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Flipping the switch

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Rockies Today

January 14 · Issue #62 · View online
The big stories up and down the Rocky Mountains, curated by Mountain West News

Flipping the switch
U.S. power generators set for another big year in coal plant closures in 2020 U.S. power generators set for another big year in coal plant closures in 2020
Meanwhile, as the U.S. Energy Information Administration reports today…
New electric generating capacity in 2020 will come primarily from wind and solar New electric generating capacity in 2020 will come primarily from wind and solar
More on the energy transition:
Miners won benefit battle. Can they survive energy war?
Wind farm projects lining up to call hills around south-central Montana town home
Hopi look to tourism, ranching for income after coal power plant closure
At least 24 Utah cities, counties pledge to use renewable energy by 2030
Massive desert solar project ‘experiment’ in tortoise survival
In Oregon, revised climate change bill creates new battle lines for 2020 session
'Climate risk is investment risk': BlackRock exiting thermal coal investments
Montanans may vote on legalization
Montana marijuana legalization proposals take first steps toward 2020 ballot Montana marijuana legalization proposals take first steps toward 2020 ballot
Meanwhile, in North and South Dakota…
Petition OK'd for recreational pot measure in ND
South Dakotans to vote on legalizing recreational marijuana on November ballot
More cannabis goings on around the region:
Colorado lawmakers want to stop employers from firing people for using weed in their personal time
'The boom is over': Colorado cannabis growers hope volatile wholesale market is stabilizing
Limited medical marijuana supply expected to be ready by Utah’s program deadline
Nevada collects record $9.8 million in taxes from cannabis sales
Public input kaput?
Interior ignores public input on rule changes — analysis Interior ignores public input on rule changes — analysis
More news relating to public lands:
Who controls Trump’s environmental policy?
Lawsuit seeks to cancel oil and gas leases on federal land in five Western states
Plan to buy remote Sweetwater Lake and transfer it to Forest Service gets boost from Eagle County communities
Criminalizing climate dissent
Revealed: U.S. listed climate activist group as ‘extremists’ alongside mass killers Revealed: U.S. listed climate activist group as ‘extremists’ alongside mass killers
A group of US environmental activists engaged in non-violent civil disobedience targeting the oil industry have been listed in internal Department of Homeland Security documents as “extremists” and some of its members listed alongside white nationalists and mass killers, documents obtained by the Guardian reveal.
The group have been dubbed the Valve Turners, after closing the valves on pipelines in four states carrying crude oil from Canada’s tar sands on 11 October 2016 which accounted for about 15% of US daily consumption. It was described as the largest coordinated action of its kind and for a few hours the oil stopped flowing.
The five climate activists, members of Climate Direct Action, cut their way through fencing and turned the valves. The activists notified the energy companies whose pipelines were being disrupted and posted videos of their protest online and waited patiently to be arrested.
They have since been dubbed the “Valve Turners”, profiled in the New York Times magazine and featured in a recent documentary titled The Reluctant Radical. Their trials have also tested the willingness of courts to allow climate activists to make use of the necessity defense – the idea that a criminal action is justified if it helps to prevent greater future harm – as part of a legal strategy.
But the group’s actions attracted the attention of the DHS.
In a recent intelligence bulletin evaluating domestic terrorism threats between 2018 and 2020, the department included the Valve Turners and described the group as “suspected environmental rights extremists”.
The document also listed two of the group’s members alongside violent white supremacists and other extremists who have engaged in mass killings, including the man behind the racist 2015 slaying of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.
An essay in High Country News today by a climate activist who DHS might call a “suspected environmental rights extremist":
We went to jail for our great-granddaughters
What else we're reading today
A free-market think tank aims influence at schools, Native adoptions
Most Colorado student teachers aren’t paid and need second jobs. Will lawmakers step in to ease their financial burden?
CWD spread threatens Wyoming’s health, wildlife, culture
Renowned GOP enviro figure had outsize impact on Wyoming
Only 2 workers are available for every 3 open jobs in Utah, analysis says
Native species or invasive? The distinction blurs as the world warms
Rockies Today is edited by Matthew Frank, Fellow in Regional Journalism at the O’Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West at the University of Montana. 
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O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana, 59812