This story was originally published by a partnership between Reveal and E&E News and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
Ten thousand feet up, it’s possible to see the whole of Colorado’s North Fork Valley from Dan Stucker’s plane. As the aircraft glides over sloping mesas with snow-dusted mountains, the land below resembles a vintage pioneer landscape.
If President Donald Trump has his way, a new feature could arrive on this vista: oil and gas pumps. His administration is opening vast stretches of public land to energy companies, and among the forests and fields under Stucker’s plane, up to 95 percent of the valley could be available to drillers.
The administration’s new policies would bring sweeping changes to this Rocky Mountain landscape, facilitated by a growing bond between federal officials and the oil and gas industry. Emails and other communications between government employees obtained by E&E News reveal directives and orders by Trump officials to shelve environmental policies to speed energy development.
In one instance, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke courted oil and gas drillers in private by assuring... Read more