments for the Navajo Trust Fund and the Navajo Gallup Water Supply Project in fiscal year 2019.
FY 2018 Enacted $ 9,272,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $ 6,699,000
FY 2019 House $19,279,000
FY 2019 Senate $ 9,279,000
This program guarantees or insures loans covering up to 90 percent of outstanding loan principal to Indian tribes, tribal members, or for profit and not-for-profit businesses at least 51% Indian owned. The House and Senate rejected the Administration's requested cut to loan subsidies. The Senate proposes an increase just to cover fixed costs. The House proposes a $10 million increase, described as follows in Report language:
The increase includes fixed costs and the transfer of $10,000,000 from the Tribal grant program in the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement. The transfer to this account will significantly increase the number of eligible Tribes and generate an additional $200,000,000 in private sector loans to finance business, economic, energy and infrastructure projects in Indian Country. The Indian Guaranteed Loan Program is the most effective Federal program tailored to facilitating greater access to private capital for Indian Tribes and Indian-owned economic enterprises.
FY 2018 Enacted $15,431,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $ 4,400,000
FY 2019 House $ 7,750,000
FY 2019 Senate $ 7,400,000
The Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation (ONHIR) was created as a result of the Navajo Hopi Settlement Act of 1974, Public Law 93–531. The Office is charged with planning and conducting relocation activities associated with the settlement of land disputes between the Navajo Nation and Hopi Tribe.
For FY 2019, the Administration requested a funding cut for the Office "… to facilitate and expedite resettlement activities, and bring about the closure of the Office." Part of this request would have involved transferring $3 million to the Office of Special Trustee (OST) with OST then assuming responsibility for development of a detailed transition plan for a phased closure of ONHIR as well as the transfer the land management activities currently conducted by ONHIR to a new office within OST.
Originally, the House bill concurred with the Administration's request to transfer the $3 million to OST; however, Rep. O'Hallen (D-AZ) successfully secured a floor amendment returning the $3 million to ONHIR. The House and Senate now recommend similar amounts.
The Senate Report explains:
The Committee supports efforts to close the Office because its primary relocation function has reached its conclusion.
The Committee recommends $7,400,000 for the ONHIR. The Committee does not approve the budget request to fund relocation activities through the Office of Special Trustee [OST] under this heading without a more complete explanation on plans to transfer outstanding services, records, and rangeland improvement activities to other Federal Government agencies. The Committee continues to be concerned about the lack of meaningful Tribal consultation on matters related to the closure and transition and directs the ONHIR to work with the OST and Bureau of Indian Affairs to immediately facilitate Tribal consultation with affected Tribes. The Committee urges the ONHIR to work with the appropriate congressional authorizing committee to develop legislation as necessary to affect its closure upon consultation.
We note, however, that the Navajo Nation sharply disagrees with the assertion that the Office's primary relocation function has reached its conclusion, pointing to Navajo members still in the appeals process and a lack of infrastructure development.
FY 2018 Enacted $11,485,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $ 5,738,000
FY 2019 House $11,485,000
FY 2019 Senate $11,485,000
The House and Senate rejected the Administration's request to cut Grants-in-Aid to Tribes. The Administration had suggested that this would "allow the NPS to focus resources on park and program operations."
National Recreation and Preservation is found under a different part of the National Park Service budget than Historic Preservation. The House and Senate rejected the Administration proposed cuts, including the proposal to zero out National Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) grants which assist Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs) in documenting and repatriating cultural items and assists museums and federal agencies in fulfilling their responsibilities to consult with tribes and NHOs for the purposes of NAGPRA compliance. Under National Recreation and Preservation the House proposes level funding but the Senate proposes another increase for the Cultural Programs sub-activity to increase support for programs for Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native culture and arts development. The Senate Report states:
Cultural Programs.—The Committee recommends $25,562,000 for cultural programs, an increase of $500,000 above the enacted level. The increase above the enacted level is provided pursuant to 20 U.S.C. 4451(b) for grants to nonprofit organizations or institutions for the purpose of supporting programs for Native Hawaiian or Alaska Native culture and arts development at a total program level of $1,000,000 as provided in the explanatory statement accompanying the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2018. This program is a good example of a multi-state, multi-organizational collaboration as envisioned under the American Indian, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian Culture and Art Development Act.
(The FY 2018 Explanatory Statement had "… direct[ed] the Department to consider funding the Northwest Coast arts program as outlined by the memorandum of agreement between the Institute of American Indian Arts and the Sealaska Heritage Institute.")
Department of Interior Reorganization. The House and Senate Reports emphasize the importance of tribal consultation and provide the following direction to Secretary of Interior regarding efforts to reorganize the Department. We also note that the both the House-passed and the Senate-passed versions of HR 6147 contain bill language found under TITLE VI—GENERAL PROVISIONS—THIS ACT, Sec. 608 which would restrict the Executive Branch from obligating or expending any funds to reorganize "any agency or entity" funded by the bill until specific reports have been received and formal reprograming requests have been approved by both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. The bill language would give each agency 60 days from the date of enactment to submit the requested report. The bill language would also reduce the amount appropriated for salaries and expenses by $100,000 per day from any agency that is late providing the report until the report is received.
The House Report states:
State and Tribal Consultation.—The Committee recognizes concerns raised by State and Tribal leaders about the Department's insufficient level of consultation regarding the Department's proposed reorganization. The Committee urges the Department to redouble its efforts to consult with State and Tribal leaders, including entering into formal Tribal consultation, and to adjust its reorganization proposal as necessary to meet the Department's needs while avoiding undue additional burdens on States and Tribes.
The Senate Report states:
Reorganization.—The Committee has provided funds as requested for the Department's reorganization plan. However, many of the details of this proposal remain unknown. This is in large part because the Department is seeking the input of many stakeholders and has yet to incorporate these recommendations into its final reorganization plan. Given the current lack of specifics relating to the reorganization proposal, the Committee directs the Department to not obligate these funds until the Secretary has submitted a reprogramming in accordance with the procedures outlined in this report that provides greater detail on the reorganization, its impacts on staff, funding, and service delivery, and how these funds will be expended. The Committee has heard from tribal organizations about the need for more robust consultation related to this proposal as well, and therefore expects the Department to meet with these groups and formulate a process for tribal consultation that meets the needs of all stakeholders. The Committee further expects the Department to continue to meet with the committees of jurisdiction, to inform them ahead of forthcoming actions and to respond to their requests for the quantitative analyses and materials associated with this proposal.
National Monument Designations. The House Report provides the following direction:
The Department is directed to work collaboratively with interested parties, including but not limited to, the Congress, States, local communities, Tribal governments and others prior to planning, implementing, or making national monument designations.
Chief Standing Bear Trail. The House Report states:
The Committee recognizes the importance of Chief Standing Bear as one of America's earliest civil rights leaders. The Committee supports the work on the State and local level to establish a multi-state trail commemorating his accomplishments and urges the Secretary to assist in these efforts.
Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children. The Senate's bill was amended on the Senate Floor by Senators Moran (R-KS), Murkowski (R-AK) and Heitkamp (D-ND) to specify that of the amounts provided under of the Office of the Secretary – Departmental Operations, $400,000 is to be made available to the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children that was established by Public Law 114–244.”

House and Senate Appropriations Committees Recommendations for FY 2019 Indian Health Service Budget
Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 18-025, June 26th, 2018,
“In this Memorandum we report on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees' recommendations for the FY 2019 Indian Health Service (IHS) budget. The House bill and accompanying report are HR 6147, H. Rept. 115-765, while the Senate bill and report are
S 3073 and S. Rept. 115-276. Differences between the two proposals will be worked out in conference committee.
We reported on the Administration's proposed FY 2019 IHS budget in our General Memorandum 18-015 of April 18, 2018.
FY 2018 Enacted $5,537,764,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $5,424,023,000
FY 2019 House Committee $5,907,614,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $5,772,116,000
Differences Attributed to SDPI and Staffing Considerations. In looking at the Administration's proposed FY 2019 IHS budget keep in mind that it included $150 million in proposed discretionary IHS funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians. The Committees opposed the Administration's position and maintained current law which funds SDPI on a mandatory basis whose funds are not part of the IHS appropriations bill. Tribes and tribal organizations also opposed changing SDPI's funding from a mandatory to a discretionary basis.
The Administration's proposed budget also included $159 million for staffing of new facilities but the estimate provided to the Committees has since been revised to $115 million (see below).
Staffing Packages for Newly Constructed Facilities. Both Committees recommend funding to meet the current estimated needed for staffing packages for newly constructed facilities - $115,233,000 in the Services and Facilities accounts combined ($103.9 million in Services; $11.3 million in Facilities). Funding is for facilities funded through the Construction Priority System or the Joint Venture Program that have opened in FY 2018 or will open in FY 2019 and which have achieved beneficial occupancy status. When the Administration proposed its FY 2019 budget the estimate for staffing of new facilities was $159 million.
Rejection of Proposed Deletions and Reductions of Programs. The Committees rejected the Administration's proposed deletion of all funding for the Community Health Representatives, Health Education, and the Tribal Management programs. They also rejected the large budget cuts proposed by the Administration, maintaining FY 2018 enacted increases.
Current Services (fixed costs increases). The Administration requested
$46.7 million for pay raises and $47.9 million for medical inflation. The House Committee's bill includes $46.7 million for "fixed-cost increases" – the same amount as requested for pay raises - spread throughout the accounts ($42.8 million Services; $3.9 million Facilities); the Senate Committee's bill does not contain funding for this purpose.
Indian Health Care Improvement Fund. The House Committee's bill would provide $125.6 million for the Fund, while the Senate Committee's bill does not include funding for this purpose.
FY 2018 Enacted Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2019 Admin. Request Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2019 House Committee Such sums as may be necessary
FY 2019 Senate Committee Such sums as may be necessary
Both bills, as requested, maintain Contract Support Costs (CSC) as a separate appropriation account with an indefinite amount—"such sums as may be necessary." The FY 2019 estimate is $822,227,000.
Both bills reject the Administration's proposal to reinstate two provisions from the FY 2016 Appropriations Act for IHS which are contrary to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA) with regard to CSC. The first is the "carryover" clause that could be read to deny the CSC carryover authority granted by the ISDEAA; the other is the "notwithstanding" clause used by IHS to deny contract support cost for their grant programs – Domestic Violence Prevention; Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention; Zero Suicide Initiative; after-care pilot projects at Youth Regional Treatment Centers; funding for the improvement of third party collections; accreditation emergencies; and the housing subsidy authority for civilian employees. The Senate bill, in addition, includes opioid prevention and treatment recovery on the list.
Congress has not gone along with those two Administration proposals in the past. The FY 2018 House Report encourages IHS to provide CSC for its grant programs.
Continuation of Sections 405 and 406 of General Provisions. Both bills would continue by reference, as requested, sections 405 and 406 of the FY 2015 Appropriations Act. These provisions prohibit BIA and IHS from using FY 2019 CSC funds to pay past-year CSC claims or to repay the Judgment Fund for judgments or settlements related to past-year CSC claims. They do not preclude tribes from recovering such judgments or settlements from the Judgment Fund. The following is from Division G, Title IV of the Act:
Contract Support Costs, Prior Year Limitation
Sec. 405. Sections 405 and 406 of division F of the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015 (Public Law 113-235) shall continue in effect in fiscal year 2019.
Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2019 Limitation
Sec. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2019 under headings "Department of Health and Human Services, Indian Health Service, Contract Support Costs" and "Department of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education, Contract Support Costs" are the only amounts available for contract support costs arising out of self-determination or self-governance contracts, grants, compacts, or annual funding agreements for fiscal year 2019 with the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Indian Health Service: Provided, That such amounts provided by this Act are not available for payment of claims for contract support costs for prior years, or for repayment of payments for settlement or judgments awarding contract support costs for prior years.
FY 2018 Enacted $3,952,290,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $3,945,975,000
FY 2019 House Committee $4,202,639,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $4,072,385,000
FY 2018 Enacted $2,045,128,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $2,189,688,000
FY 2019 House Committee $2,170,257,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $2,198,623,000
Tribal Clinic Leases. The House bill would provide $18 million while the Senate bill would provide $15 million in supplemental funding for tribal clinic leases – the FY 2018 enacted level was $11 million. The Senate Committee comments on the issue of funding the leases under section 105(l) of the ISDEAA (the litigation referred to below is the Maniilaq Association v. Burwell, 170F. Supp. 3d 243 (D.D.C. 2016):
Village Built Clinics.—The Committee has provided additional resources for village built clinics [VBCs] leasing costs. The Service testified before the Committee that these resources are now being used not only to pay for the traditional VBCs but also for new costs relating to litigation which requires that section 105(l) of the Indian Self-Determination Act mandates payment of leasing costs when Tribal facilities are used to operate IHS programs. The agency indicated that these costs may grow exponentially over time. While the Committee has not included proposed language in the budget request to overturn this decision it is concerned with the budgetary impacts of this case moving forward. Within 90 days of enactment of this act, the Service shall submit a report which indicates the current number of Tribes pursuing 105(l) leasing arrangements, where these Tribes are located by State, the associated costs, and proposals for addressing this issue in the budget beyond simply overturning a court decision. The Committee believes these costs should be included separately in the budget request from those funds needed for village built clinics. (S. Rept. p. 94)
Accreditation Emergencies. Both bills would provide $58 million for hospital accreditation emergencies, the same as the FY 2018 enacted level.
The House Report states:
Accreditation Emergencies.—The recommendation includes $58,000,000 as requested to assist IHS-operated facilities that have been terminated or received notice of termination from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Medicare program. Funding shall be allocated to such facilities in amounts to: restore compliance; supplement purchased/referred care, including transportation, in the event of temporary closure of such facility or one or more of its departments; and compensate for third-party collection shortfalls resulting from being out of compliance. Primary consideration should be given to facilities that have been without certification the longest. Shortfalls shall be calculated relative to the average of the collections in each of the two fiscal years preceding the notice of termination. Funds allocated to a facility to address compliance issues shall be made available to Tribes newly assuming operation of such facilities pursuant to the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (P.L. 93-638). (H. Rept. pp 79-80)
The Senate Report expresses concern about the deficiencies identified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Gallup Indian Medical Center and instructs IHS to take needed steps to come into compliance so that the facility does not lose its access to third party reimbursements and to address other deficiency issues.
New Tribes Funding. Both bills would provide $1.9 million, as requested, for the following newly-recognized or reinstated tribes: the Pamunkey Tribe of Virginia, the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians (Oklahoma) and the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians (California) with the caveat in both Committee reports that they have recently been made aware of of the litigation between United Keetoowah Band and the Cherokee Nation. The Committees are taking a neutral stand on the litigation and report that they will "consult with all parties involved before taking final congressional action."
Quality of Care. The Senate Committee states with regard to measurement of patient health:
The Committee finds that structural reforms are needed at the Indian Health Service, and directs IHS to work with the Committee to improve access to care and quality of services. The Committee also directs Indian Health Service to establish measurements for tracking the improvement of patient health, rather than defining increased funding alone as a metric for measuring improvements. (S. Rept. p. 93)
First Aid Kit Enhancements. The Senate Committee states with regard to first aid kit enhancements:
The Committee is aware that first aid products endorsed by the Department of Defense’s Committee on Tactical Combat Casualty Care [CoTCCC] help to reduce death or trauma as a result of bleeding. The Committee believe these products could help the agency save lives, especially in rural areas it might take significant time to transport a patient to a hospital and/or healthcare facility for appropriate treatment. Accordingly, the Committee encourages the Agency to analyze incorporating CoTCCC's hemostatic dressing of choice in healthcare facilities and vehicles and provide a report to the Committee within 90 days of enactment. (S. Rept. p. 93)
FY 2018 Enacted $195,283,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $203,783,000
FY 2019 House Committee $207,906,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $203,872,000
Current Services/Staffing. The House Committee's increase is for fixed costs, staffing of new facilities and an $800,000 transfer from the Direct Operations account to backfill vacant dental health position in Headquarters. The Senate Committee's increase is for staffing of new facilities.
FY 2018 Enacted $ 99,900,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $105,169,000
FY 2019 House Committee $106,752,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $105,281,000
Current Services/Staffing. The House Committee increase is for staffing of new facilities and fixed costs; the Senate Committee increase is for staffing of new facilities.
FY 2018 Enacted $227,788,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $235,286,000
FY 2019 House Committee $238,560,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $245,566,000
Current Services/Staffing. The House Committee's increase is for the staffing of new facilities and built-in costs. The Senate Committee's increase is for the staffing of new facilities and new funding of $10 million for opioid grants. Both Committee bills retain increases of FY 2018 of $6,500,000 for the Generation Indigenous initiative; $1,800,000 for the youth pilot project; and $2,000,000 to fund essential detoxification related services.
Opioid Grants. The Senate Committee's bill includes $10 million for new opioid grants for a Special Behavioral Health Pilot Program aimed the opioid epidemic. The Senate Committee states:
Opioid Grants. —To better combat the opioid epidemic, the Committee has included an increase of $10,000,000 and instructs the Service, in coordination with the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, to use the additional funds provided above the fiscal year 2018 level to create a Special Behavioral Health Pilot Program modeled after the Special Diabetes Program for Indians. This Special Behavioral Health Pilot Program for Indians should support the development, documentation, and sharing of more locally-designed and culturally appropriate prevention and treatment interventions for mental health and substance use disorders in Tribal and urban Indian communities. The Director of the Indian Health Service, in coordination with the Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, shall awards grants for providing services, provide technical assistance to grantees under this section collect, and evaluate performance of the program. (S. Rept. 92).
Development of Clinic Capacity Model. The Senate Committee provides the following continuing directions:
The Service shall continue its partnership with Na'Nizhoozhi Center in Gallup, N.M., and work with the Center and other Federal, State, local and Tribal partners to develop a sustainable model for clinical capacity, as provided by the statement to accompany Public Law 115–31.
Care and Treatment. The Senate Committee states:
The Committee is concerned that alcohol and opioid use disorders continue to be some of the most severe public health and safety problems facing American Indian and Alaska Native [AI/AN] individuals, families, and communities. To address this problem, the Committee directs IHS to increase its support for culturally competent preventive, educational, and treatment services programs and partner with academic institutions with established AI/AN training and health professions programs to research and promote culturally responsive Care. Additionally, the Committee encourages the IHS to employ the full spectrum of medication assisted treatments for alcohol and opioid use disorders, including non-narcotic treatment options that are less subject to diversion combined with counseling services. (S. Rept. p. 92).
Prescription Drug Monitoring. The Senate Committee states:
The Committee is concerned that IHS and tribally operated health facilities are not participating in State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and emergency department information exchanges. The Committee strongly encourages these facilities to participate in these programs. Accordingly, within 90 days of enactment of this act, the Service shall provide the Committee with a report outlining by State such facilities that are participating and those that are not, and any issues preventing facilities from uploading data to these programs or exchanges. (S. Rept. p. 93).
FY 2018 Enacted $962,695,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $954,957,000
FY 2019 House Committee $964,819,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $964,819,000
CHEF. Included in the total in both bills is $53 million for the Catastrophic Health Emergency Fund, the same as the FY 2018 enacted level.
The House Committee's bill would provide $125,666,000 for the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund, which compares to a FY 2018 appropriation of $72,280,000. The Senate Committee's bill does not include funding for this purpose. The House Report language notes the funds are provided "in order to reduce disparities across the IHS system." The House bill language provides that the Fund "may be used, as needed, to carry out activities typically funded under the Indian Health Facilities Account."
FY 2018 Enacted $85,043,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $87,023,000
FY 2019 House Committee $90,540,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $89,159,000
Current Services/Staffing. The House and Senate Committees include staffing of new facilities costs and the House also includes built-in costs.
FY 2018 Enacted $19,871,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request -0-
FY 2019 House Committee $20,568,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $20,568,000
The increase is for staffing of new facilities costs.
FY 2018 Enacted $62,888,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request -0-
FY 2019 House Committee $62,888,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $62,888,000
FY 2018 Enacted $2,127,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $2,035,000
FY 2019 House Committee $2,164,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $2,127,000
FY 2018 Enacted $49,315,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $46,422,000
FY 2019 House Committee $60,000,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $49,315,000
The House Committee states that "the Service is expected to include current services estimates for urban Indian health in annual budget requests."
FY 2018 Enacted $49,363,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $43,394,000
FY 2019 House Committee $70,765,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $49,558,000
Programs funded under Indian Health Professions are: Health Professions Preparatory and Pre-Graduate Scholarships; Health Professions Scholarships; Extern Program; Loan Repayment Program; Quentin N. Burdick American Indians Into Nursing Program; Indians into Medicine Program; and American Indians into Psychology.
Loan Repayment Program. The House Committee's bill would provide $55.7 million and the Senate Committee's bill would provide $36 million (same as FY 2018 enacted) for the loan repayment program. The House bill would also provide an additional $1,650,000 for scholarships. The Senate increase would provide $195,000 to expand the Indians into Medicine Program to four sites.
FY 2018 Enacted $2,465,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request -0-
FY 2019 House Committee $2,465,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $2,465,000
The Tribal Management grant program, authorized in 1975 under the authority of the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, provides competitive grant funding for new and continuation grants for the purpose of evaluating the feasibility of contracting IHS programs, developing tribal management capabilities, and evaluating health services.
FY 2018 Enacted $72,338,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $73,431,000
FY 2019 House Committee $73,431,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $73,338,000
IHS estimates that 58.7 percent of the Direct Operations budget would go to Headquarters and 41.3 percent to the 12 Area Offices. Tribal Shares funding for Title I contracts and Title V compacts are also included.
The House Committee increase is for built-in costs and in addition, $800,000 would be transferred to Dental Services to backfill dental vacancies in Headquarters.
FY 2018 Enacted $5,806,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $4,787,000
FY 2019 House Committee $5,858,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $5,806,000
The Self-Governance budget supports implementation of the IHS Tribal Self-Governance Program including funding required for Tribal Shares; oversight of the IHS Director's Agency Lead Negotiators; technical assistance on tribal consultation activities; analysis of Indian Health Care Improvement Act new authorities; and funding to support the activities of the IHS Director's Tribal Self-Governance Advisory Committee.
The IHS notes in its FY 2019 budget justification that in FY 2017, approximately
$2 billion was transferred to tribes to support 94 ISDEAA Title V compacts and 120 funding agreements.
Indian Health Care Improvement Act/Level of Need Funded. The House Committee again addresses the issue of underfunding of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act:
It has been over eight years since the permanent reauthorization of the Indian HealthCare Improvement Act (HCIA), yet many of the provisions in the law remain unfunded. Tribes have specifically requested that priority areas for funding focus on diabetes treatment and prevention, behavioral health, and health professions. The Committee is aware of the work being done by the IHS in consultation with Tribes to re-evaluate the existing formula for calculating the level of need funded. The Service is expected to combine this calculation with other existing resource deficiency metrics to estimate a total amount necessary for fully funding existing health services, and report to the Committee no later than 180 days after enactment of this Act. (H. Rept. p. 80).
Maternal and Child Health Coordinator. The House Committee requests a report on the plan to hire a permanent Maternal and Child Health Coordinator:
The Committee is aware the Indian Health Service Chief Medical Officer (CMO) has established the hiring of a national maternal/child health coordinator as a top priority for the Office of Clinical and Preventive Services. In addition, the CMO has also appointed a Chief Clinical Consultant for Obstetrics and Gynecology for issues related to maternal health. Within 90 days of enactment of this Act, the Indian Health Service shall report on its progress to hire a permanent Maternal and Child Health Coordinator at Headquarters with experience working as a health care provider on maternal and child health issues. (H. Rept. p. 80).
FY 2018 Enacted $867,504,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $505,820,000
FY 2019 House Committee $882,748,000
FY 2009 Senate Committee $877,504,000
FY 2018 Enacted $167,527,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $ 75,745,000
FY 2019 House Committee $167,527,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $167,527,000
As of October 1, 2016, the Backlog of Essential Maintenance, Alteration, and Repair is $515.4 million. Maintenance and Improvement (M&I) funds are provided to Area Offices for distribution to projects in their regions.
FY 2018 Enacted $240,758,000
FY 2019 Admin, Request $228,852,000
FY 2019 House Committee $256,002,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $250,758,000
FY 2018 Enacted $23,706,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $19,952,000
FY 2019 House Committee $23,706,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $23,706,000
Both Committees' bills would provide for $500,000 for the TRANSAM program and up to $2.7 million for the purchase of ambulances.
Construction of Sanitation Facilities
FY 2018 Enacted $192,033,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $101,772,000
FY 2019 House Committee $192,033,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $192,033,000
The sanitation facilities construction program provides funding for sanitation projects to serve new or like-new housing, existing homes, emergency projects, and studies and training related to sanitation facilities construction projects. The funds cannot be used to provide sanitation facilities for Department of Housing and Urban Development-built homes.
Construction of Health Care Facilities
FY 2018 Enacted $243,480,000
FY 2019 Admin. Request $ 79,500,000
FY 2019 House Committee $243,480,000
FY 2019 Senate Committee $243,480,000
Both Committees' bills would provide $15 million for the Small Ambulatory Program, the same as the FY 2018 enacted level. The Senate Report also notes $6.5 million is for new and replacement quarters and $5 million "for healthcare facilities construction for the Service to enter into contracts with tribes or tribal organizations to carry out demonstration projects as authorized under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act."
The Committees would continue language from previously enacted bills, including the following:
Housing Allowances. Both bills provide that the IHS may provide to civilian medical personnel serving in IHS-operated hospitals housing allowances equivalent to those that would be provided to members of the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service serving in similar positions at such hospitals.
IDEA Data Collection Language. Continue the BIA authorization to collect data from the IHS and tribes regarding disabled children in order to assist with the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The provision is:
Provided further, That the Bureau of Indian Affairs may collect from the Indian Health Service and tribes and tribal organizations operating health facilities pursuant to Public Law 93-638 such individually identifiable health information relating to disabled children as may be necessary for the purpose of carrying out its functions under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. (20 U.S.C. 1400, et. seq.)
Prohibition on Implementing Eligibility Regulations. Continue the prohibition on the implementation of the eligibility regulations, published September 16, 1987.
Services for Non-Indians. Continue the provision that allows the IHS and tribal facilities to extend health care services to non-Indians, subject to charges. The provision states:
Provided, That in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, non-Indian patients may be extended health care at all tribally administered or Indian Health Service facilities, subject to charges, and the proceeds along with funds recovered under the Federal Medical Care Recovery Act (42 U.S.C. 2651-2653) shall be credited to the account of the facility providing the service and shall be available without fiscal year limitation.
Assessments by HHS. Continue the provision which provides that no IHS funds may be used for any assessments or charges by the Department of Health and Human Services "unless identified in the budget justification and provided in this Act, or approved by the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations through the reprogramming process."
Limitation on No-Bid Contracts. Continue the provision regarding the use of no-bid contracts. The provision specifically exempts Indian Self-Determination agreements:
Sec. 411. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act to executive branch agencies may be used to enter into any Federal contract unless such contract is entered into in accordance with the requirements of Chapter 33 of title 41 United States Code or chapter 137 of title 10, United States Code, and the Federal Acquisition Regulations, unless:
(1) Federal law specifically authorizes a contract to be entered into without regard for these requirements, including formula grants for States, or federally recognized Indian tribes; or
(2) such contract is authorized by the Indian Self-Determination and Education and Assistance Act (Public Law 93-638, 25 U.S.C. 450 et seq.) or by any other Federal laws that specifically authorize a contract within an Indian tribe as defined in section 4(e) of that Act (25 U.S.C. 450b(e)); or
(3) Such contract was awarded prior to the date of enactment of this Act.
Use of Defaulted Funds. Continue the provision that allows funds collected on defaults from the Loan Repayment and Health Professions Scholarship programs to be used to make new awards under the Loan Repayment and Scholarship programs.”

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In the Courts

The U.S. Supreme Court

“The Culverts Case: Split Supreme Court Affirms Ninth Circuit,” Hobbs-Straus, June 22nd, 2018,, reported, “On June 11, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a one- sentence per curiam opinion in United States v. Washington, regarding the phase of the treaty fishing rights case commonly known as the ‘ Culverts’ case. The opinion states that the judgment of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ‘is affirmed by an equally divided Court.’ In the ruling below , the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the 2007 decision of the federal district court holding that the State of Washington, in building and maintaining culverts under state roads, had diminished the salmon populations and thereby violated its obligations under treaties with Indian tribes. The Ninth Circuit also affirmed the district court's 2013 issuance of an injunction ordering the State to take corrective action.
The Culverts case is part of the ongoing litigation involving tribal fishing rights under a series of treaties entered into in 1854 and 1855, often referred to as the ‘Stevens Treaties,’ negotiated for the United States by the Superintendent of Indian Affairs, Isaac Stevens. Each of the treaties has nearly identical ‘fishing clauses’ that guarantee ‘the right of taking fish, at all usual and accustomed grounds and stations ... in common with all citizens of the Territory.’
Litigation over treaty fishing rights in the Pacific Northwest has been ongoing for more than 100 years, and the original complaint in U.S. v. Washington was filed by the United States as trustee for the treaty tribes in 1970. In a ruling issued in 1974, often referred to as the ‘ Boldt decision,’ District Judge George H. Boldt divided the case into two phases. United States v. State of Washington, 384 F. Supp. 312 (W.D. Wash. 1974). In Phase I, the court addressed the issue of the amount of annually harvestable fish the tribes have rights to catch by virtue of the treaties, and ruled that the tribes have a right to take up to fifty percent of the harvestable fish within certain areas. Id. at 343. This ruling was eventually affirmed by the Supreme Court in Washington v. Washington State Commercial Passenger Fishing Vessel Ass'n, 443 U.S. 658 (1979).
In Phase II, the district court addressed two issues that had not been resolved in Phase I: (1) whether the fishing clauses in the treaties apply to hatchery fish; and (2) whether the fishing clauses impose a duty on the State of Washington to prevent environmental degradation. U.S. v. Washington, 506 F. Supp. 187 (W.D. Wash. 1980). The district court ruled in the tribes' favor on both issues, but the Ninth Circuit vacated the holding on the environmental issue, saying that legal standards to govern the State's obligations and duties under the treaties with respect to the environment of the treaty areas "will depend for their definition and articulation upon concrete facts which underlie a dispute in a particular case." U. S. v. Washington, 759 F.2d 1353, 1357 (9th Cir. 1985) (en banc).
In 2001, twenty-one tribes invoked the district court's continuing jurisdiction to resolve such ‘a dispute in a particular case.’ The tribes contended that the State, in building and maintaining culverts under state roads, had violated, and was continuing to violate, the tribes' treaties because the culverts prevented mature salmon from returning from the sea to their spawning grounds, prevented juvenile salmon from moving downstream and out to sea, and interfered with the movement of very young salmon seeking food and escaping from predators. As previously noted, the district court ruled in the tribes' favor and issued an injunction requiring the State to correct ‘most of its high-priority barrier culverts within seventeen years, and to correct the remainder at the end of their natural life or in the course of a road construction project undertaken for independent reasons.’ U.S. v. Washington, 853 F.3d at 980 (9th Cir. 2017).
Considering equitable principles, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's decision and upheld the injunction, quoting the following passage from the district court's opinion:
‘[I]t is in the public's interest, as well as the Tribes' to accelerate the pace of barrier correction. All fishermen, not just Tribal fishermen, will benefit from the increased production of salmon.... The general public will benefit from the enhancement of the resource and the increased economic return from fishing in the State of Washington [and] will also benefit from the environmental benefits of salmon habitat restoration.’
Id. at 977.
Given the 4-4 split in the U.S. Supreme Court in its per curium opinion in the Culverts case, the Ninth Circuit's decision stands. ”

    The Supreme Court, in refusing to hear an appeal, let stand an Obama administration 20 year moratorium on new uranium mines on some one million acres of land around the Grand Canyon, which took effect in 2012 (Brenden Campbell, "Supreme Court lets stand ban on new uranium mines around the Grand Canyon," Navajo Times, October 11, 2018).

Lower Federal Courts

Jourdan Bennett-Begaye , "Indian Child Welfare Act remains in force after appeals court order: Tribes, NCAI say it’s ‘welcome news’ to preserve status quo despite Texas court ruling," ICT, December 5 , 2018,, reports, " A federal appeals court granted a stay requested by the four tribes on Monday to preserve the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act. " The district court decision in Brakeen v Zinke (reported below) was ordered not to go into effect pending an appeal of the decision."

​     Rebecca Nagle , "Texas Judge rules Indian Child Welfare Act as unconstitutional," ICT, October 8 , 2018,, reported, " The Indian Child Welfare Act was dealt a substantial blow on Friday, when a U.S. Federal Judge in the Northern District of Texas ruled the landmark legislation unconstitutional . According to the law, when a Native child is up for adoption, family members, other tribal members, and then other Native homes are to be prioritized for placement. Ample research shows that all children, Native and non-Native alike, have better outcomes when they are raised with family, extended family or in their community over state child welfare systems and foster homes. National child advocacy organizations have praised the act as a gold standard for child welfare . The act is often referred to by its acronym, ICWA.
    The republican appointee, Judge Reed O’Conner , ruled ICWA is a 'race based statute” that violates the Equal Protection Clause of the constitution. In the 47-page Brackeen v. Zinke decision , O’Conner also argued that ICWA violates the 10th amendment by 'commandeering' state courts to enforce a federal law.'" The opinion is at:

"Seminole Tribe loses appeal in long-running taxation dispute," IndianZ, December 10, 2018,, reported, "The Seminole Tribe must pay utility taxes to the state of Florida, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled for a second time in the long-running dispute.
    In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the court said it previously determined that the taxes do not violate federal law or infringe on the tribe's sovereignty. Therefore the tribe cannot raise the same issues again, the court said."
    "The 11th Circuit's prior ruling in the case was issued in August 2015. The court struck down a rental tax imposed on the reservation but preserved the utility tax because it determined that the legal incidence fell on non-Indian utilities, not on the tribe, and is not pre-empted by federal laws or regulations."

    The Eighth Circuit Court of appeals, applying principle of abstention established in Younger v. Harris in 1979, that federal courts should generally let state courts decide state issues, overturned the decision of South Dakota District Court Judge Jeffrey Viken granted the tribes standing to sue under the ICWA and certifing Indian parents as a class for the first time to challenge state court adoption decisions, allowing Indian children to be placed with non-Native families. Judge Viken ruled for the plaintiffs , saying the state had violated ICWA , supporting his decision by cataloging state failures. The Eighth Circuit, however, overturned, leaving the decision to the state ( Rebecca Pilar Buckwalter Poza , " Court erases victory for Native American parents separated from their children ," Daily Kos, September 20, 2018,
     Jake Johnson, staff writer, “Judge Voices 'Great Concern' Over North Dakota Voter ID Law, But Rejects Tribe's Lawsuit Anyway: ‘This decision ensures that hundreds, perhaps thousands of Native Americans will not be able to vote in the upcoming election,’" Common Dreams , November 01, 2018, , reported, Despite declaring there is ‘ great cause for concern ’ that thousands of Native Americans could be illegally barred from voting under North Dakota's strict and overtly discriminatory voter ID law , a federal judge on Thursday rejected a lawsuit filed by the Spirit Lake Tribe and six individual plaintiffs arguing that the law violates their First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.
‘This decision ensures that hundreds, perhaps thousands of Native Americans will not be able to vote in the upcoming election," noted Slate reporter Mark Joseph Stern.
   In his ruling, U.S. District Court Judge Daniel Hovland argued that granting the tribe's request for an emergency restraining order to prevent the ID law from going into effect would cause confusion too close to the Nov. 6 midterm elections and declared that ‘it is highly important to preserve the status quo when elections are fast approaching.’
Stephen Wolf, a political analyst with Daily Kos, called this rationale for voter suppression ‘ridiculous.’
‘Letting Republican lawmakers abridge American citizens' fundamental right to vote simply because it's too close to an election is a ridiculous principle,’ Wolf wrote on Twitter.
Corey Goldstone, a spokesperson for the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center—one of the organizations representing the Spirit Lake Tribe— told The Center for Public Integritythat he is "disappointed" with the judge's ruling.
‘While we are disappointed with the order, Judge Hovland was correct that the evidence indicates that disenfranchisement will be 'certain,'’ Goldstone concluded. ‘We are considering our options.’
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License.”

U.S. District Court Judge Robert Shelby, in Salt Lake City, UT, ruled, July 2, 2018, that San Juan County, UT, had made sufficient reforms in overcoming racial gerrymandering of its districts, declining to hear complaints from Navajo residents requesting a reopening of the case, on the grounds that they had not received appropriate ballots in the June 26, 2018 election, the first election with the new districts ("Judge sides with Utah county in Navajo voting rights case," NFIC, July 2018).

A U.S. District Court Judge in South Dakota dismissed a law suite brought by the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe contending that the Bureau of Indian Education's reorganization was illegal because the tribes were not sufficiently consulted about it ("Judge dismisses challenge to tribal education services," NFIC, October 2018).

The St. Croix Chippewa of Wisconsin reached agreement with that state's attorney general, according to which the Tribe may oversee the production of hemp to produce cannabidol or CBD oil on reservation lands ("Chippewa, Wisconsin reach settlement in hemp case," NFIC, August 2018).

Kevin Abourezk, " Winnebago Tribe defends sovereignty in dispute with state officials," IndianZ, December 11, 2018,, reported, "Attorneys for two tribal corporations owned and operated by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska asked a federal judge Monday to deny a motion by the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office to dismiss the corporations’ lawsuit against the state.
     Ho-Chunk Inc. (HCI) – an economic development corporation run by the tribe – owns the two subsidiaries, HCI Distribution and Rock River Manufacturing. On April 20, those two companies filed a lawsuit against the state of Nebraska seeking to prevent the state from forcing them to abide by a legal agreement between the state and a variety of tobacco manufacturers.
    HCI Distribution purchases tobacco products from tribal-based manufacturers and resells those products exclusively to reservation-based wholesalers and retailers. Rock River is a federally licensed cigarette manufacturer whose products are distributed by HCI Distribution and other national distributors to retailers throughout the country."

State and Local Courts

     Lisa J. Ellwood , "Nanticoke-Lenape of NJ Win Six-Year Battle to Restore State Recognition," ICT, November 21 , 2018,, reported, "A controversy that drew national attention for its contentious litigation in federal and state courts and significance to tribes throughout the nation has finally concluded. On November 15th, The State of New Jersey settled a major civil rights lawsuit brought by the State’s largest Native American Tribe, The Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation , alleging racially discriminatory treatment of Native Americans by senior officials in former NJ Governor Chris Christie's administration. The State’s disavowal of Christie-era actions and restoration of the tribe’s status has profound and positive implications for both the plaintiff-tribe, the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation , and the civil rights of Native Americans nationwide.
     The office of New Jersey’s newest attorney general Gurbir Grewal (confirmed on January 16, 2018) settled the tribe’s civil rights lawsuits. In doing so, it conceded that the 3,000-member Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribal Nation was officially recognized in 1982 and regularly reaffirmed formal recognition over the next three decades."

" Hopi Tribe loses challenge to use of wastewater at sacred site," IndianZ, November 29, 2018,, reported, "The Hopi Tribe has lost a long-running challenge to the use of reclaimed sewage at the sacred San Francisco Peaks in Arizona.
    The Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the tribe cannot make a public nuisance claim against the use of the wastewater at a publicly-accessible ski resort in the peaks. The vote was 5-2 against the tribe.
    'Today we hold, as a matter of law, that environmental damage to public land with religious, cultural, or emotional significance to the plaintiff is not special injury for public nuisance purposes,' Justice John Pelander wrote for the majority ."
    The opinion of the Arizona Supreme Court in Arizona Snowbowl Resort Limited Partnership, et al ., is at:

     Christine Hitt , "Hawai‘i Supreme Court Approves Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea: The controversial telescope has been given the approvals necessary for a permit that will allow it to start construction," ICT, November 19 , 2018,, reported, " The Hawai‘i Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) Oct. 30 and affirmed the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ decision to issue a permit for the $1.4 billion telescope project on top of Mauna Kea.
    The ruling is the latest in a long history of court battles that have ignited passionate objections by many Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) groups. Construction for the telescope was halted in 2015, following protests that included blocking the road to the top of Mauna Kea and arrests of as much as 31 people on one day."

    Yellowstone County, MT operates a Native foster care court, with participation of the tribes with reservations in the area, to handle Indian child welfare cases involving children of the tribes: Assinboine, Northern Cheyenne and Crow. The court's largest problem has been finding enough Native foster homes. It reported in August 2018 that it had been able to place about three-quarters of the Indian children in its cases needing foster care with Native families, but has had to place the other quarter with non-Indian families (Phoebe Tollefson, "Native Foster Court seeing successes in first year," NFIC, August 2018).

A man, part Native, who lost his job with Dahled Up Construction Co., in Oregon, because he refused to attend Bible study classes required by his employer, filed suite for lost wages in Lynn county, OR court, in Coleman v. Dahled Up Construction Co. ("Oregon Man Fired Ove Refusal to Attend Bible Study," Church and State, October 2018).

Tribal Courts

The Navajo Nation Supreme Court ruled that the two term limit on serving as Navajo Nation President intended to prevent a person serving more than two consecutive terms, and did not prevent former two term nation president Joe Shirley from running for a third term, after being out of the office of President for at least one term (Arlysa Becenti, "Supreme Court: Shiley can try for third term," Navajo Times, October 11, 2018).

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Tribal Government and State and Local Government Developments

The Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement and Compact were signed, in June or July 2018, Among the Blackfeet Nation of Montana, the U.S. Department of the Interior, and the State of Montana. The agreements recognize the Blackfeet water rights and religious and cultural uses of water. The Tribe is guaranteed 750,000 acre feet of water, plus all the ground water on their reservation, and funds for the construction and rehabilitation of on reservation water related infrastructure. The agreement confirms tribal instream flow of water on ceded lands that are parts of the Lewis and Clark National Forest and Glacier National Park, as well as allocating 45,000 acre feet of water on lake Elwell. The tribe was granted exclusive rights for hydroelectric power on the St. Mary's Unit of the Milk River. Funding under the agreements includes fisheries, recreation and water use projects to promote economic development and employment. The department of the Interior transferred $800,000 to the Blackfeet Settlement Trust fund, established in the settlement, as the first portion of related federal funding. The compact was to be filed with the Montana Water Court, which would issue a decree on the tribe's water rights ("Blackfeet Water Rights Settlement and Compact signed," NFIC, July 2018).

Brendan Campbell, "Cronkite News: Tribes involved in Colorado River water talks: Despite fits and starts, officials optimistic a water deal is close," IndianZ, December 12, 2018,, reported, " After months of wrangling, state and tribal officials, industry and agriculture representatives walked out of a meeting at the end of last month with high hopes they were nearing agreement on a complex water-conservation plan."
    "That two-steps-forward, one-step-back process is typical of the delicate negotiations as Arizona officials try to hammer out how the state will implement its share of a multistate drought contingency plan that would take effect if water levels in Lake Mead continue to drop."
    Arizona needs to have its legislature approve a water plan by spring 2019 to avoid the possibility of the federal government making the decision.

In New Mexico, the Secretary of States office, following discussions with the states tribes, trained interpreters to run a series of radio adds in the local Native language prior to the 2018 elections, to inform people about the details of the election. The New Mexico Secretary of State also worked with the Albuquerque League of Women Voters to produce printed versions of their election guides for counties with high Native populations that previously did not have guides. The guides carried details of what was on the ballots - candidates for each position, wording of proposed bond issues, constitutional amendments and any referendums - plus short statements by each candidate in answer to a set of key questions ("New Mexico trains Native American Interpreters for election," NFIC, October 2018; and discussions across the fall of 2018 with a Co-President of Albuquerque League of Woman Voters).

The Southern Ute Tribe - State of Colorado Environmental Commission met, December 5, 2018, discussing options from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the air quality, minor source program, for which it recommended one of the options to EPA (Trennie Collins, "Options for Tribe's Air Quality minor source program," Southern Ute Drum, December 7, 2018).

An undercover operation of the U.S. Department of the Interior's (DOI) Joint Opioid Reduction Taskforce, in conjunction with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indian Police Department, and several federal and state law enforcement agencies, led to 75 arrests and the seizing of 248 pounds of illegal substances in North Carolina Indian Country, in September 2018. Previously, a two year investigation led by the DOI Opioid Reduction Taskforce and the DEA had arrested 57 people for trafficking opioids and methamphetamine on the Cherokee Reservation ("Joint Opioid Reduction Taskforce leads to 75 Arrests in North Carolina Indian Country," NFIC, October 2018).

    "Tribes welcome bill to advance casino stalled by Trump administration," IndianZ, December 13, 2018,, reported, "The Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Nation and the Mohegan Tribe are hoping to revive a casino that has been stalled by the Trump administration."
    Rather than wait for that issue to be resolved in court, the tribes are welcoming the introduction of a bill in the Connecticut Legislature that would eliminate the need for the Mashantucket agreement to be approved by the Trump administration in Washington, D.C."

The Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wild Life Council of Wisconsin, composed of representatives of the state's 10 Ojibwe tribes, in consultation with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board, proposed that the Wisconsin Senate Committee on Rules approve an emergency rule to take effect that would limit the transportation of deer carcasses and set rules for deer fencing, in order to limit the spread of rampant chronic wasting deer disease (CWD). For more information contact Charlie Rasmussen, (715)685-2107 ("Ojibwe Tribes endorse new regulations to curb Chronic Wasting Deer Disease (CWD), " NFIC, October 2018).

McKinley County, NM and the Navajo Nation have had difficulty restarting a very successful, and useful for both jurisdictions, cross deputizing of police officers that expired in 2010. The plan was not renewed because in a previous case in New Mexico the insurance provider had refused to cover the off reservation arrest of a non-Indian by a Pueblo police officer. Both the county and the Navajo Nation had said they would provide insurance for their cross-deputized officers acting in the other's jurisdiction, but neither had yet acted on it as of fall 2018. The reelected Sheriff of McKinley County, Ron Silversmith (Navajo) said he would work to reestablish cross-deputizing (Bill Donovan, "Unopposed sheriff, but facing cross-commissioning dilemma," Navajo Times, likely in November, 2018).

The Red Lake Chippewa, in October 2018, provided land in Minneapolis to the City where the City Council, in consultation with the tribe, decided to set up shelters for some 300 homeless people, mostly Native, before winter (Red Lake Chippewa offer land option: In Minneapolis, leaders grapple with growing homeless camp," NFIC, October, 2018).

In New Mexico, in the Spring of 2018, a plaque commemorating the volunteers who took part in the Union victory in the Civil War battle of Glorieta Pass was to be placed by the U.S. National Park Service in Pecos National Historic Park, and a bust of the leader of the volunteers, Manuel Chavez, was to be placed in the state capital rotunda. However, when the Associated Press published an article describing Chavez violent raids against Indians, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez cancelled the placing of the bust, and the Park Service decided not to install the plaque ("Battling History: Manuel Chaves was a civil War hero. He also murdered and enslaved Native Americans. How should we remember him?" National Parks, Fall 2018).

For the first time, in September 2018, the annual Festival de Santa Fe (in Santa Fe, NM) did not begin with the Entrada, a celebration of the 1692 Spanish reconquest of New Mexico, replacing the opening with a multidenominational prayer. The change came about as the result of negotiations between representatives of New Mexico's Pueblos and the Hispanic community, following protests by Native Americans and allies that the celebration covered up the violent nature of the reconquest (Simon Romero, "New Mexico Grapples With Its Version of Confederate Tributes," The New York Times, September 9, 2018).

Jose A. Del Real , “An Icon or Insensitive Relic? Prospector Pete Is on Its Way Out,” The New York Times, October 3, 2018,, reported, “ Towering over the courtyard at California State University, Long Beach, is the barrel-chested statue of Prospector Pete, the epitome of the rugged 49ers who came to the state looking for gold and land.
To some, it is an innocuous icon harkening back to the university’s first president, Pete Peterson, who frequently spoke of having “struck the gold of education.” For others, the bearded and weathered statue is an upsetting relic that sanctions the brutish treatment of indigenous people in the state during the Gold Rush
The school was built on the former site of the sacred village of Puvungna, where the Tongva indigenous people lived long before European contact. And beyond its early branding by Mr. Peterson, the university has no historical ties to the Gold Rush, having been founded a century after the so-called 49ers struck gold.
Now, after years of activism and a formal committee inquiry, Jane Conoley, the university’s president, announced last month that the statue will be formally moved. The cartoonish Prospector Pete costume mascot used at athletic games, which has been slowly phased out in recent years, will also be formally retired.”

After decades of protest by Indians and supporters, the statue in front of San Francisco's Asian Art Museum and Main Library of the "Early Days" statue of a fallen American Indian at the feet of a vaquero and a missionary, was removed to fine arts storage, in mid-September, 2018 (Dominic Fracassa, "Disputed statue taken down before sun rise," San Francisco Chronicle, September 15, 2018).

Among the increasing number of municipalities in the U.S. that have replaced Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples day, or Native American Day, etc., on October 8, 2018, San Francisco Mayor London Breed accompanied by Board of Supervisors Vallie Brown and Malia Cohen delivered a Proclamation stating that the City and County of San Francisco would no longer recognize “Columbus Day” and would instead celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day. 93 other US cities have made this change, along with the states of South Dakota, Alaska, Minnesota and Vermont (“ San Francisco Proclaims October 8th as Indigenous Peoples Day,” International Treaty Council, October 9, 2018,

Vincent Schilling , "UPDATE: Medford Mayor halts auction of Native items - Auction violated NAGPRA," ICT, November 19 , 2018,, reported, " The City of Medford[, MA]'s Law Department has determined the scheduled auction was not in compliance with NAGPRA, the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act."
     "Medford city Mayor Stephanie M. Burke has stepped forward to remove a list of sacred Native American cultural items from a scheduled Medford Public Library auction after social media outrage and protests by Native Americans opposing the sale.
    The auction was scheduled to take place on December 1st and was to be hosted by Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers, an independent auction company based in Boston. Items on the roster included 'shaman masks' appraised at approximately $30,000, 'shaman bird rattles' appraised at $6-8,000, a shaman spirit-figure at $4-6,000 and a totem pole worth $8-12,000."

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Tribal Developments

     Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions,, was launched by First Nations Development Institute and Echo Hawk Consulting in 2016, with support from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and a number of other institutions. " Reclaiming Native Truth is a national effort to foster cultural, social and policy change by empowering Native Americans to counter discrimination, invisibility and the dominant narratives that limit Native opportunity, access to justice, health and self-determination. Reclaiming Native Truth’s goal is to move hearts and minds toward greater respect, inclusion and social justice for Native Americans."
    The project has developed two closely related guides, Changing the Narrative About Native Americans, one for allies and one for Native peoples and organizations.
    First Nations Development Institute and Echo Hawk Consulting, "Groundbreaking Research Reveals America's Attitudes, Public Perceptions and Dominant Narratives about Native People and Native Issues, and Provides Opportunities for 'Reclaiming Native Truth,'" June 27, 2018, stated, " First Nations Development Institute ( First Nations ) and Echo Hawk Consulting ( EHC ) today released groundbreaking research about attitudes toward and perceptions of Native Americans as part of a jointly-managed effort called Reclaiming Native Truth: A Project to Dispel America’s Myths and Misconceptions . The project also released two messaging guides based on the research findings and a narrative-change strategy framework that will be used to begin to change the false and misleading narratives about Native peoples.
    The project seeks to create a long-term, Native-led movement that positively transforms popular narratives and images of Native Americans. A two-year phase, launched in 2016, created a solid foundation of unprecedented public opinion research and data, building upon previous research efforts. It was funded by a $2.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and significant financial contributions from numerous other entities and individuals.
    'Some incredible findings were unearthed through this research – many of which had long been experienced and assumed but not proven,' said Michael E. Roberts (Tlingit), President & CEO of First Nations. 'The findings clearly validate the realities that so many Native people face in their day-to-day interactions in communities. They provide our project, and the larger movement, with a strong foundation upon which to move forward.' Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee), President & CEO of Echo Hawk Consulting, shared, 'This research informed how we could create a new narrative that would be effective in changing misperceptions. We formulated a new narrative, created by renowned Native American artists and storytellers, that proved to change people’s understanding of Native people and issues. We are excited to take this new narrative and our research findings and transition into a new phase of this project, harnessing the power of a movement of movements.'
Highlights from the publicly available findings include:
    Discrimination: Most Americans surveyed significantly understate the degree of discrimination against Native Americans . Only 34 percent of Americans believe that Native people face discrimination. At the same time, myths about the abundance of Indian gaming and free government benefits to Native Americans are widely held and fuel bias across diverse demographics and within institutions.
      Narratives: The research found that people have limited personal experience with Native Americans but accept pervasive negative narratives that are erroneously set or reinforced by others, and that proximity shapes some perceptions . For instance, people who live near or work in Indian Country, especially in areas of great poverty, are likely to hold significant bias. Only 56% of survey respondents living in close proximity to Native communities believed the U.S. should do more to help Native Americans compared to 64% of respondents further removed.
    Invisibility: Unsurprisingly, another key finding was that Native Americans are assigned to a romanticized past. However, one of the biggest barriers identified was the invisibility and erasure of Native Americans in all aspects of modern U.S. society. Respondents, including members of Congress and administrative officials, agree that invisibility, stereotypes and narratives set by others do impact policy .
     Desire for Complete History: One of the key opportunities uncovered is that, across the research, people are well aware of the inaccurate historical lessons they have learned about Native Americans, and want more accurate education about both historical and contemporary Natives. This was reflected in national polling that indicated that 72 percent believe it is necessary to make significant changes to school curricula on Native American history and culture.
    Narratives are broadly accepted, overarching stories that reinforce ideas, norms and expectations in society. Repeated over and over, through diverse platforms and channels, a narrative becomes the story people accept without question. Often a narrative reinforces the status quo and perpetuates unfair systems, structures and norms. The Reclaiming Native Truth project worked to identify and test a new accurate narrative that can support cultural shifts to advance social and policy change to support racial equity and justice for Native Americans and tribal nations.
78% – Most Americans are generally open to hearing this narrative. A majority in this survey say they are interested in learning more about Native American cultures. Strong majorities support Native American positions on most issues — mascots excepted — without hearing the narratives .
      81% – The public reacts strongly to our narrative.
     88% – Nearly nine in 10 respondents find it credible.
    One of the most significant outcomes of the project related to developing and testing a new strength-based narrative that incorporated messaging related to values, history and the visibility of Native peoples. The narrative was tested through an online survey conducted between April 27 and May 1, 2018, with 2,000 Americans over age 18. Majorities of Americans support the new narrative and find it credible. A 65 percent majority say they would be willing — 31 percent very willing — to share these ideas with others. More issue-specific narrative messages written around key issues — mascots, the Indian Child Welfare Act, tribal sovereignty and pop culture depictions of Native Americans — find similar validation.
     Most noteworthy is the objective difference between those exposed to the new narrative (treated group) and those that were not (untreated “control” group). Large differences emerge among the half that read the new narrative, which gave them a framework for understanding information about key Native issues related to the Indian Child Welfare Act, sovereignty, mascots and other issues. For example, 39 percent of Americans who were not exposed to the new narratives support a ban on Native American mascots. Among those who read the narratives, 53 percent support such a ban.
     'We are encouraged by the findings of the research and narrative message testing in this first phase,' said Vicky Stott, Program Officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. 'As a philanthropic partner to the project, we are committed to telling more authentic and complete stories about who we are as interconnected people living in America. This work has the potential to transform the way we understand and relate to one another and, ultimately, co-create a new story about our shared humanity.'
     The next phase of work will focus on bringing the power of many movements — of organizations, tribes, grassroots leaders, non-Native allies, foundations — each of whom can adopt, adapt and disseminate the new shared narrative as part of their ongoing efforts and work, while leading implementation of their own priority strategies. An introduction to the narrative and messaging strategies are available as part of the Reclaiming Native Truth messaging guides at The detailed research report and the Narrative-Change Strategy are also available online.
    Potential allies, supporters and others can participate in the movement of movements. The network will contain a support and infrastructure function that will be determined jointly by core organizations working collaboratively on the initiative. There will be many ways for allies to do their part to shift the narrative, remove bias and barriers, and achieve the collective vision for the change that is sought: that Native peoples collectively author and powerfully lead a more equitable reality where they fully benefit from and contribute to both Native and American society. Interested partners are encouraged to download the messaging guides from .
    "The project provided us the critical opportunity to begin to assemble an incredible team of not only researchers, but other experts and thought leaders across Indian Country, and both Native and non-Native allies and professionals in the media, the arts, entertainment, politics and education, as well as others who have worked on successful racial narrative change projects,” noted Echo Hawk. 'We have the new research foundation built, a cadre of willing and able experts at the ready, and we have the desire and ability to move this project into the next phases where we can begin to shift the narrative.'
    Roberts shared, 'We have also sought and received input and feedback at every step in the project, from more than 180 stakeholders, including an incredible swath of Indian Country that came together in a new and different way to support these efforts. Their voices are reflected in this project and we are all committed to work together going forward. Native Americans and tribes have faced discrimination and bias at every level of society, institutionally, and within government. They have been held back from reaching their full potential by the negative stereotypes, damaging misperceptions and lack of awareness that prevail within education, the media, entertainment, popular culture, and among thought leaders. Changing that begins now.'
    For more information visit: ."
    " PROGRAM CONTACTS: Crystal Echo Hawk, President & CEO of Echo Hawk Consulting, or (720) 891-9118. Sarah Dewees, First Nations Director of Programs - Research, Policy and Asset-Building, or (540) 371-5615.
    MEDIA CONTACT : Randy Blauvelt, First Nations Senior Communications Officer or (303) 774-7836 x213.

     Vincent Schilling , "Urban Indian Health report identifies 506 urban Missing & Murdered Women, Girls," ICT, November 14 , 2018,, reported, " Researchers have looked at the data from 71 U.S. cities and have identified 506 cases of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW / MMIWG).
     The report was released today by the Urban Indian Health Institute, a division of the Seattle Indian Health Board, titled Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls, a snapshot of data from urban cities in the United States ."
    The report noted that there is difficulty in obtaining good data on these cases, as well as investigating many of them, as many American Indians and Alaska Natives reside off-reservation and outside rural villages.
    Alaska Senator Murkowski "cited the report confirmation regarding Native women MMIW statistics in urban communities. 'There are 282 confirmed murdered 127 confirmed missing and 98 cases in unknown status,” said Murkowski. “We have to assume 572 is an undercount'
    Murkowski then recognized Canada’s government had contributed 54 million dollars to its own MMIW inquiry. While the United States did not fund research.
    'Canada has contributed tens of millions. We’ve invested about zero,” she said. “We have a great deal of work to do We need to be doing more.'
    UIHI intends to provide the report as a resource for urban Indian organizations, tribal governments, and legislators."

The Urban Indian Health Institute reported that, in 2016, there were 5712 cases of missing American Indian women and girls listed in the National Crime Information Center, but only 116 were on file in the Justice Department's missing persons data base (Daniel Perle, "Report: Crimes against Native women not reported in urban areas," Navajo Times, November 21, 2018).

A study by the National Institute of Justice found that 84% of American Indian and Alaska Native Women have experienced violence in their lifetime, and more than half from an intimate partner. About 50% of Native Women have suffered sexual violence (Trennie Collins, "Domestic violence soars in Native communities," Southern Ute Drum, October 26, 2018).

Opioid addiction, a major problem across the U.S., is particularly serious in Indian country. " Nationally, Native Americans are the hardest-hit demographic in an overdose death epidemic that has affected every corner of the country. Between 1999 and 2015, there was a 519 percent increase in the number of overdose deaths among rural Native Americans, according to a 2017 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, compared to an increase of 325 percent in rural areas overall. Abuse of painkillers and heroin have played significantly into those trends. The problem in two California tribes is discussed in , Jose A. Del Real, " Sick River: Can These California Tribes Beat Heroin and History? As salmon runs decline and opioid addiction grips the region, the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa tribes see a connection between the river’s struggles and their own ," The New York Times, September 4, 2018,, reported, " For thousands of years, the Klamath River has been a source of nourishment for the Northern California tribes that live on its banks. Its fish fed dozens of Indian villages along its winding path, and its waters cleansed their spirits, as promised in their creation stories.
    But now a crisis of opioid addiction is gripping this remote region. At the same time, the Klamath’s once-abundant salmon runs have declined to historic lows, the culmination of 100 years of development and dam building along the river.
    Today, many members of the Yurok, Karuk and Hoopa tribes living in this densely forested area south of the California-Oregon border see a connection between the river’s struggle and their own
    "Conflict along the Klamath has been a part of life going back to the Gold Rush, say those living on the reservation. Battles over land rights and federal funding, high rates of violence, an epidemic of meth in the 2000s and drought have all contributed to the tribes’ difficulties. Some strife has been caused from outsiders; some has come from within.
    Now heroin is fraying family bonds like never before, they say, a devastating response to crisis."
    For centuries, salmon have been at the center of economic, social, cultural and spiritual life of the tribes along the Klamath river. In an area where tribal member unemployment sometimes reaches 80%, in recent times salmon have continued to be the key to subsistence living. But the decline of the river has brought the decline of the salmon to an all time low, facing many families with starvation.
    "At the same time, a surge of heroin has intensified problems with opioid addiction that first began with painkillers like OxyContin in the early 2000s and began to worsen in 2014, according to tribal members. Among the Yurok, the Karuk and the Hoopa Indians, it is difficult to find anyone who has not been directly touched by heroin
     "In Yurok country, tribal leaders have pursued an aggressive agenda of cultural revival since the early 1990s in an effort to keep traditions alive. The process has not always been smooth," with infighting on some issues, including economic decisions that did not bring the best results.
    " Since then, the river’s intensifying troubles have caused spiritual pain, in addition to exacerbating economic anguish."
    “ 'Now it feels like the river is as sick as it has ever been. I think last year was the first time in history that the Yurok people did not fish on the Klamath,' Ms. Cordalis said. 'When you start separating those ties, it really affects people.'
     The effects of heroin — and meth before it — have seeped into every aspect of life."
    One of the major problems with the river has been four dams upstream that have caused major environmental problems, including the decline of the salmon and poisoning from pollution. The agreements to remove the dams have been awaiting approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
    "The tribes, environmentalists and others hope the dams can be removed to address the ecological and cultural crises at once."
    "As they wait anxiously for the dam removal to be approved, tribal leaders are also looking for inclusive ways to bring drug treatment to the region, where abuse is often stigmatized. One solution proposed by Ms. Abinanti and others are Yurok 'wellness villages,' planned living sites along the river where the tribe can help reintegrate people who have struggled with addiction. Those programs would be fundamentally centered on the tribe’s traditional practices. They are in the process of looking for funding."
    In March, the Yurok joined other communities nationally and filed a lawsuit against several opioid companies with the Northern California Federal District Court. The suit claims that opioid addiction has increased crime, led to economic losses and increased hospital and administrative costs.
    In May, the tribal council passed an emergency declaration and vowed to create a plan to address the sharp rise in opioid abuse on the reservation." But, aside from the plan for wellness villages, there are few good options. While some tribal members have entered mainstream type medication-assisted drug treatment programs, many others are skeptical of them. "For many, the idea of culturally relevant addiction treatment brings hope." Tribal members are familiar with often effective ceremonies that have worked with the spirit of the river to wash away sins and demons, and hope that they can be applied to relief from the demon of drugs.

Acee Agoyo, "Another tribe asserts authority over non-Indians as VAWA remains in limbo," IndianZ, December 7, 2018,, reported, "The Violence Against Women Act remains mired in partisan politics in the nation's capital even as tribes continue to utilize the law to protect their communities.
     The Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians is one of the latest to assert authority over non-Indians as part of the law. The tribe recently updated its code to take advantage of landmark provisions in VAWA , as well as the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 ."

"Muscogee (Creek) Nation lawmakers consider independent press bill," IndianZ, December 6, 2018,, reported, "Efforts are underway to restore freedom of the press to the Muscogee (Creek) Nation .
    A bill introduced in the Muscogee National Council would restore independence to the Mvskoke Media , the tribe's media outlet, The Oklahoma Journal Record reported. If adopted at the committee level at a meeting on Thursday evening, the measure could be considered by the full council as soon as next week."

Vincent Schilling , "Cherokee Nation applauds Bass Pro Shops for removal of 'Trail of Tears' rifle ," ICT, November 15 ,2018,, reported, " After social media went ablaze with the news that Bass Pro Shops had been selling a Winchester #9422 rifle that commemorated the Cherokee Trail of Tears, the retail giant with 171 retail stores across the United States and Canada told Indian Country Today that the rifle was a one-time single item obtained by an associate, they had immediately removed the item for sale and reached out to tribes to ask the most respectful way to handle the situation."
    " Cherokee Nation Secretary of State Chuck Hoskin Jr. issued a statement Wednesday commending the actions of Bass Pro Shops regarding their removal of the Winchester rifle commemorating the Trail of Tears, from a store shelf."

Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM) stated in an E-mail, October 22, 2018, “I was in Thoreau this morning with plumbers and pipefitters from New Mexico and all around the world who have gathered this week to help install plumbing and water sanitation services in homes on the Navajo Nation. It continues to be the stark truth that too many New Mexicans lack access to basic infrastructure that many of us take for granted.
It's estimated that 40 percent of households on the Navajo Nation lack running water. Which is why I was pleased to join with Navajo Nation leaders, the International Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Foundation, labor groups, plumbing manufacturers and other government officials today who are working hard to find solutions on this critical issue and make a real difference in people's lives.
I am a strong supporter of the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project, which will build 280 miles of new pipeline, new pumping plants, and water treatment plants to deliver water from the San Juan River to communities on the Navajo Nation, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, and Gallup. I helped secure more than $20 million for the Navajo-Gallup Water Supply Project in the latest government funding bill, and I am committed to seeing this project through to completion.”

As of the beginning of fall 2018 , the Navajo Tribal Utility was on track to have its newest solar thermal plant, Kayenta II, on line on May 1, 2019. It is planned to generate 78,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 18,000 homes (Krista Allen, "Second phase of solar plant underway," Navajo Times, September 27, 2018).

The Navajo Nation Council, in August 2018, passed the Police Officer Standards and Certification Act, authorizing Police Officer Standards and Training Commission, making the Navajo Nation the first American tribe to set its own police officer standards and certification (Arlyssa Becenti, "Navajo POST makes big step forward for tribe," Navajo Times, August 16, 2018).

The Navajo Nation Law and Order Committee, in late October 2018, authorized funding to establish the Nation's Department of Medical Examiners, so that the tribe can have its own medial examiners (Arlyssa Becenti, "New Department created for medical investigations," Navajo Times, October 25, 2018).

The Navajo Nation took the first step, at the beginning of July 2018, to establish its own addiction rehabilitation centers, by requesting the Indian health Service (IHS) to add mental health to its Title I contract. In anticipation of that development, Navajo Behavioral Health Services was renamed Navajo Behavioral and Mental Health Services (Cindy Yurth, "Tribe wants contract with IHS to run mental health," Navajo Times, July 5, 2018).

A number of organizations in New Mexico have been collaborating to deal with addiction issues that impact the Navajo Nation and its members living off reservation in New Mexico. Some of this was taking place in 2018 under the first year of the Pathways Project, funded by a Kellogg Foundation four-year grant, aimed at tackling the causes of addictions. One aspect of the program has been the establishment of job creation programs in Bernalillo, Dona Ana, Gallup-McKinley and San Juan Counties. Another development is the application of hi-tech communications by Rehaboth McKinley Christian Health Care Services (RMCHCS) to coordinate and provide rapid access to patients' medical records. Plans are to begin providing distance connections from RMCHCS to locations on the Navajo reservation so that patients can access care by closed circuit television close to home (David Dallago, "New Mexico hospital battles addictions issues with high tech prescriptions to reach Navajo reservation and communities," NFIC, September 2018).

The Navajo Nation broke ground, at the beginning of November 2018, on employee housing in Window Rock - the reservation capitol - so that tribal workers will no longer have to make long, and sometimes dangerous, drives to get to and from work (Cindy Yurth, "NJA breaks ground for needed employee housing," Navajo Times, November 8, 2018).

The Navajo Nation, in July 2018, amended the Navajo Preference in Employment Act, in enacting the Civil Rights of Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2018. The act provides remedies for persons with disabilities who are discriminated against. There were concerns that the act could create considerable economic cost. The Division of Economic Development's analysis of the 2000 census found that 70 percent of Navajos over 60 have disabilities. 27 percent of Navajos ages from 16 to 64 were found to have disabilities, while 4.6 percent of those from 5 to 15 had them (Arlyssa Becenti, "Despite concern over cost, rights of disabled passes," Navajo Times, July 26, 2018).

A proposal before the Navajo Nation Council, in early July 2018, to pass an open meeting act was withdrawn for lack of support. The act would have established a policy, that all persons are entitled to the greatest possible information regarding the affairs of government and the official acts of public officials and employees who represent them, and that all public business be conducted in public. Some of this policy is already part of Navajo law (Arlyssa Becenti, "Open meetings bill goes down in flames," Navajo Times, July 5, 2018).

The Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado furthered its application of traditional principles of member participation (often discussed in this section of IPJ) by inviting elders to a meeting of the skatepark planning and development team to comment on the planning, and by insuring that youth - who would be the prime users of the park - were involved in the development (McKayla Lee, "Skatepark raises concerns for elders," Southern Ute Drum, November 21, 2018).
The tribe also continued to move to expand member information about, and participation in, its affairs by persisting in carrying out virtual dialoguing town hall meetings via internet, only accessible to tribal members ("Tribal Council Virtual Town Hall," Southern Ute Drum, October 12, 2018).

In Rapid City, SD both the urban and nearby reservation Indian communities felt strongly that the Indian Health service facility had long been mismanaged and functioned badly but differed on how to fix the problem. The tribal group had led a decision to transfer operation of the health clinic from IHS to the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Health Board (James Giago Davies, "Today: Urban Indians protest tribal takeover of hospital: Indian community rallies in front of federal building, Tribal jurisdiction called into question," IndianZ, December 12, 2018,, " Both sides in the battle over Rapid City Indian health care accuse the other of spreading misinformation. On one side, there is a large group of concerned citizens of Rapid City’s urban Indian community.
    Many of them gathered in front of the downtown federal building in Rapid City on Saturday afternoon, marching and chanting with brightly colored placards, a rally to keep the Rapid City Indian Health Service (IHS) service unit at Sioux San. On the other side, is the Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Health Board (GPTCHB), headed up by Director Jerilyn Church, and backed by three critically important tribal resolutions, and IHS support. The GPTCHB also has the support of the city and many civic organizations, like RAI and Bruce Long Fox."

The Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota, on September 5, 2018, opened the Good Road Recovery Center in Bismarck, ND, a $24.8 million inpatient drug treatment center for tribal members ("Three Affiliated Tribes open treatment center in Bismarck," NFIC, September 2018).

Microsoft and Native Network began working together to provide broadband internet to tribal communities in Washington and Montana ("Microsoft to deliver broadband to tribal communities in Montana and Washingtonm" ICTMN November 26 , 2018,

The Fort Peck Tribal Council, of Montana, has decided not to allow marijuana on its reservation, even for persons with state-issued medical marijuana cards, in order not to risk losing federal funding, as marijuana remains illegal under federal law ("Fort Peck Tribal Council disallows medical marijuana," NFIC, August, 2018).

    The first three American Indian women ever elected to the U.S. Congress won seats in the 2018 election: Deb Haaland (Laguna Pueblo) in New Mexico, Shari Davids (Ho_Chunk) in Kansas ( Jessica Sutherland , “ We never had a Native American woman in Congress, but with Deb Haaland's win, we now have TWO ,” Daily Kos, November 6, 2018, and Xochitl Torres Small (Aztec) , a Democrat, became the Congressperson from New Mexico’s second district (though Small is not a member of a U.S. tribe, so officially there are two U.S. women tribal members now in Congress) (“US Elections ~ New Mexico,” accessed November 14, 2018, Small's opponent, Republican Yvette Herrell, is a member of the Cherokee Nation).

    Ruth Buffalo (Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara Nation ) became the first Democrat American Indian woman to be elected to the North Dakota legislature, defeating the Republican incumbent who had proposed the state’s voter ID law, which was aimed at suppressing the Indian vote. The reaction among North Dakota Natives, with great financial support from around the U.S., was that in Sioux County, location of the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, turnout was up 105 percent from the last midterm elections in 2014 and 17 percent from the 2016 presidential election ( Maggie Astor , “Meet the Native American Woman Who Beat the Sponsor of North Dakota’s ID Law,” The New York Times, November 13, 2018,

    Tony Affigne reported by E-mail, October 17, 2018, “ After the resignation of Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallott yesterday, Alaska's commissioner of health and social services, Valerie Nurr'araaluk Davidson, was sworn in Tuesday. An enrolled tribal member of the Orutsararmiut Native Council, Davidson has represented Native American tribes at the state level under administrations of both major parties. From her official web page: 'Davidson earned her juris doctorate, with a certificate in Indian law, from the University of New Mexico School of Law, and a bachelor’s degree in education with a minor in bilingual education from University of Alaska Southeast. Davidson, a Yup’ik, was born in Bethel.'"

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Economic Developments

Native Business has been launched by Gary and Carmen Davis as a media platform to bring together and make available to new and continuing Native entrepreneurs the business learnings and expertise of their compatriots and predecessors. For more go to: ("Gary and Carmen Davis launch 'Native Business', NFIC, August 2018).

" 2017 Indian Gaming Revenues Increase 3.9% to $32.4 Billion," National Indian Gaming Commission, June 26, 2018,, reported, "Today Chairman Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri, Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause, and Associate Commissioner Sequoyah Simermeyer of the National Indian Gaming Commission released the Fiscal Year 2017 Gross Gaming Revenue (GGR) amount saw an increase of 3.9% over 2016, totaling $32.4 billion.
    The FY 2017 revenues are calculated from the independently audited financial statements of 494 gaming operations, owned by 242 federally recognized Tribes. The GGR for an operation is the amount wagered minus winnings returned to players. It represents earnings before salaries, tribal-state compacts, and operating expenses.
    The annual announcement of Gross Gaming Revenue numbers for Indian Country provides a yearly snapshot of the economic health of Indian gaming. As 2018 marks the 30th year of gaming under IGRA, it is an opportune time to reflect on key policy principles that have helped create the successes of a healthy Indian gaming industry these policies include:
The preservation of the role of Tribes as the primary regulators and beneficiaries of their operations;
    Recognition and utilization of Congress’s stated intent and IGRA’s built-in flexibility to promote technological innovation, such as the use of electronic aids in class II gaming;
Faithful application of the law that accounts for the unique histories and land-bases of Tribes and IGRA’s built-in flexibility to allow Indian gaming on a variety of different types of Indian lands;
And finally, the primacy of the nation to nation relationship between tribes and the federal government and tribes, one that predates the US Constitution.
    The consistent growth of the Indian gaming industry year after year shows how well tribes run and regulate complicated operations. By staying in its regulatory lane and supporting tribes as the primary regulators, the NIGC has supported the Indian gaming industry’s entrepreneurial spirit and self-determination goals.
    'All of Indian Country has worked very hard to maintain a flourishing and constantly growing gaming industry,' said the Chair of the NIGC, Jonodev O. Chaudhuri. 'The successes of Indian gaming in the 30 years since IGRA prove that the foundational principles of federal Indian law should remain at the forefront of any future public policy discussions,'he said.
    For more detailed data and information such as region-specific information refer to the media center tab under the Public Affairs division on the National Indian Gaming Commission website:," the main charts are below"


    "Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe aims to open casino in the summer," IndianZ, December 12, 2018 ,
    Details remain scarce about the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe [of Massachussets] and its long-awaited casino in Massachusetts.
    A local official recently met with Chairwoman Cheryl Andrews-Maltais to discuss the project, The Vineyard Gazette reported. But other than being told that the casino would be open in the summer of 2019, there was little new information about the forthcoming facility."
    "Pueblo of Tesuque 'absolutely pleased' with response to new casino," IndianZ, December 6, 2018,, reported, "New Mexico's newest tribal gaming facility opened to the public on the day after Thanksgiving and the response has been positive, a Pueblo of Tesuque executive said."
     The Wildhorse Resort & Casino of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indians of Washington state has a budget of $85 million to expand the resort by 2020, adding a second hotel tower of 214 executive suites and standard rooms. Added convention space will seat up to 1500 in the main room ("Plans, dates finalized for expansion at Wildhorse Resort & Casino," ICT, December 10, 2018,
     Fort McDowell Yavapai broke ground, June 29, 2018, on a $120 million casino, near Phoenix, AZ, that will include high end dining, a sports bar, and an entertainment stage ("Fort McDowell Yavapai brake ground, on $120 million casino project," NFIC, August 18).
     Navajo Nation's Twin Arrows Casino, on interstate 40 in western New Mexico, broke ground, September 20, 2018, on a $10 million travel center. At the ground breaking, Twin Arrows announced the launching of the Nation's first business internship program, offering 20 internships to Dine students at nearby institutions of higher learning, who will be given opportunities to learn how to function well in business, and will participate in the planning, designing and building of the travel center (Quincy Natay and Brian Parrish, "$10 million project continues Navajo gaming impact," Navajo Times, October 4, 2018).

The Southern Ute Tribe of Colorado, on June 4, 2018, had its credit rating reaffirmed as AAA, by Fitch Ratings. In 2001, The Southern Utes became the first Indian Nation to receive an AAA credit rating (Christine Sage, Chairman, Southern Ute Indian Tribe, "State of the Tribe: 2nd Quarter, " Southern Ute Drum, July 6, 2018).
     In October 2018, The Southern Ute Growth Fund stated that it had made financial gains in the past year. The tribe produces natural gas and has ownership of, and investments in, oil and gas production and pipelines as far away as the Gulf of Mexico, and has considerable real estate holdings. One of the major developments is that the tribe advanced from the original 25 percent to 51 percent ownership of its Red Cedar Gathering Company, that collects and compresses natural gas from reservation wells for delivery to interstate pipelines (Trenne Collins, "FY2018 shows financial gains for membership," Southern Ute Drum, October 12, 2018).

There has been concern in the Navajo Nation, expressed by some of its council members, that while some of the Nation's businesses return money directly to the Nation, others do not do so, though many, if not all, provide some benefits to tribal members, such as by providing scholarships. An increase in businesses returning money to the nation was sparked by the launching, in 2017, of the Naat'aannii Development Corporation to stir economic development and job creation on the reservation, in part by speeding the time that it takes for new businesses to be approved. A core principle of Naat'aannii is that it will return a percentage of its profits to the nation each year. In June 2018, Navajo Agricultural Products Industry presented $250,000 to the nation, via a check to the Budget and Finance Committee, while the Dine Development Corporation presented a check for $300,000 (Bill Donovan, "Tribal enterprises start sharing the wealth," Navajo Times, June 28, 2018).

     Gallup, NM, on the border of the Navajo reservation and with a sizable Navajo population has been experiencing a tourist boom, mostly in foreign tourists, reporting a 7-10 percent increase. It appears that the tourists are expressing considerable interest in Navajo culture and crafts, which should be having economic benefits for Navajo Nation, and others, including some of the nearby Pueblos ("Gallup sees major tourism jump," NFIC, August 2018).

    The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma owned Cherokee Nation Systems Solutions (CNSS), a subsidiary of Cherokee Nation Businesses, has won a $3.6 million contract with the U.S. Farm Services Agency to provide data integration and relocation services as the agency is involved in a move. CNSS provides a complete line of innovative services, consulting and products to government agencies ("Cherokee Nation Systems Solutions supporting USDA data project," NFIC, August 2018).

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Education and Culture

    The Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, in November 2018, announced the establishment of the first medical school on tribal land, in a collaboration with Oklahoma State University to launch a medical school at a tribal clinic ("This week's stories: First medical school on tribal lands," ICT, November 19 , 2018,
    A Dine College Professor, Sara Klein, and two of her undergraduate students, Ashley Lee and Tatyanna Begay, took part, in Fall 2018, in a 10 week Department of Homeland Security funded research project into school shootings, and the role of social media around them, at George Mason College, in Fairfax, VA, aimed at improving prevention of school shootings and school violence. Professor Klein was expecting to begin follow up research in January 2019 ("Professor, students study school shootings," Navajo Times, November 29, 2018).

Dine College, the University of New Mexico and Northern Arizona University were awarded a $429,000 grant by the Environmental Protection Agency, in September 2018, to study the potential effects of abandoned uranium mines on live stock in the Cove area of Northern Arizona. There are 523 abandoned uranium mines on and near the Navajo reservation ("Grant awarded to study uranium mines," Navajo Times, September 13, 2018)

     Dina Horwedel, American Indian College Fund,, 303-430-5350, "American Indian College Fund Names Five Tribal College Recipient Grantees; “ For the Wisdom of the Children” Program to Build Native Early Childhood Teacher Pipeline, Promote STEM in Early Childhood Education," July 10, 2018, stated, " Research has shown that children of color are more likely to succeed when they have a teacher of the same race. Yet Native American children are much more likely to have a white teacher than a Native teacher. To promote Native children’s positive educational trajectory, in April the American Indian College Fund announced its launch of a new “For the Wisdom of the Children: Strengthening Teacher of the Color Pipeline” Early Childhood Education (ECE) Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Initiative, funded by a two-year, $1.5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Today the College Fund is announcing it has chosen the five following tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) to help grow the numbers of Native teachers in American Indian communities through teacher education and training, and to create culturally based community partner programs with educators and parents through the grant.
     Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College (FDLTCC) in Cloquet, Minnesota will receive funding for its program titled Minogi’aawaso Maajigii (Raise Children in a Good Way as They Grow) to develop an associate of science early childhood education degree program focused on its emergent bilingual program. The program will increase parent involvement, support faculty development, and work with partner programs.
    Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC) in Baraga, Michigan will receive funding for its Gimaadaadizimin (We All Start a Journey) program to strengthen the teacher education pipeline of Native teachers and teachers of color. KBOCC’s community learning model is the guiding framework for teacher development, outreach, and outcomes to place teachers in community programs. The program will implement a mentor and coach system to support development of teachers; create a community of learner’s model focused on building relationships and partnerships; disseminate the program plan by conference to reach more than 100 teachers; and implement culturally based work in the subject matter areas of family science, math, and engineering to engage with students and families in STEM activities.
     Northwest Indian College (NWIC) in Bellingham, Washington will receive funding for its program titled Engaging Native Children in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM): What Our X’epy (Cedar People) and Scha’nexw (Salmon people) Can Teach Us about the World and Cosmology. The program will develop math, science, and technology courses for all associate of arts degree-seeking students at the institution. In addition, the college will build on the strength of its associate of science degree-transfer program and technology and will integrate outdoor learning spaces and Lummi culture/language connections by building upon its existing work.
     Salish Kootenai College (SKC) in Pablo, Montana will receive funding for its Our People’s Timeline: Community STEM Education, Season by Season. The program is based on the concept that Indigenous STEM education is seamless and includes connections to SKC’s surroundings both in and outside of the classroom. The project timeline is guided by the seasons. SKC’s work will shed light on each area of the STEM fields.
    Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) in Albuquerque, New Mexico will receive funding for its Strengthening Our Collective Capacity: A Community-Based Initiative Supporting Early Childhood STEM Opportunities and Teacher Development program. The program will develop community-based projects that enable families to build cognitive thinking and skills necessary to engage in STEM fields in the future, with a goal of training teachers to support ECE STEM training and engaging preschool teachers to support quality ECE STEM education for children and families.
     These TCU programs will create STEM opportunities grounded in Indigenous approaches including culture and language, starting with the earliest Native learners and their families. This is especially important given that Natives are severely underrepresented in the STEM fields.
    The program commenced on July 1, 2018.
    To learn more about how the American Indian College Fund’s work prepares young children for academic and social success at a foundational age through place-based, culturally appropriate education, please download the College Fund’s free landmark report detailing its work that inspired an international movement: Tribal College and University Early Childhood Education Initiatives: Strengthening Systems of Care and Learning with Native Communities from Birth to Career ."

The State of New Mexico, has developed a new social studies curriculum, "Indigenous New Mexico," to be used in all high schools in the state, beginning in June 2019. The curriculum includes the history and culture of all of the state's Indian nations, and covers history, government, economics, geography and English language studies. It was developed in cooperation with the state's Indian tribes, and was first tested in Native schools. 70 percent of the developers of the curriculum were Native (Colleen Keane, "New Mexico rolls out Indigenous-based social studies curriculum," Navajo Times, December 6, 2018).

An educator on the Navajo reservation has cited a lack of sufficient sex education as a major factor in the rise of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) on the reservation and beyond. The reservation is spread across Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. Legislation was introduce in Arizona, in 2018, that would require sex education to be medically accurate, but not mandatory. In New Mexico, in 2018, sex education was required, but did not have to be medically accurate. Only Utah required sex education, and mandated that it be medically accurate.

The Keres Children's Learning Center (KCLC), at Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico, one of two Montessori certified schools in the state has continued "making notable progress in our mission to reclaim our children's education and honor our heritage by using a comprehensive cultural and academic curriculum to assist families in nurturing Keres-speaking, holistically healthy, community minded and academically strong students." KCLC has been having an impact beyond the Pueblo on Indigenous education through visits from national organizations, invitations to participate in national and state discussions of Indigenous education policies, its annual Keres language symposium and the recent establishment of its Indigenous Montessori Institute (IMI). IMI provides Indigenous Montessori teachers training (Letter of December 14, 2018 from KCLC. For more information go to:

" Terrence Kaufman Collections at AILLA ," Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA), September 7, 2018 ,, reported, The Archive of the Indigenous Languages of Latin America (AILLA), a digital repository at the University of Texas at Austin, is pleased to announced the opening of the Terrence Kaufman Collections.
    In 2012, AILLA was awarded the NSF grant BCS-1157867 ”Archiving the Terrence Kaufman Collection” (Anthony C. Woodbury, PI; Patience Epps and Susan Kung, co-PIs), and the archive staff began the work of organizing, digitizing, ingesting and curating the vast assemblage of American indigenous language materials in the possession of Terrence Kaufman. Kaufman collected and compiled his extremely large collection of materials over the course of his 50-plus-year career as a linguistic anthropologist who not only conducted his own research and fieldwork, but who also directed two large-scale, multi-year, multi-researcher language documentation projects, the Francisco Marroquín Linguistic Project (PLFM) in Guatemala in the 1970s and the Project for the Documentation of the Languages of MesoAmerica (PDLMA) in Mexico in the 1990s and 2000s. As the final result of this NSF grant, AILLA staff have organized this vast assemblage of materials into 12 separate collections in the digital repository. The 12 collections include data on 119 distinct languages, as well as approximately 70 dialectal varieties. These languages and varieties represent 26 languages families, 4 isolates, and 1 pidgin, and they come from 22 countries extending from Canada to Argentina. Language families with the highest representation of materials are Mayan (Mexico and Guatemala), Mixe-Zoquean (Mexico), Otomanguean (Mexico), and Uto-Aztecan (Mexico and USA). Please see the official announcement on AILLA for descriptions of and direct links to the 12 collections: .
    These 12 collections represent a treasure-trove of data that can be utilized for countless purposes. If you use any of these materials in your own researcher or for other non-commercial purposes, please follow and respect AILLA’s Conditions of Use ( ), including citing the materials and the archive. For guidance on how to cite these materials, please see AILLA’s Citation Guidelines ( ). Finally, make sure to get permission from the copyright owner if you want to create any kind of derivative product. Nothing in AILLA may be used for commercial purposes. We hope that you are able to enjoy and make use of these materials. If you do, please write to us at and let us know!

The Facebook community language translation tool added a new Inupiaq language option, particularly useful for people in Alaska, in the late summer of 2018 (Rachel d'Oro, "Facebook adds Alaska's Inupiaq as language option," NFIC, September 2018).

The last Miwuk village in Yosemite National Park, in California, destroyed 40 years ago, is being reconstructed at its traditional site to help the tribe's young people learn about their culture ("Last Native Village in Yosemite being rebuilt," NFIC, January 2018).

The Board of Directors of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies, as part of an initiative to recruit more members working in Indigenous film and media—"areas we recognized were underrepresented in the organization—the Board recently unanimously voted to offer multi-year discounts on membership and conference registration. Like the commercials say, some conditions apply: for new or returning members (i.e., those who were not members for the past full calendar year), SCMS will waive both the membership and conference fees in the first year, and in the second year will waive the conference fee. This is an unprecedented outreach effort, and one that demonstrates SCMS’s substantive investment in fostering scholarly conversations around Indigeneity and media" (E-mail received from UNCP SAIS News, August 7, 2018).

     PBS began carrying the Native made weekly TV history and culture series, Native America, in October 2018 (PBS publications)
     A shift has been taking place from Native art being perceived by the general public as anthropological artifacts to its being seen as art as a result of major solo Native art shows, ambitious surveys and increasing opportunities for Native artists to create and speak for themselves on the world stage (Donna Bryson, "Is Native art finally getting its due?, Christian Science Monitor weekly, December 3, 2018).

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International Developments

International Organization Developments

     The August 27, 2018 Report by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, indicating that there has been a surge of instances of physical violence and criminalization aimed at Indigenous Peoples globally, is below, in Research Notes.
    “Cerd Reviews Nepal’s Human Rights Record, Cultural Survival, July 31, 2018, , reported, “In May 2018, at the 95th Session of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Nepal’s human rights record was reviewed under the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. The Committee stated several concerns regarding Indigenous Peoples, also known as Adivasi or Janajati in Nepal. In April, Cultural Survival submitted and alternative report on the violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights in the country and provided recommendations for the Nepalese government.
     The CERD Committee incorporated some of Cultural Survival’s recommendations related to Indigenous Peoples rights in their concluding observations, which include:
ensuring the recognition of all Indigenous Peoples in Nepal,
respecting Indigenous political participation and ensuring their representatives are freely chosen,
    revising legislation to resolve disputes concerning Indigenous rights to traditional land and natural resources,
upholding the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent,
ensuring evictions are carried out according to international standards and provide remedy and housing for those who are evicted, and
protecting Indigenous Peoples from acts or threats of violence, including those carried out by the state, and taking measures to investigate and prosecute these crimes
    Specifically, the CERD Committee was concerned about Indigenous Peoples lacking adequate and and meaningful participating in the drafting of the 2015 Constitution, because their representatives were not freely chosen but were instead selected via political parties. The Committee also voiced concern that domestic legislation only recognises 59 out of the 81 Indigenous Peoples in Nepal.
    The Committee also was concerned by ‘the absence of laws guaranteeing the rights of Indigenous Peoples to own, use and develop their traditional lands and resources, and by allegations that these rights have been violated in the context of hydropower, road widening and other development activities that are often accompanied by involuntary displacement; by reports of severe harassment of Indigenous leaders, including members of the Tharu people, by State agents; and by the criminalization of cow slaughter, which compromises the rights of indigenous peoples for whom the eating of beef holds cultural significance.’
     The Committee has recommended the government of Nepal to:
‘(a) Ensure that its domestic legislation formally recognizes all indigenous peoples in Nepal;
(b) Ensure that the right of indigenous peoples to participate in government bodies under article 42 of the Constitution is effectively respected and that indigenous peoples freely choose their representatives;
(c) Find an adequate negotiated solution to resolve the dispute regarding the rights of indigenous peoples over their traditional lands and natural resources, including by revising its legislation on this issue and taking into account ILO Convention No. 169;
(d) Obtain the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples prior to the approval of any project affecting the use and development of their traditional lands and resources;
(e) Take all necessary measures, including legislative measures, to guarantee that evictions are carried out in accordance with international standards, and provide remedies and adequate alternative housing to those affected by eviction;
(f) Ensure the safety of indigenous peoples who have been subjected to threats, harassment, and other arbitrary and violent acts by government agents and/or private individuals; and take measures to prevent and investigate such acts and punish the perpetrators.’
The Committee also invited Nepal to repeal laws that criminalize aspects of Indigenous cultures in order to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples to freely exercise their cultural and religious rights.
The Committee has further raised concerns about underrepresentation of Indigenous peoples in education and teaching positions, persistence of bonded labour practices, including Kamaiya, reports of Adivasi/Janajati comprising almost half of trafficking victims and landlessness among Adivasi/Janajatis, among others and made recommendations to address such discriminatory situation.
Cultural Survival’s report discusses these issues, along with violations of freedom of speech, preservation of languages, and human trafficking. The report begins by noting controversy surrounding government recognition of Indigenous Peoples, including a contested statistic of Indigenous population, ranging from the census’ figure of 35.81% to Indigenous Peoples’ organizations’ figure of over 50%. The report also mentions government exclusion and restriction of Indigenous participation and representation in political processes despite recommendations from a CERD Committee and the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to address these violations of internationally recognized rights.
    The report describes excessive, military force used by the government to suppress Indigenous people protesting for the inclusion of Indigenous Rights in the constitution and protesting against development projects in their ancestral land. This abuse of Indigenous protestors is noted in many private-sector hydropower projects along with the World Bank-funded Nepal Power Development Project. The prohibition of cow slaughtering has also led to the detention (along with abuse and torture) of many Indigenous people. It is argued in the report to be a violation of the right to religious freedom under Article 1 of the UNDRIP, as many Indigenous communities have traditionally relied on the cow for subsistence or religious practices.
     Indigenous Peoples have also been displaced from their land through conservation policies. Approximately 65% of Indigenous Peoples’ lands in Nepal have been occupied by national parks and reserves, forcing many to relocate and disrupting traditional subsistence practices. The establishment of these national parks are often done without the consultation of Indigenous communities, and Indigenous representation in conservation decision-making processes is lacking. This displacement and disruption of traditional subsistence practices has contributed to high levels of hunger and malnutrition in Indigenous communities.
    The implementation of a new government policy the “Online Media Operation Directive” gives the government the authority to shut down an online news portal if it is not registered every year, or if it spreads news that is deemed illegal, immoral, or misinformative. Under this policy, Indigenous people have faced censoring as the government has discretion in determining if the information reported is lawful or appropriate.
    The report describes the preservation of languages as another key issue facing Indigenous people. Efforts to educate children in their mother tongue through the government’s 2009 Multilingual Education Implementation Guidelines were ineffective due to insufficient government funding. Even this program, however, only included the Nepali language as the primary language of instruction, putting non-Nepali speakers at a disadvantage. High rates of illiteracy exist in some Indigenous communities, especially among women.
     Indigenous women in particular face high rates of poverty and violence. The report cites the figure that 7 out of 10 girls who are trafficked are from Indigenous communities. While the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women has recommended that Nepal works to address the trafficking of women and girls, it does not mention ethnicity as a factor to be specifically addressed in this initiative, leaving the particular needs and concerns of the most affected population, Indigenous women and girls, unacknowledged ad unaddressed.
    The report also highlights institutionalized discrimination, with the protection of ‘secularity’ in Article 4 (I) of the Constitution of Nepal being interpreted as the protection of Hindu religion and culture. Along with this, certain ethnic groups were given special recognition in the constitution. When the European Union Election Observation Mission recommended that the government of Nepal remove this special inclusion of particular ethnic groups, the government and major political parties rejected the recommendation and requested that the Mission revise the report.
    Cultural Survival’s recommendations for the government of Nepal included supporting Indigenous media, amending the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act to ensure the access of natural resources to Indigenous communities that have relied on them, ensuring education for children in their mother tongues, and urgently promoting the rights of Indigenous women by addressing the root causes of poverty, marginalization, land loss, and economic migration.
    Read Cultural Survival’s report at:
Read the full report of the CERD review at
More info on the review at
    “Cultural Survival Advocates For Indigenous Rights In Chile Via The UN's Universal Periodic Review,” Cultural Survival, August 6, 2018, , reported, “In July 2018, Cultural Survival submitted a stakeholder report on the observations of the state of Indigenous human rights in Chile as part of the 32nd Session of the United Nations Universal Periodic Review. The UN General Assembly established the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) along with the United Nations Human Rights Council on March 15, 2006. Its purpose is to review the human rights records of the 193 UN member states, addressing the states’ obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill human rights, and to provide technical assistance to the states being reviewed. The 193 member states are divided into groups that alternate review cycles. The 3rd cycle of the UPR will last five years.
    The report submitted by Cultural Survival, along with the state report from Chile and reports from additional human rights experts, will assist the UPR Working Group in reviewing the Chilean State in accordance with its obligations to the international human rights treaties it has ratified, the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
    Ongoing Issues
    In its report, Cultural Survival documents the failure of the Chilean State to respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of Indigenous Peoples. These responsibilities are mandated by the UDHR, UNDRIP, and various human rights treaties that Chile has ratified, most notably the International Convention Against Torture, the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on Economic and Social Rights, and the International Convention to End Racial Discrimination. Chile is the only South American country not to recognize Indigenous Peoples in its constitution. Indigenous Peoples in Chile face discrimination, stereotyping, criminalization, land-grabbing, and restrictions on their right to freedom of expression.
    One area of immediate concern is the labeling of Indigenous Peoples as “terrorists,” especially those at the forefront of Indigenous rights movements. It is a practice that functions to criminalize Indigenous human rights defenders using an Anti-Terrorism Law established under the brutal dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. President Piñera amended the Anti-Terrorist Law in March 2016 to allow for even greater power in the hands of law enforcement to monitor individuals suspected of “terrorism” despite criticism from the UN Special Rapporteur on Counter-Terrorism, the International American Committee on Human Rights, and previous UPR recommendations. Cultural Survival documents incidents involving both the planting of evidence by the Chilean State Police Force to falsely accuse traditional Indigenous leaders of “terrorism” and subsequent illegal detentions that violate their rights to due process.
    Cultural Survival also documents the violation of Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC) by multinational corporations and the role of the Chilean Government in the negligence of this international right. FPIC is recognized by the UN, most notably in the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), and functions to ensure that Indigenous Peoples be informed of developments on their lands, have a right to consent to such developments or to refuse to allow them, and have the right to veto any future developments regardless of consent to current projects. Indigenous communities in Chile, however, continue to be excluded from decision-making processes for the use of their ancestral lands, despite prior UPR recommendations addressing Chile’s compliance with FPIC and Chile’s own recognition of the right as exhibited by its ratification of the International Labor Organization co. 169 and the fact that it signed UNDRIP. Cultural Survival’s report shows the damaging effects of extractive industries such as mining, hydroelectric dams, agribusiness, and forestry that operate on Indigenous lands without the communities’ consent. Such effects include environmental degradation, economic disenfranchisement, cultural loss, and violent conflict.
    A final point of concern is legislation that discriminates against Indigenous community radio, violating Indigenous Peoples’ rights to freedom of expression. Legislation such as the General Telecommunications Law implement unreasonable requirements for broadcasting licenses, for example, fees that are out of the economic reach of Indigenous communities. The right to freely express one’s views is also regularly violated by state law enforcement entities that use violent force to intimidate and subdue Indigenous protesters. Cultural Survival documents raids on community radio stations, arrests, and harassment of community media operators in its report.
    The Universal Periodic Review for Chile will take place in January, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. At the conclusion of the UPR, Chile will receive a final report from the UPR Working Group with recommendations to be implemented before the next review. Cultural Survival has included several recommendations in its report addressing the current state of Indigenous human rights in Chile.
    Cultural Survival calls upon the Chilean Government to accept and implement the following recommendations:
In continuance of previous UPR recommendations, comply with recommendations from various UN bodies to terminate the use of the Anti-Terrorist Law used to persecute Mapuche leaders and protesters fighting for political and land rights.
Ensure that Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous communities is obtained before any development projects take place on their land.
In continuance of previous UPR recommendations, conduct human rights and Indigenous Peoples rights training with police forces; hold police accountable for excessive use of force committed against Indigenous communities during protests, raids, and interrogations. Ensure that the victims of these crimes are given full access to the judicial system.
Facilitate and promote right of Indigenous Peoples to their own forms of media by decriminalizing community radio.
Invite the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to do a follow up visit to Chile.”
    Read the full report at:
    "Cultural Survival Advocates For Indigenous Women In Mexico," Cultural Survival, June 19, 2018," reported, "On June 8, 2018, Cultural Survival submitted its alternative report on the state of Indigenous women’s rights in Mexico to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women ( CEDAW ). CEDAW was adopted by the United Nations in 1979 and went into force in 1981. The Convention affirms the UN’s and member states’ commitment to ending discrimination against women in all forms, earning it the title of an international bill of rights for women. Reports to CEDAW provide an important international check on a state’s human rights situation by working to expose problem areas and by offering solutions.
    CEDAW highlights 'the unique situation of rural women' including many Indigenous women, in its General Recommendation No. 34 . Rural women make up a quarter of the world’s population and they face greater poverty and exclusion than do rural men or urban women. General recommendation No. 34 outlines areas of concern for women in rural areas as well as enumerating ways that such women can be helped. It also acknowledges the ways that ethnic identities such as Indigenous heritage complicate the experiences of rural women. As such, the recommendations include that states ensure Indigenous and other marginalized people are included in protections for rural women.
     Cultural Survival’s report to CEDAW brings attention to areas of concern for Indigenous women in Mexico, as well as detailing where difficulties facing them are increasing or decreasing across the country. It finds that funding to federal agencies tasked with aiding Indigenous women is often insufficient or misspent, Indigenous women’s land rights are under threat, and that violence against Indigenous women and their allies is on the rise.
     Loss of access to traditional lands is ongoing and destructive to Indigenous women’s ways of life and wellbeing especially as many Indigenous women rely on the land to feed their families. Indigenous women currently face difficulties owning and controlling their own land both because men are the traditional inheritors of land and because the bureaucratic processes to acquire land titles are skewed towards men. Indigenous Peoples continue to face regular threats to their land and resources as a result of the government’s failure to achieve the Free, Prior, Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples regarding the use of their land.
    Although some legislative steps have been taken to improve the condition of Indigenous women in Mexico, many laws lack enforcement, and many gaps exist in legislation to protect Indigenous women. An area of deep concern regarding lack of legal protection is Indigenous women’s health care, particularly gynecological, prenatal, and postnatal care. There is a history of nonconsensual sterilization of Indigenous women, a practice that continues to this day. Indigenous women also face greater vulnerability to rape, inadequate access to health care, limited access to abortion, and high rates of maternal mortality. Barriers to care include lack of funds, lack of caregivers who speak their languages, and limited access to care in the rural areas where many Indigenous women live.
     Violence against women is on the rise in Mexico, with violence against Indigenous women most likely remaining disproportionately high. It is estimated that Indigenous women represent 70 percent of trafficking victims in Mexico, although much work is needed to develop disaggregated data focusing on the particular situation of Indigenous women. Indigenous women are also at high risk of rape and assault at the hands of those men who help them migrate north to the US. Violence against Indigenous LGBT persons continues as well, despite nine states having passed same-sex marriage laws and anti-hate laws since 2010.
    Another source of deep concern is the rise in violence against human rights defenders, community communicators, and journalists across Mexico. Indigenous environmental defenders face violence on a regular basis, as do other activists and journalists who challenge cartels, police, paramilitary groups, or politicians on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. Although some protections for journalists and other communicators are in place, these have proven to be insufficient as death tolls continue to rise.
    A selection of Cultural Survival’s recommendations include that the Mexican government:
     Take steps to implement CEDAW’s General Recommendation 34 on the rights of rural women by create national legislation to ensure the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples is obtained regarding any on their lands and territories.
     Ensure that Indigenous women have access to linguistically and culturally appropriate health care, especially for gynecological, prenatal and antenatal care.
     Ensure that services provided by the Federal Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists are inclusive of and accessible by Indigenous journalists and community media practitioners in rural areas, and that this Mechanism receives sufficient funding to accomplish their mission of protecting journalists in danger
.     Read the full report at: "

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Regional and Country Developments

Reports by the International Crisis Group (ICG) below are summaries of full reports that may be accessed at the indicated web site.

    Jorge Barrera, "Promised Indigenous rights recognition legislation won't be in place before next election: Work will continue to develop rights framework, cabinet minister says," CBC News, November 14, 2018,, reported, " One of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's key promises on Indigenous rights — delivered on Valentine's Day — won't come to pass before the next federal election, CBC News has learned."
    "Ottawa was aiming to table the proposed legislation before Christmas in hopes of hitting its last window of opportunity to get it through the parliamentary process by late spring, ahead of next fall's federal election, but it has yet to develop a draft for the framework.
     The proposed framework floundered from lack of support and confusion from many First Nations who expressed frustration with the process and a discussion paper released by Ottawa in September on the issue.
    During a special Assembly of First Nations meeting that same month, First Nations leaders said the paper did not reflect their views expressed during meetings with federal officials
    Hayden King and Shiri Pasternak, "Canada's Emerging Indigenous Rights Framework: A Critical Analysis," Yellowhead Institute, June 5, 2018,, commented, "JUSTIN TRUDEAU RAN ON AN ELECTION platform of changing the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples in Canada. Trudeau promised a new nation-to-nation relationship based on respect, cooperation, partnership, and the recognition of Indigenous rights. Over halfway into his mandate as Prime Minister, some clarity is emerging on the scope of that nation-to- nation relationship. In February 2018, Trudeau announced the development of a new and transformational Indigenous Rights, Recognition and Implementation Framework.
    Since then, a suite of legislation and policy has been rapidly deployed. It includes fiscal policy, omnibus legislation, changes in negotiations for land and self-government, and splitting Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC) into two ministries. There is the establishment of the National Reconciliation Council, a Working Group of Ministers to Review Laws and Policies Related to Indigenous Peoples (also known as the Cabinet Committee to “Decolonizing” Canada’s Laws), and the Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples.
    Yet, comprehensive analysis on the meaning and trajectory of Canada’s approach is scarce. Any efforts at long-term fundamental change and improvement to the living conditions of Indigenous peoples in Canada are commendable and welcome. But the deeper institutional changes proposed merit caution.
    In this report, we analyze the Liberal government’s impending changes to First Nation policy and legislation in relation to one another: as a set of pieces that together, comprise the background picture of Canada’s notion of 'decolonization'
    In order to assess these changes, we have created a baseline to determine the degree of change, for better or worse.
    Specifically, we ask a number of related questions about the proposed Framework:
    Will the Rights Framework replace the Indian Act or simply offer an opt-out process?
    How are self-determination, self-government, and “reconstitution of nations” expressed in the Rights Framework?
    Will the Rights Framework lead to higher quality of life and alleviation of socio-economic challenges for First Nations?
    Has there been genuine engagement with the concept of free, prior and informed consent?
    How will the new Rights Framework affect pre- confederation, Numbered, and Modern Treaties?
    How does the new Rights Framework address lands and resources off-reserve (i.e. traditional territories or title lands)?
    Will the Rights Framework shift the burden of proof for proving title from Indigenous communities to Canada?
     Our analysis reveals that the Rights Framework expresses a clear and coherent set of goals, which aim to suppress Indigenous self- determination within Canadian Confederation. These goals have been ordered into legislation and policy in a manner that guides First Nations towards a narrow model of “self-government” outside of the Indian Act. And remarkably, though labelled as new and transformational, the model reflects older and largely discredited approaches.
    This report describes these apparent changes and offers analysis in three parts:
     Part One: Relationship Reform
    THE FIRST PART OF THIS REPORT analyzes the Rights Framework from a relational perspective, that is, how the machinery of government is changing to facilitate the new relationship.
     We find the foundational Principles respecting the Government
of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples emphasize
the supremacy of the Canadian constitutional framework and significantly constrain the possibilities for self-determination to move beyond the current circumstances. An analysis of the “Ten Principles” reveals that we can expect very little structural change in the existing relationship. If they form the basis for future negotiations, the Principles are a potential threat to Indigenous rights and title
     The nation-to-nation memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Crown and the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) has resulted in significant confusion regarding the AFN’s role in nation-to-nation processes. Though the AFN insists this bilateral mechanism is not for 'decision-making,' surveying the work completed after a year reveals decisions are being made, for example on the impending Languages Act, child welfare reform, fiscal relations and housing. This process largely excludes the individual First Nations, treaty organizations, and Indigenous nations from exercising political authority over their own people and lands. It seems that to Canada, the AFN is the other de facto “nation” in this new relationship.
     Crucial issues must be addressed regarding the splitting of INAC into two discrete Ministries as well. These include problems that arise from attempting to extract issues of program and service delivery from issues of land. For First Nations to have a healthy economic base to be able to exercise full self-determination, the delivery of services must be linked to land rights.
    Further, what are the legal and political implications of this new division? What fiduciary obligations is Canada bound by, and which ministry will dispense them, whether to Indian Act bands or self-governing First Nations?
     Part Two: Policy Reform
    THE SECOND PART OF THIS REPORT analyzes the Indigenous Rights Framework from a policy perspective. Here, we consider existing government literature and statements on “reconstituting nations.” With the new Rights Framework legislation, we can expect to see a certain model of “aggregation” framed as a movement away from the Indian Act. But this model of self- government is focused on entrenching a largely reserve-based, administrative governance model with improvements in service delivery, transparency and accountability. It includes nothing of the “transformational” change the government has promised and certainly no indications of jurisdiction over traditional territory.
    This is reflected in the new fiscal relationship, which is focused on capacity-building and new ten year funding grants, but does not restructure the existing fiscal relationship to develop a strong economic base for First Nations. Within the new process, lands, territories, and resources outside the reserve are delinked from fiscal relations, except for any own-source-revenue (OSR) from resource extraction on traditional territories. This approach is premised on training First Nations to integrate into the market economy and further erodes federal fiduciary responsibility to First Nations.
    Finally, the federal government has committed to 'replacing' the land claims policy in Canada and moving towards a flexible approach. A range of options are now being tested at over 60 'Rights and Recognition Tables,' and will likely set the preconditions for future negotiation and legislation. Since it has historically been the case, the government’s negotiating mandate will likely be narrower than the court’s interpretation of Aboriginal rights and title. For treaty bands, the “Rights and Recognition Tables” may be leading towards a domestication of their international treaties.
     Part Three: Legislative Reform
    THE LAST SECTION OF OUR REPORT is focused on the pending legislative reform introduced by the Liberal government. With nine pieces of legislation working through first or second reading and four more to come, this is one of the most active legislatures on Indigenous issues in 100 years.
    These legislative changes are being informed by the Cabinet Committee to ‘Decolonize’ Canada’s Laws. Though the process has been taking place behind closed doors, two draft bills have been vetted, so we can partially discern the direction of “decolonization.”
    In the section, Consent and the New Regulatory Regime, we examine Bill C-69, which reforms the environmental assessment legislation, and affects how First Nations consent, jurisdiction, and governance will be considered in this critical decision-making process. We have serious concerns about Bill C-69, and specifically, the lack of attention to First Nation demands for free, prior and informed consent on land and resource decisions in their territories. The draft legislation offers very limited recognition of Indigenous jurisdiction.
     While there is also no mention of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the draft version of Bill C-69, it is the focus of Bill C-262, the United Nations Declarion on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, introduced as a private member’s bill by NDP MP Romeo Saganash. If Bill C-262 becomes law, it may force governments and courts to address UNDRIP’s Articles, though the legislation does leave space for mal-interpretation. At the least, it could offer a powerful tool to hold government accountable on efforts to harmonize federal law and policy with UNDRIP.
    While all of the above can be considered 'reconciliatory,' there are some discrete changes focused explicitly on reconciliation, such as a new National Council for Reconciliation. And while the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) defined reconciliation broadly as restitution and the transformation of Canadian institutions, so we might have a future defined by dignity and respect, we have to strain to see those commitments from this government.
    CONSIDERING THESE PARTS OF OUR REPORT collectively, we can say the following:
     The Indian Act is on its way out; the land claims regime and self-government policies are being broken down and re-packaged; and changes to fiscal relations ultimately focus on accountability and avoid addressing questions of land and resources. Indeed, we find that nearly all of Canada’s proposed changes to its relationship with First Nation peoples neglect issues of land restitution and treaty obligations.
    Instead, whether relational, policy or legislative reform, they focus on the creation of self-governing First Nations with administrative responsibility for service delivery on limited land bases. Decision- making powers are constrained to the local (including any notion of free, prior and informed consent). Provincial, territorial and federal governments will continue to patronize and intervene in the lives and lands of First Nation peoples.
    All of this, despite Trudeau’s rhetoric on reconciliation, UNDRIP, the nation-to-nation relationship, or the commitment to “breathing life” into Section 35 of the Constitution. And while there are some welcome changes including resources for program and service delivery, there is also a clear attempt to maintain a modified version of the status quo, and as such, an effort to mislead First Nations on the the transformational nature of these changes.
    The danger of accepting government messaging, and the Rights Framework as currently articulated, is settling for a very narrow vision of Indigenous jurisdiction over lands, resources and self- determination generally.
    For the full report, Canada’s Emerging Indigenous Rights Framework: A Critical Analysis, visit

Sandy Carpenter and Sam Adkins , "Bill Backing UNDRIP Heads to Senate, Moves One Step Closer to Becoming Law in Canada," Business Class, June 11, 2018,, reoired, " Bill C-262 recently passed third reading in the Canadian House of Commons and is now heading to the Senate. Bill C-262 looks to legally adopt UNDRIP. If passed, Canada will become one of only a small number of countries to adopt UNDRIP into its domestic law.
    If Bill C-262 becomes law, it will officially be known as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act (UNDRIP Act).
    Bill C-262 itself is short; although it attaches as a Schedule the full version of UNDRIP that was passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2007.
    Bill C-262 affirms UNDRIP as a universal international human rights instrument, with application in Canadian law. While the federal government previously promised to implement UNDRIP from a policy perspective, the UNDRIP Act is the first instrument to legally attempt to do so.
    The Bill establishes legal mechanisms to achieve this purpose:
    The federal government must, in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples in Canada, take all measures necessary to ensure that Canadian laws are consistent with UNDRIP
    The federal government must develop and implement a national action plan to achieve the objectives of UNDRIP, again in consultation and cooperation with Indigenous peoples
    The Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development has to submit a report by May 31 of each year, until 2037, on the implementation of each of the legislative measures and national action plan required under Bill C-262.
    From an interpretative perspective, Bill C-262 provides that nothing in the UNDRIP Act is to be interpreted as diminishing or extinguishing existing aboriginal rights that are protected under section 35 of Canada’s Constitution Act, 1982. It also provides that nothing in the UNDRIP Act is to be construed as delaying the application of UNDRIP in Canadian law.
     The most significant thing missing is what UNDRIP means in a Canadian context. While much of UNDRIP isn’t controversial, there are provisions, such as those addressing “free, prior and informed consent”, where there are material disagreements over what UNDRIP means, and will require further guidance and clarification."
    "Another significant issue that Bill C-262 doesn’t address is timing. While Bill C-262 expressly acknowledges that implementation will take time, it doesn’t specify how long or establish any targets."    
    As of December 15, 2018 Bill C-262 still needed to be considered by the Senate.
    "It should also be noted that Bill C-262 is only one part of a broader set of proposed legislative and policy changes related to UNDRIP in Canada. While the federal government has not fully articulated its plan for implementing UNDRIP, it has clearly articulated that it will take an incremental approach using a 'multiplicity of tools – including legislation, policy and agreements.'"

Parliament of Canada, "Private Member’s Bill, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, December 3, 2015 - Present." accessed December 28, 2018,, on November 29, 2018, Bill C 262 was being debated on it second reading in the Senate.

Ian Mosby and Catherine Carstairs , " Federal policies undermine Indigenous dental health: The government’s Indigenous dental health program is ignoring the role its policies played in causing Indigenous-non-Indigenous dental health disparities, " Policy Options Politiques, October 5, 2018,, commented in part on the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) Program, " First Nations and Inuit people have experienced many and varied difficulties with the dental benefits provided by the NIHB Program. Many of the Indigenous people who rely on the NIHB Program say that it is often extremely hard just to find a dentist and that, when they are available, dentists often charge additional fees or ask people to pay up front. What’s more, services that many insured Canadians take for granted are subject to an unpredictable process called 'predetermination': permission has to be received from Health Canada before treatment can go ahead.
    The predetermination requirement has caused people considerable distress. As the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) put it in 2005, “The current system of predetermination for many routine dental procedures causes a prolongation of illness, lacks in compassion and adds considerable cost to the program, particularly if clients have travelled long distances.” Predetermination means that people often need to make a second trip to the dentist — which is both frustrating for the dentist and inconvenient for the patient. The AFN reported that William Descalchuk, a First Nations man living in Alberta, complained that he had been waiting a month for approval to treat an infected molar and, due to ongoing pain, had resorted to extracting it himself.
     It’s not just patients who have problems with the program. Service providers complain that the process for receiving payment and approval is much more onerous than with private insurance companies. Some providers have opted out of the program, which means that many patients have to pay directly for dental treatment. Given the disproportionately low incomes of many First Nations and Inuit people, this makes it impossible for them to access care . In Nunavut , the predetermination process has been found to act as a serious deterrent to service provision. But, given the difficulties in receiving approval, many dentists in Nunavut have done the work — only to be later denied compensation. In 2014, Peter Doig, president of the Canadian Dental Association, told Windspeaker magazine that the NIHB covered only 86 to 88 percent of treatment costs, meaning that dentists needed to either bill the patient for extra costs, lose money on doing the work or reject the patient. He asserted that many dentists would not take patients who were covered only by the NIHB."

Vincent Schilling , "Canada’s Armed Forces inaugurate first Indigenous Spiritual Lodge," ICT, December 12 , 2018,, reported a news release posted on the Government of Canada’s National Defence website on December 7th, " The Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School (CFLRS) today inaugurated the first permanent Canadian Armed Forces Indigenous Spiritual Lodge. Military dignitaries, chaplains, Elders, Indigenous veterans and a group of roughly 20 participants from the Canadian Forces Aboriginal Entry Program (CFAEP) attended the intimate ceremony.
    The Indigenous Spiritual Lodge is a new addition to the existing spiritual facilities at the Saint‑Jean Garrison, including the chapel used for Catholic and Protestant religious services and the multi‑faith center used by members of other faith."

Kinder Morgan Woes -Trudeau: First Nations have no veto power: Kinder Morgan Woes – Trudeau: First Nations have no veto power; Tribal opponents declare war," ICT, May 31 , 2018, reported that as the Canadian government took steps to purchase the Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline from the Alberta oil sands to the Canada’s pacific coast, for $3.45 billion, several First Nations opposed the purchase of the Kinder Morgan pipeline. They also rejected Prime Minister Trudeau’s claim that First Nations have no veto power over its passage through their lands.

Landmark Treaty Case: Court finds Treaty provides right to revenue sharing ," Arvey Finlay, LLP, December 26, 2018, reported, in Restoule v. Canada , "The Ontario Superior court has ruled that the Robinson Huron Treaty of 1850 provides treaty beneficiaries with a constitutionally protected right to share in the Crown revenues from the Treaty territory. This is an unprecedented ruling on an historic treaty ." Justice Patricia Hennessy " held that the Treaty was not meant to be a one time transaction, but rather established a mutually beneficial and respectful ongoing relationship for the sharing of land and resources in the Territory. The Court held that the parties intended the sharing of net revenues to take place in a manner consistent with the Anishinabek principles of respect, responsibility, reciprocity and renewal.
    The Court held that the Crown is obliged to increase the annuities payable under the Treaty when it can do so without incurring loss. The $4 annuity has not been increased for over a hundred years. Damages quantification will take place in a future phase of the trial."
    The full opinion of the court is at: .

British Columbia, in the summer of 2018, was working to establish a consent based approval process for setting up fish farms in First Nation territory, requiring the approval of the affected nation. Existing fish farms would be allowed to continue operating for four years, but then would need First Nation consent to continue ("Canada: British Columbia Fish Farms Will Require Indigenous Consent," Cultural Survival Quarterly, September 2018).

     Kenneth Jackson and Paul Barnsley , "A deep look into the troubles within the Chiefs of Ontario," National News, August 27, 2018,, reports that during the term its previous Chief Operating Officer, " The Chiefs of Ontario (COO) racked up a deficit of more than $1.3 million in the last fiscal year that continues to grow each month by tens of thousands of dollars," while their were allegations of improper use of organization funds and complaints that the COO board of directors was largely inactive during the last term of office, until the financial issues came to light. The new Regional Chief, RoseAnne Archibald, elected in June, said, “The structure and the system is broken and it has to be fixed.” “I am known as a fixer, somebody that comes in and knows how to fix situations that are difficult.”

    Duncan McCue, "How a new wave of Indigenous cinema is changing the narrative of Canada: Indigenous filmmakers keen to tell fresh stories themselves, but funding still hard to come by," CBC News, June 22, 2018, ", reported, "It's being called the 'new wave' of Indigenous cinema.
    Indigenous filmmakers got a boost in 2018 with the creation of the Indigenous Screen Office, an organization helping Indigenous media makers develop their content.
    The National Film Board is also doing its part, by allocating 15 per cent of production spending to Indigenous-directed projects and launching a massive free online library of more than 200 films by Indigenous directors."

    “Indigenous Peoples Of Central America Demand Laws That Favor Community Broadcasting,” Cultural Survival, August 31, 2018, , reported, “ The Second Meeting of the Central American Indigenous Community Radio Network was held on August 8 and 9, 2018, in Panajachel, Guatemala, to commemorate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. More than 60 representatives of community radio stations from Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama met to exchange experiences about the advances and setbacks of community radio broadcasting, the rights of Indigenous Peoples to freedom of expression and access to their own media, the criminalization and imprisonment of community journalists in their countries, as well as to review and approve a regional strategic plan for the network.
Democracy demands equality of civil and political rights for all citizens. UNESCO has stated that radio frequencies are a shared heritage of humanity and state governments are required to grant and administer them equally, without discrimination. However, this requirement has not been met in several countries in the Central American region. Indigenous Peoples continue to be excluded and discriminated against when accessing radio frequencies, denying them the right to freedom of expression.
‘Information is power,’ said Eva Tecún, attorney at Tz’ununija’ (humming bird) Indigenous Women's Movement in Guatemala, ‘Community radio stations have questioned colonialism and at the same time have strengthened the identities, cultures, and the languages of Indigenous Peoples. Community stations have put forward the need and right for Indigenous community communication as a tool for Indigenous Peoples’ development, where conventionally, communication was seen as a field where only professional journalists could participate.’
Indigenous Peoples in communities around the world have recognized the importance of locally owned and run media as being crucial for self-determination, as well as a key tool to strengthen the use of Indigenous languages and other elements of their cultures. Indigenous communities in at least 81 countries have invested their own local resources to establish and maintain community-run media outlets. Many of these communities have chosen radio as the medium that makes the most sense for them. However, several nation states do not have the appropriate laws and regulations to give legal authorization to Indigenous community radio stations.
Responding to the need for solidarity and cooperation between Indigenous communities across international borders, in January 2016, 35 representatives from all seven Central American countries for the first time gathered in Nargana, Panama, hosted by the autonomous government of Guna Yala, to lay the groundwork for a regional alliance of Indigenous community radio stations. Indigenous radio stations face similar challenges regardless of what nation state encompasses their traditional territories. The representatives of the participating radio stations, along with several accompanying NGOs, including Cultural Survival, Fundacion Comunicandanos, AMARC, Voces Indigenas de Panama, and Asociacion Sobrevivencia Cultural, created a strategic framework and set of goals for the network. The recent meeting in Panajachel is a significant step in the continued growth and consolidation of the network.
Since the establishment of the network, progress has been made in each of the seven countries. In Belize, where a single Indigenous station reaches the southern part of the country where most of the Indigenous population lives, a group of community journalists have been trained to report on Indigenous rights issues. In Honduras, 17 Indigenous radio stations have organized themselves into an Indigenous Radio Roundtable to work together on common issues. In El Salvador, communities have been in discussions with the government about opening up frequencies to Indigenous communities for the first time. In Panama, where the current law technically allows for Indigenous organizations to obtain a broadcast license, communities have been frustrated by bureaucratic obstructionism. Two Indigenous communities have done all the required preparations to obtain broadcast licenses, but have been rejected on technicalities. In protest, the autonomous Indigenous government of Guna Yala went on the air with an ‘experimental radio station’ for a few days last year and again this month. Many challenges still remain, however, hopeful examples of positive changes to obstructive broadcasting laws do exist. Mexico recently changed the broadcasting law to allow for Indigenous communities to obtain licenses.
‘What are the things that makes us different as Indigenous radio journalists?’ These were some of questions brought up by Socrates Vásquez, of Jenpoj Community Radio in Tlahuitoltepec, Oaxaca, Mexico. At the beginning of his remarks, he highlighted the struggle of Indigenous Peoples throughout history and how Indigenous communication is not only carried out between human beings but all living beings. In Mexico, at the beginning of 1960s, Indigenous People began to communicate through magazines, newspapers, and radio production centers. During the commemoration of the 500 years of invasion of America, among the demands was the right to autonomy and the means of communication. Later on, with the Zapatista uprising in 1994 and the signing of the San Andrés Peace Accords, the demand on communication was consolidated.
The same scenario has played out in several countries. Government and business have sought ways to keep Indigenous Peoples from their own means of communication and to protect their private communication enterprises. They argue that there are no frequencies available and that they have to get the usufructs through tenders. Instead of protecting the well-being of citizens, the governments have sided with communication monopolies promoting undemocratic laws, extending their usufruct indefinitely without taking into account Indigenous Peoples. This is a serious violation of freedom of expression and international human rights standards, such as the ILO Convention 169, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
At the meeting, the Regional Council of the Central American Community Radio Network developed a document outlining the challenges community radios face in the current contexts. Law and communications professionals were invited to weigh in regarding Guatemala and Mexico, including: Cristian Otzin of the Association of Mayan Lawyers of Guatemala; Eva Tecun, and Socrates Vásquez.
Cristian Otzín emphasized that the state of Guatemala is reluctant to democratize the radio spectrum because a privileged minority currently benefits, who label community stations as pirate and illegal, comparing them with organized crime. In 2011, a case was presented to the Constitutional Court, questioning the auction system, which is currently the only mechanism to acquire legal radio frequencies. The Court pressed the Congress in 2012 to pass a law respecting Indigenous Peoples’ rights, which has not advanced in the legislative body. Parallel to these actions, the Public Ministry has misapplied criminal law statutes to justify raids against community radio stations and to silence the voices of the people by confiscating transmission equipment and imprisonment of community journalists.
The meeting showcased the reality of Indigenous Peoples of the region, which is why it is necessary to strengthen media and address exclusionary and discriminatory policies. The resulting strategic plan of the Network emphasizes the defense of freedom of expression and the promotion of national and international actions to demand responsible State legislation and public policies to democratize media in favor of Indigenous Peoples.”

“International Organizations Rally Behind Criminalized Indigenous Radio Journalist Oscar Mejía,” Cultural Survival, July 29, 2018,, reported, “ The case of a Indigenous Guatemalan community radio host criminalized for his work is garnering international attention from a coalition of organizations working on freedom of expression, human rights, and Indigenous Peoples' rights. In September of 2015, Oscar Mejía (Maya K’iche) was detained during a raid at community radio station in Chichicastenango, Quiché, Guatemala. Radio Swan Tinamit, property of the community, promotes the use of the local Indigenous language, worldview, ancestral values, and identity, as well as local news, and events. It was raided, on orders of the Guatemalan Public Ministry, by 15 police officers who confiscated the broadcast equipment and arrested Oscar Mejía, whom they imprisoned for a week. Later, Public Ministry began a penal process, accusing him of theft.
    A coalition of local, regional, and international organizations agree that the charges of the lower courts that found Mejía guilty in September 2016 represent an incorrect interpretation of the Guatemalan penal code. The crime of “radio frequency theft” does not exist in Guatemala.
    Guatemalan organization Associacion Sobrevivencia Cultural arranged for lawyer Cristian Otzin of the Association of Mayan Lawyers & Notaries to defend Mejía during his trial. The defense focuses on questioning the Public Ministry over it’s characterization of incident criminal, despite a lack of clear indication of such in Guatemala’s penal code. From Oztin’s perspective, “The State and the monopolies [are using the crime of theft as a strategy] because they know that the community communicators are becoming stronger and building, in many cases, the consciousness of the communities.”
    After the sentencing, the defense filed a special appeal in the Regional Appeals Chamber of the Department of Quiché, but the appeal was denied. The Supreme Court of Justice then also denied the appeal. Arguing that Mejia’s right to due process was being violated, Otzin presented the appeal before the Constitutional Court, Guatemala’s highest appellate court.
    On July 5, 2018, international and civil society organizations entered an Amicus Curiae to the Constitutional Court of Guatemala to provide technical and legal background to inform the magistrate's understanding of relevant domestic and international law that apply to this case.
    The document’s objective is to highlight the legal frameworks that support Indigenous Peoples’ rights to freedom of expression, use of radio frequency, and due process. With this information, the coalition hopes to inform Guatemala’s Constitutional Court justices being asked to grant an appeal for the defense Óscar Mejía. The Amicus Curiae was a joint document developed by Cultural Survival along with the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC), Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, the Indigenous Peoples Rights Clinic Association of Suffolk University Law School, OBSERVACOM, Red Centroamericana de Radios Comunitarias Indígenas (Central American network of Indigenous Community Radio), Fundación Comunicándonos of El Salvador, and Voces Indígenas of Panama.
    Radio Swan Tinamit in Chichicastenango has been in operation for over 10 years and is highly supported by its local Indigenous authorities. After the station was raided in May 2015, Cultural Survival’s Executive Director Suzanne Benally visited the station personally. Carolina Morales, director of the Association for Community Development (ASDECO), the institution that oversees the radio, welcomed Benally. “[Your visit] assures our radio volunteers that we are not alone. After the raid a few of our volunteers quit, fearing jail-time and public shaming. This visit shows us solidarity and gives us strength to continue our work,” Morales shared in 2015.”

Salma Al-Sulaiman, “Juana Ramírez Santiago Becomes 21st Human Rights Activist Killed In Guatemala,” Cultural Survival, October 10, 2018, , reported, “ According to Guatemalan authorities, a 57 year-old Mayan lxil community leader and human rights defender, was shot dead on September 21, 2018, becoming the twenty first human rights activist to be assassinated in Guatemala this year . Juana Ramírez Santiago was walking in Q’ambalam, Nebaj Municipality, when a group of people attacked her. Neighbors state that they heard four shots being fired, before they found her lying on the street, by the time the ambulance arrived she had already passed away.
Santiago, a respected midwife in her community, was a founding member of the Network of Ixil Women, ‘an organization which provides psychological counseling, social help and birthing assistance to women in rural areas of Guatemala.’ Her position in the organization has made her a target, as she has previously filed a complaint to the Public Ministry regarding the threats made against her. Her murder comes shortly after the death of Juana Raymundo, a 25 year-old lxil nurse and a member of the Committee of Compasino Development, whose body was found tortured on July 28.
Human rights defender Jordan Rodas is demanding a full investigation on the killings, and greater government protection for activists in Guatemala. The mayor of Nebaj, Miguel de Leon, has also spoken about his outrage concerning the situation happening in his town, saying “ Nebaj has turned violent, especially for social leaders. The murder of this leader shows that.”
The Human Rights Defenders of Guatemala Protection Unit (Udefegua) has recorded “135 aggressions, 13 murders and two attempted murders against activists between January 1 and June 8 of this year
A recent report released by the United Nations, reveals that there has been a rise of instances of attacks against and criminalization of Indigenous human rights defenders . UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz was specifically “disturbed” by the situation in Guatemala . She registered that seven Indigenous leaders were slain shortly after her departure. They were killed at different locations by different means, some were shot and some were stabbed and mutilated by machetes. Those who were killed were all advocates fighting for the rights of their land and political participation. According to Tauli-Corpuz, the President of Guatemala has made it publicly clear that he does not support non-governmental organization and continues to aid the alienation of Indigenous Peoples.”

Josamine Bronnvik, “Un High Commissioner Urges Guatemala To Defend Indigenous Rights,” Cultural Survival, August 06, 2018, , reported, “ The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Prince Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein , has urged Guatemala to respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights, especially their freedom of expression , in a letter dated the 13th of April, 2018. The letter follows on the heels of a review of Guatemala's human rights record carried out through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR is a United Nations mechanism that allows member states to make recommendations to other states on how to improve human rights situations. It also allows states to report on their progress, along with other stakeholders like NGOs, civil society groups, and Indigenous Peoples.
Cultural Survival is one of many organizations that submit information and recommendations to the states being reviewed under the UPR. In 2017, Cultural Survival joined a coalition of grassroots and international organizations in submitting a UPR report on Guatemala, detailing its continued violations of Indigenous Peoples’ human rights and offering recommendations to improve the situation, with specific focus on freedom of expression, the safety of journalists, and the specific right of Indigenous Peoples to their own forms of media in their own languages. Indigenous communities across Guatemala have embraced that right through the use of community controlled local radio stations, but continue to face repression from the Guatemalan government for doing so.
The letter from the High Commissioner echoed these concerns, urging Guatemala to protect human rights defenders and journalists, who are at increasingly high risk of attack. As part of his recommendations for improving journalism and reigning in censorship, the High Commissioner urged the adoption of Bill 4087 . Cultural Survival recommended that Guatemala ‘urgently approve Bill 4087, Ley de Medios de Comunicación Comunitaria’ as well, because the Bill authorizes one community radio station in each municipality. In fact, during the last visit of a UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to the country, in 2012, Cultural Survival staff-member, and member of the Mam Maya, Rosendo Pablo Ramirez presented an intervention on behalf of passing Bill 4087. It would be an important step for free speech because community radio is currently repressed in Guatemala. Community radio would allow Indigenous communities access to information that is important to them and available in their own languages. Without Bill 4087, community radio stations face government raids and shutdowns and the Indigenous operators of such radio stations face arrest.
Using the criminal justice system, such as raids and arrests, against journalists and human rights defenders is another common tactic employed by the Guatemalan state, one that the High Commissioner asks that Guatemala put an end to. He notes specifically that the criminal justice system is used to threaten those engaged in the defense ‘of indigenous people's rights, particularly in the context of hydroelectric and mining projects.’ He asks that all journalists who were arrested for their work be released, and that they be protected from future harassment.
The High Commissioner dedicated several recommendations to the human rights status of Indigenous Peoples. He urged that Guatemala work to oppose discrimination against Indigenous Peoples, particularly on a structural level where Indigenous people are systematically kept from exercising their rights. On a similar note, he pointed out the structural discrimination against Indigenous women in the form of continued disenfranchisement and lack of representation in government.
In particular, the High Commissioner stressed land rights and Indigenous People's right to ‘effective consultation processes’ in decisions regarding traditional lands. Once again, his letter echoed Cultural Survival’s UPR report, but stopped short of demanding the Free, Prior Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples be taken into account. Cultural Survivals recommendation to Guatemala urged the state to ‘implement a legislative framework for an appropriate and meaningful consultation procedure that will ensure genuine, Free, Prior and Informed Consent of Indigenous Peoples in land disputes.’ The High Commissioner suggested a legal framework to recognize Indigenous Peoples’ lands and to prevent land conflicts with farmers or interests in large scale economic projects.”

“Cultural Survival Condemns The Harassment Of Rights Defenders And Celebrates The Acquittal Of Alfredo Baltazar,” Cultural Survival, August 7, 2018, , reported, “Alfredo Baltazar, a Q'anjobal Maya community leader from Santa Eulalia, Huehuetenango, has been acquitted of all charges after being criminalized with a slew of charges by the state of Guatemala. This ruling comes in the face of continuing criminalization of Indigenous rights defenders, human rights defenders, and environment defenders.
    Baltazar, a member of the grassroots organization known as the Movimiento Social of Santa Eulalia, has advocated for his community around the world, bringing attention to the violence, environmental harm, and displacement caused by energy and extraction projects taking place in Indigenous territory. At the United Nations Forum on Indigenous Issues in May 2013, he presented on the repression of peaceful protest in Huehuetenango. Baltazar met with civil society members and decision makers across Europe in 2014, calling for ‘a local development strategy more in tune with the needs of local communities in Guatemala and the natural world.’ Also in 2014, Baltazar was one of several community leaders who met with Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina to discuss the extraction and energy projects taking place in Indigenous territory.
    Alfredo Baltazar expresses his community’s deep connection to the land in the documentary ‘ Territorio Q'anjob'al, vientre acosado ’:
    ‘We have been taught that Mother Earth is our mother, and that she has veins, she has a womb...just as we are, so is she. When they destroy her, it is like they are destroying our own biological mother.’
    According to anthropologist Lisa Maya Knauer, five other rights defenders were tried alongside Baltazar, being charged with crimes mostly stemming ‘from the movements in resistance to the proposed hydroelectric projects in Barillas, and the unjustified arrests of community leaders from the community of Ixqusis (pronounced Eesh-ke-sees) in the municipality of San Mateo Ixtatan…’ Their trial was postponed for months, but hearings were finally held on July 31st. In each, ‘the Public Prosecutor asked the judge to nullify the arrest warrants since they could not find sufficient evidence that any specific individual had committed most of the alleged acts.’
    The allegations against Baltazar and the five other rights defenders were found by Amnesty International to be, ‘based on testimonies that only confirm the presence of these human rights defenders at said demonstrations, as well as their roles as community leaders,’ and thus ‘insufficient evidence to substantiate the charges against them.’ The judges of the case reportedly expressed concern that the charges were ‘based on incorrect information or conduct that does not constitute a crime,’ and ‘reiterated all individuals’ rights to peacefully demonstrate, meet, and associate.’ The ruling also provided the guideline that ‘charges cannot be leveled against an individual solely based on their participation in a demonstration or their belonging to an organization.’
    This case highlights the criminalization crisis rights defenders are facing in Guatemala. UDEFEGUA reports that in 2017 , there were 166 cases of criminalization against human rights defenders, and from January 1st to June 8th of 2018, there were 76 cases of criminalization. These instances are especially prevalent in the state of Huehuetenango, bordering on Mexico, with 105 of the 493 acts of aggression against human rights defenders taking place in 2017 occurring in the department. Indigenous people are especially vulnerable ; 2014 date from Global Witness documented eight times more Indigenous human rights and environmental defenders killed for their work than non-Indigenous defenders.
     The murder of Baltazar’s good friend and fellow Q’anjobal activist, Daniel Pedro Mateo, in 2013 demonstrates the immediate threat that these development projects have on Indigenous communities. Pedro Mateo founded a community radio station and was, “a leader in the community resistance to mining and hydroelectric activities in Huehuetenango.” He worked to oppose hydroelectric, mining, and logging projects in the area and many in the community believe that he was targeted for his environmental activism.
    The charges against Baltazar and the murder of Pedro Mateo are part of a wave of violence and criminalization stemming from the interests of hydroelectric companies in the region, including Hidro Santa Cruz and Hidro San Luis. The Guatemalan government often prioritizes the interests of these companies over those of the local community, leading to the criminalization of the community and protection of the corporations’ property. As grassroots activism is criminalized, Indigenous groups have found success in working to terminate international financing of these projects through appeals to the international community.
     In Huehuetenango, there have been some successes for grassroots activism against criminalization. In 2016, seven Indigenous community leaders were released from prison, five of whom being acquitted of all charges. Two of these leaders, Rigoberto Juarez and Domingo Baltazar, were arrested without warrant or charges while trying to file reports of human rights violations to the Department of Public Ministry and the United Nations Commission for Human Rights. While their release provides some justice, the harm inflicted by two years of incarceration, separation from families, inability to provide for their families, and the removal from their community at a crucial moment of social organizing, was not addressed in the ruling. These leaders deserve compensation for the aggression acted upon them and their communities.
     While Baltazar’s acquittal is a victory, the economic, social, and emotional harm done by the false accusations against him and others must be recognized and addressed by the Guatemalan criminal justice system and government.”

The Guatemalan Constitutional Court, in late fall 2018, up held a lower court decision suspending the operations at Tahoe Resources' Escobal Mine for failure to have the consent of the Xinka people, and for discrimination. The termination of company's license to mine in neighboring Juan Bosco was also upheld ("Guatemala: Highest Court Order's Suspension of Tahoe's Escobal Mine," Cultural Survival Quarterly, Dectember 2018).

Indigenous peoples in Honduras were strongly opposed, in late fall 2018, to a proposed law that would allow the government to ignore the outcome of local consultations on proposed extraction. Numerous demonstrations were held by tribal people and supporters against the proposition (Honduras: Indigenous Peoples Reject New Consultation Law," Cultural Survival Quarterly, December 2018).

Elisabeth Malkin, “ Seven Convicted in Killing of Prominent Honduran Environmentalist,” The New York Times, November 29, 2018, , reported, “ A Honduran court on Thursday found seven men guilty of murder in the 2016 assassination of [Berta Cáceres, ]an Indigenous environmental leader whose opposition to a dam project brought her an international prominence that still failed to protect her life.
The verdict, delivered by a panel of judges after a six-week trial in the Honduran capital, Tegucigalpa, ended a proceeding bitterly denounced by the family of the environmentalist, Berta Cáceres, and the organization that she led.
They criticized the prosecution for focusing its efforts on those believed to have carried out the crime, and disregarding evidence that could have implicated powerful business leaders in its planning .”

     John McPhaul, “Costa Rica Cancels Diquís Hydro Project Opposed By Indigenous Peoples,” Cultural Survival, November 02, 2018, , reported, “On Novemer 2, 2018, the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (ICE) announced the cancellation of the Diquís hydroelectric project in the South Pacific part of the country, after seven years of delays and paralysis during which the project was bitterly opposed by Indigenous communities who would have seen their land inundated by the planned reservoir. The hydroelectric project was to be the largest such project in Central America. The project’s reservoir would occupy 7363 hectares of land, 830 hectares of which are Indigenous territories, and displace over 1600 people.
The now unsuccessful initiative in Buenos Aires, Puntarenas, was ruled out after analyzing a drop in national energy consumption and an installed electrical capacity sufficient to meet the demand of coming year, according to the daily La Nacion.
The 631 megawatt project, which would provide electricity to 1 million consumers included the installation of a reservoir that would inundate ten percent of Kichá territory (104 hectares) and eight percent of Terraba lands (726 hectares), according to the Costa Rican Ombudsman's Office.
The decision was confirmed at a press conference by the executive president of ICE, Irene Cañas, who announced a series of adjustments such as this to improve the financial conditions of the entity.
According to Cañas, the cancellation of Diquís also suspends the consultation with Indigenous Peoples of the area and the withdrawal of the project from the National Environmental Technical Secretariat.
In addition, the conclusion of the environmental feasibility study of the project is suspended and relations with communities of direct influence and regional institutions involved are terminated.
As late as June 2017, ICE defended the construction of the hydroelectric plant, scheduled for 2024, as it argued that it was necessary to satisfy an increase in demand and to create a poll of development in an economically depressed area.
Over six years, the Institute invested $146 million (around $2,5 million) in the project and these costs will not be transferred to rates, according to Cañas. This money was already spent by the entity and this affects their finances.
The ICE announcements came after years without a press conference on accountability and transparency. Cañas said that during his time at the Institute, public updates on the situation of the Institute will continue.”

John McPhaul , "Costa Rica Names Indigenous Ambassador to Bolivia," Cultural Survival, December 5, 2018, reported, " The Costa Rican government in mid November 2018 named Guillermo Rodríguez Romero, a Bribri attorney from the Talamanca village of Suretka, as ambassador to Bolivia. Rodríguez, the first of three Indigenous Costa Ricans who have joined the ranks of Costa Rica’s attorneys, speaks both Spanish and Bribri and has 40 years of experience defending the rights of Indigenous Peoples. Rodríguez has distinguished himself especially in promoting the creation of a department of Indigenous education within the Department of Education.
    About his work, Rodríguez, soft spoken -- a characteristic of his people -- says he has been working on concrete proposals, not just theoretical projects, “I have been working a lot on the true organization of the struggle of Indigenous Peoples at the national level. On concrete proposals, for example in the case of education, improvement of negotiations, and in health services.”
     Rodríguez is also working on proposals to better manage Costa Rica’s many protected areas in regions where Indigenous communities live, to improve the lives of these communities. 'I have also been working hard on the legal aspects reforming legal instruments and the application of Costa Rican laws,' he says. 'Likewise, in the field of education, I worked with Indigenous partners on curricula and pedagogical proposals so that the true management of these protected areas also include improving the living conditions of local communities while better protecting these areas. The basic national curriculum has to be culturally sensitive and incorporate Indigenous languages so that they do not lose their cultural identities.'
    Costa Rica’s Indigenous population numbers around 106,000 people divided into eight language groups. With the exception of the Chorotega in the northern Province of Guanacaste, who are related to the Nahual-speaking Indigenous groups of Central America, Costa Rica's Indigenous Peoples are related to the Chibcha civilization from Colombia and northern South America. “It is important that content is incorporated into the national curriculum so that the Costa Ricans are more aware about the country’s Indigenous cultures and we can work to eliminate barriers of exclusion and discrimination that we have historically suffered,” he stated. Living far distances from social services, Costa Rica’s Indigenous people rank consistently at the bottom of the country’s economic and social indicators.
     Rodríguez has also promoted the regulation of tourism on Indigenous lands, initiatives of forest regulation and matters of co-administration of protected areas near Indigenous territories.
To Rodríguez, being named as Ambassador to Bolivia is a recognition of the contributions Indigenous Peoples have made to Costa Rica and fulfills the promise of President Carlos Alvarado to diversify government. 'This idea comes from the presidency and the Madame Foreign Minister of the Republic [Epsy Campbell] in the framework of the inclusion policy that the government has undertaken,' said Rodríguez. 'I was designated with this opportunity, something that makes me very happy because it is an affirmative action in favor of the rights of Indigenous Peoples. This action implements the reforms to the first article of the constitution and is an affirmative action in relation to the international accords that the government has signed committed to Indigenous rights. It seems to be a supremely affirmative action. But it is also very important in the country because it begins to mark a new policy of inclusion of Indigenous Peoples.'
    A father of three girls and two boys, Rodríguez, 60, also served as an adviser of Indigenous Education; president of the Bribri Territory Development Association; president and founder of COODEBRIWAK--an association defending Indigenous rights; and a municipality representative for the Talamanca county. He studied at the Universidad Autonoma de Centro America (UNCA) and later completed his degree with a major in registry and notarial law at the Universidad Libre de Derecho 'Now I am finishing a specialization in agrarian and environmental law in the faculty of law at the University of Costa Rica. I will finish this year,' Rodríguez says.
    Rodríguez said his appointment to Bolivia is particularly significant given that Bolivia is led by an Indigenous president, Evo Morales. 'We have much to share,' said Rodríguez, 'relations between Costa Rica and Bolivia are cordial and harmonious now and the idea is to strengthen them even more.'”

“Iachr Demands Answers from Panama Over Land Titling on Indigenous Lands," Cultural Survival, October 15, 2018,, reported, “’They have destroyed our Indigenous crops and the government has done nothing to stop it,’ said Elivardo Membache, an Emberá Cacique who is fighting to protect his ancestral lands from illegal settlers.
Every day, communities are being invaded… They fence off lands and begin farming and ranching. This affects more than 3000 Indigenous families, their personal safety, their territorial integrity and their cultural unity…’
On Friday, October 5 , the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) held a public hearing on the theme of collective land titling in Panama. It was attended by civil society organizations representing the Emberá, Wounaan, Guna, Buglé, Ngäbe, Naso and Bribri Indigenous Peoples.
Membache, the Cacique General of the Congreso General de Tierras Colectivas Emberá y Wounaan of Panama (General Congress of Emberá and Wounaan Collective lands of Panama) – an organization representing traditional Emberá and Wounaan lands outside of Panama’s Comarcas (semi-autonomous Indigenous territories) – told the commission that his people have been campaigning for collective titles for a generation.
He said that delays in the titling process had resulted in the ‘invasion’ of settlers on their lands, which include ecologically sensitive areas of primary rainforests in the frontier zone of Darién in eastern Panama. Maps compiled by the New York-based environmental NGO Rainforest Foundation revealed the shocking extent of deforestation in parts of the region from 2001 to 2016.
Deforestation timeline around the community of Arimae. Courtesy Rainforest Foundation
The titling process is currently stalled because, according to Panama’s Ministry of Environment, Emberá and Wounaan traditional lands fall within protected areas such as the Darién National Park. Membache called the situation “absurd.”
Membache also suggested that the State was fueling land grabs by encouraging Indigenous inhabitants to obtain individual titles to their lands – an approach that undermines communal ownership and opens the region to private acquisition.
Even more serious is the fact that the government is promoting individual land titling within our communities,’ he said, ‘which makes it easier for our brothers to sell their lands… [Furthermore] the government is pressuring us to reach agreements with the invading settlers. When we reach agreements they provide titling to the settlers, but not to our communities.’
    In fact, a handful of Emberá and Wounaan communities have received collective titles since 2012, including Puerto Lara, Arimae and Caña Blanca. Three more were green lit in 2018, but only after Wounaan activists staged a two-day protest at government buildings. According to Membache, the titles cover approximately 11 per cent of their ancestral territory.
Meanwhile, Adolfo Villagra described development plans for the Río Teribe area of Bocas del Toro in western Panama as “the nail in the coffin” for the 3000-strong Naso people.
Known as Tjër Di (Grandmother Water) in the Naso language, the Teribe river is the central axis of Naso society, a source of spiritual and material sustenance for generations of Naso. The Indigenous communities living on its banks have been campaigning for collective land rights for more than four decades.
‘We have exhausted all necessary recourses,’ said Villagra. ‘We’ve held marches and walks and we’ve presented petitions to the national assembly.’
In fact, Naso ancestral lands are somewhat extensive. They encompass pristine rainforests and partly fall within two protected areas: the Bosque Protector Palo Seco and the Parque Internacional Amistad.
Despite the protected status of these areas, the Panamanian state has commissioned divisive and ecologically destructive hydroelectric projects on tributaries of the Teribe. These include Bonyic dam, a 32.64 MW gravity dam owned by Hidroécología Teribe and Empresas Públicas de Medellín, and a project currently known as Teribe 500, which has been slated in Panama’s national expansion plan.
Representing the Ngäbe and Buglé people of western and central Panama, Feliciano Santos of the Movimiento por la Defensa de los Territorios y Ecosistemas de Bocas del Toro (MODETEAB, Movement for the Defense of the Territories and Ecosystems of Bocas del Toro’) said that mining continued to pose a significant threat to Indigenous lands.
‘Panama is not implementing collective rights laws and this is leaving thousands of Pndigenous pPeoples in a defenseless position, given the advance of non-Indigenous peoples for extraction activities,’ he said. ‘They have been attacking our lands for these extractive activities.’
In fact, the Panamanian government’s ‘Atlantic Conquest’ development plan includes several new mines in traditional Ngäbe and Buglé lands, as well as a new coastal highway, hydroelectric plants and various tourism projects.
Santos also complained of extremely long procedural delays. For example, communities within so-called ‘áreas anexas’ (areas annexed to the Comarca Ngäbe-Bugle, but not yet legally included within it) have been waiting 19 years for the promised demarcation of their boundaries. Two hydroelectric projects, Chan 75 and Barro Blanco have since been built inside áreas anexas without the free, informed and prior consent of the Indigenous people living there.
Héctor Huertas, a Guna lawyer from the Corporación de Abogados Indígenas de Panamá (CAIP, Indigenous Lawyers Corporation of Panama) criticized the implementation of Collective Lands Law 72 (2008), which provides the framework for collective land titling outside of the Comarca system.
One of the first actions of the government was to diminish its legal obligations [and] to adopt decree 223, which regulates law 72 without the participation of Indigenous communities,’ said Huertas. ‘ It imposes impossible additional requirements for us to be able to access… [our] lands… [Decree 223] has actually perverted the nature of the law, and it is quite an onerous and bureaucratic process for the Indigenous communities…
Executive Decree 223 (2010) requires the Environment Ministry to approve Indigenous land titles, which it has not been doing because it says that nationally protected lands cannot be titled. However, Huertas called the pretext false.
‘The state says that there are constitutional, legal and international commitments that have prevented them from doing this because they must protect the forests and they are providing false arguments that are discriminatory and have no legal basis,’ said Huertas.
‘All protective areas in Panama have statutes that recognize the right of property… [and] Inter-American jurisdiction has set the precedent that Indigenous and ancestral possession is the same as a land title, and is compatible with Indigenous property rights in these areas, even though these areas are biological and conservation areas…’
Huertas said that there was no legal provision preventing the recognition of collective land rights in protected areas. He also claimed that the State had shifted responsibility for demarcating Indigenous lands to the Indigenous communities themselves, and that the results were often unsatisfactory to the government.
‘Every time a map is presented to the Ministry of Environment or other authorities they say the coordinates are not correct. They look for some excuse,” he told the commission. “Now the ministry… is demanding we submit a digital map…’
In response, the State of Panama objected to the claim that it had delayed the implementation of collective land titling laws.
‘The Panamanian state affirms its commitment to protecting human rights in general and to guaranteeing its commitment to collective land rights, to a healthy environment, to access to water, to sources of food and Indigenous traditions,’ said Gina López Candanedo, director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
After describing the various legal and administrative measures adopted by the State with respect to Indigenous rights and collective land titling, she concluded: ‘It is clear that the state has not delayed in implementing [the law]… The government has progressively strengthened its international framework.’
Likewise, Omar Espinoza of the National Geographic Institute insisted that the government was committed to fulfilling its legal obligations towards Panama’s Indigenous Peoples.
‘[The State] has centralized Indigenous land titling to speed up the process and to provide greater efficacy for these procedures and to guarantee international standards in favor of the petitioners and Indigenous Peoples,” he said. “The state’s activities aim to strengthen the dialogue with these people and to provide for the territorial integrity of these Indigenous Peoples.’
Jorge Garcia, chief of biodiversity at the Ministry of Environment described the titling process as ‘interagency in nature’. He said that further technical investigations were being carried out in Darién in accordance with a roadmap agreed during a roundtable mediated by a human rights ombudsman.
However, the IACHR commissioners did not appear to be entirely convinced by the State’s declarations.
    ‘It is not enough to have mechanisms,’ said Antonia Urrejola, the Special Rapporteur for Indigenous Peoples. ‘It is not enough to have laws recognizing established or statutory mechanisms… for the delimitation and demarcation of lands. It is fundamental that these mechanisms be adequate in keeping with the uses, customs and customary law of the peoples, but above all else that they be effective…’
In addition to questioning the efficacy of the State’s collective titling mechanisms, Urrejola wanted to know if there was a willingness on the part of the state to include Indigenous Peoples in the management of protected areas.
‘It is very feasible to establish protected areas under the administration of Indigenous Peoples,’ she said.
She also wanted to know if protected areas in Panama could be mined, since the petitioners had indicated that collective land titling was being withheld to provide resources to extractive industries.
Commissioner Flavia Piovesan, the rapporteur for Panama echoed the sentiment that Indigenous stakeholders could feasibly administrate protected areas. She also asked for more details regarding the legal requirements for prior impact studies for development projects.
Commissioner Soledad Garcia Muñoz, the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights called the Indigenous Peoples “the great guardians of the land” and asked if there were any special measures to analyze the contributions of Indigenous people in protecting nature. She also asked about the State’s work on business and human rights, and whether legislation was being designed to ensure water security.
Finally, Assistant Executive Secretary Claudia Pulido wanted to know more about the attributes of collective property, and to what extent collective property rights were assured.
The State thanked the commission and committed to answering its questions in a final report, to be submitted at a later date.
Commenting on the hearing, Joshua Lichtenstein, the Rainforest Foundation’s Panama Program Manager told IC that collective titling in Panama was contingent on political will.
‘Today Indigenous leaders were able to bring the Government of Panama to the IACHR to answer questions about why the titling of Indigenous collective lands has been stopped by the Ministry of Environment,’ he said.
‘The government did not have very good answers for that, and in fact admitted there were no real legal barriers. So the problem is political, and constitutes an ongoing serious violation of human rights. The IACHR offered their assistance to the government to help resolve the problem, an offer we hope the government will accept.’
Ostensibly, the government does appear to be willing to find a resolution.
‘[The state] will accept any recommendation of the commission in order to protect these extensive [Indigenous] rights,” said Candanedo, before stressing the governments “openness and willingness to continue working with Indigenous people on land titling.’
However, it remains to be seen whether the State of Panama is genuinely committed to Indigenous rights, or whether it is merely paying lip service to its international obligations.
After hearing powerful testimonies from the Indigenous petitioners, the commission pressed the Panamanian State on the efficacy of its collective titling procedures, as well as its apparent reluctance to include Indigenous Peoples in the stewardship of nationally designated protected areas.”

Nicholas Casey , “Peacetime Spells Death for Colombia’s Activists," The New York Times, October 13, 2018,, reported, “ Colombia’s government officially declared an end to more than five decades of civil war in 2016, when it signed a peace deal with the country’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC. Within a year, the homicide rate fell to its lowest level since 1975, a remarkable turnaround for a country where a half-century of conflict had taken at least 200,000 lives.
But a chilling aspect of the bloodshed isn’t falling: Killings of the nation’s activists, including union organizers, local councilmen, indigenous leaders and environmentalists who are under vigorous attack across the country.
If anything, the killings appear to be on the rise in peacetime

Nati Garcia, “Kankuamo House Of Worship Is Burned to The Ground in Sierra Nevada De Santa Marta, Colombia,” Cultural Survival, October 29, 2018, , reported, “On October 19-20, 2018 , Kankuamo Peoples Authority headed by the Mamos, General Elders Council, Town Council, leaders and members of the communities gathered in Makumake, Kankuamo Territory, Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Colombia, to release the following statement to the national and international public after the burning of a Kankurwa (ceremonial house) in Atanquez, in events that took place on the night of October 18, 2018:
‘The oral history that survives in our memory and territory says that the first Kankurwas of the Kankuamo people were burned down in the year of 1691, under the pretext that these houses were used to worship the devil and perform profane rites. From that moment began a series of systematic events with the purpose of exterminating our people through the destruction of symbols representative of identity and community building.
Our Kankurwas were left by the Father and Mother creators to build and strengthen the world, fulfilling the spiritual, material and community order; in them we talk and listen to the advice on how we should live, but above all this space is destined to transmit the ancestral knowledge for future generations.
Understood not only as constructions of wood, straw, stone and mud, the Kankurwas for us the indigenous people of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta are Mamos and Sagas who teach their children how to live and care for the world. For that reason when burning them a simple house is not burned, it is eliminated in the most violent way to a grandfather or grandmother whose only crime is to teach to live in harmony with nature and the universe.
Through many means and in different epochs of the colonial history of the country, people external to our town and territory managed to make us ashamed of our origin. Thanks to that shame imposed, many Kankuamos we weakened in the fulfillment of the mission and vision bequeathed from our origin. Other Kankuamos sought strategies to practice our traditions in a hidden way until the time came to return to the public to be Kankuamo. We returned to build our Kankurwas as places to be a community and to continue fulfilling the mandate to take care of life and sacred territory.
We are aware that by returning to our path of being Kankuamo we have affected many interests of those who saw and still see our communities as an electoral stronghold where with many empty words they made promises to gain our votes. Those external interests when displaced by our organization resumed old practices that were effective many years ago.
In the memory of many older people there is still the memory of people who came to our communities saying: ‘You are not Indians anymore, you are civilized and to be more civilized you have to change your roofed houses with straw and mud for zinc and cement’ These expressions were penetrating in the mind of our people and in many communities of our shelter where a life of distress begins. Today, we are facing the fourth attack on our ceremonial houses; the first one is presented in the kankurwa of Chemesquemena, the second in La Mina, then those of Guatapurí and now the kankurwa of Atánquez.
Thinking about these facts, although we do not rule out that the hands that have burned down our ceremonial houses are of people living in our communities, however we are sure that behind such actions are actors with obscure economic and political interests who are still determined to erase us as an Indigenous Peoples and stop our organizational process and cultural strengthening, to take over our lands, continue to loot and exploit our territory and resources, without anyone obstructing them. For them we have a powerful message: we will look for them until we find them, and we warn them that Mother Nature, sooner or later, in their persons and in their families, will serve justice for the offense.
As authorities, we call on our people to support the reconstruction of Atánquez's Kankurwa, as well as reconstructing those of Chemesquemena, Guatapurí and La Mina. To the people and institutions that have expressed their solidarity we thank them and tell them that as children of the Sierra Nevada de Gonavindwa here we will continue, fulfilling the responsibility entrusted and reconstructing again and again what is necessary to continue being what we are: INDIGENAS KANKUAMOS: A Temple Town and strengthening the fence to contribute to the defense and protection of the heart of the World.
Finally, we demand an immediate institutional response to these events, therefore, we request the National Government and the Control Bodies to hold a high-level meeting, in the shortest time possible and in coordination with us, to define actions that will allow us to advance in the investigation and punishment of those responsible for these criminal acts and in the adoption of protection measures and effective guarantees of our rights.’
     The burning of the Kankurwa house occurred during the night when members of the community meet in La Mina to discuss the establishment of a community security council. Sadly, this is not the first of such incidents, in the past years there have been burnings of Kankurwa houses in three other communities (Chemsquemena, Guatapurí and La Mina) which all sit between the mountains of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in the northern part of Colombia near the Caribbean coast.
    The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is one of the biodiverse areas of Colombia with its thunderous mountains layered with pristine forests and over 160 billion years of granite formation. The abundance of wealth in the land makes it a target for mega project development. Historically, the Kankuamo people are still recovering from a 20-year civil war that occurred during the late 1980’s to 2003, were over 450 Kankuamos were murdered, over 300 children became fatherless, and more than 400 families were violently displaced.
    In the late 1980’s after the establishment of the reservation there was negligence from the Colombian state which made the community vulnerable to an invasion and illegal occupation from armed paramilitary groups and left wing guerrillas seeking control over their territory, which perpetrated the narcotic trades in the area, and contributed to a civil war dispute over land. The Kankuamo people were severely impacted by the conflict, facing displacement, assassinations, massacres, forced disappearances, terror, and forced military recruitment. Many of their sacred sites were lost and huge part of the ecosystem was destroyed. This fragmented their traditional practices, ancestral knowledge, and oral histories. Face with the decline of their culture, the Kankuamo Indigenous Organization was established in 1993 in Atánquez. For over 25 years, youth have been raised under the guidance and knowledge of the Kankuamo Organization to revitalize their culture. This has caused many tensions and indifference within the community from those who seek cultural reconnection and those who seek extermination.
    ‘The Kankurwa is the backbone for Indigenous people as it is a space not only of ceremony and communication but a universal opening to connect with the creator. A ceremonial epicenter where the contact of the divine with the matter or physical body represents each of those that congregate and gives shape to the cultural structure of our people’s vision with the strength of the Mother Earth that transcends the history of humanity. Consequently, we conceive its destruction as a culturecide against humanity, not only against a group of people but against the spirituality of our people,’ said Souldes Enrique Maestre Montero (Kankuama), co-founder of the first public library in Atánquez.
    The construction of Kankurwa homes has been one of the stepping stones in revitalizing their culture. Radio has also been an invaluable tool, an asset in producing, recording, and informing communities members about land rights, environmental protection, Indigenous rights, and cultural retention. The first ever community radio station went on air in 2006. It was given the name Tayrona Stereo in honor of the Kogi people who reside near the Tayrona National Park and are one of the last remaining descendants of the Inca and Aztec. Nixon Aria Martínez, co-founder of Tayrona Stereo, expressed great concern: ‘It is not that they just burnt a regular house, they burnt a whole thought that is embodied by justice, peace, harmony. They burnt it all’
    The gravity of this vicious act has greatly despaired local youth as well those who found the Kankurwa as a place of common ground, where they experienced many profound moments of unlocking stories of their ancestors. It was a place of remembering. The construction of a Kankurwa was a way of engaging the youth in the community. The first one was built in Guatapuri, then in Chemesquemena, following La Mina and then Atánquez. Days after the arson the Youth Commission of Atánquez gathered and collectively released a statement:
‘Today, we feel pain to see the burned walls of our Kakurwa because it was a space where again and again we found our being of Kankuamo. We will not despair and will continue to rebuild. Today, we burned our grandfathers, tomorrow we will heal them by rebuilding them. And why will we rebuild them? Because we were born with them and they are part of us and we are of it. We thank our parents for giving us back the spirit of being Kankuamos. We will do what is necessary to preserve it with pride and greatness.’”

    Colombia's Constitutional Court ruled, October 11, 2018, that local referenda cannot stop extractive projects, violating the principle of consultation ("Colombia: Court Rules Community Referendums Cannot Stop Extractive Projects," Cultural Survival Quarterly, September 2018).

In southern Venezuela there have been serious developments that impact Indigenous people in the region. ICG, Bram Ebus, Consultant, “A Rising Tide of Murder in Venezuela’s Mineral-rich South,” Q&A / Latin America & Caribbean 12 November 2018, , “ Dead bodies are appearing across the Orinoco river basin of southern Venezuela. In this Q&A,Crisis Group consultant Bram Ebus explains how the killings are linked by jostling among criminals, guerrillas and soldiers for mineral wealth amid the country’s wider socio-economic meltdown.
     What happened ?
A spate of mass killings in southern Venezuela is stirring international concern as the country’s political and economic crisis continues to drive a migrant exodus. On 14 October, at least seven miners were murdered in clashes between non-state armed factions near Tumeremo, Bolívar state, toward the Guyana border. Three weeks later, on 4 November, guerrillas of Colombia’s National Liberation Army (ELN) ambushed a troop of Venezuelan National Guardsmen, killing three and wounding ten, near the town of Puerto Ayacucho, capital of Amazonas state, close to the Colombia border. These attacks came in retaliation for the guard’s arrest of an ELN commander Luis Felipe Ortega Bernal, also known as Garganta (Throat). The two incidents added to a growing number of violent deaths across the country’s vast “mining arc”, a 122,000-sq km area in the southern watershed of the Orinoco river.
Though the Bolívar and Amazonas killings took place hundreds of kilometres apart, many Venezuelans see them as connected, given that both events occurred in areas exposed to intensive mining, legal and illegal. The deaths raise pressing questions as to the effects of Venezuela’s overall socio-economic disintegration on the sparsely populated but mineral-rich south. They also highlight the ELN guerrillas’ growing presence in these regions at a time when their peace talks with the Colombian government are at an impasse. Colombia’s new president, Iván Duque, put the already faltering negotiations with the guerrillas, estimated to have almost 2,000 fighters in Colombia, on hold soon after assuming office in August.
What is at stake in southern Venezuela ?
Venezuela sits atop one of the biggest (though as yet uncertified) gold deposits in the world. There are also promising reserves of coltan and diamonds, among other scarce minerals. As a forthcoming Crisis Group report will show, the country’s economic meltdown has led various armed actors, both state and non-state, to loot its natural resources, spurred by the desperation of impoverished Venezuelans who see little option but to head south and join the pillage
In 2016, President Nicolás Maduro signed a decree purporting to create a legal framework for mining in Bolívar state (Venezuelan law prohibits mining in Amazonas state), with the aim of establishing a modern, sustainable extractive industry. In reality, no experienced companies work in Bolívar or anywhere in the mining arc. The corporations and state companies that operate in Bolívar get most of their minerals from mines controlled by local gangs or ELN fighters. Dissident former members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), who oppose the peace agreement that movement signed in 2016 with the Colombian government, are involved in illegal mining operations in Amazonas.
Why does this matter ?
Venezuela is in the grip of one of the world’s sharpest economic contractions, marked by hyper-inflation and scarcity of basis goods. Its citizens are leaving in massive numbers – some three million since 2015, according to the International Organization of Migration. Emigration into Colombia, along with ideological differences and the Maduro government’s authoritarian turn, has put Bogotá and Caracas at loggerheads. Armed group activity in southern Venezuela, especially involving irregulars crossing borders, is liable to stoke those tensions.
Many sources say ELN guerrillas have taken over a significant number of mines controlled by Venezuelan crime syndicates in 2018. Battles for control have left a trail of bodies across the mining arc. Many killings – even massacres – go unreported because most occur in remote places, often inhabited by indigenous peoples, with haphazard or non-existent transport and telephone connections. These people fear speaking to outsiders, even when relatives go missing.
What is the Venezuelan government’s role in this violence?
A new governor in Bolívar state since October 2017 is reportedly allied to the crime syndicates, while his predecessor allegedly had relations with different criminal groups (neither has responded to such allegations). In Caracas, meanwhile, two government factions are believed to be competing for control of mineral reserves. One faction, including members of the National Guard, reportedly works alongside crime syndicates for personal enrichment. The other, comprised of parts of the military apparatus, appears set on running the mines in alliance with the ELN so as to invest the profits in the survival of the chavista government.
The latter’s objectives would appear to include the use of experienced guerrillas as a strategic line of defence close to the Colombian border in the event of foreign military intervention in Venezuela, a prospect mooted by leading U.S. and Latin American figures in recent months. Officially, the Venezuelan Defence Ministry denies that ELN guerrillas are present in the country, blaming right-wing Colombian paramilitaries for the 4 November killings in Amazonas. But the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent out a communiqué on 5 November in which they condemned the killings and recognised Luis Ortega, who was arrested along with eight colleagues by the Venezuelan National Guard and is now held in a military jail near Caracas, as a senior ELN commander.
How have other countries reacted to the killings?
Bordering countries have shown the most alarm. Guyana and Colombia have reinforced the troops stationed at their respective borders with Venezuela, according to sources in both countries’ armed forces, largely out of concern over expanding mining-related violence.
As part of its sanctions on the Venezuelan government, the U.S. announced via an executive order on 1 November that it will target gold exports, which it believes are being used to enrich Venezuela’s political and economic elite at the cost of increasing violence and human rights abuses in the country’s south. On 24 October, Marshall Billingslea, assistant secretary for terrorist financing at the Treasury Department, accused Maduro of “looting” his country’s gold supply, naming the export of 21 tonnes of the precious metal to Turkey as an example. He added that “[t]his gold is being removed from the country without any of the customary safeguards that would ensure the funds are accounted for and properly catalogued as belonging to the Venezuelan people”. The executive order forbids commerce with those who “operate in the gold sector of the Venezuelan economy”. This measure could have pernicious side effects, however, by forcing greater quantities of gold into contraband routes, thus boosting the revenues of organised crime and armed non-state actors.
Alternatively, under existing U.S. and forthcoming European Union (EU) legislation, Washington and Brussels could classify Venezuelan gold and coltan as conflict minerals. These laws urge companies throughout the value chain to obtain minerals from conflict-free suppliers, a provision that could stop Venezuela from selling its gold and coltan abroad unless exporters clean up their act. The fact that the Venezuelan mineral trade is associated with massacres, money laundering, sexual violence and groups included on the U.S. and EU terrorist lists could justify application of these laws, but it is hard to say whether or not this measure would also boost smuggling networks.
What are the likely scenarios over the coming months ?
An increase in bloodshed in southern Venezuela remains highly likely, at least until one group consolidates power in the region. The competition between factions within the state could easily have a multiplier effect on attacks. Continued clashes among Venezuelan state forces, Venezuelan crime syndicates and Colombian armed groups are also likely to displace locals, perhaps across the border into Colombia. The people of southern Venezuela need urgent humanitarian assistance, particularly health care, as mining operations ravage the land that normally sustains them.”

In Bolivia, President Evo Morales, the first Indigenous President of his country, is losing Indigenous support. There are two causes. First, his running for a fourth term violates Indigenous democratic principles in Bolivia that leadership must rotate, a leader only serving once. This is especially a concern now that he is seeking a fourth term. After he failed to obtain approval in a referendum to remove a constitutional two term limit on the Presidency, Morales pressured the court into allowing it. Second, Morales also is proposing oil and gas drilling in protected areas, and the building of hydroelectric dams. These proposals directly threaten Indigenous people, as well as generally violating their values ( Nicholas Casey, “ In Bolivia, Morales’s Indigenous Base Backtracks on Support,” The New York Times, December 8, 2018,

Ernesto Londoño, " As Brazil’s Far Right Leader Threatens the Amazon, One Tribe Pushes Back: 'Where there is indigenous land,' newly elected President Jair Bolsonaro has said, 'there is wealth underneath it.'" The New York Times , November 10, 2018,, reported, that Indigenous people in Brazil's Amazon have increasingly been fighting back against illegal mining and lumbering. "The showdown was a small part of an existential struggle indigenous communities are waging across Brazil. But the battle goes far beyond their individual survival, striking at the fate of the Amazon and its pivotal role in climate change.
     In recent years, the Brazilian government has sharply cut spending on indigenous communities, while lawmakers have pushed for regulatory changes championed by industries seeking unfettered access to parts of the Amazon that have been protected under the nation’s constitution.
    Now, Brazil has elected a new far-right president , Jair Bolsonaro, who favors abolishing protected indigenous lands. He has promised to scale back enforcement of environmental laws, calling them an impediment to economic growth, and has made his intentions for the Amazon clear."
    Invasion and destruction of Indigenous lands for illegal mining, and deforestation for lumber, farms and ranches have long been a serious problem in Brazil, and there has been much Indigenous resistance. In some cases, some of the local Indigenous people have made accommodations with illegal miners, allowing them to stay and dig in return for some benefits from the miners. But the cost of the destruction on site, and spreading pollution, has been extremely high for the forest peoples. Meanwhile the overall impact has been disastrous, including 91,890 square miles of forest being cleared from 2016.
    The election of President Bolsonaro is greatly worsening the situation, as he has been encouraging development that is destructive to the land and forest, while denying that Indigenous peoples have any rights. Indigenous people have been quite aware of the political change. The coordinator of Brazil’s Association of Indigenous Peoples, Dinamã Tuxá, has stated “He represents an institutionalization of genocide in Brazil.” "Experts say the rate of deforestation in the Amazon, which soaks up enormous amounts of the world’s carbon dioxide, makes it nearly certain that Brazil will miss some of the climate change mitigation goals it set in 2009, when it presented itself as an exemplar of sustainable development at a United Nations summit.
    The trendline has led federal prosecutors and environmentalists to say that the Amazon is on the brink of irreversible damage, potentially leading to the extinction of indigenous communities that have weathered centuries of calamities."
    While protests and other actions are taking place at the national level, there have been local actions against illegal intrusions into, and destruction of, Indigenous lands as well. For example along the Tapajos River, many of the Munduruku have moved to throw the miners out. But an attempt to do so had to be given up as the miners were armed.
     To the extent they still can, officers from environmental agencies, have continued to arrest miner and destroy their camp. This is difficult, because there are thousands of miners spread widely across vast areas. They can usually flee before a raid arrives at their camp, and the authorities are few and underfunded. That situation is worsening as the new administration, even more than its predecessor, is cutting environmental and federal budgets and staff, while reducing prosecutions and fines.

Indigenous Environmental Defender killed as logging mafia targets tribe," Survival International, August 15, 2018, ", reported, " A leader of an Amazon tribe acclaimed for its environmental defenders has been killed, the latest in a series of deaths among the tribe.
    The body of Jorginho Guajajara was found near a river in the Brazilian state of Maranhão. He was a leader of the Guajajara people, acclaimed internationally for their work as the ‘Guardians of the Amazon’ in the most threatened region in the entire Amazon.
    It is not yet clear who killed him, but a powerful logging mafia has repeatedly targeted the tribe for its work protecting both its rainforest home, and the uncontacted members of a neighboring tribe, the Awá, ho also live there, and face catastrophe unless their land is protected.

    Jorginho Guajajara’s body was found near a river in the eastern Brazilian Amazon.
    Confronted with official inaction, the tribe formed an environmental protection team named the Guardians of the Amazon to expel the loggers. Some estimates suggest up to 80 members of the tribe have been killed since 2000.
    The murder of Jorginho Guajajara is further indication of the increasing volatility in this area. In May this year, a team from Ibama (Brazil’s environmental protection agency) and environmental military police were dispatched to the Guajajara’s Arariboia reserve, a rare move from the authorities.
    The Guajajara say: 'Our uncontacted Awá relatives cannot survive if their forest is destroyed. As long as we live, we will fight for the uncontacted Indians, for all of us, and for nature.'
    Survival International has protested to the Brazilian authorities about the wave of violence against the Guajajara, which has gone almost entirely unpunished.
Survival International Director Stephen Corry said today: “The Guardians of the Amazon face an urgent humanitarian crisis, and are fighting for their very survival. This small tribe of Amazon Indians are confronting an aggressive, powerful and armed logging mafia with close ties to local and national politicians. And they’re paying with their lives for standing up to them. They urgently need public support to make sure they survive.”
    Senior Survival staff have visited the tribe, and are available for interview.
    Note to Editors: Guajajara people who found the body report to Survival that the neck was broken and almost detached from the body, in a location where the bodies of other Guajajara people killed in a similar way by loggers have been dumped. The Guajajara have reported the murder to the authorities and demanded an inquest.
     The Guardians of the Amazon
    - The “Guardians of the Amazon” are men from the Guajajara tribe in Brazil’s Maranhão state who have taken it upon themselves to protect what remains of this eastern edge of the Amazon rainforest.
     - They want to save the land for the hundreds of Guajajara families who call it home, and their far less numerous neighbors: the uncontacted Awá Indians.
    - The Guardians say of their work: 'We patrol, we find the loggers, we destroy their equipment and we send them away. We’ve stopped many loggers. It’s working.'
    - The Guardians recently released video and images of a rare encounter with the uncontacted Awá living in Arariboia. Watch the footage here
    - You can see videos of several of the Guardians talking about their work on Survival’s Tribal Voice site.
    - The Arariboia indigenous territory comprises a unique biome in the transition area between the savannah and the Amazon rainforest.
    - There are species here not found elsewhere in the Amazon.
    - The land inside the indigenous territory is under threat from illegal loggers
     - Brutal cuts in government funding to its indigenous affairs department FUNAI and tribal land protection mean the dangers are now even greater, as the area is not properly monitored or defended by the authorities.
    - A powerful and violent logging mafia operates in the region, supported by some local politicians."

Deadly measles epidemic hits isolated Yanomami tribe," Survival International, June 28, 2018,, reported, "A measles epidemic has hit an isolated Amazon tribe on the Brazil-Venezuela border which has very little immunity to the disease.
    The devastating outbreak has the potential to kill hundreds of tribespeople unless emergency action is taken.
    The Yanomami communities where the outbreak has occurred are some of the most isolated in the Amazon .
     But thousands of gold miners have invaded the region, and they are a likely source of the epidemic. Despite repeated warnings, the authorities have taken little effective action to remove them.
    In Brazil, at least 23 Indians have visited a hospital, but most of those affected are far from medical care.
    Survival International is calling for authorities in Venezuela to provide immediate medical assistance to these remote communities.
    Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today: 'When tribal people experience common diseases like measles or flu which they’ve never known before many of them die, and whole populations can be wiped out. These tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. Urgent medical care is the only thing standing between these communities and utter devastation.'
The Venezuelan NGO Wataniba has released further details on the outbreak at: (in Spanish)."

Ernesto Londoño, "Tribe’s Lone Survivor Glimpsed in Amazon Jungle, Healthy and at Work," The New York Times, July 20, 2018,, reported, "The lone survivor of an isolated tribe in the Brazilian Amazon, monitored and assisted from afar by the government for decades, looks healthy in a rare new video released this week, which shows him swinging an ax at a tree.
Anthropologists say the man, who is believed to be in his 50s, has lived on his own in the jungle in Rondônia State since other members of his tribe died in the 1990s, probably killed by ranchers.
    He has become a symbol of the resilience of the more than 100 isolated communities estimated to survive in remote parts of Brazil, under pressure as farmers, miners and loggers push further into the Amazon jungle.

    A provincial court in Ecuador, on October 22, 2018, ruled for the Kofan people, as the court charged the government for not consulting with the Kofan on a mining operation, and found that the mine violated the rights of the water, food and a healthy environment, in the course of canceling 52 mining concessions ("Ecuador: Historic Legal Victory for Kofan People," Cultural Survival Quarterly, December, 2018.

    "Outrage at Prince William's "racist" conservation video," Survival Interntional, October 11, 2018,, reported, "A video about Prince William’s recent conservation trip to Africa has been criticised for only including non-Africans’ perspectives on conservation and promoting a 'white saviour' stereotype.
    Dr. Mordecai Ogada, Kenyan ecologist & author of The Big Conservation Lie , said today:
     'This is a diagram of the new British Colonial paradigm. The kingdom of “conservation”. This is the only arena where the heir to the Throne can go around touring the colonies, and telling his subjects how they should be taking care of their own resources.
     ' HRH Prince William should not pontificate to us about wildlife trade while the UK is the world’s number one trader in ivory. Kenya banned ivory trade a full forty years before the UK. The Duke is most welcome to come visit as a tourist, but he should kindly let us conserve what is ours in the way that suits us best .”
     The video was released on Twitter on October 11, 2018 by Kensington Palace [and is available at:].
    Only one black person is shown speaking to camera in the film. While all the other contributors share their expertise on conservation, her contribution in the video relates only to the Prince’s leadership abilities.
    The people interviewed in the video are:
    Charlie Mayhew, CEO of Tusk, who comments on tackling the illegal wildlife trade and later also on Tusk’s work in Africa.
    Dr Naomi Doak, Head of Conservation Programmes at The Royal Foundation, who discusses engaging the private sector in conservation efforts and later on how important the Prince’s contribution is to the people he met on his visit.
    Dr Antony Lynam, Regional Training Director at SMART for the Wildlife Conservation Society, who talks about the Prince’s support for the use of SMART technology for conservation.
    Finally, Patricia Kayaga, the only black interviewee featured in the video, is a student at the College of African Wildlife Management, which the Prince visited on his tour.
     Charles Nsonkali, a representative of a Baka indigenous community organization in Cameroon, earlier released an open letter to Prince William and Prince Harry which said: 'Conservationists seem to think that outsiders are the only people who want to look after nature and can do it effectively but this makes no sense to me .'
    Survival International has been highlighting the covert racism endemic in big conservation in an intensive social media campaign over several weeks in the run up to the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference, taking place 11th-12th October in London. Its video comparing conservation to colonialism was released this week.
    Survival International Director Stephen Corry said today:
    'It’s hard to think of a more extreme example of the 'white saviour' mentality than this video. It amounts to racist propaganda in its promotion of white people as the saviours of Africa. Non-Africans are presented in the film as the real experts on conservation, while the locals are not seen as having anything worthwhile to contribute other than their grateful thanks. The attitudes behind it are chronically outdated, and will destroy conservation if they don’t change; it is the local people who understand their environment and its wildlife better than anybody else and the conservation movement should not only listen to them, but take its lead from them.'”

    "Charles writes open letter to William and Harry ahead of key wildlife conference," Survival International, October 10, 2018,, reported, Charles Nsonkali has written to Princes William and Harry calling for urgent action to stop horrific atrocities committed by the conservation industry against the Baka people of Cameroon. Charles is Program Supervisor at Okani, a community-based indigenous organization located in the East Region of Cameroon.
    Charles writes that eco-guards patrolling the protected conservation zones in central Africa “torture Baka people here and make their lives hell. They strip Baka naked and beat them, they humiliate them, forcing them to crawl on all fours and destroy their camps and possessions.”
    The guards are funded, trained and supported by western conservation organizations including the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and the World Wildlife Fund ( WWF ).
     Baka people from south-eastern Cameroon tell Survival International about their horrific experiences with eco-guards.
    Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples, has released the letter to coincide with the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference (IWT ), which the princes will be attending, taking place in London 11th-12th October.
    Princes William and Harry are Ambassadors for United for Wildlife, a partnership of conservation organizations including both WWF and WCS . Their father, Prince Charles, is President of WWF UK.
     As well as the violence suffered by Baka communities, the letter highlights the deliberate yet counter-productive exclusion of indigenous peoples from conservation efforts, despite the fact that they understand their environment and its wildlife better than anyone else. Charles writes:
    Conservationists seem to think that outsiders are the only people who want to look after nature and can do it effectively but this makes no sense to me….Who wants to look after nature more than the people who call it home and depend on it for their survival? Who understands how to care for nature more than someone who has walked through the forest every day of their lives and knows every plant, every tree, every creature? Work with them, not against them!'
    Survival International has been campaigning against the abuses committed by conservation against indigenous people for more than thirty years. Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today:
    'There is a worrying sense that some conservationists consider the lives of indigenous people a price worth paying to protect wildlife. However, we trust that their Royal Highnesses the Dukes of Cambridge and Sussex are as outraged by these atrocities as we are, and we hope they will speak out against the violence being committed in conservation’s name. If the conservation industry persists in robbing indigenous people of their land and persecuting them, it will not survive.'”

Emmanuel Akinwotu, "Nigeria’s Farmers and Herders Fight a Deadly Battle for Scarce Resources , June 25, 2018,, reported, " Clashes between armed herdsmen and farmers in Nigeria are escalating to increasingly violent episodes as a battle for scarce resources stirs long-held tensions over religion and ethnicity.
    By some estimates the clashes have taken more than 500 lives this year.
In recent days, at least 86 people were killed in several villages in Plateau State in the middle of the country, among the deadliest of the episodes.
    On Friday and Saturday night dozens of suspected armed herders, who are Muslim and of the Fulani ethnicity, descended from surrounding hills into several villages, opening fire, burning homes and shooting to death some people, most of them Christian and of the Berom ethnicity, as they slept.
    The killings immediately triggered reprisals as young people from the villages set up road blocks and killed anyone suspected of being Muslim and Fulani. One police commissioner in the area said at least five people died at checkpoints."
    The long conflict over land in the middle belt of Nigeria has worsened as the population has soared, making land scarce. Farmers, including the Berom, have increasingly spread on to herders grazing land, including that of the Fulani, of which there is alt\ready not enough with the population growth.

Conflict in Nigeria between Christian farmers and Fulani, Muslim, herders, has been increasing. In the first half of 2018, An estimated 1,300 people were killed. That is six times the number who died in the same period in the war with the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram. The violence has forced some 300,000 people from their homes. The conflict has arisen from a huge increase in population in the region leading to conflicts over land, while extreme weather from climate change has exacerbated the problem. The Nigerian army has stationed troops to try to control the violence. Some government actions have been taken in some areas to try to forestall conflict. In some locations village chiefs and mediation committees try to settle disputes. The problem, though more serious in Nigeria, is also endemic in other countries in Africa ( Dionne Searcey, "Nigerian Herders Face Threat From Farmers Competing for Land ," The New York Times, September 22, 2018,
    International Crisis Group (ICG), "Stopping Nigeria’s Spiralling Farmer-Herder Violence," Report  262 / Africa 26 July 2018,, commented, " Rising conflict between herders and farmers in Nigeria is already six times deadlier in 2018 than Boko Haram’s insurgency. To stop the bloodshed, the federal government should improve security; end impunity for assailants; and hasten livestock sector reform. State governments should freeze open grazing bans.
     What’s new?Violence between Nigerian herders and farmers has escalated, killing more than 1,300 people since January 2018. The conflict has evolved from spontaneous reactions to provocations and now to deadlier planned attacks, particularly in Benue, Plateau, Adamawa, Nasarawa and Taraba states.
    Why did it happen?
Three factors have aggravated this decades-long conflict arising from environmental degradation in the far north and encroachment upon grazing grounds in the Middle Belt: militia attacks; the poor government response to distress calls and failure to punish past perpetrators; and new laws banning open grazing in Benue and Taraba states.
    Why does it matter?
The farmer-herder conflict has become Nigeria’s gravest security challenge, now claiming far more lives than the Boko Haram insurgency. It has displaced hundreds of thousands and sharpened ethnic, regional and religious polarisation. It threatens to become even deadlier and could affect forthcoming elections and undermine national stability.
    What should be done?
The federal government should better protect both herders and farmers, prosecute attackers, and carry out its National Livestock Transformation Plan. State governments should roll out open grazing bans in phases. Communal leaders should curb inflammatory rhetoric and encourage compromise. International partners should advocate for accountability and support livestock sector reform.
    Executive Summary
     In the first half of 2018, more than 1,300 Nigerians have died in violence involving herders and farmers. What were once spontaneous attacks have become premeditated scorched-earth campaigns in which marauders often take villages by surprise at night. Now claiming about six times more civilian lives than the Boko Haram insurgency, the conflict poses a grave threat to the country’s stability and unity, and it could affect the 2019 general elections. The federal government has taken welcome but insufficient steps to halt the killings. Its immediate priorities should be to deploy more security units to vulnerable areas; prosecute perpetrators of violence; disarm ethnic militias and local vigilantes; and begin executing long-term plans for comprehensive livestock sector reform. The Benue state government should freeze enforcement of its law banning open grazing, review that law’s provisions and encourage a phased transition to ranching.
     The conflict is fundamentally a land-use contest between farmers and herders across the country’s Middle Belt. It has taken on dangerous religious and ethnic dimensions, however, because most of the herders are from the traditionally nomadic and Muslim Fulani who make up about 90 per cent of Nigeria’s pastoralists, while most of the farmers are Christians of various ethnicities. Since the violence escalated in January 2018, an estimated 300,000 people have fled their homes. Large-scale displacement and insecurity in parts of Adamawa, Benue, Nasarawa, Plateau and Taraba states hinder farming as well as herding and drive up food prices. The violence exacts a heavy burden on the military, police and other security services, distracting them from other important missions, such as countering the Boko Haram insurgency.
    The conflict’s roots lie in climate-induced degradation of pasture and increasing violence in the country’s far north, which have forced herders south; the expansion of farms and settlements that swallow up grazing reserves and block traditional migration routes; and the damage to farmers’ crops wrought by herders’ indiscriminate grazing. But three immediate factors explain the 2018 escalation. First is the rapid growth of ethnic militias, such as those of the Bachama and Fulani in Adamawa state, bearing illegally acquired weapons. Second is the failure of the federal government to prosecute past perpetrators or heed early warnings of impending attacks. Third is the introduction in November 2017 of anti-grazing laws vehemently opposed by herders in Benue and Taraba states, and the resultant exodus of herders and cattle, largely into neighbouring Nasarawa and, to a lesser degree, Adamawa, sparking clashes with farmers in those states
    As the killings persist, Nigerians are weaving destructive conspiracy theories to explain the conflict. Charges and counter-charges fly of ethnic cleansing and even genocide – by both farmers and herders. In Benue state, once part of Nigeria’s northern region, herders’ attacks have deepened anger, particularly but not only among farmers, at the Fulani who are spread across the north. Widespread disenchantment with President Muhammadu Buhari – who is viewed outside the north as soft on the herders – could hurt his, and the ruling party’s, chances in the February 2019 elections.
    The federal government has taken measures to stop the bloodshed. It has deployed additional police and army units, and launched two military operations to curb violence in six states – Exercise Cat Race, which ran from 15 February to 31 March, and subsequently Operation Whirl Stroke, which is still ongoing. Even with these deployments, however, killings continue. President Buhari and other senior officials have consulted with herder and farmer leaders, as well as relevant state governments, to discuss ways to halt the attacks. As a long-term solution, the government has proposed establishing “cattle colonies”, which would set aside land for herders across the country, and more recently unveiled a National Livestock Transformation Plan (2018-2027). These measures signal greater commitment on the government’s part, but they are yet to be implemented and the violence continues.
     President Buhari’s administration needs to do more. Crisis Group’s September 2017 report, which analysed the roots of the conflict, laid out detailed recommendations for resolving it. These remain largely valid. This report focuses on immediate priorities – tasks the federal and state authorities, as well as community leaders and Nigeria’s international partners, must urgently undertake to stop the escalation spinning out of control. In this light, the Nigerian government should:
    Bolster security for farmers and herders: The federal government should deploy more police in affected areas; ensure they are better equipped; improve local ties to gather better intelligence; and respond speedily to early warnings and distress calls. In addition, it should begin to disarm armed groups, including ethnic militias and vigilantes in the affected states, and closely watch land borders to curb the inflow of firearms.
      End impunity: The federal government also should order the investigation of all recent major incidents of farmer-herder violence. It may need to expedite the trials of individuals or organisations found to have participated, sponsored or been complicit in violence.
    Elaborate the new National Livestock Transformation Plan and commence implementation: The federal government should publicise details of its National Livestock Transformation Plan, encourage buy-in by herders and state governments, and move quickly to put the plan into effect in consenting states.
    Freeze enforcement of and reform state anti-grazing legislation: The Benue state government should freeze enforcement of its law banning open grazing, as Taraba state has already done, and amend objectionable provisions therein. It should also help herders become ranchers, including by developing pilot or demonstration ranches, and conducting education programs for herders uneasy about making the transition.
    Encourage herder-farmer dialogues and support local peace initiatives: Federal and state governments should foster dialogue between herders and farmers, by strengthening mechanisms already existing at state and local levels, and particularly by supporting peace initiatives at the local level.
     For their part, herder leaders, many of whom recognise that pastoralists will have to move, even if gradually, toward ranching, should exercise restraint. They should challenge legislation they dislike in court; urge members, in the meantime, to abide by laws and court decisions; and encourage herders to take opportunities to move from open grazing to ranching. All communal leaders – religious, regional and ethnic – should denounce violence unequivocally and step up support for local dialogue. Nigeria’s international partners should nudge Buhari to act more swiftly to end the killings. Human rights groups should speak out more loudly against atrocities. Aid organisations should devote resources to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau states, with special attention to women and children, who constitute the majority of the displaced. International development agencies should work with Nigerian authorities to offer technical support for livestock sector reform."
    “ At Least 55 Killed in Communal Violence in Central Nigeria,” The New York Times, October 21, 2018,, reported, “ More than 55 people have been killed in a new eruption of communal violence in central Nigeria, officials said on Sunday.”
“A local police commissioner said that 22 people were arrested in the clashes last week between two communities in the Kasuwan Magani area of Kaduna state, in north-central Nigeria.”

"Kenya: UN says Lake Turkana is endangered," Survival International, September 14, 2018,, reported, " UNESCO added Kenya’s Lake Turkana to its World Heritage Site Endangered List in June, a sign it believes the iconic lake’s survival is at risk.
Experts believe it is drying up largely because of the Gibe III dam , which lies upstream in Ethiopia and was completed in 2016.
    For the eight different tribes of Ethiopia’s Omo valley region, the Gibe III dam and related sugar plantations project have already proved devastating. The dam has enabled local authorities to syphon off water from the Omo river to irrigate vast sugar plantations.
Forcibly evicted from their land, many of the country’s tribespeople have lost not only their homes but an entire way of life. The dam has ended the natural flood they depended on for flood retreat agriculture as well as depriving them of access to the river for fishing and for growing their crops.
    Survival has received disturbing reports that tribal peoples are suffering from hunger and continue to suffer abuse and harassment if they speak out about the situation. Many communities are under pressure to relocate to government villages, a policy that most oppose.
    The dam is also causing problems for the thousands of tribal peoples in northern Kenya who live around Lake Turkana and who fish its waters for their livelihood.
    According to Ikal Ang’elei, director of the NGO Friends of Lake Turkana which has campaigned for years against the Gibe III dam: 'The lives of local communities now hang in the balance given that their main sources of livelihood are facing extinction. This decision by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee should serve as a notice to Ethiopia to cancel any further dams planned on the Omo River.'
     As early as 2010, one such expert predicted that the dam would reduce the lake’s inflow by some 50% and would cause the lake’s depth to drop to a mere 10 meters. 'The result could be another Aral Sea disaster in the making ,' he warned.
     The World Heritage Centre Committee now recognises that the dam has led to 'overall rapid decline in water levels' and has meant that seasonal fluctuations have been 'heavily disrupted'. As a result, the Committee agrees that “the disruption of the natural flooding regime is likely to have a negative impact on the fish population in Lake Turkana, which may in turn affect the balance of the ecosystem, the livelihoods of the local fishing communities and the floodplains, which support herbivore species.”
    UNESCO’s decision follows several years of lobbying by indigenous and international organizations.
     The Omo Valley tribes did not give their free, prior and informed consent to the Gibe III dam project, a fact that Survival International highlighted in its submission to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.
     Despite the mounting evidence of the serious impacts of Gibe III on tribal peoples in Ethiopia and Kenya, the Ethiopian government is currently building another dam on the Omo river called Koysha, or Gibe 4."

    "Fulani and Dogon communities from Koro sign a peace agreement in the Mopti region of Mali," Cenere for Humanitarian Dialogue, August 29, 2018,, reported, "Fulani and Dogon communities from the area ('circle') of Koro in Mali signed an intercommunal peace agreement on 28 August 2018 in Sevare, in the region of Mopti, thereby putting an end to more than a year of conflict between both communities.
    The peace agreement is the result of a three-month long mediation process led by the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) in the area ('circle') of Koro located in the region of Mopti. The accord was signed by 30 Dogon and Fulani village leaders from the municipalities of the area affected by the conflict.
    Through this agreement, both communities have committed to:
Jointly denouncing any act of violence committed by one of their community members in the future;
Referring any threats or attacks to the relevant military authorities, as well as urging all armed groups to cease confrontation;
Raising young people’s and opinion leaders’ awareness to encourage them to commit to peace;
Prioritizing the use of traditional mediation mechanisms to prevent and manage their disputes;
Joining forces to ensure peaceful access to natural resources;
Respecting the habits and customs of each community;
Jointly mobilizing state authorities to support their reconciliation efforts.
This agreement puts an end to more than a year of confrontations linked, in particular, to accessing natural resources in the region.
    The mediation of the peace agreement was preceded by months of consultations undertaken by HD with all communities affected by the conflict. These consultations aimed to ensure the relevance of the agreement for the communities, as well as their involvement in its future implementation.
    HD has also strengthened the scope of the peace process by facilitating a complementary dialogue process with armed groups circulating within the region of Mopti. These groups were consulted at every stage of the peace process, including during the negotiation of the peace agreement itself. Malian authorities were also kept closely informed of HD’s mediation efforts.
    'This peace agreement represents an important steps towards reducing the violence which has deeply affected the area of Koro and the two communities over the past year,' said Abdelkader Sidibé, HD’s Head of Mission for the Sahel region. 'The next steps, which will in particular include providing the communities with access to basic social services, but also the lifting of embargoes and checkpoints, and the return of internally displaced people, will also be crucial in contributing to a return to stability in the region.'
    In the current volatile regional context, HD will also assist the Agreement’s Monitoring Committee which comprises representatives from both communities, and was set upduring the signing of the accord to support its implementation.
    The Agreement signed on 28 August 2018 falls within HD’s broader mediation efforts (which have been ongoing since 2017) undertaken on behalf of the national authorities of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger with communities living in the border regions of the three states. These efforts seek to pacify the region.
    The organisation would like to express its gratitude to Canada for its support to HD’s activities in the region since 2017."

ICG, "Helping the Burundian People Cope with the Economic Crisis," Report 264 / Africa 31 August 2018,, commented, " Burundi’s worsening economy threatens to incite further violence in an already unstable country. The European Union and its member states, who have suspended direct aid to the government, must redouble efforts to ensure that their support benefits the Burundian people .
     What’s happening?In the wake of the political and security crisis ongoing in Burundi since 2015, the economy has suffered a sharp decline. The economic and social progress achieved since the end of the civil war in the 2000s risks being swept away. Burundians’ living conditions and access to services are deteriorating.
Why does it matter? Worsening unemployment and poverty increase the likelihood of instability and exacerbate the risk of violence, while the “yes” vote in Burundi’s 17 May 2018 constitutional referendum could lead to the demise of Hutu-Tutsi power-sharing agreements in public institutions.
     What should be done?
The European Union and its member states, who suspended direct aid to the government, should step up their assistance to the population, including by strengthening the capabilities of their partners in the non-governmental sector, while minimising risks that external aid aggravates local conflict dynamics.
     Executive Summary
     If the “yes” vote in Burundi’s 17 May 2018 constitutional referendum has deepened the country’s political and security crisis, its economic woes also increase risks of violence. With an economy in recession since 2015, Burundians’ living conditions and access to services are deteriorating. Worsening unemployment and poverty, combined with the potential demise of power sharing between Hutu and Tutsi in public institutions, make instability in the medium to long term likely. The European Union (EU) and its member states, who have suspended direct aid to the government, should nonetheless step up their support to Burundi’s people by increasing aid for basic services, strengthening the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) through which they channel aid, while doing everything possible to ensure that their aid does not aggravate conflict dynamics, especially at the local level.
     With donor support, Burundi had been making modest economic and social progress since the end of the civil war in the 2000s. But its current economic woes cast a shadow over this progress. The annual growth rate has fallen from an average of 4.2 per cent between 2004 and 2014 to −3.9 per cent in 2015 and −0.6 per cent in 2016. People across society are paying the price. Farmers and traders are struggling because internal demand for their products has declined; civil servants’ purchasing power has fallen; and shopkeepers report giving ever more customers credit. Many Burundians must find a second job, indulge in petty corruption or eliminate non-essential spending to survive. A decade of progress in health and education has been swept away. Many doctors have left the country. Teachers are often paid in arrears. University education is under threat as student grants are cut.
    Following consultations under Article 96 of the Cotonou Agreement, which provides for the suspension or change in terms of EU aid if one of the parties does not respect human rights, democratic principles and the rule of law, the EU and its member states – until then Burundi’s main donors – withdrew direct budgetary support in 2016. They also redirected aid from Burundian ministries to international NGOs, UN agencies and member states’ development arms. Some European donors now work directly with local NGOs or plan to do so, though many of the latter have limited capacity and are under close government scrutiny. In early 2018, the EU decided to reduce its overall aid to Burundi, though basic sectors (including health, education and access to water) still receive funds.
    In contrast, the World Bank and the African Development Bank continue to provide budgetary support and work with ministries. The Burundian government has established new partnerships with China, Turkey and Russia. But these countries’ aid remains largely symbolic, does not aim to strengthen government capacities and has limited impact on the population.
    The government blames speculators and donors for its own economic mismanagement and is clamping down on signs of protest. Desperate to increase state revenue, it has introduced new taxes and obligatory public “contributions”, forcing civil servants and ordinary Burundians to donate extra money to state coffers. Under government pressure, banks that are partly state owned have made loans to the government, putting their solvency at risk. With no resolution of the country’s political crisis in sight, the population is slipping deeper into poverty. The gloomy prospects for development, collapse of social services, rising unemployment and deepening repression have pushed many young Burundians into exile.
     Burundi’s European partners have only limited room for manoeuvre. In 2019 or 2020, they will adopt new five- or ten-year aid programs. Even while budgetary support remains suspended, European donors should increase aid for the population. It is vital to minimise risks that the provision of external assistance, which may be coveted by many Burundian actors (including the population, the authorities and NGOs), exacerbate conflict dynamics at the local level. If they plan to channel aid through local NGOs, European donors should help those organisations build the capacity to manage funds in a tense security and political environment. This could include, for instance, measures to increase support for organisations facing government pressure, or diplomatic assistance in cases of authorities’ harassment of NGO employees."

“Greenpeace Report Details Land-Grabbing Against The Baka In Cameroon,” Cultural Survival, August 06, 2018, , reported, “ Singapore-based rubber company Halcyon Agri, and its subsidiary in Cameroon, Sudcam, have been exposed in a report released by Greenpeace in July 2018 as extremely dangerous to the Indigenous Baka community and a local wildlife reserve.
     Since 2011, Halcyon Agri has cleared 10,000 hectares of Cameroonian rainforest, an area roughly equivalent to that of Paris, to make room for rubber tree farming. The company is set to clear 20,000 more hectares in coming years on the edge of the Dja Faunal Reserve, an important habitat for wildlife such as gorillas and forest elephants. Halcyon Agri consistently refuses to release information on its operations and maintains that the land it is clearing is not primary forest.
     The Dja Faunal Reserve is located on the traditional land of the Baka people, so Halcyon Agri is operating on Baka land against international human rights standards. The Baka have been forcibly evicted and their settlements have been destroyed. They have not received compensation for their land, however, because Cameroonian law requires that land be privately owned and used in certain ways in order to qualify for compensation; the Baka’s right to their traditional land is not legally recognized as sufficient.
    Greenpeace points out that the Baka were also denied their right to Free, Prior, and Informed Consent (FPIC). FPIC is recognized by the UN in the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ensures that Indigenous Peoples like the Baka have a say in projects that take place on their lands. Regardless, the Baka were not consulted by Halcyon Agri, Sudcam, or the government of Cameroon before or after their lands were cleared and they were cleared off of them.
     The impact that Halcyon Agri’s actions have on biodiversity are potentially devastating as well. The Dja Faunal Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its stunning biodiversity. It plays host to rare forest elephants, forest buffalos, giant pangolins and bongo antelopes. Halcyon Agri is not clearing the Reserve itself, but the forest around it. As a result, plants and animals are losing their buffer between the Reserve and the world at large.
    Greenpeace calls upon Halcyon Agri to stop clearing forest, and the government of Cameron to stop allowing them to clear forests, until the Baka have been compensated and the environmental impacts of clearing local forests have been investigated and made public. In addition, they ask the corporations that buy Halcyon Agri rubber to suspend business with the company, including Titan, part of Goodyear tires, and Bandag, part of Bridgestone tires as well as corporations providing balloons, rubber gloves, and other common rubber products.
    Click to read the full report.“

Laura Secorun “South Africa’s First Nations Have Been Forgotten: As Pretoria prepares to confront the legacy of colonial and apartheid-era land theft, hardly anyone seems to care about the claims of the country’s earliest inhabitants—the Khoisan,” FP, October 19, 2018,, reported, “ The Khoisan were the first inhabitants of southern Africa and one of the earliest distinct groups of Homo sapiens, enduring centuries of gradual dispossession at the hands of every new wave of settlers, including the Bantu, whose descendants make up most of South Africa’s black population today. Since the end of apartheid in 1994, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party has embarked on a mission to redistribute land. But this process has largely excluded the Khoisan, because South Africa does not acknowledge them as the country’s first peoples, and their land was mostly taken long before the apartheid era. Now, a growing movement of indigenous activists believes the time has come to take back what’s theirs.”

Nick Cumming-Bruce , " U.N. Panel Confronts China Over Reports That It Holds a Million Uighurs in Camps ," The New York Times, August 10, 2018,, reported, " United Nations human rights experts expressed alarm on Friday over what they said were many credible reports that China had detained a million or more ethnic Uighurs in the western region of Xinjiang and forced as many as two million to submit to re-education and indoctrination.
    In the name of combating religious extremism, China had turned Xinjiang into 'something resembling a massive internment camp, shrouded in secrecy, a sort of no-rights zone,' Gay McDougall, a member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, said in the opening session of a two-day review of China’s policies in Geneva."

Nick Cumming-Bruce , “U.N. Rights Officials Criticize China Over Muslim Internments,” The New York Times, November 13, 2018, , reported, “ United Nations human rights officials have sharply condemned regulations issued by China that seek to provide a legal basis for the mass internment of Muslims in the Xinjiang region.
Six United Nations officials and rights experts said in a letter sent on Monday to the Chinese government that the regulations were a violation of international law, and they urged that those responsible be held accountable.”

Chris Buckley and Austin Ramzy , " China’s Detention Camps for Muslims Turn to Forced Labor," The New York Times, Dec. 16, 2018,, reported, "China’s ruling Communist Party has said in a surge of upbeat propaganda that a sprawling network of camps in the Xinjiang region is providing job training and putting detainees on production lines for their own good, offering an escape from poverty, backwardness and the temptations of radical Islam.
     But mounting evidence suggests a system of forced labor is emerging from the camps, a development likely to intensify international condemnation of China’s drastic efforts to control and indoctrinate a Muslim ethnic minority population of more than 12 million in Xinjiang ."

    "BBC boss stands by Kaziranga killings exposé," Survival International, December 11, 2018,, reported, " The BBC’s Director General Tony Hall has confirmed that the organization stands by its exposé of extrajudicial killings by rangers in Kaziranga National Park.
     Some reports in the Indian media have alleged the BBC had admitted its exposé was wrong, but in a letter to Survival International Mr Hall said: '‘Killing for conservation’ was an important piece of BBC original journalism, and we do not accept that any ‘mistake’ has been made, as has been reported.”
    BBC Asia correspondent Justin Rowlatt’s 2017 report revealed that rangers in Kaziranga had shot dead 106 people in 20 years, and wounded many others, including a 7-year old boy who was maimed for life It featured an interview with a park guard who said: 'Whenever you see the poachers or any people during night time we are ordered to shoot them.'
     BBC correspondent Justin Rowlatt reports on extrajudicial killings at India’s Kaziranga National Park.
    The report caused a storm of controversy in India. The government retaliated by banning the BBC from filming in all the country’s national parks and tiger reserves.
    The head of the BBC’s Natural History Unit recently wrote to India’s National Tiger Conservation Authority expressing his 'regrets' for the report’s 'adverse impacts,' in a clear attempt to be allowed back in to India to film. But Mr. Hall confirms that the letter 'in no way constitutes an apology for our journalism.'
    Mr. Hall also acknowledged the vital contribution of local people who helped the BBC reveal the killings, and expressed his gratitude to them 'for their role in helping to bring this important story to light.'
    Survival International Director Stephen Corry said today: ''The BBC exposé revealed a really shocking level of killings by rangers in Kaziranga. Many people who support conservation were appalled that this was being done in conservation’s name. It highlighted just how brutal conservation has become, and how tribal people are too often its victims, rather than its senior partners.'”

" Survival International statement on killing of American man John Allen Chau by Sentinelese tribe, Andaman Islands," Survival International, November 21, 2018,, reported, "An American man, reportedly a missionary, has been killed by members of the Sentinelese tribe in the Andaman Islands, India. Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today:
    'This tragedy should never have been allowed to happen. The Indian authorities should have been enforcing the protection of the Sentinelese and their island for the safety of both the tribe, and outsiders.
     'Instead, a few months ago the authorities lifted one of the restrictions that had been protecting the Sentinelese tribe’s island from foreign tourists, which sent exactly the wrong message, and may have contributed to this terrible event.
     'It’s not impossible that the Sentinelese have just been infected by deadly pathogens to which they have no immunity, with the potential to wipe out the entire tribe.    
     ' The Sentinelese have shown again and again that they want to be left alone, and their wishes should be respected. The British colonial occupation of the Andaman Islands decimated the tribes living there, wiping out thousands of tribespeople, and only a fraction of the original population now survive. So the Sentinelese fear of outsiders is very understandable.
     ' Uncontacted tribes must have their lands properly protected. They’re the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. Whole populations are being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and by diseases like the flu and measles to which they have no resistance.
    'Tribes like the Sentinelese face catastrophe unless their land is protected. I hope this tragedy acts as a wake up call to the Indian authorities to avert another disaster and properly protect the lands of both the Sentinelese, and the other Andaman tribes, from further invaders.'”

    International Crisis Group (ICG), "Shaping a New Peace in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas," Briefing 150 / Asia 20 August 2018,, commented, " Pakistan is moving to bring its Federally Administered Tribal Areas into the constitutional order. But rights remain severely restricted in the borderlands, threatening deeper popular alienation. To stop militants from stepping in, the government should lift its draconian interim regulations and deliver needed services.
     What’s new?
Pakistan has merged the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) along the Afghan border into an adjacent province, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, a big step toward bringing constitutional governance and restoring peace to these lands. But the interim regulations governing FATA retain features of the colonial-era law previously in force, imperilling stability
    Why does it matter?
Locals resent being in the crossfire of Islamabad’s war on FATA-based militants. Millions have been displaced. FATA’s civil society is more assertive than ever in demanding an end to these abuses and to militancy in the tribal belt. If Islamabad baulks, militants could exploit the ensuing popular estrangement.
     What should be done?
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s legislature should repeal FATA’s interim regulations and lift restrictions on freedom of movement. In consultation with locals, both the federal and provincial governments should urgently establish an administrative and judicial system that respects civil liberties, provides professional policing and delivers needed services in the territories.

    I. Overview
    On 24 May, Pakistan’s National Assembly passed the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) Reforms Bill, merging FATA, a mountainous belt along the Afghan border, with adjacent Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Previously, the federal government had directly administered FATA through colonial-era laws that deprived locals of rights and subjected them to harsh punishment. Inept and repressive governance, together with the Pakistani military’s use of FATA as a haven for jihadist proxies, have long made those areas vulnerable to militancy and conflict. By formally incorporating FATA into Pakistan’s constitutional mainstream, the Reforms Bill took a major step forward. But more must be done to stabilise the tribal borderlands. In particular, the newly elected governments in Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, led by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, should establish a legal and administrative system that delivers justice and services. The military should lift arbitrary restrictions on movement within, and outside access to, FATA so that elected representatives, civil society groups and the media can monitor progress.
    Under the 1901 Frontier Crimes Regulations, the political agent, the senior-most federal bureaucrat in each of FATA’s seven tribal agencies, wielded unchecked executive, judicial and revenue authority. Article 247 of the constitution gave the president discretion to “make regulations” with respect to FATA’s “peace and good governance”, which denied the judiciary jurisdiction and circumscribed the national legislature’s authority. The FATA Reforms Bill, in essence the 31st amendment to the constitution, abolished this provision, and in his final executive decision under the article, President Mamnoon Hussain repealed the 19o1 regulations.
    FATA’s merger with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa followed years of military operations against Tehreek-e-Taliban (TTP, Taliban Movement of Pakistan) militants. Those operations broke TTP’s hold over most of the tribal belt but also displaced millions of residents, destroyed homes and ruined livelihoods. Security in those areas has improved but remains fragile. Afghan insurgents, including Afghan Taliban factions and allied militants, maintain sanctuaries in FATA from which they conduct operations in Afghanistan. Human rights abuses, particularly enforced disappearances, continue, and the military still controls virtually every aspect of public life.
     FATA’s civil society, having long chafed at Islamabad’s and local elites’ misrule and at the military’s repression, has increasingly found its voice. The youth-led Pashtun Tahafuz (Protection) Movement flowered in early 2018, gaining strong civic support and demanding an end to militancy in FATA and to the military’s abuse of power, including enforced disappearances and extrajudicial killings, as well as curfews and other restrictions on fundamental freedoms. These demands now shape public discourse in the tribal belt, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and among Pashtuns countrywide. They played a major role in pressuring the civil and military leadership toward reform, culminating in the passage of the 31st amendment.
     The territorial merger, the abolition of Article 247 and the extension of judicial oversight create new opportunities to make FATA truly part of Pakistan, ending its status as a no-man’s land. Yet the military’s desire to use this strategic territory as a haven for militant proxies and the civil bureaucracy’s reluctance to relinquish the power it enjoys from the status quo remain obstacles to reform. So, too, do the economic and political prerogatives of the bureaucracies’ local clientele, FATA’s self-serving tribal elite. Moreover, former President Hussain, when repealing the 1901 regulations, simultaneously promulgated the FATA Interim Governance Regulation 2018, which resembles the cancelled regulations in all but name, empowering unaccountable civil and military bureaucracies and denying residents civil liberties and protections.
    Tehreek-i-Insaf, which under Imran Khan’s leadership came to power in July 2018 elections and will form both the national and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provincial governments, has long been a strong advocate of FATA’s mainstreaming. It can now carry out that agenda, and by doing so reduce militancy and conflict risks and win local hearts and minds. The provincial government, in its very first sitting, should repeal the interim governance framework. It and the federal parliament should set up special bipartisan committees that consult local stakeholders in prioritising rehabilitation and reconstruction needs. These committees should also hold public hearings, including on human rights violations and other abuses of power.
     Both federal and provincial governments should demand – and the superior judiciary should ensure – unimpeded access to the tribal belt, including to internment centres, for parliamentarians, civil society groups, human rights defenders and media outlets. The military authorities should lift all restrictions on residents’ movements in and out of FATA. The federal government should give the judiciary the finances it requires to establish the necessary infrastructure in FATA. Since Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s 2017 police act applies to the tribal belt, the provincial government should ensure that it has the resources it needs to exercise its additional responsibilities, while disbanding the tribal levies, the official tribal militias under the FATA’s administration’s control, and incorporating their personnel into the regular police force ."

"Myanmar: International Accountability Needed for Military-Planned Genocide Against Rohingya: Report finds “reasonable grounds” for ICC arrest warrants, identifies 22 military and police officials," Fortify Rights, July 19, 2018,, reported, "The Myanmar authorities made 'extensive and systematic preparations' for attacks against Rohingya civilians during the weeks and months before militants attacked police on August 25, 2017, Fortify Rights said in a new report released today. The report finds 'reasonable grounds' that crimes against Rohingya constitute genocide and crimes against humanity, and it identifies 22 Myanmar Army and Police officials who should be criminally investigated for their roles in atrocities.
    In order for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to issue an arrest warrant, the prosecutor must find “reasonable grounds” that perpetrators committed genocide and/or crimes against humanity. The report calls on the United Nations Security Council to urgently refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC.
    The dominant narrative about what occurred in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State in 2017 suggests that Rohingya militants attacked dozens of police outposts, instigating a spontaneous Myanmar Army-led crackdown against Rohingya civilians, forcing the displacement of hundreds of thousands to Bangladesh.
    The 160-page report, “They Gave Them Long Swords”: Preparations for Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity Against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State, Myanmar [available at:] documents how the Myanmar authorities committed mass killings, rape, and arson attacks against Rohingya in Maungdaw Township in October and November 2016. When the international community failed to effectively respond to these attacks, Myanmar authorities made preparations to commit another attack that extended throughout all three townships of northern Rakhine State—Maungdaw, Buthidaung, and Rathedaung.
     Specifically, Myanmar authorities: 1) systematically collected sharp or blunt objects from Rohingya civilians, “disarming” them; 2) trained and armed local non-Rohingya ethnic citizens in northern Rakhine State, preparing them for violence; 3) systematically tore down fencing and other structures around Rohingya homes, providing attackers with a greater line-of-sight on civilians; 4) deprived Rohingya civilians of food and other lifesaving aid, systematically weakening them physically ahead of attacks; 5) deployed unnecessarily high numbers of state-security forces to northern Rakhine State; and 6) committed human rights violations against Rohingya civilians, including imposing discriminatory curfews and other violations prior to attacks.
    These deliberate actions fit within the United Nations’ Framework for Analysis of Atrocity Crimes as “preparatory actions” for genocide and crimes against humanity.
      The report finds at least 27 Myanmar Army battalions, comprising up to 11,000 soldiers, along with at least three combat police battalions, comprising an estimated 900 police personnel, were involved in the attacks in northern Rakhine State beginning in August 2017.
    Fortify Rights identifies 22 military and police officials with command responsibility for the 'clearance operations' in northern Rakhine State. These officials should be criminally investigated and potentially prosecuted for genocide and crimes against humanity. The list includes Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Vice Senior General Soe Win, and the Joint Chief of Staff of the Army, Navy, and Air Force General Mya Tun Oo.
     The report is based on a 21-month-long investigation, including 254 interviews conducted by Fortify Rights in Myanmar and Bangladesh with Rohingya eyewitnesses and survivors, Myanmar military and police personnel, Bangladesh military and government officials, members and former members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)—also known as al Yaqin, a militant Rohingya group— international and local humanitarian aid workers, medical physicians, and others.
     Myanmar authorities provided weapons—firearms and swords—and quasi-military training to non-Rohingya citizens in northern Rakhine State months and, in some cases, immediately prior to attacks on Rohingya that began on August 25, 2017.
     While disarming Rohingya and arming non-Rohingya in northern Rakhine State, the Myanmar authorities blocked humanitarian aid to Rohingya, including food and lifesaving aid. This had the effect of systematically weakening Rohingya civilians ahead of attacks against them.
     The government also restricted access for journalists and human rights monitors before the attacks, including the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission, established in March 2017 by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
     Fortify Rights interviewed several current and former members of ARSA who explained their involvement in hastily planned attacks on police outposts on August 25, which provided the ostensible spark for the Myanmar Army-led crackdown on civilians. Those interviewed by Fortify Rights described ARSA as having little to no military capacity and no training.
     Upon ARSA’s assault on police outposts on August 25, Myanmar authorities activated local non-Rohingya citizens, some of whom they previously armed and trained. Together, they attacked Rohingya villages.
     Fortify Rights documented how soldiers, police, and local non-Rohingya citizens hacked civilians, slit throats, and fatally shot and burned thousands of Rohingya men, women, and children in a matter of weeks. Soldiers raped masses of Rohingya women and girls, killed infant children, arbitrarily arrested men and boys, and destroyed several hundred villages in arson attacks, forcing more than 700,000 to flee to Bangladesh.
     “Rashida,” 50, watched as Myanmar Army and Lon Htein (riot police) soldiers dragged her two adult sons from her home in Kha Maung Seik—also known as Fora Bazaar—in Maungdaw Township on August 27. “I was watching the whole time,” she told Fortify Rights just days after the incident. “The soldiers made them lay down on the ground, and then they cut their necks. We were shouting and crying.”
     ARSA also perpetrated human rights abuses, including the murder of Rohingya civilians. Fortify Rights interviewed six members of ARSA, eyewitnesses to ARSA killings of Rohingya civilians, and 11 civilians who provided credible information that ARSA killed six Rohingya civilians in the lead-up to the August 25 attacks.
     Rohingya survivors and members of ARSA told Fortify Rights that the militant group threatened, beat, and, in some cases, killed Rohingya they suspected of being government informants. Members of ARSA told Fortify Rights that Atta Ullah, the head of ARSA, issued the kill orders.
    The report finds there are reasonable grounds to believe that the crimes perpetrated by the Myanmar Army, Police, and civilians against Rohingya in all three townships of northern Rakhine State constitute genocide.
    The crime of genocide requires 1) the commission of one of five specified criminal acts 2) committed against a protected national, ethnic, racial, or religious group 3) with the intent to destroy the group in whole or part.
     Specifically, the new report analyzes three acts of genocide—killings, causing serious bodily harm, and creating conditions of life designed to be destructive—committed with a specific intent to destroy the Rohingya in whole or in part. According to case law, genocidal intent can be inferred from a number of factors, including the political doctrine that gives rise to the acts, the use of derogatory language toward members of the targeted group, the scale of the atrocities, the systematic nature and atrociousness of the acts, the deliberate and systematic targeting of victims on account of their membership in a protected group, and the targeting of all members of the group.
    The evidence collected by Fortify Rights demonstrates reasonable grounds to believe that the Myanmar Army, Police, and civilian perpetrators acted with genocidal intent to destroy the Rohingya in whole or in part.
    The report also analyzes the commission of eight crimes against humanity—murder, extermination, rape, deportation or forcible transfer, torture, imprisonment, enforced disappearance, and persecution—committed by Myanmar Army soldiers and Police personnel against Rohingya civilians.
     In addition to a U.N. Security Council referral to the ICC, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)—to which Myanmar is a member—should hold an emergency meeting to develop a plan of action to address the Rohingya crisis and ensure international justice and accountability, Fortify Rights said.
    For more information, please contact: Matthew Smith, Chief Executive Officer, Fortify Rights, +66 85 028 0044 (in Thailand), ; Twitter: @matthewfsmith, @FortifyRights ; Eric Paulsen, Legal Director, Fortify Rights, +60 17 228 1973 (in Malaysia) (Malay; English); , Twitter: @EricPaulsen101, @FortifyRights ; Puttanee Kangkun, Thailand Human Rights Specialist, Fortify Rights, +66 84 700 4874, (in Thailand) (Thai; English), ;
@KhunputPuttanee, @FortifyRights .

     Nick Cumming-Bruce, "Myanmar’s ‘Gravest Crimes’ Against Rohingya Demand Action, U.N. Says," The New York Times, September 18, 2018,, reported, " The report of a United Nations fact-finding mission cited on Tuesday the slaughter in Min Gyi, in Rakhine, a western state of Myanmar, as evidence that the army had committed 'the gravest crimes under international law' in clearance operations a year ago targeting the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority."
    "The three-person United Nations panel named Myanmar’s army chief, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, last month as one of six top commanders who should stand trial in an international court for genocide and crimes against humanity.
    The panel’s 444-page report, presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on Tuesday, chronicles in excruciating detail the atrocities that drove more than 750,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighboring Bangladesh and that prompted the group to level accusations of genocide

ICG, “Bangladesh-Myanmar: The Danger of Forced Rohingya Repatriation,” BRIEFING  153 / ASIA 12 NOVEMBER 2018, Https://Www.Crisisgroup.Org/Asia/South-East-Asia/Myanmar/B153-Bangladesh-Myanmar-Danger-Forced-Rohingya-Repatriation , commented, “ Bangladesh and Myanmar have struck a deal for the involuntary repatriation of over 2,000 Rohingya refugees. But the agreement is rushed and threatens stability on both sides of the border. Myanmar and Bangladesh should halt the plan and instead work to create conditions conducive to a safe and dignified return.
What’s new?
Bangladesh’s government is preparing to return several thousand Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. Under pressure from China, the two countries have agreed to start implementing a repatriation agreement on 15 November 2018.
Why does it matter?
The returns process is not voluntary and jeopardises refugees’ safety as conditions in Myanmar’s Rakhine state are not conducive to their return. The move renews the risk of violent unrest in Bangladesh where the refugees are housed as well in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
What should be done? The UN, U.S., European Union (EU), Australia, Canada and other governments should press Bangladesh and Myanmar to postpone repatriation until conditions on the ground in Myanmar allow Rohingya refugees to return safely and voluntarily.
I. Overview
Bangladesh is poised to begin returning several thousand Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. This repatriation is unlikely to be voluntary and should not proceed. It would not only violate Bangladesh’s international legal obligations and jeopardise the safety of the refugees, but risks triggering violence and greater instability on both sides of the border. Bangladesh and Myanmar should immediately halt the plan. The UN, including the secretary-general’s special envoy and the UN refugee agency, should continue to firmly oppose it, both in public and in private, and establish a process whereby Rohingya refugees are consulted about their future. The U.S., European Union (EU), Australia, Canada and others also should press Bangladesh and Myanmar to halt the returns and instead work to create conditions conducive to voluntary repatriation; those countries’ participation at the 11-15 November ASEAN summits in Singapore is an opportunity to do so.
II. New Pressures for Repatriation
Almost 750,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh following Myanmar’s brutal military operation in Rakhine state in response to attacks on security posts by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) militant group in August 2017. The refugees have been living in vast camps near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border ever since. A UN fact-finding mission concluded that the military’s actions constitute crimes against humanity, war crimes and possible genocide.
Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed to a procedural framework for repatriation in November 2017, which was supposed to start on 23 January. But no Rohingya refugee has returned through official channels. In fact, more Rohingya have left Myanmar since then: some 16,000 have departed Rakhine state for Bangladesh so far in 2018. Refugees are unwilling to return without guarantees that their security and rights will be protected, accountability ensured and compensation provided for the destruction of their villages, homes and property.
On 30 October, however, Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on a repatriation deal at a joint working group meeting in Dhaka. Under the agreement, 485 Rohingya families (a total of 2,260 people) are to be returned to Myanmar starting on 15 November; Myanmar has said that it will process 150 returnees per day. These people were not consulted in advance and how they were selected is unclear; they are terrified at the prospect of being returned to Myanmar. The Bangladesh authorities have said that they will not force people to go back, but no return under present circumstances can be voluntary. Crisis Group interviews indicate that some of the refugees on the list for return have gone into hiding out of fear of being repatriated; at least one has attempted suicide.
While the two countries have held many previous discussions and made announcements on repatriation plans over the past year that have not been implemented, this time Bangladesh appears determined to push through a limited returns process. Its political calculations have shifted for two key reasons.
First, it has come under considerable diplomatic pressure from China to start returns. China has important economic and geostrategic interests in Myanmar, including a multi-billion dollar China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, the details of which are currently being finalised; it is also a major investor in Bangladesh, giving it significant leverage. China has been supporting Myanmar in the UN Human Rights Council and General Assembly and protecting it from stronger Security Council action. It has advocated support for Myanmar and Bangladesh to deal with the situation bilaterally instead of being addressed in multilateral forums, but this argument rings hollow if the bilateral process is not working.
Beijing has thus facilitated a series of meetings between Myanmar and Bangladesh and has made clear that it wants to see movement. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi hosted a side meeting among Myanmar, Bangladesh and UN Secretary-General António Guterres and his Special Envoy during the General Assembly in September, where the Bangladesh foreign minister committed to start repatriations “soon”. Immediately after the 30 October meeting between Myanmar and Bangladesh, Chinese Public Security Minister Zhao Kezhi also met with the two sides.
Secondly, Bangladesh is worried about what it sees as an emerging global consensus that most refugees are unlikely to return home for the foreseeable future and a shift in Western donor focus to their local integration. Many senior Bangladeshi officials privately acknowledge that the majority of refugees may never go home.But they are not ready to state this publicly or to allow donors to take for granted Bangladesh’s continued hosting of the Rohingya – especially given the low levels of funding for the humanitarian operation and the burden this places on Bangladesh. It also believes that international actors have not pressed Myanmar enough to address the security, rights and accountability issues to enable any large-scale return.By undertaking some forced returns, Bangladesh officials appear to be banking on the fact that they will alarm donors and prompt them to focus more on the situation and realise the status quo is unsustainable.
These factors have combined to tip Bangladesh’s policy in favour of a small-scale return. Political dynamics ahead of general elections in Bangladesh on 23 December may also play a part. Myanmar also sees a limited repatriation as serving its interests. Naypyitaw hopes that a small number of returns would demonstrate to a sceptical world that it is ready to welcome Rohingya back, shifting the focus away from the reasons why they originally left – and thereby weakening, it believes, the basis for claims of ethnic cleansing and genocide.
III. The Risks of Forced Returns
While Bangladesh and Myanmar may consider that the return of some refugees serves their respective interests, it would harm the Rohingya themselves, who would be returning to a situation from which people continue to flee. Bangladesh is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol, and while it has given the Rohingya safe haven, it does not formally recognise them as refugees. Nevertheless, Bangladesh has an obligation under customary international law to ensure that any return of refugees to Myanmar is voluntary and safe.
Bangladesh and Myanmar did not consult in advance with the UN or its refugee agency on the repatriation. The UN has stressed the move is premature and that it does not yet consider conditions on the ground in Rakhine state conducive to returns. The UN special rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Myanmar issued a statement on 6 November calling on Bangladesh to shelve the “rushed plans” for repatriation.
In addition to the human rights concerns, a forced repatriation carries serious risks for security and stability on both sides of the border. The refugee community in Bangladesh is strongly opposed to the move and will do whatever it can to resist it. This will increase tensions in the camps and could lead to confrontations between refugees and Bangladeshi security forces and greatly complicate humanitarian operations. A botched repatriation attempt could potentially set back peace and development efforts by years.
The ARSA militant group continues to have a prominent presence in the camps and could launch cross-border raids on Myanmar’s security forces, as it did in January 2018, in an effort to stop repatriation. Other militant factions have also been organising in the camps, though their capacity for violent action is unclear. Any attack or other security incident in Rakhine state would heighten tensions there and could worsen conditions for the several hundred thousand Rohingya who remain. Myanmar has also said that some of the people proposed by Bangladesh for repatriation were ARSA members. It is not known if they are among those selected for return but this raises the worrying possibility that some of those sent back could be arrested.
A rushed repatriation is also likely to increase tensions in Rakhine state. Already, ethnic Rakhine opposed to returns have held demonstrations to stop them. Rakhine nationalists are also calling for strict security vetting of returnees and resettling them to certain secure areas instead of their home villages. In particular, nationalists are staunchly opposed to any returns to southern Maungdaw, which they want to maintain as a “Muslim-free zone”. Crisis Group has seen a partial list of the returnees, a number of whom came from villages in this area, and under the terms of the repatriation agreement should be allowed to return there. A secretive repatriation process without the consultations and preparations needed in Rakhine state could easily inflame hostilities and provoke violence against returnees or the remaining Rohingya population.
If refugees fear that they will be forced back to Myanmar, they may become more desperate to leave the camps and to attempt dangerous sea journeys across the Bay of Bengal to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia or other countries. This could have wider regional implications, as it did during the maritime migration crisis of 2015.
The following actions should urgently be taken:
Bangladesh and Myanmar should immediately halt plans to return refugees to Rakhine state until they can ensure a process of voluntary, safe and dignified return. The onus is squarely on Myanmar to create those conditions.
     In the meantime, Myanmar should grant unfettered access for the UN and its international NGO partners, as well as the media, to northern Rakhine for the delivery of essential humanitarian support and in order to allow independent assessment of the situation on the ground.
     The Bangladesh government and its international partners should deepen their political engagement with the Rohingya refugees and consult them about their future. So far, there is almost no consultation or even processes in place to do so.
     China should stop pressing for an early repatriation and lend its weight to efforts by other governments and organisations to create conditions in Rakhine state that are conducive to voluntary and sustainable return.
     The UN and its refugee agency should continue to firmly oppose the repatriation in public and in private and use its influence in both countries to halt the process. In particular, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Myanmar, Christine Schraner Burgener, should take a clear public stand and press both Dhaka and Naypyitaw to shelve their current plans. The UN, already facing serious questions about its approach in the years leading up to the crisis, cannot fail the Rohingya again. If a precedent of forced repatriation is set, larger-scale forced returns in the future become much more likely.
As dialogue partners with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the U.S., EU, Australia, Canada and others should use the upcoming ASEAN summit meetings from 11 to 15 November in Singapore to press Myanmar to halt its current plans and instead work to create conditions for voluntary repatriation. ASEAN countries have a direct stake, since forced returns will likely lead to a surge in Rohingya seeking to flee by boat to Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.”

Patricia Miguel and Ana Marrugo “An International Court Is Investigating the U.S. and U.K’s Mass Expulsion of Indigenous Islanders: Long ignored by the media, the people of Chagos struggle relentlessly to reclaim islands that the U.S. and U.K. stole for a military base, Foreign Policy In Focus (FPIF), September 12, 2018, , reported, “Can you imagine being forced out of your home, your land, shipped to an unknown territory with no job and none of your belongings except the clothes on your back?
That is the story of the Chagossian people. They are the little-known victims of two colonial powers, the UK and the United States, whose governments manipulated diplomatic rules and colluded to remove the Chagossians from their Indian Ocean homeland to create a major U.S. military base on the island of Diego Garcia. The two governments have gotten away with this injustice for the past 50 years despite the Chagossians’ valiant efforts to return home.
For the first time, this month, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is examining the deportation of the Chagossians and Britain’s 1965 decision to separate the people’s Chagos Archipelago from colonial Mauritius in preparation for the expulsion
. The case could have significant implications for the U.S. military, for Mauritius, which is challenging U.K. sovereignty over the British Empire’s last-created colony, as well as for this long-ignored group of refugees.
The Chagossians and their African and Indian ancestors had lived on the beautiful tropical islands of the Chagos Archipelago since the late 18th century. They lived there until the late 1960s and early 1970s, when the U.S. and U.K. governments uprooted them from their homes and separated them from almost all their possessions and their livelihoods. The governments removed the Chagossians to build what has become a major U.S. military base, which has played key roles in the 1991 and 2003 U.S.-led Gulf Wars in Iraq and the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
The case before the ICJ in The Hague has been brought by the former U.K. colony of Mauritius, which is challenging Britain’s decision in 1965 to separate the Chagos Archipelago from Mauritius as Mauritius was gaining its independence. In June 2017, the UN General Assembly ruled overwhelmingly — despite U.K. and U.S. opposition — to send the case to the International Court.
Few people in the United States or elsewhere know the story. Upon learning about the Chagossians, many reply: How is that possible? I can’t believe I haven’t heard about them.
Once we learned what the Chagossians and their supporters do every day to claim their right to return home, we began to wonder why media outlets aren’t speaking about this human rights violation more frequently.
In order to understand the hushed nature of the story, it’s important to look back on how the two governments agreed on the construction of the U.S. military base on Diego Garcia.
In 1965, the U.K. used its colonial power over Mauritius to “exclude” the Chagos Archipelago from the Mauritian territory — disregarding UN conventions. This allowed the British government to keep control over the archipelago. In turn, U.S. officials conspired with their British counterparts to remove approximately 1,500 Chagossians. In a 1971 memo, U.S. Navy Admiral Elmo Zumwalt gave the definitive order that would condemn Chagossians to exile: “Absolutely must go
The price tag of this secret negotiation cost the U.S. government $14 million to relocate the Chagossians to Mauritius and the Seychelles. The two governments withheld the Chagossians’ expulsion from Congress, Parliament, the U.N., and the media.
This pattern of keeping the truth about the Chagossian exile in the dark continues today. If the media remains silent, they become accomplices to the crimes these two world powers are committing against the Chagossians.
Let us not overlook our society’s tendency to forget in the face of tragedy. The Chagos Archipelago sits some hundred miles away from the U.K. and some thousand miles away from the U.S., which makes it easy to remove any element of humanity from the exile. This insensitive perspective allows the British bureaucracy to treat them as a minor hindrance and for the U.S. to avoid their responsibility in this crime.
Consider, as well, that the Chagossians have decided to play within the judicial realm of the two governments. But when the rules are dictated by those in power, the outcome is already set. By staying quiet, the media has played into this game of the powerful, a game that dehumanizes those involved. After all, shouldn’t the media be a tool to uncover the injustice and tip the balance in favor of the marginalized?
After 50 years of protests, strikes, and legal battles, some Chagossians have only received: negligible and inadequate compensation, short trips to restore the cemetery where their loved ones rest, and repeated dismissals in court proceedings.
In the U.S., few people know about this crime that their government has been perpetrating for 50 years because the Chagossia