Tatiana Schlossberg, "Era of 'Biological Annihilation' Is Underway, Scientists Warn," The New York Times, July 11, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/11/climate/mass-extinction-animal- species.html, reported, " From the common barn swallow to the exotic giraffe, thousands of animal species are in precipitous decline, a sign that an irreversible era of mass extinction is underway, new research finds.
          
The study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, calls the current decline in animal populations a 'global epidemic' and part of the 'ongoing sixth mass extinction' caused in large measure by human destruction of animal habitats. The previous five extinctions were caused by natural phenomena."

Lisa Friedman, "Climate-Altering Gases Spiked in 2016, Federal Scientists Report," The New York Times, July 13, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/13/climate/greenhouse-gases-spike- noaa-global-warming.html, reported, " Annual greenhouse gas emissions rose more quickly last year than they have in nearly three decades, an increase scientists attributed in part to a strong El Niño weather pattern, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported this week.
          The Annual Greenhouse Gas Index also shows that global emissions of greenhouse gases that lead to warming, primarily driven by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activity, increased 40 percent between 1990 and 2016, a significant measure of man's influence on the climate."
          "Scientists noted that emissions tend to rise more quickly during an El Niño weather pattern. The El Niño phenomenon, which was unusually strong in 2015-16, warms the Pacific Ocean, bringing heavy rains and droughts to different parts of the world. Scientists say the increase in sea surface temperatures that occurs during an El Niño causes less carbon dioxide to be dissolved in the oceans and, as a result, more accumulates in the atmosphere." The warmer water, or any liquid, the less gas it can dissolve or suspend. This means that warming oceans cause more greenhouse gasses to be in the air. In addition to causing more C02 to enter the atmosphere, at some point in ocean warming, very large amounts of very atmospheric warming methane will begin to be released from the oceans."

A new study indicates that at present rates of release of greenhouse gasses the Earth will experience massive species extinction by 2100. Daniel H. Rothman, "Thresholds of catastrophe in the Earth system," Science Advances 20 Sep 2017:
          Vol. 3, no. 9, e1700906, DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1700906,
           http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/9/e1700906.full,
          Abstract
          The history of the Earth system is a story of change. Some changes are gradual and benign, but others, especially those associated with catastrophic mass extinction, are relatively abrupt and destructive. What sets one group apart from the other? Here, I hypothesize that perturbations of Earth's carbon cycle lead to mass extinction if they exceed either a critical rate at long time scales or a critical size at short time scales. By analyzing 31 carbon isotopic events during the past 542 million years, I identify the critical rate with a limit imposed by mass conservation. Identification of the crossover time scale separating fast from slow events then yields the critical size. The modern critical size for the marine carbon cycle is roughly similar to the mass of carbon that human activities will likely have added to the oceans by the year 2100."

Justin Gillis, "Carbon in Atmosphere Is Rising, Even as Emissions Stabilize," The New York Times, June 26, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/06/26/climate/carbon-in-atmosphere-is-rising-
          

even-as-emissions- stabilize.html?action=click&contentCollection=Climate&module=RelatedCoverage&region=EndOfA rticle&pgtype=article, reported, " The excess carbon dioxide scorching the planet rose at the highest rate on record in 2015 and 2016. A slightly slower but still unusual rate of increase has continued into 2017.
           Scientists are concerned about the cause of the rapid rises because, in one of the most hopeful signs since the global climate crisis became widely understood in the 1980s, the amount of carbon dioxide that people are pumping into the air seems to have stabilized in recent years, at least judging from the data that countries compile on their own emissions."
          "Scientists have spent decades measuring what was happening to all of the carbon dioxide that was produced when people burned coal, oil and natural gas. They established that less than half of the gas was remaining in the atmosphere and warming the planet. The rest was being absorbed by the ocean and the land surface, in roughly equal amounts.
          
In essence, these natural sponges were doing humanity a huge service by disposing of much of its gaseous waste. But as emissions have risen higher and higher, it has been unclear how much longer the natural sponges will be able to keep up."

Julia Conley, " 'Giant Leap Backwards' as Global Carbon Emissions in 2017 Soaring to All- Time High: 'The urgency for reducing emissions means they should really be already decreasing now'," C ommon Dreams, November 13, 2017, https:// www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/13/giant-leap-backwards-global-carbon-emissions- 2017-soaring-all-time- high, reported, " Warning of a 'giant leap backwards for humankind,' the Global Carbon Project said in a report (pdf) released Monday that carbon emissions are expected to hit a record high in 2017, following three years of stable CO2 levels.
          The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has risen about two percent in 2017 according to climate scientists, dashing hopes that the world had already seen the highest emission levels from the coal, oil, and gas industries.
          The findings carry urgent implications for the next three years. A report released earlier this year by scientists at Carbon Tracker, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, and Yale University showed that global emissions must begin falling quickly after 2020 in order to keep the global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels
.
          Professor Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia, who led the Global Carbon Project's study, called the findings 'very disappointing.'
          'The urgency for reducing emissions means they should really be already decreasing now,' she said in an interview with the Associated Press.
          
Much of the rise in carbon emissions this year was attributed to China in the report, which was presented at COP23 in Bonn, Germany. But China has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in developing its renewable energy sector while President Donald Trump has made clear his intention of aiding and abetting the fossil fuel industry's climate denialism and polluting activities.
          Trump has announced plans to shield the oil, gas, and coal companies from Obama-era regulations including the Clean Power Plan, meant to rein in carbon emissions. In June he withdrew the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement, under which every other nation in the world has now agreed to limit climate change-causing pollution.
          Carbon emissions in the U.S. declined 0.4 percent in 2017 according to the Global Carbon Project– less than in previous years.
          'What happens after 2017 is very open and depends on how much effort countries are going to make," said Le Quéré. "It is time to take really seriously the implementation of the Paris agreement.'
          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License"

Andrea Germanos, " Over 15,000 Scientists Just Issued a 'Second Notice' to Humanity. Can We Listen Now?: Reassessing warning issued 25 years ago, the "second notice" to humanity warns of "widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss" unless business-as-usual is upended," Common Dreams, November 13, 2017, https:// www.commondreams.org/news/2017/11/13/over-15000- scientists-just-issued-second-notice-humanity-can-we-listen- now, reported, "Yikes.
          Over 15,000 scientists hailing from more than 180 countries just issued a dire warning to humanity:
           'Time is running out' to stop business as usual, as threats from rising greenhouse gases to biodiversity loss are pushing the biosphere to the brink.
          
The new warning was published Monday in the international journal BioScience, and marks an update to the 'World Scientists' Warning to Humanity' issued by nearly 1,700 leading scientists 25 years ago.
          The 1992 plea, which said Earth was on track to be "irretrievably mutilated' baring 'fundamental change,' however, was largely unheeded.
          'Some people might be tempted to dismiss this evidence and think we are just being alarmist," said William Ripple, distinguished professor in the College of Forestry at Oregon State University, and lead author of the new warning. 'Scientists are in the business of analyzing data and looking at the long-term consequences. Those who signed this second warning aren't just raising a false alarm. They are acknowledging the obvious signs that we are heading down an unsustainable path.'
          The new statement–a 'Second Notice' to humanity–does acknowledge that there have been some positive steps forward, such as the drop in ozone depleters and advancements in reducing hunger since the 1992 warning. But, by and large, humanity has done a horrible job of making progress. In fact, key environmental threats that demanded urgent attention a quarter of a century ago are even worse now.
          Among the 'especially troubling' trends, they write, are rising greenhouse gas emissions, deforestation, agricultural production, and the sixth mass extinction event underway.
          Taking a numerical look at how some of the threats have grown since 1992, the scientists note that there's been a 26.1 percent loss in fresh water available per capita; a 75.3 percent increase in the number of "dead zones'; a 62.1 percent increase in CO2 emissions per year; and 35.5 percent rise in the human population.
          'By failing to adequately limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species, humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere,' they write.
          Among the steps that could be taken to prevent catastrophe are promoting plant-based diets; reducing wealth inequality, stopping conversions of forests and grasslands; government interventions to rein in biodiversity loss via poaching and illicit trade; and "massively adopting renewable energy sources" while phasing out fossil fuel subsidies.
          Taking such actions, they conclude, are necessary to avert 'widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss.'
          'Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out
. '
          The goal of the paper, said Ripple, is to "ignite a wide-spread public debate about the global environment and climate."
          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

Julie Conley, "Lancet Study Warns of Global Health Crisis and 1 Billion Climate Refugees by 2050: 'We are only just beginning to feel the impacts of climate change,'" Common Dreams, October 31, 2017, https:// www.commondreams.org, reported, " Climate change could force a billion people from their homes by 2050, potentially triggering major health crises around the world, according to a new study.
          The Lancet's annual Countdown report calls on governments to act quickly to fight pollution and other factors that have exacerbated climate change, leading to public health issues.
           'We are only just beginning to feel the impacts of climate change,' said Professor Hugh Montgomery, co-chair of the Lancet Countdown, in an interview with the Independent. 'Any small amount of resilience we may take for granted today will be stretched to breaking point sooner than we may imagine.'
          The report found that 'migration driven by climate change has potentially severe impacts on mental and physical health, both directly and by disrupting essential health and social services.'
          
The research also found that more humans are being exposed to extreme heatwaves and air pollution and are more commonly at risk for mosquito-borne illnesses than in past decades, due to climate change.
          More than one hundred million adults over the age of 65 have been exposed to dangerously hot conditions since the turn of the 21st century, while 71 percent of cities tracked by the World Health Organization have dangerous levels of air pollution
.
           Dengue fever has become nearly 10 percent more prevalent around the world since 1950, due to warm conditions that allow mosquitoes to thrive for much of the year.
           Already, says the report, at least 4400 people have been forced to migrate with climate change being the sole reason for fleeing their homes.
          Refugees who have already been forced from their homes due to climate change include 1200 residents of the Carteret Islands in Papua New Guinea who fled because of rising sea levels, 3500 Alaskans who escaped coastal erosion due to melting ice, and at least 25 people who left southern Louisiana, also because of a disintegrating coastline.
          The study also notes that the impacts of global warming, including drought and other conditions that can negatively affect agriculture and people's livelihoods, can set in motion a chain of events that make regions ripe for violent conflicts.
          
'For example, in Syria,' the study reads, "many attribute the initial and continued conflict to the rural to urban migration that resulted from a climate change-induced drought.'
          While the issues leading to wars are complex, the Lancet continues, 'climate change, as a threat multiplier and an accelerant of instability, is often thought of as important in exacerbating the likelihood of conflict.'
          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License"

Jugal K. Patal, "In Antarctica, Two Crucial Glaciers Accelerate Toward the Sea," The New York Times, OCT. 26, 2017, In Antarctica, https:// www.fxncc.com/in-antarctica-two-crucial-glaciers-acc, reports, " Two of the frozen continent's fastest-moving glaciers are shedding an increasing amount of ice into the Amundsen Sea each year.
          
The Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers are among the most critical in the world. They are currently holding back ice that, if melted, would raise the world's oceans by nearly four feet over centuries, an amount that would put many coastal cities underwater.
          The Pine Island's flow is accelerating rapidly. Its ice shelf, an expanse of ice that floats on water where the glacier meets the sea, has increased its speed by 75 percent from 1973 to 2010
."
           During the 1980s, the Pine Island Glacier was relatively stable, gaining about as much ice each year as it lost. With warmer waters in front of it, that glacier is increasingly flowing into the sea. Thwaites Glacier has under gone similar changes to that of Pine Island since the late '80s, but is not losing as much ice. If, and, as things are now developing, when, the two glaciers melt completely they would raise ocean levels almost four feet. At the current rate of increase, that would take centuries. But the rate of increase is itself increasing!

Richard Walker, "A new study by the American Geophysical Union documents the importance of glaciers in recharging aquifers and keeping rivers flowing," Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN) August 13, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/environment/record-lows- quinault-river-due-loss-glaciers/,
          Anderson Glacier in the Olympic Mountains is gone, and the lack of glacial meltwater has caused the Quinault River to reach new lows.
          Montana's Glacier National Park had 150 glaciers in 1850; today there are 25. Greenland's Helheim Glacier is retreating 110 feet per day.
          Bolivia's Chacaltaya Glacier, at one time one of the highest-altitude ski resorts on earth, no longer exists, threatening water and power supplies in the Andean region
.
           Glacial retreat has accelerated since the 1980s in the Alps, which contain 40 percent of Europe's fresh water supply.
           Eighty-two percent of the glaciers in the greater Himalayas, a source of drinking and irrigation water for more than one-sixth of the world's population, shrank between 1950 and 2000.
           A study published in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union, documents the importance of glaciers in recharging aquifers and keeping rivers flowing – and succinctly explains how glaciers do it. The study also illustrates what's at stake as our glaciers disappear."

The melting of ice on the ocean and streams and lakes has cut off the Inuit village of Rigolet Labrador, Canada, as there are no roads leading to it. Villagers rely on snowmobile and sled traveling over ice to go for supplies and to go to hunting and fishing locations. Life may no longer viable in Rigolet (Livia Albeck-Ripka, "Why Lost Ice Means Lost Hope for Inuit Village," The New York Times, November 27, 2017).

Lisa Friedman, "Scientists Fear Trump Will Dismiss Blunt Climate Report, The New York Times, August 7, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/07/climate/climate-change-drastic-warming- trump.html&_r=0, reported, " The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration.
          
The draft report by scientists from 13 federal agencies, which has not yet been made public, concludes that Americans are feeling the effects of climate change right now. It directly contradicts claims by President Trump and members of his cabinet who say that the human contribution to climate change is uncertain, and that the ability to predict the effects is limited.
          ' Evidence for a changing climate abounds, from the top of the atmosphere to the depths of the oceans,' a draft of the report states. A copy of it was obtained by The New York Times.
          The authors note that thousands of studies, conducted by tens of thousands of scientists, have documented climate changes on land and in the air. "Many lines of evidence demonstrate that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse (heat-trapping) gases, are primarily responsible for recent observed climate change," they wrote.

Valerie Volcovici, "U.S. Government Report: U.S. Should Manage Climate Risks as Costs Soar," Portside, October 23, 2017, reported that the GAO (Government Accountability Office) reported that up to that point in 2017 global warming induced weather changes, in the forms of increased wildfires and more frequent and larger hurricanes, have cost the U.S. over $300 Billion, and costs to the government may rise to $35 billion annually by mid-century.

Jon Queally, " US Climate Assessment Exposes 'Simply Terrifying' Recklessness of Trump: 'Even as this report sounds the alarm, Trump's team of climate deniers are twisting themselves into pretzels to justify blocking national and international climate action,'" Common Dreams, November 03, 2017, https:// www.commondreams.org, reported, "With the release of its National Climate Assessment on Friday, the U.S. government has released a report–which states the current period is "now the warmest in the history of modern civilization"–that critics say directly and irrefutably undermines the climate denialism and inaction of President Donald Trump and his administration.
          Mandated by law and released every four years, the Fourth National Climate Assessment (or NCA4)–which states that recent years have seen 'record-breaking, climate-related weather extremes, and the last three years have been the warmest years on record for the globe'– concludes (with emphasis in the original) that 'based on extensive evidence, that it is extremely likely that human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse gases, are the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century. For the warming over the last century, there is no convincing alternative explanation supported by the extent of the observational evidence.'
          Despite that being the declared consensus from the global scientific community for years, the Trump administration has done nearly everything in its power to cast doubt by embracing the denialism pushed by the fossil fuel industry. Instead of offering solutions to the crisis, the administration has been hard at work doing the bidding of the oil and gas industries while rolling back efforts–both domestically and internationally–meant to combat the threat of human-caused global warming.
          As Friends of the Earth declared in a tweet, the assessment 'sharply contradicts' the Trump administrations own policies by 'affirming humans are climate change driver.'
          Shaye Wolf, climate science director at the Center for Biological Diversity, made a similar
          point.
          'The contrast between this stark scientific warning and Trump's reckless support for dirty fossil
          fuels is simply terrifying,' Wolf said. 'Even as this report sounds the alarm, Trump's team of climate deniers are twisting themselves into pretzels to justify blocking national and international climate action. If America's leaders don't start listening to scientists, the whole world is going to pay a truly terrible price.'
          

As the Washington Post reports, the Trump administration did not try to block the publication of the report even though 'its findings sharply contradict the administration's policies.' According to the Post:
          The report's release underscores the extent to which the machinery of the federal scientific establishment, operating in multiple agencies across the government, continues to grind on even as top administration officials have minimized or disparaged its findings. Federal scientists have continued to author papers and issue reports on climate change, for example, even as political appointees have altered the wording of news releases or blocked civil servants from speaking about their conclusions in public forums. The climate assessment process is dictated by a 1990 law that Democratic and Republican administrations have followed.
          The good news about the new assessment, according to Wolf, is that it shows 'scientists can beat Trump's climate censorship if they speak out bravely.'
          
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License."

Sam Ross-Brown, "GOP Plug on Renewable Energy," Portside, December 1, 2017, http://portside.org/2017-12-02/gop-tax-plan-pulls-plug-renewable-energy, reported, " The GOP tax reform plan barreling toward a vote in the Senate could deal a devastating blow to the renewable energy industry. Unlike the more draconian House version, the Senate bill does not slash renewable tax credits directly, but it does impose steep taxes on the companies that help finance renewable development. Leaders in the wind and solar sector warn that such hikes would undercut the industry's most important financing tools." The Senate passed its version of tax reform December 1, and efforts at reconciliation with the House were then begun. Either the House or Senate version of the bill would quickly have a devastating effect on the growth of the solar industry.

Mitch Smith, "4 Takeaways From a Gathering of Mayors on Climate Change," The New York Times, December 5, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/us/climate-change-mayors- chicago.html, " Mayors came here by the dozens on Tuesday to voice their support for the international Paris climate accord and their displeasure with President Trump's plan to withdraw the United States from that agreement. Their solution? They announced their own climate agreement.
          The gathering, in which more than 45 American mayors committed their cities to uphold the emissions standards laid out in the Paris agreement
, was the latest display of hostility by some of the nation's Democratic mayors toward Mr. Trump's policies."
          "Many of the cities that signed on, including New York City, San Francisco and Portland, Ore., had previously laid out plans to uphold their part of the Paris agreement, and city leaders have been outspoken about the issue for months.
          In June, the United States Conference of Mayors called on the administration to recommit to the Paris standards. Another group, Climate Mayors, which claims 385 members, has rallied in defense of the Paris agreement. And a coalition of states, local governments and businesses announced plans this summer to try to uphold America's Paris commitments despite the federal withdrawal."

Permafrost in Alaska is melting rapidly, releasing large quantities of very atmospheric warming methane. By 2050, most of the permafrost is likely to be gone. The huge amounts of methane being released from melting permafrost are one of the major positive feedback loops greatly accelerating global warming and climate change beyond previous expectations by scientists. A study of permafrost melting by scientists from Woods Hole Research Center was reported in: Henry Fountain, "Alaska's Permafrost Is Thawing: The loss of frozen ground in Arctic regions is a striking result of climate change. And it is also a cause of more warming to come," The New York Times, August 23, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com. Recent studies also show that melting Tundra in Alaska - and by implication everywhere.

else - will also shift to increasing CO 2 in the atmosphere. Henry Fountain, "Tundra May Be Shifting Alaska to Put Out More Carbon Than It Stores, Study Says," The New York Times, May 8, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/climate/alaska-carbon-dioxide-co2-tundra.html, " A new study suggests that Alaska, with its huge stretches of tundra and forest, may be shifting from a net sink, or storehouse, of carbon to a net source. The study focused on one possible cause: warmer temperatures that keep the Arctic tundra from freezing until later in the fall, allowing plant respiration and microbial decomposition – processes that release carbon dioxide – to continue longer."

The crack in the ice sheet has become a break. Fen Montaigne, "Warnings From Antarctica," The New York Times, July 12, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/12/opinion/antarctica-larsen-ice- shelf.html, reported, "As the Trump administration dismantles the federal government's efforts to respond to global warming, the natural world has come calling with a reminder: An iceberg the size of Delaware broke off Antarctica's Larsen C ice shelf in recent days, yet another indication of the rapid change now occurring on the world's iciest continent.
          This is the third floating ice shelf in recent years in Antarctica's Weddell Sea to fully or partly break up, the first two subverted by warming ocean waters and air temperatures. The Larsen A broke up in 1995. Seven years later, after months of unusually warm temperatures, the Rhode Island-size Larsen B shelf became riddled with meltwater ponds, then fell apart virtually overnight, shattering into millions of pieces. Now a 120-mile-long chunk of the Larsen C has calved, forming one of the largest icebergs ever observed."
          "Now a region that not long ago saw only snow and ice is experiencing – at least in its northern reaches – rain in summer."
          "Last year the Arctic experienced exceptionally warm weather that has continued into 2017, as sea ice shrinks to near-record lows. Temperatures last fall were as much as 36 degrees Fahrenheit above normal over parts of the Arctic. Both the extent and thickness of Arctic summer sea ice have decreased sharply since satellite remote sensing began in 1979."

Jessica Corbett, " 'Alarm Bells Ringing': Global CO2 Levels at Highest in 3 Million Years: Ahead of UN climate talks, report warns of "severe ecological and economic disruptions" without more drastic moves to cut emissions," Common Dreams, October 30, 2017, https:// www.commondreams.org, reported, "Ahead of the COP23 climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany next week, an annual bulletin released on Monday revealed that last year, the average global concentration of carbon dioxide surged at a record-breaking pace to the highest level in approximately 3 million years, renewing scientists' concerns that more action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
          'There's still time to steer these emissions down and so keep some control, but if we wait too long humankind will become a passenger on a one-way street to dangerous climate change."
           –Dave Reay, University of Edinburgh
          'This should set alarm bells ringing in the corridors of power
,' Dave Reay, a professor of carbon management at the University of Edinburgh who was not involved with the research, told the Guardian. 'We know that, as climate change intensifies, the ability of the land and oceans to mop up our carbon emissions will weaken.'
'There's still time to steer these emissions down and so keep some control,'" Reay added, 'but if we wait too long humankind will become a passenger on a one-way street to dangerous climate change.'
          The Greenhouse Gas Bulletin (pdf), published by the United Nations World Meteorological Organization's (WMO) Global Atmosphere Watch program, found that globally averaged CO2 concentrations increased from 400 parts per million (ppm) in 2015 to 403.3 ppm last year.
          Scientists have reliable data on carbon dioxide concentration spanning approximately 800,000 years, and researchers estimate the last time the planet had a comparable concentration of carbon dioxide was 3 to 5 million years ago, during the Pliocene epoch, when the global temperature was up to 3°C warmer and due to melting ice sheets, sea level was about 66 feet higher than it is today.
          The bulletin attributes the increase in CO2 levels to the El Niño event and greenhouse gas emissions from human activities, including "growing population, intensified agricultural practices, increases in land use and deforestation, industrialization, and associated energy use from fossil fuel sources
" since the "industrial era, beginning in 1750.'
          While emissions represent the full amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere, the measured concentrations focus on what remains in the atmosphere 'after the complex system of interactions between the atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, and the oceans.' As carbon sinks, the oceans and biosphere each take up about a quarter of total CO2 emissions [but now are increasingly less able to do so].
          The bulletin warns that today's global CO2 concentrations, which are now 145 percent of levels before 1750, will likely have a notable impact on global climate systems and cause 'severe ecological and economic disruptions.'
          
'CO2 remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and in the oceans for even longer. The laws of physics mean that we face a much hotter, more extreme climate in the future,' said WMO secretary-general Petteri Taalas.
          'Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, we will be heading for dangerous temperature increases by the end of this century, well above the target set by the Paris climate change agreement,' Taalas added. 'Future generations will inherit a much more inhospitable planet.'
          'The longer we wait to implement the Paris Agreement, the greater the commitment and the more drastic (and expensive) the required future emission reductions will need to be to keep climate change within critical limits." –Greenhouse Gas Bulletin
          'The longer we wait to implement the Paris Agreement, the greater the commitment and the more drastic (and expensive) the required future emission reductions will need to be to keep climate change within critical limits
,' the bulletin notes, echoing growing concerns about the economic costs of climate change, which were the focus of a Government Accountability Office report released last week.
          The bulletin comes ahead of a separate U.N. Environment Emissions Gap Report, which will be released Tuesday and analyzes the projected effectiveness of various nations' policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through 2030. The two reports will serve as 'a scientific base for decision- making" at the COP23 climate talks, according to WMO.
          'The numbers don't lie,' said Erik Solheim, head of U.N. Environment. 'We are still emitting far too much and this needs to be reversed. The last few years have seen enormous uptake of renewable energy, but we must now redouble our efforts to ensure these new low-carbon technologies are able to thrive.'
          'We have many of the solutions already to address this challenge,' Solheim concluded. 'What we need now is global political will and a new sense of urgency.'
          This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License"

Brad Plumer, "At Bonn Climate Talks, Stakes Get Higher in Gamble on Planet's Future," The New York Times, November 18, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com, reported, "Perhaps the most revealing moment at this year's United Nations climate talks came on Wednesday, when Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany addressed the nearly 200 nations gathered here.
          After declaring that "climate change is an issue determining our destiny as mankind," Ms. Merkel acknowledged that Germany was likely to miss the goals it had set itself for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 because of its continued reliance on coal power. While vowing to grapple with the issue, she said that phasing out coal use would require 'tough discussions' with German policymakers in the weeks ahead.
          On one level, it was a stark reminder that the real action on global warming does not unfold in international venues. The problem will largely be addressed by governments back home trying to adopt policies to shift away from fossil fuels, by businesses perfecting and deploying clean energy technologies, by city planners reworking their local transportation systems."

Scientists have found that around 20% of the water produced by melting of the Greenland ice sheet does not run off into the ocean, as previously thought, but remains within the ice sheet. This means that melting is raising oceans 20% more slowly from this one ice sheet melting than previously thought. If the entire ice sheet melts it would raise oceans by about 24 feet (more in some places than others) (Henry Fountain and Derek Watkins, "As Greenland Melts, Where's the Water Going, " The New York Times, December 13, 2017).

In the desert area of Viru Peru, a nearby rapidly melting mountain glacier has been providing water for farming where it was not possible previously. But the glacier will soon sufficiently disappear that the farming will become impossible (Nicholas Casey, "Living off a glacier while it lasts," The New York Times, November 26, 2017).

Climate Change is having expensive impacts on many of the world's airports. Among the effects that are increasingly occurring in more places: airports on low lying land are more often being hit by storm surges; hotter temperatures may cause tarmac to melt, restrict take of weights, or cause heavier aircraft to takeoff during cooler parts of the day (Mike Ives, "Climate Change Lands at the Airport," The New York Times, October 1, 2017).

Bryan Farrell, Waging Nonviolence, "Meet the Activists With a Plan to Make Climate Change Matter in Elections," Truthout, July 02, 2017 , reported, " Since Donald Trump declared that he was withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, elected officials around the country have been engaged in something they usually try to avoid: serious conversation about climate change. In fact, the leaders of 300-plus U.S. cities and 22 states have now pledged to uphold the goals of the global climate deal."

Syria has signed on to the Paris Climate Agreement. leaving only the United States in opposition to it (Lisa Friedman, "Syria Joins Paris Climate Accord, Leaving Only the U.S. Opposed," The New York Times, November 8, 2017).

Lisa Friedman and Brad Plumer, "E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule," The New York Times, October 9, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/climate/clean-power-plan.html&_r=0, reported, "The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Tuesday that Scott Pruitt, the chief of the agency, had signed a measure to repeal President Barack Obama's signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America's efforts to tackle global warming.
          Mr. Pruitt, who had signaled the move at an event with coal miners in eastern Kentucky on Monday, said in a news release that his predecessors had departed from regulatory norms in writing the Clean Power Plan, which was finalized in 2015 and would have pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions."

Lisa Friedman, "E.P.A. Scrubs a Climate Website of 'Climate Change'," The New York Times, October 20, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/20/climate/epa-climate- change.html, reported, " The Environmental Protection Agency has removed dozens of online resources dedicated to helping local governments address climate change, part of an apparent effort by the agency to play down the threat of global warming.
          A new analysis made public on Friday found that an E.P.A. website has been scrubbed of scores of links to materials to help local officials prepare for a world of rising temperatures and more severe storms."
          Steven Mufson and Chris Mooney "Energy Secretary Perry proposes new moves to support coal and nuclear plants," The Washington Post, September 29, 2017, reported, " Energy Secretary Rick Perry took sweeping steps on Friday to buttress a pair of financially-strapped nuclear plants under construction and redefine how coal and nuclear plants are compensated for the electricity that they provide - a move that, if agreed to by independent federal energy regulators, could tilt some of the nation's complex power markets away from renewables and natural gas.
          
Perry announced that the Energy Department would provide $3.7 billion in loan guarantees to three Georgia utilities struggling to complete a pair of nuclear reactors at the Alvin
           W. Vogtle generating plant. These loan guarantees come on top of $8.3 billion in loans the department has already given to the project, but they still might fall short of what will be required to complete the costly reactors.
          The nuclear project has been running far over-budget and behind schedule, and the utilities have been scrambling to come up with financing after the main engineering company, Westinghouse, declared bankruptcy earlier this year."
          "Perry also moved Friday to help nuclear and coal plants competing in regional electricity markets. Citing his department's recent, contested study about the workings of the electric grid, Perry asked the independent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, to adopt new regulations that would ensure that coal and nuclear plants that add to the grid's reliability can "[recover] fully allocated costs and thereby continue to provide the energy security on which our nation relies."

Georgia Power asked Georgia state regulators, at the end of August 2017 , to approve plans to construct two additional nuclear electric generating reactors at its Alvin W. Vogel generating station near Augusta (Brad Plumer, "Bucking Trend, Georgia Ponders a Nuclear Future, The New York Times, September 1, 2017).

Choe Sang-Hun, "South Korea Will Resume Reactor Work, Defying Nuclear Opponents," The New York Times, October 20, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/20/world/asia/south-korea- nuclear-plants.html&_r=0, reported, "South Korea decided Friday to resume construction of two nuclear plants, reversing a campaign promise by the new president and frustrating supporters who want the country to phase out nuclear power.
          In the months before his election, President Moon Jae-in had vowed not to allow any new reactors. When he made that pledge, five nuclear power plants were under construction, three of them near completion. Mr. Moon said that he would scrap the other two, which were both in the early stages."

Lisa Friedman, "Pruitt Bars Some Scientists From Advising E.P.A. ," The New York Times, October 31, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/31/nyregion/police-shooting-lower- manhattan.html&_r=0, " Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, stripped a half-dozen scientists and academics of advisory positions Tuesday and issued new rules barring anyone who receives E.P.A. grant money from serving on panels that counsel the agency on scientific decisions.
          
The move will effectively bar a large number of academic researchers, many of them experts in
          

fields ranging from toxicology to epidemiology, from advising the E.P.A. on scientific matters, since the agency is one of the largest funders of environmental research.
          Mr. Pruitt was expected to appoint several industry representatives to the panels. He did not impose any new restrictions to prevent them from offering advice on environmental regulations that may affect their businesses
."

In New Mexico, while methane released into the air by the oil and gas industry from leaks and equipment problems were not measured, the New Mexico Secretary of Minerals and Natural Resources reported, in November, that methane releases by venting and flaring in natural gas production fell by about 50% in 2017 with improved technology and changes in the way wells are drilled (Susan Montoya Bryan, "NM methane emissions fall over 50% during past year," Albuquerque Journal, November 4, 2017).

Exon announced a plan, in September 2017, to reduce methane leaks by replacing equipment and monitoring for leaks (Clifford Krauss, "Exon Tries to Cut Methane Leaks, a Culprit in Warming," The New York Times, September 26, 2017).

After 16 years of trying to build a huge windfarm off Cape Cod, continuing opposition and court fights have caused the key investor to give up the project (Katharine Q. Seely, "After 16 Years, Hopes for Cape Cod Wind Farm Float Away," The New York Times, December 19, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/us/offshore-cape-wind-farm.html).
          "Industrial Strength: How the U.S. Government Hid Fracking's Risks to Drinking Water: A pivotal EPA study provided the rationale for exemptions that helped unleash the fracking boom. The science was suppressed to protect industry interests," Inside Climate News, November 16, 2017 (This story was co-published with WHYY and West Virginia Public Broadcasting. Audio story by Susan Phillips of WHYY), https://insideclimatenews.org/news/16112017/fracking-chemicals-safety-epa- health-risks-water-bush-cheney, reported in part , "Concerns about the study emerged from the outset, including a 2004 whistleblower complaint that called it 'scientifically unsound.' Now, InsideClimate News has learned that the scientists who wrote the report disagreed with the conclusion imposed by the Bush EPA, saying there was not enough evidence to support it. The authors, who worked for a government contractor, went so far as to have their company's name and their own removed from the final document.
          At EPA, 'there was a preconceived conclusion that there's no risk associated with hydraulic fracturing into coalbed methane. That finding made its way into the Energy Policy Act, but with broader implications,' said Chi Ho Sham, the group manager of a team of scientists and engineers for The Cadmus Group, the Massachusetts firm hired to do the report. 'What we would have said in the conclusion is that there is some form of risk from hydraulic fracturing to groundwater. How you quantify it would require further analyses, but, in general, there is some risk.'
          The fracking provision, widely known as the Halliburton loophole, after the oilfield services company once run by Bush's vice president, Dick Cheney, is among a host of exemptions to federal pollution rules that Congress and successive administrations have given oil and gas companies over the last 40 years."
          "The Cadmus study was not the first EPA report to have its science thwarted, and under President Donald Trump, it likely won't be the last. Current EPA Administrator Pruitt is a staunch ally of fossil fuels, and his agency is moving on several fronts to quash science that documents the oil industry's contributions to climate change and other forms of pollution, the first step to rolling back regulations, critics said."

" Global Demand for Meat Amounts to 'Appetite for Destruction,' Says New Study: Report points to massive need for land to grow feed crops as an overlooked cost of industrial farming," Common Dreams, October 05, 2017, https:// www.commondreams.org , reported, "In a study titled 'Appetite for Destruction,' the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) revealed on Thursday that humans' consumption

of meat is having a devastating impact on global biodiversity in a way that's too often considered.
          In addition to causing greenhouse gas emissions and using up huge quantities of water and land, industrial farming requires massive amounts of crop-based feed for animals, which puts 'an enormous strain on our natural resources and is a driving force behind wide-scale biodiversity loss.'
          
If the global appetite for meat grows as expected, says the report, 'it's estimated that soy production would need to increase by nearly 80% to feed all the animals destined for our plates.'
          The industrial farming sector is also having a negative impact on humans' health, as a reliance on feeding animals crops like corn and soy has been linked to a lack of healthy omega-3 content in the meat people eat.
           'You'd have to eat six intensively reared chickens today to obtain the same amount of the healthy omega-3 fatty acid found in just one chicken in the 1970, says the study. The majority of calories from chicken come from fat as opposed to protein.
          The study points to a number of vulnerable parts of the earth, including the Amazon, the Yangtze and Mekong river basins, and the Himalayas as already suffering from major strain as food producers look for places to grow feed crops, while being inadequately protected by conservation efforts. Thousands of species living in these regions would be at risk if more manufacturers were to look to them for crop production.
          The study stresses that while there is plenty of food to feed the human population, more efficient and fair systems of distributing food are needed to ensure that these areas are not overrun by feed crop producers.
          'We already produce enough to feed the world,' reads the report. 'But over-consumption, inequality, waste, and inadequate production and distribution systems stand in the way of enough food for everyone and space for wildlife.'
          
The WWF says that simple portion control would go a long way in reducing animal farming's impact on the earth:
          If everyone reduced the amount of animal products that they ate to meet their nutritional requirements, the total agricultural land required would decline by 13 percent...An area 1.5 times the size of the European Union–would be saved from agricultural production.
          As a potential innovation that could save much of the earth's biodiversity, the study also points to alternative feed options that don't need the vast areas of land required by crops like soy beans and corn
.
           'We believe it's possible, and essential, to change food production systems and consumption patterns to secure enough nutritionally complete and environmentally sustainable food for everyone on Earth,' says the report."
          (This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License).

Brad Plumer, "How Fast Will Oceans Rise," The New York Times, "Climate Fwd," December 20, 2017, reported. "One of the most important effects of global warming this century will be sea-level rise. As the ice sheets atop Greenland and Antarctica melt, ocean levels will creep upward, flooding coastal cities around the world.
          
But there's a maddening complication : No one's exactly sure how high oceans will rise. Scientists may not be able to settle on a precise answer for decades to come, making the jobs of coastal planners that much harder.
          That's the upshot of a new study in the journal Earth's Future, which estimates that if humanity zeros out its emissions by midcentury, sea levels will most likely rise 1 foot to 3 feet by 2100. But if emissions keep rising unchecked, we're staring at 4 to 7 feet."

Climate Scientists analyzing 27 extreme weather events in 2016 have found that global warming induced climate change was a significant factor in causing 21 of them, including record temperatures around the world, coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef, draught in Africa, wildfires in North America, and the "warm blob" in the Pacific - an immensely warm water off the coast of Alaska bringing with it poisonous toxic algae blooms,
          

killing sea birds and forcing local fisheries to close (Brad plume and Nadia Popovich, "Drought, Wildfires and an Ocean 'Blob.' Linked to Warming," The New York Times, December 15, 2017).

Jessica Corbett, " Subsidizing Earth's Demise: US Taxpayers Forced to Prop Up Dirty Energy Industry: New reports reveal that without billions of dollars in subsidies, American gas, oil, and coal companies would crash and burn," Common Dreams, October 03, 2017, https:// www.commondreams.org , reported, "In the midst of a hurricane season that shows just how expensive inaction on climate change can be , two new reports highlight how massive taxpayer-funded subsidies for fossil fuel companies are propping up an industry that refuses to take responsibility for the destructive and costly chaos it has played an enormous role in creating.
          'Every dollar spent subsidizing this industry takes us further away from achieving internationally agreed emissions goals, and maintaining a stable climate.' –Oil Change International
          A recent analysis found that damage from extreme weather intensified by climate change and the health impacts from using gas, oil, and coal have cost the U.S. economy an annual
          average of $240 billion in the past decade. Between now and 2028, that figure is expected to rise to $360 billion annually–more than half of the economy's growth–and that doesn't even account for the cost of industry subsidies
.
          On top of the financial burden from burning fossil fuels, a report (pdf) published Tuesday by Oil Change International (OCI) found that industry subsidies cost U.S. taxpayers more than $20 billion each year, $14.7 billion at the federal level and $5.8 billion at the state level. These subsidies take several forms–including financial handouts, flexible liability policies, and tax breaks– and, researchers argue, "waste billions of dollars propping up an industry incompatible with safe climate limits."
          A separate study by Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), published Monday in the journal Nature, examined the impact of subsidies on U.S. crude oil production, and concluded that subsidies to oil companies encourage them to drill oil fields that would otherwise be unprofitable.
          
Over the next few decades, SEI researchers estimate, 'tax preferences and other subsidies push nearly half of new, yet-to-be-developed oil investments into profitability, potentially increasing U.S. oil production by 17 billion barrels' that, once burned, will release about 6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, or CO2, into the atmosphere.
          
'This is oil we don't need and it takes the U.S. further away from its climate goals of reducing CO2 emissions,' report co-author Peter Erickson, a senior scientist at SEI's U.S. center, told Motherboard. The U.S. currently ranks second, behind only China, in global CO2 emissions.
          Similarly, the OCI report concludes that 'every dollar spent subsidizing this industry takes us further away from achieving internationally agreed emissions goals, and maintaining a stable climate.' It also notes that without a rapid reduction in U.S. fossil fuel reliance, the world will likely fail the meet goals outlined in the 2015 Paris climate accord, in which nearly every nation on Earth agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in hopes of limiting global average temperature rise to below 2°C, while aiming for below 1.5°C.
          Eliminating industry subsidies, however, faces strong political resistance in the U.S. Subsidies, the OCI report notes, 'have been defended by a Congress influenced by $350 million in campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures by the fossil fuel industry,' which researchers estimate' equates to an 8,200 percent return on investment.'
          'For members of Congress who consider themselves climate champions, eliminating the subsidies that drive fossil fuel expansion and climate pollution is a critical starting point," said Janet Redman, OCI' s U.S. policy director and principal author of the report.
          Congress, though, is not the only political barrier to curbing U.S. emissions. President Donald Trump, in June, vowed to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement, and since then the U.S. has sidelined itself in discussions about reducing emissions globally.
          'While the rest of the world moves toward a renewable energy future, dirty energy defenders in the Trump administration are using our taxpayer dollars to promote dangerous new fossil fuel development,' Redman added. 'Until we separate oil and state, the dirty energy money cycle of fossil fuel contributions going into Congress and oil, gas, and coal subsidies coming out will stymie our chances at revolutionizing the energy sector and staving off worsening climate disasters.'
          To achieve that, Tim McDonnell argued in a Washington Post analysis published Monday, 'forget the Paris agreement. The real solution to climate change is in the U.S. tax code.' Noting that fossil fuel industry lobbyists are celebrating the new Republican tax plan, released last week, as 'a win,' McDonnell concludes 'tax reform can help fight climate change–just not the kind of tax reform Trump and Republicans are proposing.'" (This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution- Share Alike 3.0 License).
          Brian Wang , "Rice University adds a bit of asphalt to speed lithium metal battery charging by
          20 times," The NextBIGFuture, October 3, 2017, https:// www.nextbigfuture.com, reported, " A touch of asphalt may be the secret to high-capacity lithium metal batteries that charge 10 to 20 times faster than commercial lithium-ion batteries, according to Rice University scientists.
          The Rice lab of chemist James Tour developed anodes comprising porous carbon made from asphalt that showed exceptional stability after more than 500 charge-discharge cycles. A high-current density of 20 milliamps per square centimeter demonstrated the material's promise for use in rapid charge and discharge devices that require high-power density."
          "'The capacity of these batteries is enormous, but what is equally remarkable is that we can bring them from zero charge to full charge in five minutes, rather than the typical two hours or more needed with other batteries,' Tour said."
          
If these batteries turn out to be as practical as they seem, they will be particularly important in making electric vehicles far more practical, as well as making solar and wind generated electricity more effective in other ways.

The State of South Australia has powered up the world's largest battery, for storing solar or wind energy for use at night or when the wind is not blowing, capable of powering 30,000 homes (Adam Baidawi, "For Musk, an Energy Feat the Size of a Football Field," The New York Times, November 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/11/30/world/australia/elon-musk-south-australia- battery.html).

entirely fluffy, "Electric Cars Emit 50 Percent Less Greenhouse Gas Than Diesel, Study Finds,"Slashdot, October 25, 2017, https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/17/10/25/2020228/electric-cars- emit-50-percent-less-greenhouse-gas-than-diesel-study-finds, reports, "Electric cars emit significantly less greenhouse gases over their lifetimes than diesel engines even when they are powered by the most carbon intensive energy," according to a study by VUB University in Belgium. In Poland, where coal is used to produce most electricity, electric vehicles produced a quarter less emissions than diesels when put through a full lifecycle modeling study. In Sweden, which has the least CO2 producing electric generation in Europe, electric cars produced 85% less greenhouse gasses than diesel through their life time. In countries, such as the UK, electric cars produced about 50% l4ss greenhouse gasses than diesel. The VUB study went on to say that for massive use of electric cars requiring huge numbers of batteries, the supply of critical metals including lithium, cobalt, nickel and graphite and rare earths used in batteries would have to be closely monitored and diversified. But that should not limit switching enmass to electric vehicles. Moreover, it was projected that continuing improvements in battery technology combined with increasing electric generation by renewables would likely reduce greenhouse gas emissions in battery production by 65%.

Damian Carrington, "Electric cars already cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel – study," The Guardian, December 1, 2017, reported, "Exclusive: Pure electric cars cost less over four years than petrol or diesel cars in the UK, US and Japan, researchers say, but China is set to lead the market/
          Electric cars are already cheaper to own and run than petrol or diesel cars in the UK, US and Japan, new research shows.
          The lower cost is a key factor driving the rapid rise in electric car sales now underway, say the researchers. At the moment the cost is partly because of government support, but electric cars are expected to become the cheapest option without subsidies in a few years.
          The researchers analyzed the total cost of ownership of cars over four years, including the purchase price and depreciation, fuel, insurance, taxation and maintenance. They were surprised to find that pure electric cars came out cheapest in all the markets they examined: UK, Japan, Texas and California.
          Pure electric cars have much lower fuel costs – electricity is cheaper than petrol or diesel – and maintenance costs, as the engines are simpler and help brake the car, saving on brake pads
. In the UK, the annual cost was about 10% lower than for petrol or diesel cars in 2015, the latest year analyzed.
          Hybrid cars which cannot be plugged in and attract lower subsidies, were usually a little more expensive than petrol or diesel cars. Plug-in hybrids were found to be significantly more expensive – buyers are effectively paying for two engines in one car, the researchers said. The exception in this case was Japan, where plug-in hybrids receive higher subsidies."

Fred Lambert, "Elon Musk says Tesla could rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid with batteries and solar," electrek, October 5, 2017, https://electrek.co/2017/10/05/elon-musk-tesla-rebuild-puerto- ricos-power-grid-batteries-solar/, reported, " After Puerto Rico was hit by two hurricanes back to back in just a few weeks, along with other islands in the Caribbean, most of their power grid was completely destroyed. Tesla quickly started quietly shipping Powerwalls there to try to get power back on to some houses with solar arrays.
          
Now CEO Elon Musk says that Tesla could rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid with batteries and solar on a bigger scale.
          
Puerto Rico's electricity rates were already quite high at around $0.20 per kWh and reliant on fossil fuels.
          After it was pointed out that Puerto Rico's destroyed grid is an opportunity to build a better one, Musk wrote on Twitter:
           'The Tesla team has done this for many smaller islands around the world, but there is no scalability limit so it can be done for Puerto Rico too. Such a decision would be in the hands of the Puerto Rico government, PUC (Public Utilities Commission), any commercial stakeholders and, most importantly, the people of Puerto Rico.'"

Michael J. Coren, "The US Government Keeps Spectacularly Underestimating Solar Energy Installation," Slashdot, October 21, 2017, https://yro.slashdot.org/story/17/10/20/2116200/the-us- government-keeps-spectacularly-underestimating-solar-energy-installation, reported that the Energy Information Administration (EIA) over at least the last decade, "regularly underestimates the growth in renewables but overestimates U.S. fossil-fuel consumption, which some critics see as an attempt to boost the oil and gas industry."

Studies indicate that developing regenerative agriculture, which includes probiotic farming, has the potential to very greatly increase the ability of soil to act as a carbon sink - pulling CO2 out of the air - while very greatly reducing the need for chemical fertilizer and insecticide. [Studies of probiotic farming also indicate that much less water is needed than in conventional farming. In one very dry New Mexico experiment previously reported in these pages, probiotic farming - putting the appropriate bacteria into the soil - produced twice the normal crop yields, requiring half the water, without use of fertilizer or pesticides]. The key to regenerative farming is putting the appropriate bacteria into the soil for the local conditions, so that the bacteria have a strong fertilizing impact making for much healthier more efficient plants. The new studies indicate that doing this properly can also greatly increase the soil's ability to pull carbon out of the air (Jacques Leslie, "Soil Power! The Dirty Way to a Green Planet," The New York Times, December 2, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com).

Bill Vlasic and Beal E, Boudette, "G.M. and Ford Lay Out Plans to Expand Electric Models," The New York Times, October 2, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/02/business/general-motors- electric-cars.html, reported, " China has said it will eventually ban gasoline- powered cars. California may be moving in the same direction. That pressure has set off a scramble by the world's car companies to embrace electric vehicles.
          
On Monday, General Motors, America's largest automaker, staked its claim to leadership. Outlining a fundamental shift in its vision of the industry, it announced plans for 20 new all- electric models by 2023, including two within the next 18 months."

Keith Bradsher, "China Hastens the World Toward an Electric-Car Future ," The New York Times, October 9, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/business/china-hastens-the-world- toward-an-electric-car-future.html, reported, "Propelled by vast amounts of government money and visions of dominating next-generation technologies , China has become the world's biggest supporter of electric cars. That is forcing automakers from Detroit to Yokohama and Seoul to Stuttgart to pick up the pace of transformation or risk being left behind in the world's largest car market.
          Beijing has already called for one out of every five cars sold in China to run on alternative fuel by 2025. Last month, China issued new rules that would require the world's carmakers to sell more alternative-energy cars here if they wanted to continue selling regular ones. A Chinese official recently said the country would eventually do away with the internal combustion engine in new cars."

The European Commission proposed new auto emission regulations, in November 2017, that would require a 30 percent reduction in auto carbon emissions by 2030, compared to 2021 levels. Environmentalists criticized the Commission for not also setting quotas for zero emission vehicles (Jack Ewing," Europe Sets Deep Car Emission Cuts That Critics Say Don't Go Far Enough ," The New York Times, November 9, 2017).

World Wide sales of electric motor powered bicycles, or e-bikes, were projected to be 1.5 million sold world wide by the end of 2017. Especially in countries like the Netherlands and Germany, most e-bikes are replacing cars (John R. Quain, "E-Bikes Aren't Here to Replace Your Bicycle, But Your Car ," The New York Times, November 24, 2017).

Zoya Teirstein, Grist, "St. Louis Just Became the Biggest Midwestern City to Commit to Clean Energy, Reader Supported News (RSN), October 30, 17, http://readersupportednews.org , reported, "On Friday, Missouri's most populous city voted to obtain 100 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2035. The unanimous decision makes St. Louis the 47th city in the United States to commit to a 100 percent clean energy goal."

A great deal of movement toward green energy has been occurring in Latin America, which is the least carbon dioxide producing content in terms of energy generation. That is partly because of construction of dams, which has created other serious environmental and human rights - often Indigenous rights - issues, but does help reduce global warming. Chile has been developing geothermal energy, along with wind and solar panels. Currently 45 percent of its electricity is from renewable sources as the country moves toward 90 percent renewable by 2050. Mexico, now at 21 percent renewable, is working to be 50 percent renewable by 2050. Argentina, which may have the least renewable energy in Latin America now, with 2 percent, has declared2017 the year of renewables, as it moves toward reaching 20 percent renewable by 2025
          

(Ernesto Londono, "Chile's Energy Transformation Is Powered by Wind, Sun and Volcanoes," The New York Times, August 12, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com).

Iceland was heavily forested when the Vikings arrived, but they quickly cut them down. Now Iceland is working to regrow those forests, with implications for agriculture, soil erosion and climate change (Henry Fountain, "Vikings Razed the Forests. Can Iceland Regrow them?" The New York Times, October 20, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com).

An analysis of the projected economic impact of global warming on different parts of the U.S. was published in Brad Plumer, "Assessing the Economic Bite Fromm Rising Temperature," The New York Times, June 30, 2017, reporting on findings in a June issue of Science. Over all, by 2080 the overall annual cost for the U.S. was seen as 0.7% of GNP for every 1 degree Fahrenheit rise in temperature [But that may not take into account the more common and more fierce storms, and might underestimate the impact of rising oceans], with the greatest cost in the south, particularly in Florida, followed by areas in the Midwest and West, with some areas gaining, including in Maine with lighter winters. [But this may underestimate the impact of lighter winters on increased insect activity, including by tree killing bark beetles, as well as other not yet known effects, positive as well as negative, of the resulting climate change].

Daniel Mesec , "Salmon Victory: Lelu Island LNG Project Scrapped: B.C. indigenous groups celebrate cancelation of massive LNG facility on Lelu Island," ICTMN, July 28, 2017. https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/first-nations/salmon-victory-lelu-island-lng-project- scrapped/, " Indigenous groups are celebrating after Petronas, a Malaysian state-owned oil and gas giant, announced this week it would be scrapping its proposed Pacific Northwest LNG project along British Columbia's North Coast.
          
The $36 billion (Canadian) liquefied natural gas mega-project proposed for Lelu Island in the estuary of the Skeena River–the second-largest salmon-bearing river in Canada, and the traditional territory of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe–was approved by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government last fall, but has since run up against several judicial reviews and legal challenges still pending in Canadian courts. The sudden announcement was welcome news for members of the Gitwilgyoots Tribe who have been camped on Lelu Island in protest of the project for almost two years."

Phil McKenna, "Keystone XL: Low Oil Prices, Tar Sands Pullout Could Kill Pipeline Plan," Inside Climate News, August 6, 2017, https://insideclimatenews.org/news/04082017/keystone-xl- pipeline-tar-sands-oil-competition-hearing-future, reported, "It will be close to three years, at least, before oil could possibly be moving through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline–if the pipeline is completed at all. Company officials now concede that after battling protests and regulatory hurdles for nearly a decade, market forces could scuttle the project.
          Canadian pipeline giant TransCanada first proposed the 1,700-mile project in 2008 to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast. The half-built project was halted by President Obama in 2015 only to be revived through an executive order signed by President Trump soon after he took office. The company has spent $3 billion on the project, mostly for pipe but also for land rights and other costs of lobbying for its proposal.
          During the prolonged dispute, the price of oil fell from more than $130 a barrel to roughly $45 a barrel today, undercutting the prospects for production growth in the Canadian tar sands, which were used to justify the Keystone XL project at its outset.
          Along with changing market conditions, the emergence of competing pipelines scattered TransCanada's customer base. Now it's uncertain whether the company can sign enough new commitments from Alberta's beleaguered oil patch to move forward.
          The company recently embarked on an 'open season' for Keystone XL, inviting commitments from companies to ship tar sands crude (or, alternatively, lighter oil from the U.S. Bakken fields, in North Dakota and Montana).
          At the same time, regulators in Nebraska are weighing the concerns of landowners, environmental organizations and indigenous groups who oppose the pipeline. The state's Public Service Commission will hold a week-long hearing starting Aug. 7 on whether or not to approve the pipeline's proposed route through Nebraska.
           How much opponents will be allowed to tell the commission, however, was significantly limited this week by a retired judge who is overseeing that hearing.
          In answering objections from TransCanada about testimony planned during the hearing, the retired judge wrote that testimony could not discuss safety issues, such as risks from potential oil leaks, or discuss whether there is any actual need for the pipeline. For those rulings, she cited limitations of the state's Major Oil Pipeline Citing Act, passed in 2011. She also prohibited testimony, at TransCanada's request, about how landowners have been treated by the pipeline company in recent months. Landowners will still be allowed to raise concerns about damage to their land during construction and discuss the value of the land, despite TransCanada's objections.
          The commission is expected to announce its decision by Nov. 28. If the proposal is denied, the company could appeal the ruling or submit a new proposal with a modified route.
          Company officials say they will wait for both developments before deciding whether to move forward with the pipeline project.
          'We'll make an assessment of the commercial support and the regulatory approvals at that time,' TransCanada Executive Vice President Paul Miller said during the company's second-quarter earnings call with financial analysts on July 28. 'In the event that we do decide to proceed with the project, we still need probably six months to nine months to start doing some of the staging of the construction crews, et cetera, and that would be followed by about a two-year construction period.'
           The combined staging and construction time means that it would be close to three years before the project could possibly be completed. Miller's statements suggest far more uncertainty than when President Trump came into office and decreed that the pipeline could be built.
          Reassessing Need for the Pipeline
          Pipeline opponents say the company's difficulty in finding new subscribers may spell the end of Keystone XL.
          'We're not surprised that TransCanada is having these issues, and we think they are a legitimate threat to the project ever being built,' said Josh Axelrod, a policy analyst with Natural Resources Defense Council.
          A company spokeswoman offered a more optimistic view.
          'TransCanada maintains shipper support for the project and remains committed to Keystone XL," said Jacquelyn Benson, a spokeswoman for the company. "We are confident that we will have the support we need to move this project forward as we seek additional shipper commitments through the open season.'
          Miller, the executive vice president, said the company would only be seeking commitments from third parties to ship oil through the pipeline–not trying to fill it up with oil to be sold by TransCanada's own marketing arm. "Our business model has us going out to the marketplace producers, refiners to assess their market needs," he said in answer to a question from a financial analyst.
          Low Oil Prices, More Competition
           The low price of oil, however, has stymied the development of additional tar sands oil production.
           The only tar sands projects currently under construction were approved and started before the 2014 oil price crash, according to a recent analysis by environmental advocacy groups Oil Change International and Bold Alliance. Financing for future projects is expected to drop to zero by 2020 due to low oil prices, the report predicted.
           In the past year, some of the world's biggest oil companies have retreated from Alberta's tar sands, selling off $24 billion in development rights in one five-month period.
           As Keystone XL stalled, two other pipeline projects advanced. An expansion of an existing Enbridge pipeline that runs from Alberta to Wisconsin will likely be completed by 2019. Kinder Morgan's expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline from Alberta to British Columbia is slated for completion in late 2019. These developments leave Keystone XL in third place in a race to add pipeline capacity where none may be needed.
          'There is a strong suggestion that we are reaching peak production, and they haven't even run out of capacity yet on pipelines that exist,' Axelrod said.
          Nebraska Landowners Push Back
          In Nebraska, pipeline opponents have been gearing up to fight the pipeline.
          For Brian Jorde, an attorney who has represented Nebraska landowners opposed to the project for the past seven years, next week's hearing is the latest turn in a drawn-out legal battle that could continue for years.
          "This PSC proceeding is about the fifth inning in this saga, because there will be multiple appeals that will last for 18 to 24 months, potentially more," he said.
          'I find it unlikely that this pipeline will ever be built," he said, "regardless of what happens at the PSC.'"

Nebraska regulators approved the Keystone Pipeline construction in their state, in late November 2017 , but with the requirement of changes in the route. The impact of the alterations in the route on the proposed project was not clear (Mitch Smith, "Pipeline Is Approved, But with a Caveat." The New York Times, November 21, 2017).

John Paul Tasker, "First Nations will protest, but Trans Mountain pipeline a done deal, Liberals say: 'Nothing that's happened has changed our mind that this is a good decision,' resources minister says," CBC News Posted: September 7, 2017, reported, " While some Indigenous activists gear up to fight expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline on the streets and in court, federal Liberal cabinet ministers say there's no going back on their decision to approve the $7.4- billion project.
          Inspired by some of the tactics used by protesters at Standing Rock in North Dakota, the Secwepemc Nation, situated along the Trans Mountain route, said Wednesday it was preparing to build '10 tiny houses' in the path of the project's construction as a protest and with the hope of forcing a delay."

Jake Johnson, "Huge 'People Over Pipeline' Victory as TransCanada Forced to Kill Energy East: 'This is an important day in the fight against climate change in Canada. Energy East was a disaster waiting to happen," Common Dreams, October 05, 2017, https:// www.commondreams.org/news/2017/10/05/huge-people-over-pipeline-victory-transcanada- forced-kill-energy-east, reported, " In what environmentalists are calling a major victory for pipeline opponents and the planet, TransCanada announced Thursday that it is abandoning its Energy East pipeline project, which would have carried over a million barrels of crude oil across Canada per day.
           Oil Change International (OCI) estimated in an analysis earlier this year that Energy East would produce an additional 236 million tons of carbon pollution each year. For this reason and many others, OCI applauded TransCanada's decision to nix the project, which was first proposed in 2013.
          'This is an important day in the fight against climate change in Canada,' Adam Scott, senior advisor at OCI, said in a statement on Thursday. 'Energy East was a disaster waiting to happen. The pipeline and tanker proposal scheme was utterly incompatible with a world where we avoid the worst impacts of climate change.'
          Aurore Fauret, Tar Sands Campaign coordinator at 350.org, echoed Scott's celebration and highlighted the grassroots mobilization that brought the pipeline into public view and ultimately helped ensure its defeat.
          

'We witnessed a People's Intervention that forced the climate costs of Energy East to the forefront of the pipeline review,' Fauret said. 'Over 100,000 messages were sent to the National Energy Board (NEB) demanding it consider all the emissions the project would generate. Close to 2,000 people applied as intervenors, citing climate change as one of their reasons. Two years later, after the NEB accepted to review the climate costs of the pipeline, TransCanada is calling it quits."
          TransCanada also announced Thursday that it is ditching the Eastern Mainline pipeline project in the face of critical scrutiny from Canadian energy regulators.
          
Both projects from their inception faced fierce opposition from Indigenous groups and climate activists, who often referred to Energy East as a "ticking time bomb" that posed a tremendous threat to sacred lands and the water supply.
          'The end of Energy East shows that extreme energy projects are part of our past not our future.' –Maude Barlow, Council of Canadians
          'It simply is not worth the risk,' Maude Barlow, honorary chairperson with the Council of
          Canadians, concluded in 2014.
          But while the downfall of both Energy East and Eastern Mainline was welcomed by those who worked tirelessly for years to guarantee their defeat, activists issued an urgent reminder that the fight against pipelines in both Canada and the United States has only just begun.
          'The end of Energy East shows that extreme energy projects are part of our past not our future,' Barlow said in a statement on Thursday. 'For all of our sakes, Kinder Morgan, Line 3, Line 10, and Keystone XL must face the same fate.'
          Grand Chief Serge Simon of the Mohawk Council of Kanesatake agreed, arguing Thursday that 'it will be a hollow victory' if any of the many other pipelines under consideration 'are allowed to steamroll over Indigenous opposition and serve as an outlet for even more climate-killing tar sands production.'"(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License).

Greg Palast. "The Pig That Burst The Keystone Pipeline," Greg Palast: Journalism and Film, November 17, 2017, http://www.gregpalast.com/pig-burst-keystone-pipeline/, reported in part, "Yesterday, the Keystone pipeline cracked and dumped 210,000 gallons of oil onto the South Dakota prairie.
          Here's the reason the pipeline burst: the PIG didn't squeal
. The PIG, the Pipeline Inspection Gauge, is sent through the Keystone to check for evidence of any leak, failure, or corrosion that will cause it to burst. But the PIG didn't squeal a warning. Why not?
          Because, as disclosed in my investigation for Britain's investigative TV series Dispatches in 2010, the PIG has been silenced, its software jacked and hacked by a company that provides PIGS. The software is deliberately set to reduce the warning signals and thereby cut costs of replacement and repair by billions of dollars on the Keystone and other pipes."

Scientists have confirmed that sea levels along the southeast coast of the U.S. have risen six times the average ocean rise, pointing out that various atmospheric conditions affect the extent of ocean rise. Initial findings seem to indicate that the extensive rise in th U.S. southeast is due to the convergence of warmer than previously normal Pacific Ocean waters (likely a result of global warming) in the the El Niño cycle and the North Atlantic Oscillation (Justin Gillis, " The Sea Level Did, in Fact, Rise Faster in the Southeast U.S.," The New York Times, August 9, 2017, http://m.mlb.com/nyy/news/).

Bill MkKibben, "The Unimaginable Is Now Possible: 100% Renewable Energy. We Can't Settle for Less," In These Times, August 24, 2017, reported that it is now possible, and practical for the U.S., to become 100% renewable energy, in large part because the price of renewable electricity has fallen lower than other forms of energy, by 2015, it had already dropped to $4.10 per watt for home solar, and less for mass production.
          

Adam Nagourney, "California Extends Climate Bill, Handing Gov. Jerry Brown a Victory," The New York Times, July 17, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/climate/california-cap-and-trade- approved-jerry-brown.html, reported, " California lawmakers voted Monday to extend a cap-and-trade program until 2030, ending a legislative standoff that had threatened a critical component of the state's pioneering efforts to reduce climate-altering emissions."

Angela Chen, "Court rules that imported solar panels are bad for US manufacturing: This paves the way for a tariff on Chinese solar panels, The Verge, September 22, 2017, https:// www.theverge.com/2017/9/22/16351562/solar-energy-international-trade-commission-foreign- trade-lawsuit-suniva-tariff, reported, " The International Trade Commission has ruled that American companies are being hurt by cheap solar panels from overseas, providing an opportunity for President Donald Trump to tax imports from countries like China.
          The decision has big implications for America's $29 billion solar industry, which has grown tremendously in the past decade. Solar power is much cheaper now, and there were 10 times as many large-scale solar projects in 2014 as there were in 2004. But companies fear that if cheap foreign imports are banned, solar energy will become more expensive, and that could hurt both existing and future projects. Some businesses had even begun hoarding panels in case they became more expensive."
          It remains to be seen what action President Trump will take.

The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory reported, in July 2017, that the combination of making refrigeration more efficient and replacing fluorinated gasses with non-greenhouse (or ozone layer destroying) coolants worldwide, could reduce global warming by 1 degree Celsius (perhaps by 20%) by 2100 (Lisa Friedman, "Fixing a Major Piece of the Puzzle," The New York Times, July 14, 2017).

Peter J. Usher, Frances Abele, "Strengthening environmental reviews of major projects: Major project reviews require expertise, public dialogue and common sense – organized by rules and procedures that sustain a balance among these factors," Policy Options Politique, November 14, 2017, http://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/november-2017/strengthening-environmental-reviews-of- major-projects/, reported in part, " Early in its mandate, the Liberal government committed to make substantial improvements to Canada's system of environmental assessment, in order to regain public trust in how major projects are considered and approved. Specifically, it undertook to restore robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments; ensure that decisions are based on science, facts and evidence, and serve the public's interest; and provide ways for Canadians to express their views and opportunities for experts to meaningfully participate."
          "Inextricably entwined with these issues is the Trudeau government's commitment to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which among other commitments affirms Indigenous peoples' right to free, prior and informed consent. As the October 19, 2017 withdrawal of Assembly of First Nations regional chiefs from talks on the new environmental assessment regime illustrates, it is far from clear how this can be achieved across the many fields of interaction with Canadian governments. The regional chiefs objected to an apparent contradiction in the federal position: alongside the government's overall commitment to partnership and dialogue, federal officials sought to retain control of decision-making about how dialogue would take place."

A heat wave across the Southwest in mid-June 2016, brought record 120 degree Fahrenheit temperature to Phoenix, AZ, June 19. Smaller airplanes were unable to take off in Phoenix, because the less dense, very hot, air did not provide sufficient lift, leading to cancelation of many flights. American Airlines, alone, cancelled more than 40 flights (Jonah Engel Bromwich, "Extreme Heat Scorches Southern Arizona," The New York Times, July 26, 2017; Zach Wichter, "Too Hot to Takeoff: Air Travel Buffeted by Capricious Climate," The New York Times, July 21, 2017).

Climate change has clearly arrives in many U.S. southern states in summer. It has become dangerous to work out of doors on many days. There are already numerous cases of heat exaustion occurring among workers used ot laboring outside in summer, and the heating is increasing (Yamiche Alcindor, "In Sweltering South, Climate Change Is Now a Workplace Hazard: Workers laboring outdoors in southern states are wrestling with the personal and political consequences of a worsening environment," The New York Times, August 3, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/us/politics/climate-change-trump-working-poor- activists.html).
          Alan Blinder, "As the Northwest Boils, an Aversion to Air-Conditioners Wilts environment," The New York Times, August 3, 2017, https:/ /www.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/us/as-the-northwest- boils-an-aversion-to-air-conditioners-wilts.html, reported, "Before the first batch of Nutella and sea salt doughnuts was sold on Fremont Street on Wednesday morning, Brianna Gneckow posed a question to her co-workers at Pip's Original Doughnuts: 'Does everybody have water?" But by lunch, hours before Portland endured a daily record high of 103 degrees, the staff had switched off the fryer and locked the doors.
          Portland, of all places, was just too hot. As the Pacific Northwest sweated and wilted this week in the grip of one of the fiercest heat waves ever recorded in this region, Portland reached 105 degrees on Thursday but again fell short of the all-time mark of 107. A 78-year-old record in Salem, the Oregon capital, fell on Wednesday, when the city hit 106 degrees. Thermometers in Seattle, a three-hour drive from Portland, showed temperatures in the 90s on Wednesday and Thursday, setting daily records.
          Here in Oregon's largest city, it was sometimes hard to tell what was more startling: the record-setting heat or the fact that, on a planet getting used to higher temperatures, Portland was not entirely unprepared for it. In a region known for its enviously mild, low-humidity summers, people have increasingly and quietly embraced air-conditioning. Federal data suggests that about 70 percent of the Portland area's occupied homes and apartments have at least some air-conditioning, up from 44 percent in 2002
."

As drought has made wild fires fairly common in some areas of Europe, Aurelien Breeden and Benoit Morenne, "Wildfires Force Thousands to Evacuate in Southern France," The New York Times, July 26, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com evacuation.html&_r=0, reported, " Thousands of people were evacuated from homes and vacation sites in southeastern France on Wednesday as strong winds fueled wildfires that had been raging across the region for days.
          At least 10,000 people, including 3,000 campers, were evacuated overnight – some to beaches nearby – after a forest fire started near Bormes-les-Mimosas, a town on the Mediterranean coast, where the population surges with vacationers during the summer.
          At least two homes were gutted and a firefighter sustained an injury battling the blaze, but so far there have been no reports of fatalities, officials said. The prefecture of Var, the region that includes Bormes-les-Mimosas, said in a statement that nearly 2,000 acres of a forest near the town had burned and that more than 500 firefighters had been deployed."
          Earlier, in mid-June, Wildfires in Portugal had killed 61 people (Raphael Minder, "Forest Fires in Portugal Kill 61, Including Motorists Trapped in Their Cars," The New York Times, July 26, 2017).
          The drought also caused other problems, including water shortages, even in usually well supplied Rome (Jason Horowitz, "City of Ancient Aqueducts May Face Water Rationing," The New York Times, July 28, 2017).

Europe continued to suffer from unusual heat and drought, in August 2017. "Europe Swelters Under a Heat Wave Called 'Lucifer'," The New York Times, August 6, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/pages/todayspaper/index.html, reported, "A crowded tram in Bucharest, Romania, on Friday. Meteorologists issued a heat warning for western parts of the country and placed 12 counties under a 'red code' alert.
          The meteorologists agree: The long hot spell gripping parts of Europe this past week is uncommon.
          
People looking for relief from the heat in countries like France, Spain and Italy grappled for just the right name for the phenomenon – and settled on "Lucifer."
          The waves of heat sent temperatures soaring to record highs for several days, caused at least two deaths, kindled wildfires and drove tempers through the roof.
          
In France, people congregated around fountains to bask in the meager sprays, or simply to dive in. Locals and tourists refreshed themselves in the Water Mirror fountain in the center of Bordeaux,
          France, on Friday.
          In Romania, the police banned heavy traffic on major roads, and trains slowed to a relative crawl.
           Animal rights groups in Serbia's capital, Belgrade, urged citizens to place bowls of water outside their buildings and in parks for stray dogs.
           High temperatures this summer have brought punishing heat to regions in the United States like the Pacific Northwest – where generations had shunned air-conditioning – reaching as high as 104 in Seattle and 107 in Portland, Ore. In parts of Asia, like Pakistan, a blast of scorching weather this year also had people there reaching for comparisons to hell on earth as records fell.
           Experts say it's all part of a broader trend: Summers are, indeed, getting hotter."
          " Sun-kissed Italy has become sun-cursed. With temperatures in recent days regularly rising north of 100 degrees, a nationwide drought leaving rivers and mouths dry and countryside kindling and arsonists combining to ignite the landscape, Italians are, well, boiling.
           Farmers are lamenting more than $1 billion in revenue lost to drought and singed fields. Firefighters are busy. Packs of gum are melting in their wrappers."
          " About half of Spain was placed under an emergency alert over the weekend because of the heat wave, as forecasts predicted temperatures of up to 111 degrees Fahrenheit (44 degrees Celsius).
          In the southern city of Córdoba, the temperature reached almost 113 degrees on Friday afternoon. However, no major incident was reported, and the continuing high temperatures are slightly milder than that experienced in mid-July in Spain, when the temperature reached a record of almost 117 degrees in Córdoba."
          

" The heat wave that hit southeastern France throughout the week increased pollution levels. The authorities also issued safety warnings on proper hydration as thousands of incoming and departing vacationers clogged roads across the region.
           Corsica was hit especially hard. Nighttime offered no respite to inhabitants of Marignana, a village on the island where the temperature stayed at nearly 87 degrees Fahrenheit on Monday night into Tuesday.
          On Wednesday, France's national electricity provider announced that energy consumption on the island had reached a record high the previous night.
          The French Riviera was not spared either, especially inland. In Puget-Théniers, a village about 25 miles northwest of Nice in the Alpes-Maritimes Department, the national weather forecaster registered a record high of 104 degrees Fahrenheit on Tuesday."
          "Summer means the start of a dangerous dry season for many parts of Europe. In Portugal, a raging forest fire in June killed scores of people, some of whom were trapped in their cars, and forced many to flee their homes. And last month, fires forced the evacuation of over 20,000 in southern France.
           Wildfires revisited parts of France this week, burning for days near the town of Palneca, and torching more than 400 acres of forest.
          On Friday morning, a wildfire in the southern Greek island of Kythira, southwest of Athens, led to the evacuation of a village and power cuts."
           In Poland, " Scorching temperatures also caused dramatic weather breakdowns, including strong storms that brought a whirlwind, as well as hail the size of tennis balls, injuring dozens of people across the country."

Wildfires were also a serious problem in western Canada in 2017. From the beginning of Fire season in early April until the very first days iof August, alone, a total of 1,460,393 acres, or 2,282 square miles, scorched by nearly 900 wildfires in just British Columbia. Numerous first nation communities were impacted ("British Columbia Wildfires: Grass as Dry as 'Crunchy Snow': Wildfires continue to threaten First Nations in central British Columbia," ICMN, August 8, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/environment/b-c-wildfire-grass-dry/).

Jason Horowitz, "In Italy's Drought-Hit Vineyards, the Harvest of a Changing Climate," The New York Times, August 22, 2017,https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/22/world/europe/barolo-italy- wine-climate-change.html, reported, "
          "In vino veritas. The warming temperatures, shortening of the seasons and unseasonal storms brought on by global climate change are hastening the harvest of perhaps the most venerable crop of Western civilization.
           "A 2016 study by NASA and Harvard of grape harvest dates going back to the 1600s found that climate change pushed harvests forward drastically in France and Switzerland in the second half of the 20th century.
          Other studies have suggested that traditional wine-growing regions in Europe and around the world will become too hot for the berries traditionally linked to their earth and climate, or terroir, and will be forced to adopt varietals built for heat
."

Somini Sengupta, "H ow Climate Change Is Playing Havoc With Olive Oil (and Farmers) " The New York Times, October 24, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/24/climate/olive- oil.html&_r=0, reported, " It was in June, the time of year when the first olives normally burst from their blossoms in the mild warmth of early summer, when Irene Guidobaldi walked through her groves in blistering heat and watched in horror as the flowers on her trees began to wither and fall.
          The only way to save her family's precious orchard in the hills of Umbria was to buy the most precious thing of all in this summer of drought: water.
          Lots and lots of water."
          

"The heat wave that swept across southern Europe this summer, which scientists say bore the fingerprints of human-induced climate change, is only the latest bout of strange weather to befall the makers of olive oil."

A major factor in the spread of the desert in Northern China has been record drought in the region, causing water shortages and wilting crops (Edward Wong, "Drought Is Ravaging a Region in China," The New York Times, May 5, 2017).

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) reported via E-mail, July 14, 2017, "Yesterday, we cheered the news of two major environmental victories in Washington, D.C.
          Earlier this month, the D.C. Circuit Court had blocked Pruitt's attempt to delay implementation of the limits by 90 days, calling his action 'unlawful,' "arbitrary," and "capricious." Pruitt then asked the court again for more time–52 days or longer–to carry out the court's decision.
           Yesterday the court said no, pointing out that it would grant Pruitt, 'in all practical effect, the very delay' they already rejected. The court ordered that its ruling take full effect in 14 days.
           While we were still celebrating, the U.S. House of Representatives affirmed that climate change poses a direct threat to our national security.
          
A previous bipartisan vote in the House Armed Services Committee had included the following language in the National Defense Authorization Act: '[C]limate change is a direct threat to the national security of the United States and is impacting stability in areas of the world both where the United States Armed Forces are operating today, and where strategic implications for future conflict exist.'"
          The provision also requires a report to Congress on 'vulnerabilities to military installations and combatant commander requirements resulting from climate change over the next 20 years.'
          Rep. Scott Perry (R-PA) offered an amendment to scrub those provisions, but it failed by a wide margin of 185 to 234–including 46 Republicans joining nearly all House Democrats in voting no.
          These victories are why we fight. Despite an all-out assault on climate action waged by the Trump administration, we stand on the side of science, common sense–and most importantly, what is right.
          Climate change is happening, whether or not President Trump and Administrator Pruitt are willing to admit it or do anything about it. And the climate victories we won under President Obama are strongly grounded in both law and legal precedent."

Lisa Friedman, Trump Takes a First Step Toward Scrapping Obama's Global Warming Policy," The New York Times, October 4, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/04/climate/trump-climate- change.html&mtrre f=www .nytimes.com, reported, " The Trump administration will repeal the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Barack Obama's effort to fight climate change, and will ask the public to recommend ways it could be replaced, according to an internal Environmental Protection Agency document.
          The draft proposal represents the administration's first substantive step toward rolling back the plan, which was designed to curb greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector
, after months of presidential tweets and condemnations of Mr. Obama's efforts to reduce climate-warming pollution.
          But it also lays the groundwork for new, presumably weaker, regulations by asking for the public and industry to offer ideas for a replacement."

Lisa Friedman, "E.P.A. Reverses Course on Ozone Rule," The New York Times, August 3, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/03/climate/epa-reverses-course-on-ozone- rule.html, reported, " The Trump administration said late Wednesday that it would not delay an Obama-era regulation on smog-forming pollutants from smokestacks and tailpipes, a move that environmental groups hailed as a victory.
          The Environmental Protection Agency decision came a day after 16 state attorneys general, all Democrats, filed a lawsuit challenging the delay with the United States Court of Appeals for the
          

District of Columbia. It reversed a decision that Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. administrator, made in June to put off an Oct. 1 deadline for designating which areas of the country met new ozone standards."

Alexandra Witze, "Ageing Satellites Put Crucial Sea Ice Climate Record at Risk: Scientists scramble to avert disruption to dataset that has tracked polar ice since the late 1970s,"
           Scientific American, October 27, 2017, https:// www.scientificamerican.com/article/ageing- satellites-put-crucial-sea-ice-climate-record-at-risk/, reported in part, " One of the most important continuous records of climate change–nearly four decades of satellite measurements of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice–might soon be interrupted.
          Scientists all over the world rely on the sea-ice record compiled by the US National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado. But the US military satellites that collect the data, by measuring ice extent using microwave sensors, are approaching the end of their lives. Three are still working but ageing, and their intended successor started experiencing glitches in 2016, before conking out for good this month. The next possible replacement won't launch until at least the early 2020s."

The league of Conservation Voters stated, July 27, 2017, https://secure3.convio.net/lcv/site/SPageNavigator/LCV_ms_donation_20276.html;jsessionid=000000 00.app367b?autologin=true&NONCE_TOKEN=067615C9A181EDE442080F3B71D4DBB2, "As the
          media focuses all attention on the Senate healthcare debate , GOP leadership in the House is rapidly tacking on extreme anti-environment riders to a critical spending bill.
          Rep. Gosar (R-AZ) is pushing a disastrous rider that codifies climate denial. Rep. McKinley (R-WV) is actually fighting to INCREASE oil and gas handouts. And this bill guts drinking water protections for 117 million people while stripping them of their ability to have a say in the matter
. As Congress prepares to return home for the August recess we have to do more – and fast. This spending bill is likely to PASS the House, so blocking it in the Senate is our only shot at averting a
          catastrophe."
          "Polluter allies have the presidency – and majorities in the House and Senate – but there still is a narrow path to victory here. GOP leadership is in disarray, with the conservative and moderate wings of their party fighting with each other. If we put the right amount of pressure in the right places, we can still derail this awful bill."

Adam Nagourney, "California Extends Climate Bill, Handing Gov. Jerry Brown a Victory," The New York Times, July 17, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/17/climate/california-cap-and- trade-approved-jerry-brown.html, reported, " California lawmakers voted Monday to extend a cap-and-trade program until 2030, ending a legislative standoff that had threatened a critical component of the state's pioneering efforts to reduce climate-altering emissions."

Climate change has been largely responsible for the town of Churchill Manitoba on the edge of Hudson Bay becoming isolated. It's rail line was closed following a pair of unusually large blizzards, bringing record flooding, which is now expected to happen regularly. With supplies for the 900 residents having to be brought in by plane, already high prices have soared (Catherine Porter, "Canadian Town, Isolated After Losing Rail Link, 'Feels Held Hostage'," The New York Times, August 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/world/canada/canada-climate- change-arctic.html).

Jefferey Gettleman, "Loss of Fertile Land Fuels, 'Looming Crisis' Across Africa: Climate change, soil degradation and rising wealth are shrinking the amount of usable land in Africa. But the number of people who need it is rising fast," The New York Times, July 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/29/world/africa/africa-climate-change-kenya-land- disputes.html&_r=0, reported, " Kenya has a land problem. Africa itself has a land problem. The continent seems so vast and the land so open. The awesome sense of space is an inextricable part of the beauty here – the unadulterated vistas, the endless land. But in a way, that is an illusion.
          

Population swells, climate change, soil degradation, erosion, poaching, global food prices and even the benefits of affluence are exerting incredible pressure on African land. They are fueling conflicts across the continent, from Nigeria in the west to Kenya in the east – including here in Laikipia, a wildlife haven and one of Kenya's most beautiful areas.
          Large groups of people are on the move, desperate for usable land. Data from NASA satellites reveals an overwhelming degradation of agricultural land throughout Africa, with one recent study showing that more than 40 million Africans are trying to survive off land whose agricultural potential is declining
.
          At the same time, high birthrates and lengthening life spans mean that by the end of this century, there could be as many as four billion people on the continent, about 10 times the population 40 years ago.
          It is a two-headed problem, scientists and activists say, and it could be one of the gravest challenges Africa faces : The quality of farmland in many areas is getting worse, and the number of people squeezed onto that land is rising fast."
          "More than in any other region of the world, people in Africa live off the land. There are relatively few industrial or service jobs here. Seventy percent of Africa's population makes a living through agriculture, higher than on any other continent, the World Bank says.
          But as the population rises, with more siblings competing for their share of the family farm, the slices are getting thinner. In many parts of Africa, average farm size is just an acre or two, and after repeated divisions of the same property, some people are left trying to subsist on a sliver of a farm that is not much bigger than a tennis court.
           A changing climate makes things even harder. Scientists say large stretches of Africa are drying up, and they predict more desertification, more drought and more hunger. In a bad year, maybe one country in Africa will be hit by famine. This year, famine is stalking three, pushing more than 10 million people in Somalia, Nigeria and South Sudan to the brink of starvation.
          But much of Africa's farmland is in danger for another, perhaps simpler, reason: overuse. Fast- growing populations mean that many African families can't afford to let land sit fallow and replenish. They have to take every inch of their land and farm or graze it constantly. This steadily lowers the levels of organic matter in the soil, making it difficult to grow crops.
          In many areas, the soil is so dried out and exhausted that there is little solace even when the prayed-for rains finally come."

Bill Vlasic, "In Pivotal Moment, Tesla Unveils Its First Mass-Market Sedan," The New York Times, July 29, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/29/business/tesla-model-3-elon- musk.html, reported, " After a meteoric rise that made it, at least briefly, the most valuable car company in America, Tesla arrived at a moment of truth on Friday night as it delivered the first of its mass-market sedans to their new owners.
          For a decade, the company has been a manufacturer of high-end electric cars in small numbers. But now, Tesla is aiming at much loftier goals. It wants not only to become a large-scale producer in the suddenly crowded field of battery-powered vehicles but also to lure consumers away from mainstream, gasoline-powered automobiles."

Volvo announced, in July 2017, that beginning in 2017 all new models it introduces will either be hybrids or all electric vehicles (Jack Ewing, "Going Electric, Volvo Declares Gas is the Past ," The New York Times, July 6, 2017).

Great Britain announced, in July 2017, that beginning in 2040 it will ban the sale of all new diesel and gas powered automobiles, in order to reduce pollution (Stephen Castle, "To Fight Pollution, Britain Will Bann Sale of New Diesel and Gas Cars by 2040 ," The New York Times, July 27, 2017).
          

The economically fairly poor island of Samso, Denmark, has become a model of green energy, selling its surplus of solar and wind power to the Danish mainland, as described in Tom A. Peter, "An Island of Green," Christian Science Monitor Weekly, April 17, 2017.

Greenbelt, MD is one of a number of towns in the U.S. reducing its methane emissions by having its food businesses send their food scraps to a county run composting facility, rather than throwing them away to end up in a land fill (Ajowa Nzinga Ifateyo, "Greenbelt Earns Its Cooperative Stripes ," In These Times, August 2017),

Diane Cardwell, "Utility Helps Wean Vermonters From the Electric Grid : Green Mountain Power is trying to turn homes, neighborhoods and towns into virtual power plants, driven by economics as well as environmental goals," The New York Times, July 29, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/29/business/energy-environment/vermont-green-mountain-power- grid.html, reported, "And throughout Vermont, customers are signing up for a new program that will allow them to power their homes while entirely disconnected from the grid.
          The projects are part of a bold experiment aimed at turning homes, neighborhoods and towns into virtual power plants, able to reduce the amount of energy they draw from the central electric system. But behind them are not green energy advocates or proponents of living off the land. Instead, it's the local electric company, Green Mountain Power."

Jonah Engel Bromwich, "Flash Floods in Arizona Kill at Least 9, The New York Times, July 16, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/16/us/arizona-flash-floods-kills.html, reported on heavy rains, "At least nine people were killed and one person was still missing on Sunday night after flash flooding interrupted a family gathering in central Arizona over the weekend.

Hurricane Harvey has been called "unprecedented" by the U.S. Weather Service. Harvey is one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history, a strong force 4, but unusually large storm, struck virtually the entire length of the Texas Gulf coastline, August 26. With global warming having increased the temperature of the water in the Gulf of Mexico, the storm sat over the coastal area for several days, dumping perhaps up to a record 50 inches of rain extending well inland. The result was first tremendous wind damage along a wide spread area of the coast, followed by wide spread record flooding. Reservoirs, by August 29, for the first time ever, reached the point of overflowing if water was not released, bringing yet more flooding, including to downtown Houston. Five waterways reached their highest record ever, adding to the second round of flooding. More than 30,000 people were evacuated or rescued, and in the first 24 hours there were already five known deaths, expanded to 21 by August 30. Hospitals and emergency facilities in Houston also suffered from flooding. Very heavy rains extended into Louisiana.
           By August 30, Harvey had gone back to the coast, and then turned inland at the Louisiana-Texas Boarder as a weaker tropical storm, but again dropping massive rains, causing yet more devastating flooding. Many areas were impossible for rescuers to get to by land or boat, and helicopters were being employed. The New York Times Weather report, August 31, predicted the storm would next move northeast with lesser, but sill very heavy rains causing flooding toward Southern Illinois, Indiana and Ohio.
          The economic damage is in the multiple billions of dollars, with the projection that it will take years to rebuild. FEMA estimated, August 28, that 450,000 people would need disaster assistance. About one-sixth of U.S. oil refining capacity shut down in the face of the storm, immediately raising gas prices at the pump by several cents in the U.S., while the price of crude oil dropped from the temporary drop in demand from reduced capacity to refine it. Initial indications were that there would be no significant long term damage to oil facilities . But very soon a number of releases of oil and toxic liquids and gasses were reported . The reported damage may well increase with later reviews. With the likelihood of future huge storms, the Gulf oil and gas industry is now faced with the extremely
          

expensive choice of repairing and hardening facilities and infrastructure in place, or moving to safer areas (Manny Hernandez, Alan Blinder and Simon Romero, "Hurricane Harvey Strikes a Powerful Blow to Texas, and Lingers," The New York Times, August 26, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/26/us/hurricane-harvey-strikes-a-powerful-blow-to-texas-and- lingers.html; Hurricane News, "The Weather Channel," accessed August 29, 2017, 4:50 pm MDT,   https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/harvey-houston-texas-flooding- evacuations; Sheri Fink and Alan Blinder, Houston's Hospitals Treat Storm Victims and Become Victims Themselves," The New York Times, August 28, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/us/hurricane-harvey-houston-hospitals- rescue.html; Alan Blinder and Jack Healey, "Coffee and Cots as Houston Houses Thousands in a Convention Center," The -evacuations-texas.html; Julie Turkewitz, Richard Perez-Pena New York Times, August 28, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/us/harvey and Jack Healy, "Deluged Texas Braces for More Rain, and Years of Recovery," The New York Times, August 28, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/28/us/houston-flooding-harvey.html; Lisa Friedman and John Schwartz, "How Hurricane Harvey Became So Destructive," The New York Times, August 28, 2017," The New York Times, August 28, 2017; Clifford Kraus and Hiroko Tabuchi, "Harvey's Toll on Energy Industry Shows a Texas Vulnerability," The New York Times, August 29, 2017, www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/business/energy-environment/harvey-energy-industry- texas.html; Campbell Robertson, Rick Rojas and Sheila Dewan," As Houston Looks to Recover, Small Towns Now Bear the Brunt," The New York Times, August 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/us/small-towns-harvey.html&_r=0).
          With global warming increasing, the monsoons in South Asia have been especially torrential and deadly, with serieous flooding, in the summer of 2017. More than 1000 people were known dead near the end of August, and it was feared the death toll would rise as continuing heavier thant normal rain would increase the flooding. The UN reorted that more than 41 million people had been directly impacted ion India, Bangladesh and Nepal by flooding and landslides. Many thousands of homes and other structures have been destroyed in the most severe flooding since 2005. Hospitals, colleges and schools in many areas have been flooded and many closed. Transportation has been greatly disrupted. In Banledesh, about one-thirdof the country has been underwater. There, the Red Cross says the flooding is the worst in 40 years, with 700,000 homes destroyed or damaged (Jeffrey Gettleman, "More Than 1,000 Died in South Asia Floods This Summer ," The New York Times, August 29, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/29/world/asia/floods-south-asia-india- bangladesh-nepal-houston.html&_r=0).
          
By August 31, more environmental and other damage began to be evident in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Julie Turkewitz, Henry Fountain and Hiroko Tabuchi, "New Hazard in Storm Zone: Chemical Blasts and 'Noxious' Smoke," The New York Times, August 31, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/31/us/texas-chemical-plant-explosion- arkema.html, reported, " A series of explosions at a flood-damaged chemical plant outside Houston on Thursday drew sharp focus on hazards to public health and safety from the city's vast petrochemical complex as the region begins a painstaking recovery from Hurricane Harvey.
          The blasts at the plant, owned by the French chemical company Arkema, came after its main electrical system and backups failed, cutting off refrigeration systems that kept volatile chemicals stable. While nearby residents had been evacuated, 15 public safety officers were treated at a hospital after inhaling smoke from chemical fires that followed the explosions.
          
The Arkema plant has been identified as one of the most hazardous in the state. Its failure followed releases of contaminants from several other area petrochemical plants and systemic breakdowns of water and sewer systems in Houston and elsewhere in the storm-struck region.
          The explosions – more are expecte
d, the company said – will bring fresh scrutiny on whether these plants are adequately regulated and monitored by state and federal safety officials.
          The chemical plant accident came as devastation from Harvey, now a tropical depression moving into the Mississippi Valley, continued to spread across the region. The known death toll from the storm
          

and flooding remained at 39, the authorities said.
          Record-breaking floods swept through Beaumont, Tex., 100 miles east of Houston, damaging the water system and leaving the city's 120,000 residents without clean water."

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), carried August 31, 2017, Brenda Ekwurtzwl, " What's the Connection Between Climate Change and Hurricane Harvey?" http://blog.ucsusa.org/brenda-ekwurzel/whats-the-connection-between-climate-change-and-hurricane- harvey?_ga=2.3217909.471368280.1504476284-2133135183.1504476284 commented, "First
          responders, neighbors, volunteers, city, county, state, national and international institutions, businesses, and people around the world are heeding the call to help save lives and provide resources for keeping people safe throughout the onslaught of Hurricane Harvey and aftermath. Even as the storm slipped back offshore of Texas and then like a pinwheel spun back over to Louisiana and is now moving further inland on a northeast trajectory, questions are already being asked:
          Is this storm unprecedented?
          Are there telltale signs of climate change?
          Before jumping into noteworthy aspects of Hurricane Harvey, an analogy I heard from NPR science reporter Christopher Joyce comes to mind.
          'A scientist once told me about climate and weather, said it's kind of like playing baseball with a bat with lead in it. You know, you're going to go out there, and you're going to hit foul balls, and you're going to hit grounders, and you're going to strike out. But every once in a while, you hit that sweet spot with [sic] that leaded bat, and it's not just going to knock the ball into the stands. It's going to knock it out of the park.'
          The analogy gets to the 'fat tail' aspect of extreme events. A scorching heat wave or torrential rain are more likely now than before after the average background conditions shift a little (see Fig 1-08).
          Hot air and rain intensity
           Scientists know that warmer air holds more moisture. That moisture can be taken up by storms resulting in extreme rainfall events. We saw evidence of this in the increase in volume of water dumped during the most intense downpours of a year in the Continental US.
           Hot oceans and storm power
          This heavy precipitation can be further fueled as climate change warms oceans. Hurricane models that compare the past three decades with further climate change (RCP 4.5) toward the end of the century show an increase of average hurricane intensity, precipitation rates and the number and occurrence of days with intense category 4 and 5 storms
.
          How does it work? If a tropical depression forms, and conditions prove favorable to grow into a Hurricane, warmer seas can increase the power of a storm primarily through evaporation of the hot seawater and other processes. When conditions get too hot in the tropics, the ocean tends to shed that excess heat away from the tropical surface ocean as fast as possible. It is as if the tropical ocean 'sweats' in the summer and tropical depressions, storms or hurricanes, are dramatic ways to transfer that excess heat away from the tropics. We saw a similar scenario with Hurricane Harvey, which quickly gained intensity–moving from a tropical depression to a category 4 hurricane –as it passed over the unusually warm Gulf waters in the days before it made landfall.
          Sea level rise increasing damages
          Local sea level can influence flooding in several ways. Tropical storms and hurricanes can blow so hard that they literally pile water up onto the shore. Storm surges today are more hazardous in low-lying coastal regions compared to the same storm surge a century ago. Due in large part to climate change, seas are on average 8 inches higher since 1880. Galveston, Texas experienced around a foot of sea level rise in just the last 50 years due to the combination of climate change and sinking coastal land from groundwater pumping, oil and gas extraction and natural causes.
          In addition to storm surge, intense hurricane precipitation can swell the rivers that are draining into higher seas during a storm, which can back up and cause a dangerous situation as rivers and reservoirs overtop their banks and flood adjoining land, something we observed during Hurricane Harvey.
          

Hurricane Harvey: an epic event
          All these factors were in play in Hurricane Harvey
:
           Hurricane Harvey shattered the storm total rainfall record for the continental U.S. at over 51 inches at a rain station near Cedar Bayou Texas.
           While the Gulf of Mexico normally has hot seas in August, they were unusually warm when the storm hit. The average sea surface temperature over August 1-23, 2017 in the majority of the Gulf of Mexico was greater that 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit). Not too surprising since the Gulf of Mexico sea surface temperatures were breaking records the prior winter. This allowed Hurricane Harvey to jump from a tropical storm to a category 4 Hurricane while passing over the Gulf, which had sea surface temperatures 1.5 to 4 degrees Celsius above normal.
          Designed for storms in the 1940s, two of Houston's reservoirs are overflowing and at least one levee breached under the tremendous pressure from flooding that resulted from the trillions of gallons of precipitation dumped by Hurricane Harvey. Additionally, the storm surge in Galveston Bay slowed the drainage rate and much of the spongey soils underneath the acres of impervious surfaces were unable to help, making it a stranded natural asset in this storm.
          
Data are being collected for investigators to tease apart the relative contributions of various factors likely to have influenced Hurricane Harvey. Typically, extreme weather scientists investigate the weather and climate change factors for hazards. If better data are available on the infrastructure, land use decisions, historic inequities, etc. that influence exposure and vulnerability to a weather hazard, these can be incorporated into more comprehensive investigations of impacts risk (see AR5 WG2 figSMP-1).
          As we move into recovery and rebuilding, it will be important to understand all the major factors so Houston can rebuild in a way that better protects lives and property."
          For more information visit: www.ucsusa.org.

Eric Whalen (EricWhalen@comingcleaninc.org, (971) 998-8786), August 31, 2017, "Texas Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA , A Toxic Storm: Hazardous Facilities, Failed Chemical Safety Policies, and Extreme Weather Leave Houston Residents Swimming in Toxic Soup," " In response to the devastation and suffering created by Tropical Storm Harvey, and the toxic hazards posed to health and the environment by dozens of hazardous industrial and commercial facilities concentrated in the Houston area, Michele Roberts, Co-Coordinator of the Environmental Justice Health Alliance (EJHA ), issued the following statement:
          'Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, and all those suffering in Houston and along the Gulf Coast from the impacts of Tropical Storm Harvey. EJHA and our partner, Coming Clean, work closely with affiliates and communities in Houston and throughout the Gulf Coast who have been impacted by this storm, and concern for their health and safety is foremost in our minds.
           Victims of this storm are now facing an unacceptable confluence of environmental injustices–and if past is prologue, they will continue to face overlapping hardships for years to come. Tropical Storm Harvey is now understood to be the most extreme rain event ever recorded in United States history. Undoubtedly, Harvey was made worse by rising sea levels and the increasing prevalence of extreme weather events fueled by global warming pollution. Refineries and petrochemical operations in Houston, almost too numerous to count, have been venting a toxic mix of hazardous air pollutants those trapped by rising floodwaters are forced to breath. The long-term health consequences of this toxic air pollution are unknown. Adding insult to injury, the Trump Administration's failure to adequately protect communities from hazardous industrial facilities which, under the stress of Harvey, pose an acute risk of explosion or poison gas release. This forces impacted communities to worry about dozens of 'ticking time bomb' facilities in their neighborhoods which might cause a catastrophic accident on top of catastrophic flooding. When the waters eventually recede, people will face the challenge of rebuilding, but also the hazards created by flooded toxic waste sites, damaged and leaking chemical storage tanks, and waste escaping from petrochemical manufacturing plants–polluting the water and soil our communities depend on. The concentration of only minimally regulated chemical, oil, and gas facilities in low-lying areas, disproportionately composed of communities of color and low-income communities, combined
          

with increasing extreme weather events due to climate change and an uncaring Administration rolling back chemical safety protections and climate action–is a recipe for health and environmental disaster.
          
Sadly, we have seen this situation before, yet we failed to prevent it from happening again. The impacts of Tropical Storm Harvey draw obvious comparison to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Ironically, some 'internally displaced people' (climate refugees from within our own borders) who were forced from their homes by Katrina are now facing double jeopardy from Harvey. People of color and the poor, who are more likely to suffer the worst impacts of tropical storms and floods, are now dealing with overlapping damages and losses from a combination of flooding, displacement, air pollution, water and ground contamination, and even exposure to toxic chemicals from building materials used in their homes.
          These dynamics aren't new to many folks on the ground. Historically, people in these communities have already been dealing with higher rates of exposure to air and water pollution, a higher likelihood of living near hazardous industrial facilities or legacy toxic waste sites, and higher rates of health problems linked to environmental contamination. Unfortunately, no effort or program we are aware of has sought to effectively heal the injuries resulting from the synergistic nature of these multiple impacts, but as we rebuild in the wake of this tragedy, EJHA and Coming Clean will be calling for a just recovery from Harvey.
          We believe, in the months and years to come, that communities who have been impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey have the 'right to recover'. To this end, we'll be working for stronger oversight of fossil-fuel and petrochemical companies, chemical storage tanks, and dangerous chemical facilities to reduce the health impacts and risks those most vulnerable among us experience–both before, during and after the storm. We'll be asking for those responsible for injuries related to their industries to bear their fair share of the burden of recovery–and not simply pass it along to vulnerable members of our society or the general public. We'll be advocating for national attention to be placed where it's needed the most–on the most disproportionately impacted communities suffering from this storm. Moving forward, we'll be pushing for a more just, sustainable, and equitable rebuilding of Houston and the entire Gulf Coast'
          Statements from community members impacted by Tropical Storm Harvey:
          Bryan Parras, Organizer with Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services (t.e.j.a.s.) , said, 'In New Orleans, after Katrina, there was a very, very big lesson learned that the issues of injustice intersected so many different ways. These catastrophes and disasters are not just environmental disasters. They are housing disasters. They are access to services disasters. They are immigration issues of injustice. And so many worker injustices–wage theft–I could go on and on. And so we're trying to keep an eye on all of these very important issues that impact vulnerable and often unheard communities that are exploited in these disasters.
          So Friday night, we were out checking on some of these facilities and many of them were flaring. Later that night, for hours, really, really strong chemical odors were in the air from East Houston all the way to the downtown area. This flaring is a dirty burn, so you can see the black smoke and this adds thousands of pounds of cancer-causing chemicals to the air. There's a very well-known Superfund site, the San Jacinto Waste Pits, underwater with dioxin. And there was this old legacy pollutants from a paper mill that has sort of just left their toxins in the ground. Eventually, it was flooded–and there it remains. Each time we have a rain event, this contamination is being spread into communities, homes, neighborhoods, and further exposing more and more people.
          We have elevated levels of cancers all along these areas. There have been many reports to show increased rates of childhood leukemia if you live within 2 miles of the Houston Ship Channel, for example. We know that these chemicals are causing cancers and other life- debilitating ailments to the people who live adjacent to them
.'
          Christine and Delma Bennett, Organizers with Mossville Environmental Action Now (MEAN) in Louisiana , said, 'We've seen this before. We faced very similar problems when we were impacted by Hurricane Rita. The flooding has clearly overrun refineries and the sewage system in Mossville and along the Gulf Coast. The high water appears to have caused chemical waste–often toxic
          

and persistent substances–to get into the sewage system. This then flows into our rivers, lakes and streams, and in this case sometimes even into our backyards. More focus needs to be put on preventing these toxic chemical disasters because, just like you can't put the toothpaste back in the tube, once their chemicals have polluted our soil we end up dealing with it for years to come.'
          ##
          Make a contribution to support #AjustHarveyRecovery here: https://anothergulf.com/a-just- harvey-recovery/
          For more information on toxic hazards in the Houston area, see : http://tejasbarrios.org/.
          EJHA is a network of environmental justice organizations in 13 states building movement towards safe chemicals and clean energy that leaves no community or worker behind.'"

Circulated by the Sierra Club at the beginning of September, 2017, compiled from scientific sources (click the dates to go to the source), " Extreme Weather and Hurricane Harvey,"
          "Extreme weather caused by man-made climate change is already impacting the United States. Extreme weather, including hurricanes and flooding, are predicted to become more intense while already costing billions in damages. Not including Hurricane Harvey, extreme weather has cost the United States over $16 billion in 2017.
           Man Made Climate Change Likely Causing Increase in Extreme Hurricanes. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory suggested that man- made climate change may have already made changes to Atlantic hurricanes. Increased hurricane activity is linked to higher surface temperatures caused by carbon emissions; this warmer water in turn provides more fuel for intense hurricanes. According to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, "Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause tropical cyclones globally to be more intense on average (by 2 to 11% according to model projections for an IPCC A1B scenario). This change would imply an even larger percentage increase in the destructive potential per storm, assuming no reduction in storm size."
           Climate Change Likely To Increase Flooding. The National Climate Assessment found that sea-level rise due to climate change would increase coastal flooding. According to NOAA, "Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause tropical cyclones to have substantially higher rainfall rates than present-day ones, with a model-projected increase of about 10- 15% for rainfall rates averaged within about 100 km of the storm center."
           Hurricane Harvey Likely More Severe Due To Climate Change. The severity of Hurricane Harvey can be attributed, at least in part, to man-made climate change. Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research, claimed the human contribution could be as high as 30 percent of total rainfall. A New York Times op-ed noted, "The severity of Harvey, in other words, is almost certainly related to climate change."
           Extreme Weather Costing U.S. Billions. Extreme weather has already cost the United States billions of dollars. The National Climate Assessment predicted an uptick in storms causing large financial loss. In 2017, not including Hurricane Harvey, the U.S. recorded nine weather events with losses exceeding $1 billion.
          MAN MADE CLIMATE CHANGE LIKELY CAUSING INCREASE IN EXTREME HURRICANES
           NOAA: Human Activates May Have Already Made Changes To Atlantic Hurricanes. According to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, "It is premature to conclude that human activities–and particularly greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming–have already had a detectable impact on Atlantic hurricane or global tropical cyclone activity. That said, human activities may have already caused changes that are not yet detectable due to the small magnitude of the changes or observational limitations, or are not yet confidently modeled (e.g., aerosol effects on regional climate)." [NOAA, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, accessed 8/29/17]
           Anthropogenic Warming Likely To Increase Intensity Of Hurricanes By As Much As 11%. According to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, "Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause tropical cyclones globally to be more intense on average (by 2 to 11% according to model projections for an IPCC A1B scenario). This change would imply an even
          

larger percentage increase in the destructive potential per storm, assuming no reduction in storm size." [NOAA, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, accessed 8/29/17]
           Increased Hurricane Activity Linked To Higher Surface Temperatures Caused By Man Made Carbon Emissions. According to the National Climate Assessment, "The recent increases in activity are linked, in part, to higher sea surface temperatures in the region that Atlantic hurricanes form in and move through. Numerous factors have been shown to influence these local sea surface temperatures, including natural variability, human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases, and particulate pollution. Quantifying the relative contributions of natural and human-caused factors is an active focus of research." [National Climate Assessment, Extreme Weather, 2014]
           Warming Water Would Provide Fuel For More Intense Hurricanes. According to NASA, "The one way in which global warming could impact hurricanes is by making them more intense. More heat and water in the atmosphere and warmer sea surface temperatures could provide more fuel to increase the wind speeds of tropical storms." [NASA, Earth Observatory, accessed 8/28/17]
           NOAA: 'Better Than Even Odds That Anthropogenic Warming Over The Next Century Will Lead To An Increase In The Occurrence Of Very Intense Tropical Cyclones.' According to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, "There are better than even odds that anthropogenic warming over the next century will lead to an increase in the occurrence of very intense tropical cyclone in some basins–an increase that would be substantially larger in percentage terms than the 2- 11% increase in the average storm intensity. This increase in intense storm occurrence is projected despite a likely decrease (or little change) in the global numbers of all tropical cyclones." [NOAA, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, accessed 8/29/17]
           Warming Climate Could Increase The Intensity Of Storms. According to NASA, "But even as a warming climate might decrease the overall number of storms that form, it could increase the number of intense storms. As temperatures continue to rise, more and more water vapor could evaporate into the atmosphere, and water vapor is the fuel for storms. 'If we are creating an atmosphere more loaded with humidity, any storm that does develop has greater potential to develop into an intense storm,' says [George Tselioudis, a research scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and Columbia University]." [NASA, Earth Observatory, accessed 8/28/17]
           Likely to Increase Flooding
           Climate Change Would Impact Coastal Flooding Due To Sea Level Rise And Increases In Heavy Rainfall. According to the National Climate Assessment, "Coastal flooding is predominantly caused by storm surges that accompany hurricanes and other storms that push large seawater domes toward the shore. Storm surge can cause deaths, widespread infrastructure damage, and severe beach erosion. Storm-related rainfall can also cause inland flooding and is responsible for more than half of the deaths associated with tropical storms. Climate change affects coastal flooding through sea level rise and storm surge, and increases in heavy rainfall during storms." [National Climate Assessment, Extreme Weather, 2014]
           Flooding Is Predicted To Intensify In US; Including Regions That See Decline In Precipitation. According to the National Climate Assessment, "Flooding may intensify in many U.S. regions, even in areas where total precipitation is projected to decline. A flood is defined as any high flow, overflow, or inundation by water that causes or threatens damage. Floods are caused or amplified by both weather- and human-related factors. Major weather factors include heavy or prolonged precipitation, snowmelt, thunderstorms, storm surges from hurricanes, and ice or debris jams. Human factors include structural failures of dams and levees, altered drainage, and land-cover alterations (such as pavement)." [National Climate Assessment, Extreme Weather, 2014]
           NASA: "Melting Glaciers And Ice Caps Will Likely Cause Sea Levels To Rise, Which Would Make Coastal Flooding More Severe When A Storm Comes Ashore." According to NASA, "Even if tropical storms don't change significantly, other environmental changes brought on by global warming could make the storms more deadly. Melting glaciers and ice caps will likely cause sea levels to rise, which would make coastal flooding more severe when a storm comes ashore. In their 2001 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stated that global warming should cause sea levels to rise 0.11 to 0.77 meters (0.36 to 2.5 feet) by 2100." [NASA, Earth Observatory, accessed 8/28/17]
          

Anthropogenic Warming Would Likely Cause 15% Increase In Rainfall. According to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, "Anthropogenic warming by the end of the 21st century will likely cause tropical cyclones to have substantially higher rainfall rates than present-day ones, with a model-projected increase of about 10-15% for rainfall rates averaged within about 100 km of the storm center." [NOAA, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, accessed 8/29/17]
          HURRICANE HARVEY
           NYT Op-Ed: "The Severity Of Harvey, In Other Words, Is Almost Certainly Related To Climate Change." According to an op-ed in the New York Times, "The severity of Harvey, in other words, is almost certainly related to climate change. Yes, I know the sober warning that's issued whenever an extreme weather disaster occurs: No individual storm can be definitively blamed on climate change. It's true, too. Some version of Harvey probably would have happened without climate change, and we'll never know the hypothetical truth." [New York Times, 8/29/17]
           "Add Up The Evidence, And It Overwhelmingly Suggests That Human Activity Has Helped Create The Ferocity Of Harvey." According to an op-ed in the New York Times, "Add up the evidence, and it overwhelmingly suggests that human activity has helped create the ferocity of Harvey. That message may be hard to hear – harder to hear, certainly, than stories of human kindness that is now mitigating the storm's toll. But it's the truth." [New York Times, 8/29/17]
           Politico: "Harvey Is What Climate Change Looks Like In A World That Has Decided, Over And Over, That It Doesn't Want To Take Climate Change Seriously." According to Politico, "But there's an uncomfortable point that, so far, everyone is skating around: We knew this would happen, decades ago. We knew this would happen, and we didn't care. Now is the time to say it as loudly as possible: Harvey is what climate change looks like. More specifically, Harvey is what climate change looks like in a world that has decided, over and over, that it doesn't want to take climate change seriously." [Politico, 2/28/17]
           "If We Don't Talk About The Climate Context Of Harvey, We Won't Be Able To Prevent Future Disasters And Get To Work On That Better Future." According to Politico, "If we don't talk about the climate context of Harvey, we won't be able to prevent future disasters and get to work on that better future. Those of us who know this need to say it loudly. As long as our leaders, in words, and the rest of us, in actions, are OK with incremental solutions to a civilization-defining, global-scale problem, we will continue to stumble toward future catastrophes. Climate change requires us to rethink old systems that we've assumed will last forever. Putting off radical change–what futurist Alex Steffen calls "predatory delay"–just adds inevitable risk to the system. It's up to the rest of us to identify this behavior and make it morally repugnant." [Politico, 2/28/17]
           Human Contribution Responsible For Up To 30% Of Rainfall From Hurricane Harvey. According to the Atlantic, "But [Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research] says that the extra heat could make the storm more costly and more powerful, overpowering and eventually breaking local drainage systems. 'The human contribution can be up to 30 percent or so of the total rainfall coming out of the storm,' he said. 'It may have been a strong storm, and it may have caused a lot of problems anyway–but [human-caused climate change] amplifies the damage considerably.'" [Atlantic, 8/27/17]
          EXTREME WEATHER COSTING U.S. BILLIONS
           National Climate Assessment: "The Heat And Drought Depleted Water Resources And Contributed To More Than $10 Billion In Direct Losses To Agriculture Alone." According to the National Climate Assessment, "An example of recent drought occurred in 2011, when many locations in Texas and Oklahoma experienced more than 100 days over 100°F. Both states set new records for the hottest summer since record keeping began in 1895. Rates of water loss, due in part to evaporation, were double the long-term average. The heat and drought depleted water resources and contributed to more than $10 billion in direct losses to agriculture alone." [National Climate Assessment, Extreme Weather, 2014]
           Sizeable Uptrend In Number Of Storms Causing Large Financial Loss. According to the National Climate Assessment, "Other trends in severe storms, including the intensity and frequency of tornadoes, hail, and damaging thunderstorm winds, are uncertain and are being studied intensively. There has been a sizable upward trend in the number of storms causing large financial and other losses. However, there are societal contributions to this trend, such as increases in population and wealth." [National Climate Assessment, Extreme Weather, 2014]
           2017: Nine Weather Events With Losses Exceeding $1 Billion. According to NOAA, "In 2017 (as of July 7), there have been 9 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each across the United States. These events included 2 flooding events, 1 freeze event, and 6 severe storm events. Overall, these events resulted in the deaths of 57 people and had significant economic effects on the areas impacted." [NOAA, accessed 8/29/17]
           Note: this amount does not include expected losses from Hurricane Harvey.
           Nine Weather Events Cost An Estimated $16 Billion In Damages. [NOAA, accessed 8/29/17]
          CLIMATE CHANGE WOULD IMPACT OTHER FORMS OF EXTREME WEATHER
           NASA: Climate Change Likely To Impact Future Weather Catastrophes. According to NASA, "Climate change may not be responsible for the recent skyrocketing cost of natural disasters, but it is very likely that it will impact future catastrophes." [NASA, Earth Observatory, accessed 8/28/17]
           Climate Change Increased Probability Of Heat Waves. According to the National Climate Assessment, "Heat waves are periods of abnormally hot weather lasting days to weeks. The number of heat waves has been increasing in recent years. This trend has continued in 2011 and 2012, with the number of intense heat waves being almost triple the long-term average. The recent heat waves and droughts in Texas (2011) and the Midwest (2012) set records for highest monthly average temperatures. Analyses show that human-induced climate change has generally increased the probability of heat waves., And prolonged (multi-month) extreme heat has been unprecedented since the start of reliable instrumental records in 1895." [National Climate Assessment, Extreme Weather, 2014]
           Winter Storms Have Increased In Frequency And Intensity Since 1950. According to the National Climate Assessment, "Winter storms have increased in frequency and intensity since the 1950s, and their tracks have shifted northward over the United States." [National Climate Assessment, Extreme Weather, 2014]"

Kristi Eaton, "Muscogee, Cherokee and Quapaw Send Teams to Help With Hurricane Harvey: More than 20 members, vehicles and other equipment from the tribes will aide in relief efforts," ICTMN, August 30, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/environment/muscogee-cherokee- quapaw-send-teams-help-hurricane-harvey/, reported, "At least three American Indian tribes in Oklahoma have sent representatives to the Houston area to help with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts."

A very wide – wider than Florida - but then reduced to a category 2, Hurricane Irma, September 9,2017, roared into South Florida and on up the state's west coast causing heavy damage from wind, rain and tidal surge. In Jacksonville the storm created record tidal surge, contributing to the highest recorded level of the Jacksonville river. Power was out for millions across Florida, and might well take weeks to fully restore. Flooding was wide spread across the state. Most of south Florida's citrus crop was destroyed, and a great many of the citus trees were killed (Francis Robles, Lizette Alvarez and Vivian Yee, "Irma Roars In, and All of Florida Shakes and Shudders," The New York Times, September 10, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/10/us/irma-florida-keys-gulf- coast.html).
          Azam Ahmed and Kirk Semple, "Desperation Mounts in Caribbean Islands: 'All the Food Is Gone'," The New York Times, September 10, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/10/world/americas/irma-caribbean-st- martin.html, reported, "At dawn, people began to gather, quietly planning for survival after Hurricane Irma.
          They started with the grocery stores, scavenging what they needed for sustenance: water, crackers, fruit.
          

But by nightfall on Thursday, what had been a search for food took a more menacing turn, as groups of people, some of them armed, swooped in and took whatever of value was left: electronics, appliances and vehicles."
          "In the few, long days since Irma pummeled the northeast Caribbean, killing more than two dozen people and leveling 90 percent of the buildings on some islands, the social fabric has begun to fray in some of the hardest-hit communities."
          CNN on September 12 reported that in Southern Florida Keys FEMA estimated 25% houses destroyed, 60% damaged. Saint Martins English side reported 25% destroyed, French side 65% destroyed. With storm moving north through Georgia and beyond, in U.S. SE 15 million people were without power. In Charleston, SC tidal surge plus rain brought flooding to places that had not had it before. At least 36 people were dead from the storm in the Caribbean. This is the first state wide storm. Puerto Rico brushed by Irma, 1 million people briefly without power, some destruction and damage on North Coast. Cuba took significant damage.
           For the Virgin Islands, Irma has been the most devastating hurricane ever, in breadth and extent of damage. Louis Ferre-Sadurni, "Paradise Lost: Devastation on the U.S. Virgin Islands," The New York Times, September
          "The United States Virgin Islands no longer has the air of paradise.
           From above, the islands resemble conflict zones. The grassy hillsides are now brown.
          Leafless tree trunks jut out like burnt toothpicks. Sailboats are stranded on the rocky coasts.
          On the ground, it is worse."
          Many are homeless. Days after the storm helicopters were still brining in food. There was some isolated cell phone coverage and no electric power. Damage to buildings was extensive and spread across the isl
ands.
           "Cars congested the winding roads, with fallen electricity poles visible across the landscape. When the curfew lifts, residents head to food pantries and supermarkets before they open to beat the hours-long line for water, ready-to-eat meals and tarps to cover roofs."
          What was stated by some meteorologists to be the most powerful Atlantic hurricane ever was sweeping across the Caribbean Sea, September 6-7, 2017. Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful storms in recorded in history, roared through the northeast Caribbean, September 6, 2017, with rain carried by winds of up to 185 miles per hour, leaving a trail of chaos, wreckage and flooding from Barbuda to Puerto Rico. It was then headed toward islands farther west and, beyond them, Florida. The National Hurricane Center warned the storm was "potentially catastrophic." Frances Robles Kirk Semple and Richard Perez, "Hurricane Irma, One of the Most Powerful in History, Roars Across Caribbean," The New York Times, September 6, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/us/hurricane-irma-caribbean.html&_r=0, reported, " The storm made direct hits on Barbuda, St. Barthélemy, St. Martin, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands, and raked the United States Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with hurricane-force wind and torrential rain. Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said Irma had destroyed 95 percent of the structures on Barbuda, an island with about 1,600 people.
          
The death toll was at least seven on Thursday morning, and the authorities warned that the number could rise as communications improved. Prime Minister édouard Philippe of France said that four people were confirmed dead on the St. Martin."
          
"Across the islands that were hit on Wednesday, people posted videos and photos online of the hurricane's fury: debris flying sideways in near-zero visibility, roofs ripped off structures, waves surging into buildings, downed trees and utility poles, and streets that had turned into raging currents carrying away cars and trucks."
          On St. Martins, the French interior minister reported that the four sturdiest buildings on the island had been destroyed, which suggested that all other buildings may also have suffered partial or total destruction.

Within days some of the Caribbean Islands were hit again by Hurricane Maria, force 5 at its most powerful, and other islands previously missed were now. The Virgin Islands were raked again, and Puerto Rico, grazed by Irma, took a direct hit from Maria. Days later power was out for the whole of Puerto Rico and likely would take months to restore. Most of the Island had no running water. Communications was still out to many places, with no phone or power, and roads blocked by downed trees and debris and many places flooded. For days, mud slides and smashed infrastructure and other broken infrastructure kept many areas isolated. Puerto Rico's agriculture was totally destroyed, not only current crops, but trees and bushes that bear fruit annually. (Luis Ferre-Sasurni, Lizzettee Alvarez and Francis Robles, "Puerto Rico Faces Mountain of Obstacles on the Road to Recovery," The New York Times, September 21, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/21/us/hurricane-maria-puerto-rico-recovery.html; and NPR news September 21 and 22, 2017; and Frances Robles and Luis Sadurni. "Puerto Rico's Agriculture and Farmers Decimated by Maria," The New York Times, September 24, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/24/us/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-agriculture-
          .html; "After Hurricane Maria: One Day in the Life of Battered Puerto Rico," The New York Times, September 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/30/us/24-hours- in-puerto-rico-after-hurricane-maria.html&_r=0).
          Katie Thomas and Sheila Kaplan, "Hurricane Damage in Puerto Rico Leads to Fears of Drug Shortages Nationwide," The New York Times, October 4, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/04/health/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-pharmaceutical- manufacturers.html, reported, " Federal officials and major drug makers are scrambling to prevent national shortages of critical drugs for treating cancer, diabetes and heart disease, as well as medical devices and supplies, that are manufactured at 80 plants in hurricane- ravaged Puerto Rico.
          Pharmaceuticals and medical devices are the island's leading exports, and Puerto Rico has become one of the world's biggest centers for pharmaceutical manufacturing. Its factories make 13 of the world's top-selling brand-name drugs, from Humira, the rheumatoid arthritis treatment, to Xarelto, a blood thinner used to prevent stroke, according to a report released last year."
          The three major September-October Atlantic Hurricanes hitting U.S. territory have done very extensive damage to state and national parks and monuments. In Puerto Rico: Luis Ferre-Sadurni, "Another Victim of Hurricane Maria: Puerto Rico's Treasured Rainforest," The New York Times, October 11, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/us/another-victim-of-hurricane-maria-puerto- ricos-treasured-rainforest.html, reported, " When you looked up, you could once see nothing but the lush, emerald canopy of tabonuco and sierra palm trees covering El Yunque National Forest.
          
That was before Hurricane Maria obliterated the only tropical rain forest in the United States forest system. Left behind was a scene so bare that on a recent visit, it was possible to see the concrete skyline of San Juan about 30 miles west – a previously unimaginable sight."

The serious impacts of Hurricane Maria were continuing in Puerto Rico at the end of October, 2017. Power remained four to six months away from being fully restored, and wide spread problems with mold after flooding were adding to growing health problems. Pakalolo, "Mold is blanketing Puerto Rico making it difficult for many to breathe," Daily Kos, Tuesday October 31, 2017, https:// www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/10/31/1711254/-Mold-exposure-is-blanketing-Puerto-Rico- making-it-difficult-for-many-to-breathe?detail=emaildkre, reported, " The unfolding humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria barreled over the island is only getting worse. Alarm bells are being rung from humanitarian organizations on the ground that the deteriorating conditions are seriously impacting human health and survival." Among the problems are bridges out in rural areas, and with no power elevators not working in high rise building, many people have great difficulty obtaining food and other necessities, and in some instances, have not been able to do so at all.
          Unofficial reports, in early January, indicated that around 1000 people died as a result of Maria in Puerto Rico.

A fourth hurricane, Nate, followed closely on the heals of the devastating trio, October 7,
          

2017, but being smaller, and moving unusually faster, caused relatively minor damage along the Mississippi and Louisiana Gulf Coast, and was predicted to produce some flooding from heavy rains as the storm, reduced to a tropical depression, zoomed across the inland Northeastern states, October 9 (Jeff Bidgood, "In a Season of Monsters, Gulf Coast Feels Lucky All It Got Was Nate," The New York Times, October 8, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/08/us/hurricane-nate-biloxi- storm.html).
          Maggie Astor, "10 Hurricanes in 10 Weeks: With Ophelia, a 124-Year-Old Record is Matched," The New York Times, October 11, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/climate/hurricane- ophelia.html, reported, "With Tropical Storm Ophelia's transition to Hurricane Ophelia on Wednesday, 2017 became the first year in more than a century – and only the fourth on record – in which 10 Atlantic storms in a row reached hurricane strength."
          Joe Romm, "Warm waters juiced Ophelia into the most powerful eastern Atlantic hurricane ever seen: Record-smashing Ophelia slams into Ireland with 119 mph gusts," Think Progress, October 16, 2017, https://thinkprogress.org/unprecedented-ophelia-ireland- e78f345e55ef/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=tp-letters, reported, " Ex- hurricane Ophelia smashed into Ireland Monday morning with record-breaking gusts of up to 119 mph. The powerful extra-tropical storm – which has already killed two people and blacked- out some 360,000 Irish homes and businesses – is what's left of the most powerful Eastern Atlantic hurricane ever seen.
          At least one additional person was killed in Ireland, where there was extensive damage. This is the first hurricane ever to hit Ireland in historical times. The warmed waters in the Atlantic made it possible for the storm to form so far northeast, and to remain so powerful when it reached Ireland."

With climate change continuing to heat and dry the west, in the summer of 2017 there were again serious wild fires across the region. On June 27, the large wildfires included two huge ones in Utah - the Head Fire, 10% contained, already having burned 43,000 acres and causing the evacuation of 1,500 people, and California, where the 850 acre Santa Clarita Fire was beginning to come under control, after closing the 14 Freeway North of Los Angeles. As of July 10, there were 14 large wildfires burning in California, one having devoured 43 square miles, and another had caused 4000 people to evacuate. On that date, there were more than 14 active fires in Nevada, some of which were contained. One North of Farley had burned 153 square miles. Arizona had more than 20 active fires on July 10, with one near Black Canyon City that was only 5% contained having charred 54 square miles. There were at least seven major fires in Washington and Oregon at that time, at least one in Montana and numerous wildfires in British Columbia with up to 10,000 people evacuated at that time. In the dry-hot weather more serious fires were expected. (Christine Hauser, "Where Wildfires Smolder, a Forecast for More," The New York Times, July 11, 2017' " Fire Fighters Battle Wildfires in California and Utah," The New York Times, June 27, 2017). As of the beginning of September, InciWeb, https://inciweb.nwcg.gov, continued to report numerous serious fires in the west.

Jacey Fortin, "Montana Battles Wildfires Amid a Severe Drought," The New York Times, September 7, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/us/montana-wildfire- drought.html, reported, " Montana has been burning for months, and there is still no end in sight.
          
This summer, thousands of firefighters and hundreds of Montana National Guard members have been battling the flames of dozens of large and small wildfires across the state. Thousands of people have been affected by evacuations, and two firefighters have lost their lives.
           Montana is one of several states experiencing severe fires this year. Blazes flared up and down California, from Los Angeles – where a state of emergency was declared just this week – to well north of Sacramento. Wildfires in Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington and other Western states have smothered parts of the West in smoky, ashy air.
          Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana declared the wildfires a disaster last week, calling this 'one of
          

the worst fire seasons' in the state's history. On Thursday, the National Interagency Fire Center reported, Montana had 21 active, large fires covering about 438,000 acres.
          It is not uncommon for wildfires to spring up in Montana during mid-to-late summer months, but 2017 has been different. The state is facing a severe drought, hotter and drier than any in recent memory."

A terrible fire season was continuing in the U.S. west in October, especially bad in California . Thomas Fuller, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Maggie Astor, "California Fires Kill at Least 10 and Destroy 1,500 Buildings," The New York Times, October 9, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/09/us/california-fires-evacuations.html, reported, " Fast-moving wildfires raged across Northern California on Monday, killing at least 10 people, sending well over 100 to hospitals, forcing up to 20,000 to evacuate and destroying more than 1,500 buildings in one of the most destructive fire emergencies in the state's history.
          Firefighters were battling blazes in eight counties, officials said."
           The Northern California fire situation continued to worsen in the following days. The usually wet wine growing Napa Valley are not far from the Pacific Coast, hit by unprecedented drought, continued to burn, destroying wineries and other business and thousands of homes. By October 11, the known death toll had reached 29, with many missing, with 21 major fires in California, mostly in the North. There, the dry winds were spreading them so fast the goal was to direct the fires away from populated areas, as stopping their spread was impossible, even with a large ground and air force. The eight major fires in Napa and Sonoma counties, which began October 8, had expanded from 54,000 acres on October 10, t0 191,000 acres on October 12. Over 20,000 pe0pe had been evacuated in that area. In Santa Rosa alone, some 1800 buildings had been destroyed (Thomas Fuller and Richard Perez Pena, "California Wildfires Death Toll Rises to 29 as Vast Region Is Scorched," The New York Times, October 11, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/11/us/california-wildfires-firefighters.html&_r=0).
           The fires were continuing to spread October 12, with the known deaths up to a record 31 and hundreds still missing, as the flames moved into the wine growing country along the Russian River. The fires had by then consumed 221,754 acres. The smoke, which cannot be filtered out by surgery masks and some other filters, was causing health problems over much of northern California, the smoke visible even in Fresno, 200 miles away (Thomas Fuller, Denise Grady and Richard Perez, "California Fires Leave 31 Dead, a Vast Landscape Charred, and a Sky Full of Soot," The New York Times, October 12, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/12/us/california-wildfire-deaths-napa- sonoma.html).

The aftermath of global warming enhanced disasters multiplies their original devistating effects. In Puerto Rico, after three weeks power remained out in most places, communications and travel were still cut in wide areas, food and otjher supplies were insufficient and hard to get to in isolated locations. In the populated areas burned in northern California - while the firers continue - Kirk Johnson, Cleanup From California Fires Poses Environmental and Health Risks, The New York Times, October 16, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/us/california-fires- cleanup.html&_r=0, reported, "And as the chief public health officer in Napa County, one of the hardest-hit places, she has used her office as a bully pulpit to urge them to stop [searching through the rubble of their homes unprotected], immediately.
          'Just think of all the hazardous materials in your house,' she said in an interview. 'Your chemicals, your pesticides, propane, gasoline, plastic and paint – it all burns down into the ash. It concentrates in the ash, and it's toxic," said Dr. Relucio, who declared a public emergency over the hazardous waste from the fires, as have at least two other counties.
          California's fires are far from out. They have killed at least 41 people and burned about 5,700 structures and over 213,000 acres since they exploded in force on Oct. 8 and 9 – record totals
for a state that is used to wildfires. Thousands of firefighters are still at work fighting blazes and tens of thousands of people remain under mandatory evacuation from their homes, though fire officials have expressed cautious optimism about bringing the fires into containment.
          

But even as the smell of smoke still wafts through this area north of San Francisco, public health officials and environmental cleanup experts are starting to think about the next chapter of the disaster: the huge amount of debris and ash that will be left behind.
          
In whole neighborhoods here, a thick layer of ash paints the landscape a ghastly white. Wind can whip the ash into the air; rain, when it comes, could wash it into watersheds and streams or onto nearby properties that were not ravaged by fire.
          And the process of cleaning it all up, which has not even begun, is very likely to bring its own thorny set of issues, in the costs, timetables and liability questions – all compounded by scale, in the thousands of properties that must be repaired and restored."
          The after effects of these disasters include damage to econmic activity. In the October fires in Napa and neighboting counties, the grape crop was largely untouched. But the destruction of buildings in an area already short of housing faces the gerape and wine industry with far less thatn the required housing for its migrant workers
(Miriam Jordan, "Fires Move On, Wine Country Wonders Whether Immigrants Will, Too," The New York Times, October 17, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/17/us/california-fires-immigrants.html&_r=0).
          Michael Price, "Fire on the Mountain: 2 Forests Offer Clues to Yellowstone's Fate in a Warming World," The New York Times, September 13, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/13/climate/yellowstone-western-fires-in-two- forests.html, noted that two fires in Montana give indication of how climate change might change forests in and near Yellowstone National Park. Historically, have rarely burned the same areas for " For the past 10,000 years, these woods have burned approximately every 100 to 300 years, meaning fires typically scorched old trees. But as climate change leads to longer and hotter dry seasons, younger forests throughout the Yellowstone region may start burning more frequently. (The jury is still out on how climate change will affect wildfires in other Western conifer forests.)
          'If that becomes the norm, where there's no time for these forests to take a break, to grow for 150 years or so without burning, you could see some widespread changes to the forests,
' said Richard Hutto, an ecologist at the University of Montana.
          These changes could play out in a couple of ways.
          First, short-interval fires could overwhelm an evolutionary adaptation that in the past allowed burned lodgepole forests to regrow just as thickly as before. Many of the lodgepoles here are serotinous, meaning they grow pine cones sealed with a sappy resin that protects their seeds from flames. During a fire, the cones open and the seeds are released. Only mature lodgepoles produce these resinous cones, while younger ones yield unprotected cones that release their seeds as soon as they're finished growing.
          When fires are infrequent, the forest has time to mature and build up a stock of serotinous cones that will restart the next generation: hence Densetown. But when part of the young forest burned again just sixteen years into its regrowth, creating Stumptown, it had not yet produced many serotinous cones. Its seed stock was obliterated.
          Second, the fires could burn up larger sections of forest. Small islands of forest often survive even within otherwise burned areas, said Brian Harvey, an ecologist at the University of Washington, and seeds from these preserved areas often blow into the surrounding burned forests or are carried there by animals. This reseeding method is especially important at higher altitudes where lodgepoles don't produce serotinous cones.
           'But what we're seeing now is more homogeneous burning throughout the forests, with fewer islands of unburned areas,' Dr. Harvey said. ' When that happens, there are fewer seed sources to replace the stands.'"
          An indication of the possible impact of more frequent more thoroughly burning fires, is that in thoroughly burned over areas that previously were recently burned have about 400 trees per acre. This contrasts with the some 32,000 trees per acre in areas only partially burned, where there was no previous fire for at least 100 years. Moreover, the recently reburned and more thoroughly consumed forest is diversifying, with Aspens entering the forest alongside the lodgepole pines, that previously almost totally dominated.
          

One of California's worst fire seasons was continuing in December 2017. Jennifer Medina, Liam Stack and Jonah Engel Bromwich, "Tens of Thousands Evacuate as Southern California Fires Spread," The New York Times, December 5, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/us/california- fire.html, reported, " Four wildfires roared through Southern California on Tuesday, forcing the evacuation of tens of thousands of people and destroying hundreds of homes and other buildings in the latest chapter of what has been one of the state's worst fire seasons.
          The first fire, in Ventura County, started Monday evening and was still "out of control" on Tuesday night, the authorities said. Named the Thomas Fire, it began north of Santa Paula, Calif., and spread rapidly overnight on Monday to envelop at least 50,000 acres, destroying hundreds of structures and prompting 27,000 people to evacuate, including some from the city of Ventura.
          Three more fires began on Tuesday. One in Los Angeles County quickly grew to encompass more than 11,000 acres and destroyed more than 30 structures. Another, in San Bernardino County, injured three people as it burned 100 acres of vegetation. And a fourth, near Santa Clarita, tore through at least 5,000 acres, forcing the evacuation of a trailer park and several schools."

By late on December 16, the Thomas fire was still expanding, moving faster than it could be contained, continuing to threaten populated areas and destroy structures. At that time the fire had consumed least 267,500 acres and was 40 percent contained (Mirim Jordan and Thomas Fuller, "Thomas Fire Spreads Rapidly to Santa Barbara County," The New York Times, December 16, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/16/us/thomas-fire-santa-barbara.html).
          In late July, Arizona experienced several days of record 120-degree F. weather in La Paz, Maricopa and Mohave Counties. With that much heat, smaller aircraft were unable to take off, as the heated air provided less lift for planes. The result was the cancelling of numerous flights, in addition to illness and increased wildfires (Jonah Engel Bromwich, "Extreme Heat Scorches Southern Arizona," The New York Times, July 26, 2017).

And the extreme weather continued into winter: Kara Murphy and Jack Healy, "Even Sharks Are Freezing to Death: Winter Rages and the Nation Reels," The New York Times, December 28, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/us/winter-weather-erie-cold.html, reported, "Shivering, snowbound cities are scrapping their outdoor New Year's Eve countdowns. Polar-bear plunges are being canceled because of fears of frostbite and hypothermia. Winter-hardened towns are gaping at their new lows: 32 degrees below zero in Watertown, N.Y. Minus 36 in International Falls, Minn.
          Record-breaking snowfalls have stranded older and disabled residents inside their homes for days. Cars are buried under mountains of snow, and lethally low temperatures are forcing cities across the Northeast and Midwest to open emergency 'warming centers' for homeless residents and people whose furnaces are no match for the cold.
          
A mass of Arctic air now has much of the north half of the country wrapped in an icy bear hug, and meteorologists expect the single-digit temperatures to stick around for at least another week."
          (Meanwhile TV and Radio reports in Albuquerque show that the Southwest U.S. has been experiencing unusually, not quit record, high temperatures and consecutive days without rain).

Suhasini Raj and Jeffrey Gettleman, "They Thought the Monsoons Were Calm. Then Came the Deadly Floods," The New York Times, September 7, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/07/world/asia/bihar-india-monsoon-floods.html, reported on the Monsoons in India in late summer 2017, "N orthern India, one of the country's poorest regions, has been ravaged by some of the worst monsoon storms in recent years. Local officials pointed to a highway overpass about 15 feet above the ground and said that for the first time in living memory the water had risen above the bridge."

Russell Goldman, "On Heels of Typhoon Nesat, a Second Storm Hits Taiwan," The New York
          

Times, July 31, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/world/asia/taiwan-typhoon- nesat.html, reported, "Taiwan was battered Monday by the second large storm in days, in the wake of a typhoon that flooded streets, injured scores of people and forced more than 10,000 to flee their homes.
          Tropical Storm Haitang struck Monday on the heels of Typhoon Nesat, which made landfall on Taiwan's northeastern coast on Saturday. With gusts over 100 miles per hour, Nesat sent trees crashing into cars, toppled motorbikes and kicked up broken glass and other debris that caused injuries, the authorities said.
           No deaths had been reported as of Monday, which the authorities attributed to early warnings and evacuations that began on Friday. But the government said more than 100 people were injured by Nesat, many of them rescue workers who were struck by debris. One man in Yilan County, on the northeastern coast, was injured when a utility truck flipped.
          By Monday, more than 100 people remained trapped by floodwaters, mostly in the country's southern counties, according to the government's Central Weather Bureau."

Jaime Yaya Barry, "'All We See Is Dead Bodies': Sierra Leone Floods and Mudslides Ravage Freetown," The New York Times, August 14, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/14/world/africa/sierra-leone-floods-freetown.html, reported, " Torrents of water rushed through the streets of the Sierra Leone capital of Freetown on Monday, causing mudslides that killed hundreds and trapped hundreds more in their homes and vehicles, officials said.
          As many as 200 people were killed after heavy rains overnight deluged the city's poor drainage system and created one of the most devastating floods Freetown has experienced."

Laura Paskus, "Rapidly warming Southwest faces water challenges, choices ," New Mexico Political Report, accessed November 14, 2017, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/752067/rapidly- warming-southwest-faces-water-challenges-choices-en/?mc_cid=962c78eaad&mc_eid=cde7993ced , reported in part, "Warming in the American Southwest is occurring at about double the global rate–and that local warming will have a profound impact on water resources in the Interior West. Those changes in water supply will occur regardless of changes in precipitation."
           "Since the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation completed the [Elephant Butte] reservoir in 1916 to supply farmers in southern New Mexico and Texas with water, the reservoir's levels have fluctuated– from highs in the 1940s to lows in the 1950s, '60s, and 70s. Many New Mexicans are familiar with the wet period that lasted from 1984 through 1993; between 1980 and 2006, the state's population increased by 50 percent. But then the region was hit with drier conditions–and increasing temperatures . Areas of the Southwest have suffered from drought since 1999 and, unlike earlier droughts, it's driven not just by a lack of precipitation, but a rise in temperature.
          Even with good snowpack in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico the past few years, there simply isn't enough water to boost the reservoir's levels again
, said Gutzler, who is also one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2013 Assessment Report. The [Elephant Butte} reservoir is currently at just 15 percent capacity."

Emily Benson, High Country News, "It's not only trees – wildfires imperil water too," New Mexico Political Report, December 21, 2017, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/787515/its-not-only-trees- wildfires-imperil-water-too/?mc_cid=9e3276f90c&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported in part, " The Fourmile Canyon Fire, sparked by a backyard burn west of Boulder, Colorado, in 2010, caused
          
$220 million in damage and destroyed 168 homes. It also scorched nearly a quarter of a watershed that supplies water to the nearby community of Pine Brook Hills. The problems didn't end there: Long after the blaze was put out, intense rainstorms periodically washed sediment and other particles downstream, disrupting water treatment and forcing the local water district to stop pulling water from Fourmile Creek, leaving it reliant upon water already collected in its reservoir.
          'The water coming down Fourmile Creek would get so dirty that we simply would shut
          

down moving any water (from the creek),' for days or even weeks, says district manager Robert de Haas. 'If we hadn't built the reservoir' – in 2006 – 'we'd have been in big trouble.'
           This story first appeared at High Country News.
          
Now, new research suggests that such water-quality problems might become more frequent across the West. Climate change is already causing a surge in wildfire activity. As a result, scientists expect to see a rise in erosion in most of the region's watersheds in the coming decades. Sediment and ash running off burned hillsides into streams can clog reservoirs, smother fish and disrupt municipal water supplies.
           In many places, however, water managers and other officials are already taking steps to prepare for both wildfire and its long-term aftereffects. For communities that rely on forested drainages for their water, "It is a key aspect of water supply and watershed protection to plan for a wildfire," says Kate Dunlap, who works on source water protection for the city of Boulder."

Mehreen Zahra-Malik, "In Lahore, Pakistan, Smog Has Become a 'Fifth Season'," The New York Times, November 10, 2017, https:// www. nytimes.com/2017/11/10/world/asia/lahore-smog- pakistan.html,
          reported, "For nearly two weeks, Lahore, Pakistan's second-largest city
, has been like one huge airport smokers' lounge. But Abid Omar's jaw still dropped on Wednesday, when he checked the air- quality monitor he had installed to track the city's appalling pollution.
          It said that levels of the dangerous particulates known as PM2.5, small enough to penetrate deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream, had reached 1,077 micrograms per cubic meter – more than 30 times what Pakistan's government considers the safe limit."
          
No Back 40 Mine, http://www.noback40.org/Default.aspx, stated, "The Back Forty Mine project is a proposed open pit metallic sulfide mine located on the banks of the Menominee River in Lake Township, Michigan. Aquila Resources Inc. (TSX: AQA) ("Aquila"), a Canadian development stage company, is actively seeking the necessary approvals to mine and process gold, zinc, copper, silver and other minerals at the site.
          
To date the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) has approved three of the four required permits for the project. The Nonferrous Metallic Mineral Mining Permit and the Michigan Air Use Permit to Install for the project were approved by the MDEQ on December 28, 2016. The National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit was approved on April 5th, 2017. The permit for wetland impacts is currently under consideration before the MDEQ. The Menominee Nation and many allies including local citizens, local governments, environmental organizations, and grassroots organizations are opposed to the mine, committed to stopping the project and are organized in efforts to bring about public awareness about the
          
harmful impacts the mining operation would have if approved."
          
The Menominee Nation is steadfast in its opposition to the proposed mine and its commitment to preserving the Menominee River. We ask you to stand in solidarity with us as we continue our fight to protect our place of origin, our sacred sites, the wildlife, water and environment for future generations."
          "Environment:
           Aquila's Back Forty "open pit mine" would be constructed ~150 feet from the Menominee River. Because this is a METALLIC SULFIDE MINE, the mine's proximity raises serious flooding and inundation risks. Any mine-related water contamination would threaten the health of the Menominee's fish populations and recreational fishing, especially Lake Sturgeon. Millions of dollars have been invested in the recovery of sturgeon in the Menominee River, where they are threatened but "stable" after years of collaborative sturgeon habitat restoration efforts by Michigan and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, with assistance from federal agencies, fishing clubs
          and nonprofit environmental groups such as the River Alliance of Wisconsin.
          The Back Forty mine targets a section of the Menominee River considered a world class smallmouth bass fishery – one of the best in North America! Fishing clubs are deeply concerned about the future of Smallmouth Bass Fishing on the Menominee River, as are the small
          

businesses, including river guiding companies, that depend on the health of the river. The proposed mine threatens natural resources of the Menominee River, an interstate waterway jointly managed by Wisconsin and Michigan. The Menominee River is the state boundary line, and is the largest watershed in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The Wisconsin Resources Protection Council is actively opposed to this sulfide mine proposal. The Center for Science in Public Participation conducted a red-flag review of Aquila Resources mining application and found multiple issues of concern, serious omissions and miscalculations, including specific recommendations and technical actions regarding Aquila's plans for Water Management, Tailings & Waste Rock Management Facilities, Pit Backfill Metal Leaching, Water Treatment Post Closure, Financial Assurance, and other topics. According to their report:
          'Monitoring wells need to be placed to ensure the tailings facility embankment is not contributing acid or metal leaching to groundwater.'
          'Given the potential for antimony, selenium, and arsenic to mobilize under neutral conditions, monitoring will need to occur at the TWRMF (tailings waste rock management facility) leachate sumps and at monitoring wells on and around the backfilled pit until hydrology and chemistry have stabilized.'
          'The TWRMF cap is designed to reduce infiltration, but given the extremely acidic nature of the material that will be enclosed, the cost of a WTP (water treatment plant) should be included in financial assurance for at least the 20 year post closure monitoring period.'
           'When reviewing the indirect and direct cost estimates for the Back Forty financial assurance, it is obvious that it has been significantly underestimated, especially with regard to the indirect cost calculations(…) the direct costs should be reviewed by a qualified party to correct assumptions that underestimate the cost of reclamation that would need to be conducted by a regulatory agency. "The entire planned Back Forty open pit mine and Tailings Waste Rock Management Facility basins (TWRMF) hinge on a single underlying assumption: that the State of Michigan will agree to a proposed LAND SWAP with Aquila Resources. The proposed land exchange threatens critical habitat, including threatened and endangered species. The mining proposal's open pit mine, contingent upon the land swap, would disturb or destroy tribal archaeological resources, treaty protected natural resources, and Menominee River fisheries. Shakey Lakes: The Escanaba State Forest's Shakey Lakes Oak-Pine Barrens Ecological Reference Area (ERA) and a proposed Biodiversity Stewardship Area (BSA) are adjacent to the proposed mine site. A mine next to this ecological reference area will degrade the ERA, endangering rare habitat, and jeopardize the state's Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for sustainably-harvested timber. Aquila has made fraudulent 'Life of Mine' statements! When reviewing any mine proposal, one basic question must be answered: 'what is the proposed Life of Mine (LOM)?' In order to correctly calculate a mine's risks, benefits and cumulative environmental impacts, an accurate LOM estimate is essential. According to Aquila's permit application, 'The (Back Forty) Project will be an open pit mining operation' and the 'Life of Mine (LOM) operation is planned to be approximately 7 years.' This is misleading. Elsewhere, Aquila describes the Back Forty project as having a '16 year life of mine (LOM), of which 12.5 million tonnes is open-pit and 3.6 million tonnes is underground.' Back Forty is described as a 16 year mine in Aquila's press releases, in communications with the Menominee Indian Tribe, and in letters to investors and local community leaders. According to their Project Fact Sheet: "we support a transparent process(…) visit our website at aquilaresources.com/projects/back-forty- project for more information." Visitors to Aquila's website find a 16 year mine described. The design of the Back Forty Project (an open pit sulfide mine on a river) is described as comparable to Wisconsin's Flambeau Mine (another open pit sulfide mine on a river). Does the Flambeau Mine prove that riverside sulfide mining can be done safely? Absolutely not – get the
          facts: https://deertailpress.files.wordpress.com/2016/06/flambeau-mine_gauger_jun2016final_l.pdf
          Because the Back Forty would be a sulfide mine, it threatens to leach sulfuric acid, which is extremely hazardous to freshwater rivers, lakes, streams and groundwater. Again, the Center for Science in Public Participation warns that the mine's 'ARD (Acid Rock Drainage) risk is very high. Most material contains sulfides… (…) All tailings are expected to generate acid, with the exception of tailings produced in year 3 of mining. Additionally, over 75% of the waste rock is expected to generate acid.' Sulfide mining could pollute groundwater or devastate the Menominee River, which drains into Lake Michigan."

Michael Kimmelman, "Jakarta Is Sinking So Fast, It Could End Up Underwater," The New York Times, December 21, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/12/21/world/asia/jakarta- sinking-climate.html?rref=collection%2Fbyline%2Fmichael- kimmelman&action=click&contentCollection=undefined&region=stream&module=stream_unit&vers ion=latest&contentPlacement=1&pgtype=collection&_r=0, reported, "There may be no megacity on the planet facing a more dire scenario than Jakarta, the sprawling, smog-infested capital of Indonesia. When historic floods overran much of the city in 2007, some climate experts linked the events to global warming. Temperatures and the Java Sea are both rising, quickly.
          But this vast coastal city is sinking faster than any other big city on Earth, so fast that rivers can flow upstream and buildings are being swallowed up. That's because Jakartans are draining the aquifers on which the city rests. The city's water supply hasn't kept up with its explosive growth. The litany of human-made problems starts with runaway development, a near-total lack of planning, few sewers, polluted rivers and canals, a long history of government corruption, conflicts between Islamic extremists and secular Indonesians, Muslims and ethnic Chinese. Climate change multiplies them all.
          Hydrologists now say the city has only a decade to heal its self-inflicted wounds and halt the sinking. If it can't, much of Jakarta and its millions of residents will end up underwater."

Wild Earth Guardians "Court Ruling Derails Trump's Fossil Fuel Agenda: We Are Winning," September 15, 2017, http://www.wildearthguardians.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=13190&news_iv_ctrl=1681#.W b16tlKZOu4, reported , In a resounding ruling by our legal team, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit rejected the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's attempt to turn its back on climate change and approve massive new coal mining on public lands in the Powder River Basin of northeastern Wyoming.
          Calling the agency "irrational," the court's ruling overturns two billion tons of publicly owned coal lease
s that were sold to Peabody and Arch Coal.
          When burned, this coal stood to unleash more than 3.3 billion metric tons of carbon pollution.
          That's equal to the amount of climate pollution released by nearly 1,000 coal-fired power plants.
          Put another way, this ruling is really big.
          Importantly, it's a victory that strikes at the heart of President Trump's agenda of handing over our public lands to the coal industry and forcing us to shoulder the costs of climate change.
          To put this into context, this win overturns some of the largest coal leases ever approved by the federal government. These leases were set to expand the two largest coal mines in the world (which incidentally are owned by two of the world's largest privately owned coal companies). What's more, these mines are in the Powder River Basin, the nation's largest coal producing region."

Sheila Kaplan, E.P.A. Delays Bans on Uses of Hazardous Chemicals," The New York Times, December 19, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/health/epa-toxic- chemicals.html, " The Environmental Protection Agency will indefinitely postpone bans on certain uses of three toxic chemicals found in consumer products, according to an update of the Trump administration's regulatory plans.
          Critics said the reversal demonstrated the agency's increasing reluctance to use enforcement powers granted to it last year by Congress under the Toxic Substances Control Act."

"CANADA TO CREATE OVERSEAS MINING WATCHDOG," Freedom United, December
          13, 2017, https:// www.freedomunited.org/news/canada-mining- watchdog/?trk_msg=QQT3NET1RM9K9E25NGCJC2CN7G&trk_contact=B6M8ONO3GA0V4UPHD KT7AR6C7G&trk_sid=UHHIVT6G1680E2IFA0N4I3STVS&utm_source=Listrak&utm_medium=em
          

ail&utm_term=Canada+to+Create+Overseas+Mining+Watchdog&utm_campaign=News+Digest&utm
          _content=News+Digest_12172017, reported, "Canada plans to create an overseas mining watchdog early next year, a move welcomed by environmental and human rights activists. Ottawa says it will create an independent office that will specifically look at Canadian oil, mining, and gas companies' activities abroad.
           Reuters reports that this action is significant because the majority of the world's public mining companies are in Canada."

"Copper One Announces the Settlement of Litigation With the Quebec Government Over the Riviere Dore Project," Market Wired, November 15, 2017, http://www.marketwired.com/press- release/copper-one-announces-settlement-litigation-with-quebec-government-over-riviere-dore- 2240831.htm, reported, Copper One Inc. (TSX VENTURE:CUO) ("Copper One" or the "Company") reports that on November 15, 2017, Copper One and the Québec Government entered into a settlement agreement which facilitates an end to Copper One's participation in the Rivière Doré Project. Pursuant to the settlement agreement, Copper One has agreed to the assignment of all the mining claims comprising the Rivière Doré Project to SOQUEM and the Québec Government has agreed to pay $8 million in cash to Copper One in consideration for, amongst other things, the amounts invested in exploration works on the project by Copper One. The transaction is expected to be completed by December 15, 2017.

A map showing world wide how many years people in various places may loose on average because of pollution is in, Gabriella Canal "This New Map Shows You How Many Years of Life Pollution Has Taken Away From You Based Off Where You Live," Global Citizen, September 12, 2017, https:// www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/this-new-map-shows-you-how-many-years-of- life- poll/?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=iterable_campaign_US_Sep_ 15_2017_Fri_content_digest_actives. Listings include losing the following years of life expectancy in some locations in: India: 4.1 years, China: 3.5 years, Democratic Republic of the Congo: 1.84 years, Chile: 1.37 years.

When economies around the world have expanded, so has the death rate, temporarily, as a result of the increased air pollution produced as a byproduct of increased production (Austin Frakt, https:// www.nytimes.com/by/austin-frakt"How a Healthy Economy Can Shorten Life Spans," The New York Times, October 16, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/16/upshot/how-a-healthy- economy-can-shorten-life-spans.html).

Kai Schultz, Hari Kumar and Geffrey Gettleman, In India, Air So Dirty Your Head Hurts," The New York Times, November 8, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/11/08/world/asia/india-air- pollution.html, reported, " A toxic cloud has descended on India's capital, delaying flights and trains, causing coughs, headaches and even highway pileups, and prompting Indian officials on Wednesday to take the unprecedented step of closing 4,000 schools for nearly a week. qDelhi has notoriously noxious air but even by the standards of this city, this week's pollution has been alarming, reaching levels nearly 30 times what the World Health Organization considers safe. On Tuesday, the government decided to close primary schools and on Wednesday the closings were extended to all public and most private schools.
          For those of us living here, the air pollution saps our strength. Many people feel nauseated all day
, like from a never-ending case of car sickness. The air tastes smoky and irritates the throat, and in some neighborhoods, it smells like paint."
          "The smog is so heavy that drivers often can't see cars slowing down in front of them, causing serious accidents and several highway pileups."

Keith Bradsher, "China's New Antipollution Push Could Cool Its Growth Engine," The New York Times, October 23, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/23/business/china-pollution-
          

economy.html, reported,
          "Through the last four decades, China has achieved breathtaking economic growth at the cost of smoggy skies, fetid streams and lakes of dying fish.
          Now China is undertaking one of its most extensive efforts yet to crack down on corporate polluters, an effort that could be felt economically and in world markets.
          Cities across China have stepped up sending squads of inspectors to steel mills, coal-fired power plants and other businesses, and ordered offenders to clean up their operations or risk being shut down
. On Aug. 21, the environmental authorities ordered more than two dozen cities in northern China, including many main steel production centers, to reduce air pollution by 15 percent this winter.
           Even tougher measures will be coming, Li Ganjie, China's minister for environmental protection, said Monday at a news conference held in conjunction with the Communist Party congress, a twice-per-decade event at which the party selects new leaders to tackle its problems."

Ernesto Londono and Shannon Sims, "Brazilian Judge Stymies Plan to Allow Mining in Amazon Region," The New York Times, August, 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/world/americas/brazil-amazon-mining-temer-environmentalists- judge.html, reported. "A federal judge in Brazil has temporarily halted a plan by President Michel Temer to allow mining in a large area of the Amazon forest, dealing a victory to environmental activists who had denounced the initiative as potentially calamitous.
          In a ruling issued Tuesday, Judge Rolando Valcir Spanholo said the executive branch had exceeded its authority in rescinding the designation of a 17,700-square-mile region known by the Portuguese acronym Renca as a protected area through a presidential decree. The judge said that only Congress could make that change.
          The ruling came after the government sought to respond to an international outcry by issuing an updated version of the Renca decree that more broadly outlined steps to mitigate environmental damage, safeguard the rights of indigenous communities and retain protected areas. But opponents say that the plan will hasten development that has encroached on the rain forests and accelerate deforestation and the displacement of native peoples
."

In Poland, for two years, the government has been allowing massive cutting of trees in the Bialawieza Forest, a UN World Heritage Site and the last primeaval forest in Poland. Environmentalists have been attempting to have the lumbering stopped (Joanna Berendt, "A Battle for Europe's LAst Primeal Forest," The New York Times, July 12, 2017).

"UN Chemicals Conventions Decisions Perpetuate Environmental Violence, Violate Human Rights, International Treaty Council, July 5, 2017, http://hosted.verticalresponse.com/1383891/b8601c1861/545554959/aa063f1824/, commented, " At the Stockholm Convention 8th Conference of the Parties (COP8) which took place from April 24th – May 5th, 2017, State governments bowed to corporate influences in their decisions concerning two highly toxic persistent chemicals which were considered for elimination. The Stockholm Convention, one of 4 UN Conventions addressing toxic chemicals, seeks to reduce and eliminate the use of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) which impact human reproductive and intergenerational health and persist for long periods of time in the environment, food chain and human body. Although the State delegations agreed, after long debate, to list these chemicals for global elimination, they allowed exemptions that will extend their industrial use far into the future. IITC, together with the Indigenous caucus and allies, expressed strong disagreement with the deliberate disregard for human rights in the decision-making process, including for Free Prior and Informed Consent as affirmed in Article 29 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. We also objected to the increasing restrictions placed on the full and effective participation by Indigenous Peoples within the framework of the UN Chemicals Conventions and the UN Environmental Programme overall.
          

To Read more about the COP8 outcomes go to: http://www.iitc.org/un-chemicals- convention-decisions-may-2017/.
          To find out how to get involved or share your concerns about the toxic chemicals that impact the health of your communities, contact Rochelle Diver in IITC's San Francisco Office at +1 (415) 641- 4482 or rochelle@treatycouncil.org.

Eric Lipton, "Why Has the E.P.A. Shifted on Toxic Chemicals? An Industry Insider Helps Call the Shots: A scientist who worked for the chemical industry now shapes policy on hazardous chemicals. Within the E.P.A., there is fear that public health is at risk," The New York Times, October 21, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/21/us/trump-epa-chemicals- regulations.html&_r=0, reported,
          "For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has struggled to prevent an ingredient once used in stain-resistant carpets and nonstick pans from contaminating drinking water.
          The chemical, perfluorooctanoic acid, or PFOA, has been linked to kidney cancer, birth defects, immune system disorders and other serious health problems.
          
So scientists and administrators in the E.P.A.'s Office of Water were alarmed in late May when a top Trump administration appointee insisted upon the rewriting of a rule to make it harder to track the health consequences of the chemical, and therefore regulate it.
           The revision was among more than a dozen demanded by the appointee, Nancy B. Beck, after she joined the E.P.A.'s toxic chemical unit in May as a top deputy . For the previous five years, she had been an executive at the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry's main trade association.
           The changes directed by Dr. Beck may result in an 'underestimation of the potential risks to human health and the environment' caused by PFOA and other so-called legacy chemicals no longer sold on the market, the Office of Water's top official warned in a confidential internal memo obtained by The New York Times."

Brad Plumerm "U.S. Nuclear Comeback Stalls as Two Reactors Are Abandoned," The New York Times, July 31, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/07/31/climate/nuclear-power-project- canceled-in-south-carolina.html&_r=0, reported, " In a major blow to the future of nuclear power in the United States, two South Carolina utilities said on Monday that they would abandon two unfinished nuclear reactors in the state, putting an end to a project that was once expected to showcase advanced nuclear technology but has since been plagued by delays and cost overruns.
          The two reactors, which have cost the utilities roughly $9 billion, remain less than 40 percent built. The cancellation means there are just two new nuclear units being built in the country – both in Georgia – while more than a dozen older nuclear plants are being retired in the face of low natural gas prices."
          "Nuclear weapons contractors repeatedly violate shipping rules for dangerous materials," New Mexico Political Report, August 1, 2017, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/358004/nuclear-weapons- contractors-repeatedly-violate-shipping-rules-for-dangerous- materials/?mc_cid=53f2c7df8e&mc_eid=cde7993cedm reported, " Plutonium capable of being used in a nuclear weapon, conventional explosives, and highly toxic chemicals have been improperly packaged or shipped by nuclear weapons contractors at least 25 times in the past five years, according to government documents.
          While the materials were not ultimately lost, the documents reveal repeated instances in which hazardous substances vital to making nuclear bombs and their components were mislabeled before shipment. That means those transporting and receiving them were not warned of the safety risks and did not take required precautions to protect themselves or the public, the reports say."

Jessica Corbett, "Tainted Honey: Bee-Poisoning Pesticides Found Globally: Lead researcher says there were 'relatively few places where we did not find any' samples contaminated with neonics known to harm bees," Common Dreams, October 06, 2017,
          

https:// www.commondreams.org/news/2017/10/06/tainted-honey-bee-poisoning-pesticides-found- globally, reported, " Raising further concerns about the global food production system, a new study found that bees worldwide are being widely exposed to dangerous agricultural chemicals, with 75 percent of honey samples from six continents testing positive for pesticides known to harm pollinators.
          'What this shows is the magnitude of the contamination," the study's lead author, Edward Mitchell, a biology professor at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, told the Denver Post. He said there were "relatively few places where we did not find any" contaminated samples.
          For the study, published in the journal Science, Mitchell's team of researchers examined nearly 200 samples for the five most commonly used neonicotinoid pesticides, or neonics.
          They found:
          in North America, 86 percent of samples from contained one or more neonicotinoid; in Asia, 80 percent;
          in Europe (where there is a partial ban), 79 percent; in Africa 73 percent;
          in and around Australia, 71 percent; and in South America, 57 percent.
          The Guardian mapped the global results.
          
          Although researchers believe the measured concentrations of neonicotinoids in the tested honey samples are not enough to harm humans, they warn that 'a significant detrimental effect on bees is likely for a substantial proportion of the analyzed samples, as adult bees rely on honey for food, including during periods of overwintering or seasons without blossoming flowers.'
          
Study co-author Alexandre Aebi, also from the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland, told BBC News that humans 'would have to eat an awful lot of honey and other contaminated products to see an effect,' but he thinks 'it's a warning and it is a call for a precautionary principle.'
          

Aebi said that he and the other researchers are especially concerned that so many samples contained two or more neonicotinoids. Nearly half of all the honey samples showed more than two types of neonics, and 10 percent had four or more. Overall, more than a third of the samples featured pesticides at levels known to harm bees.
          When pollinators such as bees consume pollen and nectar that contains neonicotinoids, they have been shown to experience learning and memory problems, which can interfere with their ability to gather food. The impact can be so severe that it jeopardizes the health of the entire hive.
          
'The increasingly documented sublethal effects of neonicotinoid pesticides at environmentally relevant concentrations on bees,' the researchers note, 'include growth disorders, reduced efficiency of the immune system, neurological and cognitive disorders, respiratory and reproductive function, queen survival, foraging efficiency,' and decreased homing capacity.
          'It is definitely scary for honeybees and other bees and useful insects,' Aebi said. 'We have up to five molecules in one single sample. From a risk assessment point of view, the evaluation of the risk is made from one single compound in one test organism. So the cocktail is not tested. Mixed effects should be taken seriously.'
          The impact on bees of continuing to use these pesticides is expected to have widespread consequences.
           'In 2014, a global assessment of neonicotinoids concluded that their widespread use was putting the global food production system at risk,' the Guardian noted on Thursday. An updated assessment that is slated to appear in the journal Environmental Science and Pollution Research found even stronger evidence that the insecticides are harmful, and reportedly concludes: 'The consequences are far reaching and cannot be ignored any longer."
          
(This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License)."

Tom Philpott, "A Clue in the Bee Death Mystery: Insecticides are often blamed, but new signs point to another chemical," Mothor Jones, November 29, 2017, http://www.motherjones.com/food/2017/11/a-clue-in-the-bee-death-mystery/, reported in part, " Domesticated honeybees get all the buzz, but wild bumble bees are in decline too, both globally and here in the United States. What gives? It's an important question, because while managed honeybees provide half of the pollination required by US crops, bumble and other wild bees deliver the other half.
          Insecticides used in agriculture are one possible trigger–they exist to kill insects, after all, and bumble bees are insects. But a different kind of farm chemical, one designed to kill fungi that harm crops, has emerged as a possible culprit. A new study by a team of researchers led by Cornell University entomologist Scott McArt adds to the growing dossier of studies pinpointing fungicide as a potential bee killer (see http://www.motherjones.com/food/2017/11/a-clue-in-the-bee-death- mystery/, https:// www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26463198,
          and http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0070182). "
          "Their goal was to see which of these factors was most closely associated with shrinking habitats and Nosema bombi infections . Total fungicide applications in a given area emerged as the best predictor of range contraction; and a single widely used fungicide, chlorothalonil, proved to be the clearest indicator of Nosema bombi prevalence."

Christopher Pala, "Loss of Federal Protections May Imperil Pacific Reefs, Scientists Warn. Fisheries officials call the marine national monuments unnecessary, and their boundaries are said to be under review by the Trump administration," The New York Times, October 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/30/science/trump-zinke-pacific-marine- reserves.html, reported that examination of several under water mountains, or seamounts, in the mid-Pacific show that areas that were teaming with sea life are now baron, and some of the coral has been killed by fishing. Evidence of the cause is in masses of parts of fishing and trolling gear. One of the scientists involved said, " It was a biological desert," he said. Where normally fish and crabs dart about forests of coral and sponges, "all we could can see was a
          

parking lot full of nets and lines, with no life at all." "But the extent of the devastation and the huge amount of gear that was abandoned on the bottom were shocking for both of us." "Allowing fishing in the few protected seamounts left would be a huge mistake."

Kim Baca, "The Navajo Nation has a wild horse problem," New Mexico Political Report, October 12, 2017, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/606559/the-navajo-nation-has-a-wild-horse- problem/?mc_cid=e7e89143b6&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported in part, " up to 40,000 wild horses wander the Navajo Nation, roaming across 27,000 miles of deep canyons, rugged hills and huge mountains, according to aerial estimates from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. In just five years, the population is expected to double. Already the feral horses compete with domestic animals, sheep or cattle, and wildlife for water and sparse vegetation. Yet a Navajo Nation oversight committee recently denied an $800,000 funding request from the tribe's Fish and Wildlife Department to help reduce the horse population, leaving the nation with few alternatives."
          " Feral horses have become a problem not only among the Navajo but also among other tribal officials managing reservation lands throughout the West. The Colville and Yakama tribes in Washington, the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs in Oregon and the Shoshone-Bannock in Idaho have all been plagued by out-of-control horse populations. The problem presents a unique quandary for tribes: What do you do with a creature that has been an integral part of your culture, but has wreaked havoc on land, water, traditional foods and wildlife?
          The Navajo Nation has long grappled with how best to control feral and domestic horses abandoned by owners unable to care for them. In 2013, then-Navajo President Ben Shelly publicly supported a horse slaughter operation in Roswell, New Mexico. Shelly approved $1.4 million to allow Chapter Houses, a form of local government on the Navajo Nation, to inspect and process the horses for selling. Horses obtained in tribal roundups since around 2011 have either been sold to buyers for resale, adoption or slaughter in processing plants in Canada or Mexico, which export the meat to consumer markets in Europe and Asia."
          "In March, Gloria Tom, Navajo Fish and Wildlife Department director, broached the idea of a horse hunt, telling The Navajo Times "previous attempts to trap, round up, or allow horses to be adopted had not made a large enough impact." But that proposal was quashed after an outcry from horse enthusiasts and advocacy organizations, who met with the tribal Wildlife Department in May to promote a more humane way of managing herds. The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and other groups argued for the use of darts containing a contraceptive called porcine zona pellucida, or PZP. Citing 30 years of research and studies done on urban deer populations, the group says that the feral horses become infertile when PZP is injected yearly for five years."
          "Some Chapter Houses have held local roundups, borrowing temporary pens and other equipment from the Navajo Agriculture Department to trap horses or unclaimed livestock. They catch the animals at area watering holes and call the department to have them removed. The Tiis Tsoh Sikaad, or Burnham Chapter, in Northwest New Mexico is one local government taking charge by working with the BIA on a fencing project to keep livestock and feral horses from roaming free."

The herds of elephants roaming a wide area of desert in Mali has been suffering so many losses from poachers that if nothing were done, it likely would go out of existence in three years. Mali has now created a mixed force of rangers and military to protect the elephants in a dangerous area crossed by ISIS members and bandits (Mark Rivett-Carnac, "Mali's Desert Elephants, on Edge of Annihilation, Get a Fighting Chance ," The New York Times, October 29, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/29/world/africa/mali-elephants-gourma.html),

The decline in wild salmon in Norway as the result of an increase of sea lice attacking the fish after flowing out of the countries many salmon fish farms (where the sea lice are also a problem) has brought the Norwegian government to limit the expansion of fish farms. Fish farmers strongly opposes the measure, while conservationists say the measure does not go far enough. A legal and political battle over the regulation has begun (Stephen Castle, "As Wild Salmon
          

Decline, Norway Pressures Its Giant Fish Farms ," The New York Times, November 6, 2017 , https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/11/06/world/europe/salmon-norway-fish- farms.html&_r=0 ).
          Livia Albeck-Ripka, "For an Endangered Animal, a Fire or Hurricane Can Mean the End," The New York Times, October 25, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/10/25/climate/fires-hurricanes- endangered-animals.html&_r=0, reported, " When a wildfire swept through Arizona, all but 35 rare red squirrels disappeared. After California's fires and Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma, so did other near-extinct animals."
          "The Mount Graham red squirrel is among more than a dozen rare or threatened species that either perished or suffered habitat loss during recent hurricanes and wildfires across the United States."
          Among other destruction caused by Hurricane Irma, was the destruction of a large number of sea turtle nests
("Another Storm Victim: Florida Sea Turtle Nests," The New York Times, October 10, 2017).

Botanists have discovered a fungus in a Pakistani landfill that breaks down certain kinds of plastics in weeks by exuding an enzyme that breaks down chemical bonds quickly. Experiments are underway to see if it might be used to solve much of the world's huge plastic waste problem (Phineas Rueckert, "This Plastic-Eating Fungus Just Might Save Humanity," Global Citizen, October 4, 2017, https:// www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/this-fungus-eats-plastic-just-might- save- humanity/?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=iterable_campaign_US_Oct_9_ 2017_Mon_content_digest_actives).

Trust for the Public Land reported, December 4, 2017, http://contacts.tpl.org/site/MessageViewer?dlv_id=73042&em_id=58686.0, "It's official . President Trump signed away almost two million acres from Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments today with a disastrous executive proclamation.
           This attack amounts to the largest elimination of protected public lands in U.S. history, putting tens of thousands of archeological sites, Native American sacred sites, and recreational lands at risk."

Other public lands were also recommended by the Secretary of the Interior for reduction and/or modification in the Secretary of the Interior's December 2017 memorandum to the President, "Final Report Summarizing Findings of the Review of Designation Under the Antiquities Act," available at: https:// www.doi.gov/sites/doi.gov/files/uploads/revised_final_report.pdf. The recommendations sections states:

IV . Recommendations

A. Monument Modifications

I recommend that you exercise your discretion to modify certain existing proclamations and boundaries. In doing so, each proclamation would continue to identify particular objects or sites of historic or scientific interest and recite grounds for the designation thereby comporting with the Act's policies and requirements. However, this can be done in a manner that prioritizes public access, infrastructure, traditional use, tribal cultural use, and hunting and fishing rights. These recommendations have been submitted to you with the concurrence of the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Commerce. These recommended modifications are intended to ensure that the monuments meet the purposes of the Act, including that the area reserved be limited to the smallest area compatible with protection of the relevant objects.
          

Bears Ears

The BENM was established by Presidential Proclamation No. 9558, dated December 28, 2016. It consists of 1,353,000 acres of Federal land in San Juan County, Utah, and is jointly managed by BLM (1.063 million acres) and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) (290,000 acres).

The BENM contains cultural and archeological sites, unique geologic features, and areas important to the practicing of tribal cultural traditions and ceremonies. It also contains many objects that are common or otherwise not of particular scientific of historic interest. In the 114th Congress, legislation was introduced that designates specified Federal lands as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System. The total boundary encompassing these land actions largely tracks with the boundaries of BENM.

Portions of the area are also home to significant recreational opportunities, including hiking, backpacking, canyoneering, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
          Within and adjacent to the BENM boundaries, numerous management authorities and plans govern the patchwork of Federal, State of Utah, and private lands. This includes

11 BLM WSAs aggregating approximately 381,000 acres, as well as a 46,353-acre Wilderness on USFS lands.
          When accounting for State land and private land within the boundaries of BENM, the total area encompassed is close to 1,500,000 acres.

Recommendations:

The Proclamation should be amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the provisions and intent of the Act while also prioritizing public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.
The boundary should be revised through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to continue to protect objects and ensure the size of the monument reservation is limited to the smallest area compatible with the protection of the objects identified.
You should request congressional authority to enable tribal co-management of designated cultural areas within the revised BENM boundaries.
Congress should make more appropriate conservation designations, such as national recreation areas or national conservation areas, within the current BENM.ttttttttttThe management plan should be developed to continue to protect objects and prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.
The DOI should work with Congress to secure funding for adequate infrastructure and management needed to protect objects effectively.ttttttttttCascade-Siskiyou

Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument (CSNM) was established by Presidential Proclamation No. 7318 on June 9, 2000, originally consisting of approximately 52,000 acres. Itwasexpandedbyalmost48,000acresthroughPresidentialProclamationNo. 9564 on January 12, 2017.
          The CSNM is located in Jackson and Klamath Counties, Oregon, and Siskiyou County, California, and is managed by the BLM.
          

The original 2000 designation was the first monument to protect biodiversity. The expansion purported to create a necessary "buffer" to support the biodiversity objects outlined in the original CSNM.
          In 2015, legislation was introduced that would have protected most of the areas in the monument expansion through conservation and recreation designations.
          The CSNM contains within its borders a 24,707-acre Wilderness Area designated by Congress in the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Management Act.
          The Wilderness Area was expanded to its current size in 2010 with the acquisition of two privately owned inholdings.
          Encompassed within the exterior boundary of the original CSNM is 19,818 acres of private land (23.2%), and within the boundary of the expansion is 32,677 private acres (38.3%), for a total of approximately 52,485 acres of privately owned lands. This is 30% of the total area within the external boundaries of the CSNM.
          A substantial number of acres within both the original monument and the expansion area are designated as Oregon and California Revested (O&C) Railroad Lands, which are lands statutorily set aside for permanent forest production under the Oregon and California Revested Lands Sustained Yield Management Act of 1937 (O&C Act).
          In light of the direction in the O&C Act, commenters raised concerns about the legal authority to establish a national monument on O&C lands.
          The 2000 CSNM monument designation required a study to assess the compatibility of grazing with the biodiversity of the area and the subsequent study found threats to riparian objects. As a result, grazing has largely diminished in the original CSNM area. Many allotments were bought out as a result of a larger land package deal in the 2009 Omnibus Public Lands Management Act.
          Motorized transportation off of roads was prohibited in the original CSNM designation. The expansion area only allows for motorized transportation off of roads in limited circumstances and only after a transportation-management plan is completed. To date, the plan has not been initiated. Due to poor maintenance, remaining usable roads in CSNM are often unsuitable for use.

Recommendations:

The Proclamation should be amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the provisions and intent of the Act while also prioritizing public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.
The boundary should be revised through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, in order to address impacts on private lands and to address issues concerning the designation and reservation of O&C Lands as part of the monument and the impacts on commercial timber production.
The monument management plan should be revised to continue to protect objects and prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.
The DOI should work with Congress to secure funding for adequate infrastructure and management needs to protect objects effectively.ttttttttttGold Butte

The Gold Butte National Monument (GBNM) was established by Presidential Proclamation No. 9559 on December 28, 2016, and consists of 296,937 acres managed by BLM and the Bureau of Reclamation in Clark County, Nevada.
          The resources identified in the Proclamation include the biologic, archaeologic, and areas of spiritual significance to American Indian tribes.
          

There have been multiple legislative attempts to designate this area under protective land designations, beginning in 2008 and concluding in 2015, which were unsuccessful.
          Lands within GBNM are managed with some level of a protective designation, either under the existing land-use plan or as designated Wilderness (28,787 acres) or Wilderness Study Areas (28,454 acres).
          The GBNM is also overlapped by Areas of Critical Environmental Concern designated by BLM. The local water district has historic water rights for six springs and provides water for the

City of Mesquite. Five of the six water district springs are located within the boundaries of GBNM. The GBNM Proclamation inaccurately states that livestock has not been permitted in the GBNM area since 1998 and therefore prevents issuing any new grazing permits or leases. In fact, there are four active grazing allotments administered by the Arizona Strip District, either fully or partially contained within GBNM, which have been authorized since 1998.

Recommendations:

The Proclamation should be amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the provisions and intent of the Act while also prioritizing public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and

fishing rights. The proclamation should also be amended to address inaccuracies related to active grazing allotments.

The boundary should be revised through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure that the monument reservation is limited to the smallest area compatible with the protection of the objects identified and protect historic water rights.
You should request congressional authority to enable tribal co-management of designated cultural areas within the revised GBNM boundaries.
The management plan should be developed to protect objects and prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.
The DOI should work with Congress to secure funding for adequate infrastructure and management needs to protect objects effectively.tttttttttt Grand Staircase-Escalante

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM) was established by Presidential Proclamation No. 6920 on September 18, 1996, and was BLM's first national monument. It is located in Kane and Garfield Counties, Utah, and continues to be managed by BLM. It encompasses 1,866,331 acres.

The resources identified in the Proclamation include geologic, paleontological, archaeological, and biological resources. It also contains many objects that are common or otherwise not of particular scientific of historic interest
          Almost 47 percent of GSENM lands (881,997 acres) are included in WSAs.
          While overall permitted livestock grazing within GSENM is at roughly the same level now as it was at the time of designation, the actual number of cattle runs has decreased due to restrictions on activities that facilitate grazing, including moving water lines, vegetative management, erosion control measures, and maintenance of infrastructure such as fences and roads.
          Motorized vehicle use is limited both by the GSENM Proclamation and the Monument Plan. This has created conflict with Kane and Garfield Counties' transportation network and affected access for recreational activities.
          Areas encompassed within GSENM contain an estimated several billion tons of coal. Each monument
          

designation DOI reviewed under EO 13792 had some form of public outreach before designation, with the exception of GSENM.

Recommendations:

The Proclamation should be amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the

provisions and intent of the Act while also prioritizing public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.

The boundary should be revised through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act to ensure that the monumentttttttttttreservation is limited to the smallest area compatible with the protection of the objects identified.

The management plan should be revised to protect objects as well as prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.
The DOI should work with Congress to secure funding for adequate infrastructure and management needs to protect objects effectively.ttttttttttKatahdin Woods and Waters

Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument (KWWNW) was established by Presidential Proclamation No. 9476 on August 24, 2016. The KWWNM consists of just over 87,500 acres in Maine that were donated to the Federal Government for the purpose of inclusion in the National Park System.
          Thirteen parcels were donated and conveyed under separate deeds to the United States and recorded on August 23, the day before KWWNM was designated by the President.
          In the 113th Congress, a draft legislative proposal was circulated to create a national park within the same boundary that encompasses KWWNM. Ultimately, Members of the Maine congressional delegation declined to introduce legislation.
          Timbering has historically occurred on these lands. After purchase from private landowners some traditional uses such as hunting and snowmobiling were permitted as part of the custom of the local area.
          While the land is now public and open for use, there are still concerns that timber harvest and snowmobiling access will not be permitted in all parts of KWWNM.
          Use restrictions imposed by the designation of KWWNM are the result of generally applicable National Park Service (NPS) regulations.
          Commercial timbering is not typically allowed in units of the National Park System, however 54 U.S.C. § 100753 provides limited authority for cutting of timber to "conserve ... historic objects."
          There is a strong historical role of timbering in the region, and the KWWNM Proclamation gives extensive attention to this as part of the narrative for the designation.

Recommendation:

The Proclamation should be amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the provisions and intent of the Act while also prioritizing promote a healthy forest through active timber management.
          

The management plan should be developed to protect objects and prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.

Northeast Canyons and Seamounts

The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument (NCSMNM) was established by Presidential Proclamation No. 9496 on September 15, 2016.
The NCSMNM spans 3,144,320 acres and is located approximately 130 miles southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
The NCSMNM is managed through the DOI U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System and the DOC National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Proclamation stated that NCSNM was established to protect geologic features, natural resources, and species.
While in some cases specific objects are identified by name, in other instances the Proclamation simply identifies a class of objects contained within the Monument.
One such class of object are the marine canyons. However, the Proclamation recognizes that marine canyons are common along the East Coast.
Fishing commercially is prohibited within the Monument, with the exception of red crab and American lobster fisheries; these fisheries can continue for up to 7 years.
There is no explanation in the Proclamation as to why the objects are threatened by well- regulated commercial fishing.
Commercial fisheries operate in and around the NCSMNM, predominantly around the landward edges of the canyons. These areas support fisheries for a variety of species of fish and shellfish, providing income and employment throughout the Northeastern United States. In its public comments, the New England Fishery Management Council stated that 1) management in NCSMNM should remain under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; and 2) the designation of NCSMNM disrupts the Council's ability to manage species to balance protection with commercial fishing.
The Council further noted that the pre-designation process was not consistent with the full public consultation process usually conducted under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.tttttttttt Recommendation:

The Proclamation should be amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the provisions and intent of the Act while also allowing the regional fishery management council to make fishery-management decisions as authorized by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks

Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (OMDPNM) was established by Presidential Proclamation No. 9131 on May 21, 2014. It is a BLM-managed monument consisting of 496,529 acres in Dofia Ana County, New Mexico.
The resources identified in the Proclamation are visual, cultural, geologic, paleontological, and ecological.ttttttttttThe OMDPNM consists of4 unconnected areas and contains 176,310 acres of WSAs.
The OMDPNM is in proximity to strategic national security installations, and one part of OMDPNM, the Potrillos Mountain Complex, is in close proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Border security is a concern resulting from the designation, as the Proclamation restricts motorized transportation close to the border.
The remoteness and topography of the Potrillos Mountain Complex lends itself to a drug smuggling route and needs to be monitored.
The Potrillos Mountain Complex also encompasses the Mesilla groundwater basin. The basin has an unknown potential to address future water needs, recharge, salinity control, and storage.
Legislation introduced in the 115th Congress would designate parts of the current boundaries of OMDPNM as wilderness and release other areas from WSA management. The legislation largely utilizes the boundaries of the current OMDPNM.
A robust ranching community has operated in the area for decades and heavily contributes to the local economy.
The designation could prevent access to parts of allotments. Further, vegetativettttttttttmanagement and other maintenance work could be restricted and further degrade the ability for ranchers to run cattle.

Recommendation:

The Proclamation should be amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the provisions and intent of the Act while also prioritizing public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.

The DOI should work with the Department of Homeland Security to address impediments to national security associated with the Potrillos Mountain Complex.
          The DOI should work with the Department of Defense to assess risks to operational readiness of nearby military
          installations.
          You should request congressional authority to enable tribal co-management of designated cultural areas. The management plan should be developed to protect objects and prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights. The DOI should work with Congress to secure funding for adequate infrastructure and management needs to protect objects effectively.

Pacific Remote Islands

The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM) was established by Presidential Proclamation No. 8336 on January 6, 2009, and expanded by Presidential Proclamation No. 9173 on September 2014. It spans approximately 313,941,851 acres.

PRIMNM is managed through the DOI U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service National Wildlife Refuge System and the DOC National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The original PRIMNM boundary is comprised of rectangular areas that extend approximately 50 nautical miles (nm) from the mean low water lines of Howland, Baker and Jarvis Islands; Johnston, Wake and Palmyra Atolls; and Kingman Reef. The expansion extends the boundary from the 50 nm boundary to the 200 mile seaward limit of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone around Jarvis Island and Johnston and Wake Atolls.
The primary purpose of the designation was to protect the coral reef and associated species surrounding these islands.
Commercial fishing is prohibited within PRIMNM.
Prior to monument designation, there were Hawaiian and American Samoan longlinersttttttttttand purse seiners vessels operating. Indirect benefits of the purse seine fishery are important to the economy of American Samoa, which is heavily dependent on these vessels. American Samoa is under the jurisdiction of DOI.

Recommendation

Proclamation No. 9173 should be amended or the expanded boundary be revised, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the provisions and intent of the Act while also allowing the regional fishery management council to make fishery-management decisions for fishing in the expansion area as authorized by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Rio Grande Del Norte

Rio Grande Del Norte National Monument (RGDNNM) was established by Presidential Proclamation No. 8946 on March 25, 2013 and is located in Taos County, New Mexico.
It consists of 242,710 acres managed by BLM and contains 7,050 acres of WSAs.
The resources identified in the Proclamation are cultural, historic, and ecological.
Several legislative proposals have been introduced in the past to establish a National Conservation Area in the same footprint as RGDNNM, the most recent in 2010. All legislative attempts were unsuccessful.
Grazing is a significant traditional use in RGDNNM. However, I heard from localttttttttttstakeholders that a lack of access to roads due to monument restrictions has left many grazing permittees choosing not to renew permits.

Recommendations

The Proclamation should be amended, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the provisions and intent of the Act while also prioritizing public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.

You should request congressional authority to enable tribal co-management of designated cultural areas.
The management plan should be developed to protect objects and also prioritize public access; infrastructure upgrades, repair, and maintenance; traditional use; tribal cultural use; and hunting and fishing rights.
The DOI should work with Congress to secure funding for adequate infrastructure and management needs to protect objects effectively.

Rose Atoll

Rose Atoll Marine National Monument (RAMNM) was established on January 6, 2009, by Presidential Proclamation No. 8337.
          The RAMNM extends out approximately 50 nm from the mean low water line of Rose Atoll and encompasses 8,609,045 acres of emergent and submerged lands and waters of and around Rose Atoll.
          The RAMNM was established to protect the reef ecosystem, which is home to diverse terrestrial and marine species.
          Rose Atoll is also designated as a National Wildlife Refuge, established on July 5, 1973, by cooperative agreement between the Government of American Samoa and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
          Commercial fishing is prohibited in RAMNM.
          Fishing in American Samoa is a mixture of commercial, subsistence, traditional, and

sport fishing. American Samoa's economy is heavily dependent on can tuna fish production, and many monument designations have contributed to ongoing threats to the viability of the industry.

Prior to 2002, the waters that were included in RAMNM and adjoining areas closer to the main islands were important commercial fishing areas.

Recommendation:

The Proclamation should be amended or the boundary be revised, through the use of appropriate authority, including lawful exercise of your discretion granted by the Act, to ensure compliance with the provisions and intent of the Act while also allowing the regional fishery management council to make fishery-management decisions as authorized by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Specific monument modification measures will be submitted separately should you concur with the monument modification recommendations in this Final Report."
          ~~~~~~~~

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, http://www.hobbsstraus.com. Reports from Indian Country Today Media Network, from the web, are listed as from ICTMN.

U.S. Government Developments

Anna V. Smith, "Under Trump, tribal land ownership is not a priority: U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs," High Country News, August 5, 2017, https://twitter.com/intent/tweet?original_referer=http%3A%2F%2Fnmpoliticalreport.com%2F358981
          %2Funder-trump-tribal-land-ownership-is-not-a- priority%2F%3Fmc_cid%3D1d8362e9e1%26mc_eid%3Dcde7993ced&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw&text= Under%20Trump%2C%20tribal%20land%20ownership%20is%20not%20a%20priority&tw_p=tweet button&url=http%3A%2F%2Fnmpoliticalreport.com%2F358981%2Funder-trump-tribal-land- ownership-is-not-a-priority%2F&via=nmreport, reported, " During President Barack Obama's eight-year tenure, tribal sovereignty, the power by which tribes govern themselves, was a prime concern. But under the Trump administration, that may change. There are several indicators of
          

this shift, including proposed budget cuts to the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs and the de-prioritization of major land initiatives.
          
Within the first six months of President Donald Trump's administration, the Department of Interior has renewed its interest of energy development and tribal land privatization. That differs starkly from Obama policies, which focused on both acquiring and consolidating land for tribal nations. One of the most ambitious efforts to that end, the Land Buy-Back Program, will not continue under Trump.
           The Land Buy-Back Program sought to end a process called fractionation, which continually splits land ownership among tribal descendants and makes the land difficult to use for development or agriculture. Using part of the $1.9 billion for tribes under the so-called Cobell settlement, some 2 million acres of land were returned to tribal governments under Obama. But with the majority of that money already spent to defray fractionation, the new direction at the Interior Department will not put additional funds towards the program, according to James Cason, the associate deputy secretary for the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
          Further worrying tribal leaders are two recent hearings held by the House Committee on Natural Resources, over both the Cobell settlement and another land policy, called land-to-trust, which dictates the procurement of land by the Interior Department that is then held in trust for tribes by the federal government, effectively creating a new parcel of reservation land not subject to state or local taxes or jurisdiction.
          In a hearing on the Land Buy-Back Program in May, the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs questioned Cason on the efficacy of the program. Cason, who worked for the BIA under the George W. Bush administration, which fought hard against the Cobell Settlement, is now in charge of the buy-back program. Cason told the subcommittee the program was not working to reduce fractionation, and suggested the funds be distributed to fewer tribes, especially those with cheaper land in rural areas."
          Testimony at a July hearing of a subcommittee for tribal affairs of the House Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs, Republican witnesses stated that the process of taking land into trust under the Obama Administration for tribes recognized after 1934 was creating a hardship for local communities, though no evidence was supplied to support the claim, as was pointedout by ranking Democrat Raúl M. Grijalva of Arizona, following the hearing.
          
In addition, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has suggested that tribes should consider incorporating, which would help privatize tribal lands and reduce land held in trust by the federal government.

Presidential Developments

"Executive Order on Expediting the Environmental Review Process for Infrastructure Projects: CEQ Publishes Initial List of Actions," Hobbs-Straus, General Memorandum 17-052, October 20th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-052, reported, "On September 14, 2017, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) published its 'Initial List of Actions to Enhance and Modernize the Federal Environmental Review and Authorization Process.' 82 Fed. Reg. 43226. CEQ developed this list in response to Executive Order 13807, captioned 'Establishing Discipline and Accountability in the Environmental Review and Permitting Process for Infrastructure Projects.' 82 Fed. Reg. 40463 (Aug. 24, 2017). CEQ is not soliciting comments; rather, the notice is apparently for information only. The notice can be found here:https:// www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR- 2017-09-14/pdf/2017-19425.pdf
          EO 13807 asserts that 'Inefficiencies in current infrastructure decisions, including management of environmental reviews and permit decisions or authorizations, have delayed infrastructure investments, increased project costs, and blocked the American people from enjoying improved infrastructure," and concludes "the Federal Government, as a whole, must change the way it processes environmental reviews and authorization decisions." In its statement of policy, section 2 of EO 13807 calls for environmental reviews to be conducted in a
          

"coordinated, consistent, predictable, and timely manner" and sets a "goal of completing all Federal environmental reviews and authorization decisions for major infrastructure projects within 2 years." EO 13807 can be seen as a more detailed iteration of EO 13766 of January 24, 2017. 82 Fed. Reg. 8657 (Jan. 30, 2017). (See General Memorandum 17-011 of January 27, 2017.)
           Agency Performance Accountability. Section 4 of EO 13807 says that federal agencies
          .should follow transparent and coordinated processes for conducting environmental reviews and making authorization decisions. These processes must include early and open coordination among Federal, State, tribal, and local agencies and early engagement with the public.' The concepts being promoted – transparency, coordination, early engagement – are not new. Indeed, these concepts have been key features of the federal environmental review process since 1978 when CEQ promulgated the regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). How well agencies actually integrate these concepts into their NEPA processes is, of course, subject to debate and varies from agency to agency. As a means of tracking federal agency progress in carrying out the policy set out in section 2, including the 2-year time frame for environmental reviews, section 4 directs the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (FPISC), to develop a Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal (pursuant to the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010) on Infrastructure Permitting Modernization. EO 13807 sets a 180-day time frame for OMB to develop this CAP Goal, after which OMB is directed to issue guidance for a performance accountability system for achieving the CAP Goal. All federal agencies are directed to revise their Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans to include agency performance goals consistent with the CAP Goal. Each major infrastructure projects, is to be tracked on the Permitting Dashboard: https:// www.permits.performance.gov/.
           One Federal Decision. To 'enhance' the environmental review and authorization process, and to achieve the 2-year timeframe, EO 13807 directs agencies to use a mechanism called 'One Federal Decision' for major infrastructure projects. The lead agency and all cooperating and participating agencies would, if practicable, incorporate the decisions of all of the agencies into a single Record of Decision (ROD). If a single ROD does not work, then the standard timeframe for any federal agency decision or authorization not incorporated into the ROD would be no more than 90 days after the ROD is issued. CEQ is directed, in consultation with the FPISC, to develop the framework for implementing One Federal Decision, including guidance for whenever the lead agency is a state, tribal, or local agency 'exercising an assignment or delegation of an agency's NEPA responsibilities.'
           CEQ's Initial List of Actions. Section 5 of EO 13807 directs CEQ to develop an initial list of actions it plans to take "to enhance and modernize the Federal environmental review and authorization process." The EO sets out four objectives for the actions on the CEQ list:
           ensure optimal interagency coordination of environmental review and authorization decisions, including by providing for an expanded role and authorities for lead agencies, more clearly defined responsibilities for cooperating and participating agencies, and Government-wide applicability of NEPA decisions and analyses;
          ensure that environmental reviews and authorization decisions involving multiple agencies are conducted in a manner that is concurrent, synchronized, timely, and efficient;
          provide for agency use, to the maximum extent permitted by law, of environmental studies, analysis, and decisions conducted in support of earlier Federal, State, tribal, or local environmental reviews or authorization decisions;
and
           ensure that agencies apply NEPA in a manner that reduces unnecessary burdens and delays as much as possible, including by using CEQ's authority to interpret NEPA to simplify and accelerate the NEPA review process.
          CEQ's initial list, as published on September 14, includes five existing guidance documents that CEQ plans to review or supplement. CEQ also plans to review its regulations to identify possible changes. A CEQ handbook for infrastructure projects is also planned. Finally, CEQ will convene an interagency EO 13807 Working Group, which will address issues such as integrating requirements of other federal laws into the NEPA process."
          

Congressional Developments

"Status of Several Key Items as the 1st Session of the 115th Congress Nears End," Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 17-056, November 20th, 2017, https://secure.actblue.com/donate/tfp- petition?refcode=fr_2017.12.1_b1_TaxPlan_Actives&amount=25.00&recurring=12, reported, "In this Memorandum we provide the status on several key legislative matters that are fighting for attention and floor time as the 1st Session of the 115th Congress ends in mid-late December. Congress is on recess during Thanksgiving week and will return on November 27. Any legislation not enacted in this Session will carry over to the 2nd Session of the 115th Congress which convenes in early January 2018.
           FY 2018 Appropriations. Federal agencies are currently receiving FY 2018 funding via a Continuing Resolution (CR), which by and large provides funds at FY 2017 levels and conditions. The CR extends through December 8, 2017, and failure to enact another CR or a regular FY 2018 omnibus appropriations bill by that date would result in a partial government shutdown.
           House Status. On September 14, the House of Representatives approved an omnibus FY 2018 appropriations bill (HR 3354) consisting of all twelve appropriations bills. (See our General Memorandum 17-047 of September 18, 2017.) There is not any expectation that this bill could pass the Senate. Among its problems is that it would break the Budget Control Act's cap on defense spending by $72 billion, contains many controversial legislative riders and would provide $1.57 billion toward construction a wall on our Nation's southern border – provisions strongly opposed by most Congressional Democrats. Nevertheless, this is the House's position that will be conferenced with whatever the Senate approves. Our General Memoranda 17-039 of July 27, 2017, describes the provisions relating to the Indian Health Service (IHS) and 17-044 of August 25, 2017, describes the provisions relating to Indian Affairs (which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education).
           Senate Status. The Senate Appropriations Committee has reported out eight of its twelve FY 2018 appropriations bills. Late today, two of the remaining four bills were released as a "Chairman's Mark". Those two bills are Interior, Environment and Related Agencies and Financial Services. We understand it is likely that these bills will not be marked up by the Committee but will nevertheless serve as something with which to conference with the House. We understand that a "Chairman's Mark" of the Defense and Homeland Security bills will be released later this week. In subsequent General Memoranda we will report in detail on the IHS and Indian Affairs provisions in the Chairman's Mark of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies bill.
          Time is very short time to reach agreement between the House and Senate on FY 2018 appropriations matters and another CR may be required. In order to make funding available above the current spending caps, the Budget Control Act will have to be amended prior to enactment of the appropriations bills.
           Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Funding for CHIP expired at the end of September 2017. CHIP provides health coverage to low-income children and pregnant women whose income exceeds Medicaid eligibility criteria and who have no health insurance. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has distributed some unallocated funds to selected states to keep their programs operating, but some states are now saying that they are getting close to having to shut down the program.
          House Status. On November 3, 2017, the House approved, on a nearly party-line vote, a five- year CHIP reauthorization bill (HR 3922). Most House Democrats, while supporting the CHIP program, voted against the bill due to their objection to the funding offsets it contains. HR 3922 also contains extensions of other health programs, notably Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) and the Community Health Center program (see below).
          Senate Status. On October 4, 2017, the Senate Finance Committee approved legislation (S 1827) to reauthorize the CHIP program for five years. However, it does not contain extension of other health programs such as SDPI and the community health centers nor does it contain the funding offsets of the House bill to which Democrats objected. The bill has not yet been considered by the full Senate.
          

Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI)/Community Health Center Funding. The SDPI funding was set to expire at the end of September 2017 but Congress provided an additional 3 months of funding as part of the CHIP reauthorization bill(though December 31, 2017). As noted above, the House-approved CHIP bill includes an extension of other health programs. It includes a two- year (FYs 2018 and 2019) extension of SDPI at $150 million per year (the current funding level) and a two-year extension for the community health centers whose funding expired at the end of September 2017. There is also a standalone House bill to extend SDPI through FY 2019 at the current rate of funding (HR 3917).
          Most House Democrats, while supporting these health programs, voted against the bill due to their objection to the funding offsets it contains. On the Senate side, there is not yet a health extenders bill but the Senate Finance Committee circulated a draft bill, which unfortunately does not include SDPI. Standalone bills to extend SDPI through FY 2024 (with adjustments for inflation each year) have been introduced in the House (HR 2545) and Senate (S 747); however, no action has occurred on either bill.
           Veterans Choice Health Program. The Veterans Choice Program allows veterans, under certain circumstances, to utilize non-Veterans Administration (VA) health care facilities, including tribally- and Indian Health Service (IHS)-operated facilities. Congress provided an infusion of funds for the program in this past summer which is expected to last only through December.
          Following a recent period of anticipation that the House and Senate Committees on Veterans Affairs would markup Veterans Choice reform legislation, the effort has bogged down over issues of cost and whether the funding for non-VA provided health care should be mandatory or discretionary.
          Given that the Veterans Choice Program is scheduled to run out of funding at the end of the year, an effort was made to add $2.1 billion to a House veterans' bill dealing with VA facilities and leasing to keep the program afloat through FY 2018. However, the bill was pulled from floor consideration over cost concerns.
           Tax Reform. Both the House and Senate tax reform efforts give scant consideration to tribal priorities. Further, both bills are projected to increase the federal deficit and could thus erode the amount of federal discretionary funding available to support federal trust and treaty obligations in the future. We understand that it is for these reasons that neither bill has gained the support of the National Congress of American Indians nor the Native American Finance Officers Association. The NCAI and NAFOA joint statement is attached.
          House status. On November 16, the House approved their tax bill (HR 1) on a nearly party-line
          vote.
          Senate status. On November 16, the Senate Finance Committee reported out their yet-to-be-
          numbered tax bill on a party-line vote. Included in the Committee's bill is a provision that would end the Affordable Care Act's required individual mandate to purchase health insurance. The Administration strongly supported the inclusion of this provision but over the weekend has softened its stance, indicating that the provision could be dropped from the bill if it would enable passage of the tax legislation. Finally, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has reported out a controversial provision to be wrapped into the Senate tax bill that would open a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve to oil and gas drilling.
           Infrastructure. The Trump Administration has not developed a plan for addressing our nation's infrastructure needs even though it was a key part of President Trump's campaign. We do not expect Congress to consider an infrastructure proposal this year although appropriations bills do, as a matter of course, include infrastructure funding.
           Tribal Bills. While the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (SCIA) and the House Natural Resources Committee have reported out a number of bills, some tribal-specific and others more broadly applicable to Indian Country, getting floor time for them has proved elusive. The situation is similar for other committees' bills. In the Senate, for instance, considerable floor time now is mainly reserved for matters such as nominations, especially judicial nominations. Taxes, FY 2018 appropriations, disaster aid and the approaching debt ceiling will occupy much of the last month of the session. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to advocate for the small amount of time it would take for consideration of non- controversial but substantive tribal bills.
          

We will continue to follow developments on these issues as Congress grapples with these issues during the last month of the session."

"House of Representatives Approves Bill to Expand Benefits to Tribal Veterans Cemeteries," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum, November 8th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general- memorandum-17-054, reported, "On November 6, 2017, the House of Representatives approved legislation, HR 3657, to extend to tribal Veterans Cemeteries the Veterans Administration benefit of providing, at no cost, head stones and markers for veterans' spouses and dependent children who are interred in tribal Veterans Cemeteries. This benefit is already available for eligible spouses and dependent children interred in state, territorial, and national Veterans Cemeteries. The bill is sponsored by Representative Poliquin (R-ME) who attributes the Houlton Band of the Maliseet Indians in his Congressional District for bringing this issue to his attention.
          Federally recognized tribes were not until relatively recently eligible to apply for the Veterans Cemetery Grants Program which was created in 1978 and provides funds for the development of state and territorial cemeteries. Public law 109-461, signed December 22, 2006, added tribes as eligible applicants for these grants. The process is quite rigorous for grant approval and receiving such a grant is a requirement for Veterans Cemetery status. Grantees must commit to own, operate and maintain a Veterans Cemetery in accordance with the National Cemetery Administration's Guidelines which include some tribal flexibility to reflect cultural issues. The required match is 10 percent of the construction costs associated with the cemetery. The program, currently funded at $45 million for state, territorial, and tribal grants, is administered by the National Cemetery Administration.
          There is considerable tribal interest in the Veterans Cemetery Grants Program. There are approximately ten officially designated and fully operational tribal Veterans Cemeteries, with another ten on a priority list.
          The next step is for Senate consideration of the legislation. At this point there is no Senate equivalent measure although it is possible the Senate could take up the House-passed bill."

"Native American Energy Bill Approved by House Committee on Natural Resources," Hobbs- Straus General Memorandum 17-051, October 20th, 2017, https:// www.opencenter.org/contact/, reported, "On October 3, 2017, the House Committee on Natural Resources by a vote of 25- 15 approved HR 210, the Native American Energy Act, sponsored by Representative Young (R-AK). HR 210 is nearly identical to his version of the legislation from the previous Congress. That legislation was included in a broader energy bill that was passed by the House but ultimately not enacted due in part to a veto threat from President Obama as well as the House and Senate's inability to reach agreement on the content of a broad energy policy bill (see our General Memoranda 16-041 of June 27, 2016, and 15-068 of September 16, 2015). In the current Congress, the prospects for Representative Young's Native American Energy Act appear to be improved, whether or not there is a larger energy bill to serve as a vehicle to which the bill could be attached. HR 210 is different from S 245, which is Senator Hoeven's (R-ND) Indian energy bill. That bill was approved by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs earlier this year and is nearly identical to Senator Barrasso's (R-WY) version from the previous Congress (see our General Memorandum 15-035 of May 11, 2015).
          Summary. HR 210 is comprised of nine sections, the first of which is the short title "Native American Energy Act." Section 2 of the bill would add a new section to the Indian Tribal Energy Development and Self-Determination Act of 2005 to reform the process for appraisals of Indian land. An appraisal could be done by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), the affected tribe, or by a third party pursuant to a contract with the tribe. If done by a tribe or tribe's contractor, after 60 days the appraisal would be deemed approved if not expressly disapproved by BIA. Tribes would also have the option of waiving the appraisal requirement. This section of the bill would apparently not be limited to transactions relating to energy resources but, rather, would apply to any 'transaction involving Indian land or the trust assets of an Indian tribe that requires the approval of the Secretary' of the Interior. Section 3 of the bill would direct the Secretary to ensure that all agencies within the Department of the Interior involved in review, approval, and oversight of oil and gas activities on Indian lands use a uniform system to track oil and gas wells.
          

Section 4 of the bill would make a major change in the application of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to federal decisions regarding Indian land. NEPA is the federal statute that requires the preparation of an environmental impact statement (EIS) for any proposed federal action that would significantly affect the quality of the human environment. (An EIS is not required if an environmental assessment supports a finding of no significant impact, or if the proposed action is covered by a categorical exclusion.) NEPA is triggered by federal agency action; it applies to transactions relating to Indian trust or restricted land if the transaction requires action by the Secretary or another federal agency.
          The change in the NEPA process that the bill would bring about is that, for any proposed federal action on Indian lands that does require an EIS, the EIS would only be made available for review and comment by: "(i) Indian tribes in the affected area and individual members of those tribes wherever they reside; (ii) Other individuals who reside in the affected area; and (iii) State and local governments within the affected area." This limitation on the availability of an EIS for review and comment would not apply if the proposed federal action regards an activity 'related to gaming under the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.' Other than this exception, the limitation appears to apply to any proposed federal action 'regarding an activity on Indian lands.' Thus, despite the title of the bill, 'Native American Energy Act,' this change in the NEPA process is not limited to actions involving energy development. The Council on Environmental Quality would be directed to issue regulations to implement this change, including how to determine the "affected area."
          Section 5 of the bill would establish sweeping limits on judicial review of any 'energy related action,' a term defined as a cause of action seeking judicial review of a federal agency action allowing: (1) a person or entity to conduct various kinds of activities relating to energy resources on Indian lands; or (2) an Indian tribe, 'or any organization of two or more entities, at least one of which is an Indian tribe,' to conduct such activities 'regardless of where such activities are undertaken.' The bill would set a 60-day deadline for filing a complaint, from the date of final agency action; require any such action to be filed in federal district court for the District of Columbia, which would be required to resolve the case in no more than 180 days; and allow appellate review only in the D.C. Circuit, which would be required to resolve any appeal in no more than 180 days. If a party challenging an 'energy related action' does not 'ultimately prevail, the court shall award' fees and expenses to any defendant-intervenor (e.g., a tribe), unless the court finds, based on the administrative record, that the plaintiff's position was "substantially justified or that special circumstances make an award unjust."
          Section 6 of the bill would authorize a Tribal Biomass Demonstration Project. Section 7 would declare that any activity conducted pursuant to a tribal resource management plan or integrated resource management plan approved by the Secretary of the Interior shall be considered a sustainable management practice for purposes of any federal standard, benefit, or requirement. Section 8 would authorize the Navajo Nation to enter into certain categories of leases, including mineral extraction leases, without approval by the Secretary. Section 9 would prohibit the Department of the Interior from regulating hydraulic fracturing on Indian trust or restricted lands, except with consent of the Indian beneficiary
. The bill does not include any provisions dealing with energy efficiency or conservation programs."

"MONTANA'S U.S. CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION INTRODUCES RESOLUTIONS TO DESIGNATE NATIONAL DAY OF AWARENESS FOR MISSING AND MURDERED
          NATIVE WOMEN AND GIRLS," Cultural Survival, August 15, 2016, https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/news/montanas-us-congressional-delegation-introduces-resolutions- designate-national-day-awareness, reported, "Montana U.S. Sens. Jon Tester and Steve Daines, along with Montana U.S. Rep. Ryan Zinke, have co-introduced resolutions in the U.S. Senate and House supporting the designation of May 5, 2017 as the "National Day of Awareness for Missing and Murdered Native Women and Girls." The resolutions honor the lives of missing and murdered American Indian and Alaska Native women and girls whose cases are documented and undocumented in public records and the media, and demonstrate solidarity with families of victims who have suffered the tragedy of losing a loved one through violence.
          

The resolutions strengthen awareness and education efforts by federal, state and tribal governments as well as agencies, coalitions and nonprofit organizations to end violence against women, and emphasize that little data exists on the number of missing American Indian and Alaska Native women in the United States. Canada's government has launched a national inquiry into First Nations women where nearly 1,200 Indigenous women and girls have been murdered or gone missing over three decades.
          Toni Plummer-Alvernaz, executive director of the Montana Native Women's Coalition, said:
           'On behalf of the Montana Native Women's Coalition and the Native women we serve, we acknowledge the Montana Delegation and their staff for recognizing and finally acknowledging the many missing and murdered Native women throughout all of Indian Country. These resolutions in some way validate the hearts and assist in resolving the grief of all the Native families and communities who have Native women that are missing or murdered.'
          
What is next for S.Res.514 and H.Res.807?
          On June 28, 2016, S.Res.514 was introduced and referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. On July 5, 2016, H.Res.807 was introduced by Rep. Zinke (and 14 congressional sponsors) and was referred to the House Committee on Natural Resources: Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs. Committee chairs will consider the resolutions and determine whether they will move past the committees to the House and Senate, leading to roll call votes.
          The U.S. Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (DOJ-OVW), the Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition network, Native American nonprofits, advocates, activists and groups are all working to end violence on or near tribal reservations and communities, and in urban communities because of the alarmingly high rates of homicide, domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking, missing, and stalking among American Indian and Alaska Native women.
           First Nations Development Institute is one of several hundred Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women (DOJ-OVW) technical assistance providers that work with grantees through 24 OVW grant programs in the U.S. The DOJ-OVW grant programs are designed to develop the nation's capacity to reduce domestic and sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking by increasing victim/survivor safety and offender accountability. Looking ahead, First Nations will be monitoring the progress of the resolutions to share with our supporters.
          Call to Action
           Click on this link to the National Indigenous Women's Resource Center (NIWRC) web page to help create a National Awareness Day for Mission and Murdered Native Women and Girls.
          
NIWRC is dedicated to ending violence and increasing safety for American Indian and Alaska Native women and children. It offers resources addressing domestic violence and safety for American Indian and Alaska Native women. Resources are available online at www.niwrc.org/resources
          
List of Resources
          The National Institute of Justice published, in May 2016, findings from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010) with American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) adult men and women about the prevalence of violence. The purpose of the report was to describe the lifetime and annual prevalence of violence experienced by AI/AN women and men. Data showed 55.5% of AI/AN women had experienced physical violence in their lifetime, and 43.25% of AI/AN men had experienced physical violence in their lifetime.
          Statistical data and surveys like this are one step toward finding understanding about intimate partner violence and developing solutions, and they highlight the continued need for services with the goals of creating violence-free American Indian and Alaska Native communities.
          To read the National Institute of Justice Research Report, click here.
          Click on http://www.niwrc.org/news/call-action-your-support-needed-create-national-day- awareness-missing-and-murdered-native-women to press sources leading to the resolutions' development. Also, news stories are available here:
          Billings Gazette: http://billingsgazette.com/news/crime/montana-delegation-calls-for- awareness-after-crow-woman-s-death/article_709dac40-dc7c-5f59-80a9- 1347cea9948c.html
          

KTVQ: http://www.ktvq.com/story/32330249/awareness-for-missing-and-murdered-native- women-and-girls-resolution-to-be-introduced-in-congress
          
A Full Report of the Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women by Tjaden and Thoennes, U.S. DOJ 2010, can be accessed through: https:// www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/183781.pdf.
           A Roadmap for Making Native America Safer: A Report to the President & Congress of the United States by the Indian Law and Order Commission can be found at: https://firstnations.org/sites/default/files/A_Roadmap_For_Making_Native_America_Safer-Full.pdf.
          For a list of DOJ-OVW Grant Programs to End Violence Against Women, click here: https:// www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/ovw/legacy/2014/05/28/ovw-grant-programs-one-pager.pdf.
          A comprehensive list of Tribal Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalitions can be obtained at: https://firstnations.org/helpdesk/directory.
          To learn more about resolutions or bills affecting American Indian or Alaska Natives, visit: www.govtrack.us and use the search box to find information on 'Native Americans.'"

"NAHASDA Reauthorization Bills Introduced," Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 17-048, October 4th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-048, reported, "On September 28, 2017, Representative Pearce (R-NM), along with co-sponsors Moore (D-WI), Young (R-AK), Nolan (D-MN), Gabbard (D-HI), Hanabusa (D-HI), Heck (D-WA), Cole (R-OK), and McCollum (D-MN), introduced HR 3864, legislation to reauthorize the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act (NAHASDA). A Senate bill, S 1895, a companion bill with nearly identical language, was introduced by Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Vice Chairman Udall (D-NM), along with co-sponsors Tester (D-MT); Franken (D-MN) and Schatz (D-HI). Representative Pearce's press release is attached.
           Context. The last NAHASDA reauthorization was in 2008, and that legislation expired in October of 2013. Despite the law's expired authorization, Congress has continued appropriating funding pursuant to it, as well as appropriating funding pursuant to many other expired and unrelated authorizations. In the two subsequent Congresses, the House – through a similar bi-partisan effort – was able to pass a NAHASDA reauthorization bill. However, each time, the reauthorization effort failed in the Senate due to opposition from a small number of Senators who used the Senate's procedural rules to block its consideration.
          HR 3864 and S 1895 are very similar to the NAHASDA bills that the House previously adopted and contain many of the provisions that tribes requested through the draft bill submitted by the National American Indian Housing Council in early 2013, including provisions setting timelines by which the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) must act on certain requests as well as provisions simplifying the environmental review process when projects are built with several funding sources. Below we describe a handful of provisions which have garnered particular interest or may impact the legislation's chances of enactment.
          Native Hawaiian NAHASDA
. Both bills contain language to continue to authorize funding of the Native Hawaiian NAHASDA provisions and loan guarantees. A small number of Senators consider these provisions to be controversial, and their inclusion in past NAHSDA bills was one of the main reasons that the legislation was not able to move through the Senate during the last two Congresses.
           Cherokee Freedmen issue. There is no language in this bill regarding the Cherokee Freedmen, as there had been in previous years, since the issue has been resolved through the courts. (See our General Memorandum 17-046 of September 11, 2017.)
           Rep. Pearce's Alternative Privatization Demonstration Project. This language appears in both the House and Senate bills. It has been included in the two previous House bills, and would establish a demonstration project, modeled on the Military Housing Privatization Initiative (MHPI). The underlying concept is to provide a mechanism to leverage NAHASDA funds to bring substantial private investment into Indian Country for the construction of homes and infrastructure, with the goal of building enough homes to meet all a participating tribe's affordable housing needs in a 24-month period. Participation in the demonstration project would be optional; however it would be an all-or-
          

nothing proposition: a tribe that opts in would be required to commit all of its Indian Housing Block Grant (IHBG) funding to the project.
           Indian Veterans' Housing Assistance Demonstration Project. This provision appears in both bills (but with minor differences) and would authorize HUD to take up to 5 percent of the rental assistance amounts appropriated under the 1937 Act to establish an Indian Veteran-specific housing assistance voucher program for the benefit of Indian veterans who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness and who are residing on or near Indian lands. The program would be operated by IHBG recipients. This amendment builds on a demonstration project already under way with certain tribes that involves HUD and the Veterans Administration, termed HUD-VASH. The Senate NAHASDA bill incorporates language from a standalone HUD-VASH bill already marked up by the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs (S 1333) while House's NAHASDA bill contains slightly different HUD-VASH provisions. The most significant difference is that in the House bill, the vouchers could be used for veterans housed in Formula Current Assisted Stock (FCAS) units managed by a tribe or Tribally Designated Housing Entity (TDHE).
           Key Difference: Authorization Levels. The most marked difference between the pending House and Senate bills is that the House bill would authorize $650 million for the IHBG for each of the next five fiscal years, while the Senate bill would not set an authorization level. The Senate bill instead reads that Congress shall appropriate "such sums as may be necessary" (which is how NAHASDA currently reads). The practical effect of specifying a certain authorization level is that it would likely serve as a cap but not a floor on future IHBG appropriations. Both the House and Senate bills contain language that would cap the Section 184 loan guarantee program at $12.2 million for the next five fiscal years.
           Second Senate Bill. There is one other NAHASDA reauthorization bill: the BUIILD Act (S 1275) introduced by Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman Hoeven (R-ND) earlier this year. Like S 1895, the BUILD Act would: reauthorize NAHASDA for the next five fiscal years, avoid setting a cap on IHBG appropriations and cap the Section 184 program at $12.2 million. The difference is that the BUILD Act contains only a few NAHASDA amendments and avoids any of the controversial provisions that might lead to the bill stalling (such as a continuation of the authorization for the Native Hawaiian NAHASDA provisions).

Mark Fogarty , "Federal Indian Housing Money Not Going As Far As it Used To: Members of Congress heard why the stalled bill HR 360, which re-authorizes NAHASDA and passed the House in 2015, should be a priority of lawmakers, ICTMN, August 10, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/federal-indian-housing-money-not-going-far- used/, reported, "As the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act continues to languish without reauthorization, Congress got a report card on federal Indian housing programs. It also heard from Indian housing advocates that the buying power of appropriated money has declined, and that fewer houses are being built in Indian country." In 2017 the buying power of each appropriated dollar is about 30% less than it was in 1997.
          "In written testimony submitted to the panel, Heidi Frechette, deputy assistant secretary for HUD's Office of Native American Programs, detailed dollars appropriated for the HUD 184 and Title VI loan programs, the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program and the Indian Housing Block Grant program. As of June 30 of this year, Frechette reported that as of June 30, 2017, the HUD 184 program had guaranteed, since its inception, 38,585 mortgages to Indians on and off reservation totaling $6.4 billion loans to individual Indians, tribes, and tribal housing entities. Under Title VI of NAHASDA, has guaranteed 98 loans for $239 million had been guaranteed since the start of the program. Title VI loans generally are "project" loans for such things as infrastructure and roads. These projects resulted in 3,244 affordable housing units.
          The I-CDBG, which in fiscal 2016 was applied to build 13 community buildings and rehab 325 affordable housing units, in the past five years it produced 159 community buildings and nearly 3,800 affordable housing units, while creating 922 jobs. Under Indian Housing Block Grants (IHBG), Frechette reported, "in fiscal year 2016, tribes built or acquired 563 affordable housing units using IHBG funds, and about 5,400 units were substantially rehabilitated. In addition, tribes operated, maintained, and renovated about 43,000 units of housing developed under the U.S. Housing Act of
          

1937.
          Since the program's first year of funding in 1998, through fiscal year 2016, recipients built or
          acquired more than 38,000 units of affordable housing, and rehabilitated about 85,000 units." IHBG appropriations were also employed for other purposes, she said. "Since 2013, tribes have used IHBG funds to purchase almost 1,300 acres of land to develop affordable housing, and have provided down payment or closing cost assistance to more than 3,200 families."

"Bipartisan Group of Senators Reintroduce Bill to Provide Tribes with Dedicated Set-Aside from Crime Victims Fund," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-053, November 6th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-053, reported, "On September 27, 2017, Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman Hoeven (R-ND) re-introduced as S 1870, the Securing Urgent Resources Vital to Indian Victims Empowerment Act (SURVIVE Act), legislation to establish a dedicated funding stream for tribes from the Crime Victims Fund (CVF). Joining as original co-sponsors were Senators: McCain (R-AZ); Heitkamp (D-ND); Cortez-Masto (D-NV); Franken (D-MN); Daines (R-MT); Tester (D-MT); and Barrasso (R-WY). This legislation provides a major opportunity for tribes: the provision of direct tribal access to the CVF.
          The Victims of Crime Act has two formula grant programs, one focusing on crime victim compensation, the other on victim assistance. The compensation program provides financial assistance and reimbursement to victims for crime-related out-of-pocket expenses, such as health care, counseling, and lost income. The assistance program supports many victim assistance programs nationwide who provide services such as counseling, referrals, shelter and criminal justice support.
           Context. Direct access has long been a priority for tribes and Indian organizations and it was a recommendation of the 2012 Attorney General's Task Force on Indian and Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence. The first iteration of the SURVIVE Act was introduced in the previous Congress by then-Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Chairman Barrasso (R-WY) as S 1704, but ultimately not enacted. (See our General Memorandum 15-050 of July 10, 2015). The main difference between S 1870 and the previous iteration of this legislation is that S 1870 would make the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime the lead office to administer the tribal grants while previous version would have made the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Office of Justice Support the lead office.
           Current Structure. The CVF is not funded through federal appropriations, but rather through the collection of fines and penalties via federal courts. Congress, in turn, decides how much of the fund can be allocated each fiscal year, most of which is distributed via formula to states for crime victim services and assistance. For FY 2017, there is $2.57 billion available from the CVF. Currently, tribes may only access these funds by applying to states, and very little funding ends up going to tribes–usually only 0.7 percent or less per fiscal year–despite federal data indicating a disproportionate rate of need.
          Changes Proposed by the Bill. The bill would instead allocate five percent of the available CVF funds per fiscal year to the Department of Justice Office for Victims of Crime to be administered in the form of a competitive grant program for tribes. Up to four percent of these funds could be utilized by the Office for Victims of Crime for administrative expenses, the management and administration of grants and training and technical assistance. No tribal match would be required.
          Key Timeframes
. The grant program authorized by S 1870 would be authorized for a ten-year period. Not later than 60 days after the bill's enactment, a notice initiating the Negotiated Rulemaking process would be required to be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER, with the process to be completed not later than 180 days after that publication and final regulations promulgated not later than one year after the bill's enactment. Not later than 60 days after the negotiated rulemaking is complete, a notice soliciting applications for grants would be required to be published in the FEDERAL REGISTER. Grant funds would be required to be disbursed not later than January 31 of each fiscal year. Grantees would have an additional five fiscal years after the fiscal year in which funds were awarded to obligate their awarded funds. At the end of this time period, any unobligated funds would be required to be returned and awarded to other grantees the following fiscal year.
          

Growing Support–but Challenges Remain. The issue of direct tribal access to the CVF continues to gain attention in Congress. Once again, Members of Congress, in addition to supporting stand-alone legislation to amend the Crime Victims Fund, are also working in parallel to include language in FY 2018 Appropriations bills to provide the tribal set-aside. The Senate Appropriations Committee's FY 2018 Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations bill S 1662 contains a five percent tribal set-aside. Prior to a vote on the House floor, the House's FY 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill had contained a five percent tribal set-aside. However, that language was dropped from the bill after House Judiciary Committee Chairman Goodlatte (R-VA) raised a point of order against it. We understand that Chairman Goodlatte argued that specifying a tribal set-aside from the fund would constitute legislating on an appropriations bill and that such a provision should instead be considered under the jurisdiction of his Committee. As of this writing, the federal government is operating under a Continuing Resolution that runs through December 8, 2017. Before that time, Congress will need to work out a deal on the terms and conditions for the remainder of FY 2018 or pass another Continuing Resolution. In FY 2017, tribal provisions had been included in both House and Senate appropriations bills but were somehow removed during the behind the scenes negotiations to craft the FY 2017 Omnibus. It remains to be seen whether this will happen again during FY 2018 negotiations. On October 25, 2017, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held a hearing on a trio of tribal justice bills, one of them being S 1870."

"Tribal Social Security Fairness Bills Introduced," Hobbs-Straus, General Memorandum 17- 033, June 28th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-033, reported, "On June 7, 2017, Senators Cantwell (D-WA) and Thune (R-SD) introduced a long-awaited solution to the inequitable treatment of tribal council members as S 1309 'The Tribal Social Security Fairness Act". S 1309 would modify Section 218 of the Social Security Act to permit tribal governments to enter into agreements, in the same way that state and local governments do, to elect to extend Social Security and Medicare benefits to tribal council members. The following day, Representatives Reichert (R-WA), Kilmer (D-WA), DelBene (D-WA) and Cole (R-OK) introduced the companion bill in the House as HR 2860.
          The press release for The Tribal Social Security Fairness Act underscored the lack of access to Social Security retirement as particularly poignant: 'Tribal populations are at a significant disadvantage in preparing for retirement.' Sen. Cantwell stated, 'It is an injustice that due to a 60-year-old flawed interpretation of the tax code, [tribal council members] do not have the same access to Social Security as all other Americans.' Sen. Thune elaborated, 'This is a good-government bill that would put tribal governments on a level playing field with their non-tribal counterparts by giving them the option to pay into and receive benefits from the Social Security program, just like nearly every other working American is already able to do.'
          The Social Security Act of 1935 and the Federal Insurance Contribution Act (FICA) impose certain taxes (Social Security and Medicare taxes) on employment relationships. These employment taxes apply to governmental employers differently than private employers. The Social Security Act originally exempted state and local governments from FICA tax. The exemption of state and local governments was based upon concerns that the federal government lacked constitutional power to impose the taxes on state and local governments. In 1950, Congress amended the Act to allow states to elect to provide coverage for public employees. Under so-called "Section 218" plans, states could elect FICA coverage for designated categories of employees. Before 1991, state and local government employees who were not covered by a Section 218 plan were excluded from Social Security coverage. After 1991, state and local government employees were included in Social Security unless they were either covered by a Section 218 plan or were members of a qualified public retirement system.
          The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) does not treat Indian tribes as governments for purposes of FICA. States were defined by the Act to include "instrumentalities of a State… one or more political subdivisions of a State or… a State and one or more of its political subdivisions." The IRS has successfully argued that FICA applies to tribes, but that in applying FICA to tribes, they cannot be treated as states because FICA does not expressly reference tribes in the definition of a "state." Therefore, because tribes are not treated like states, tribes cannot elect coverage for specific classes of
          

employees under a Section 218 plan. Tribes likewise cannot decide whether Social Security coverage should apply to tribal workers through adoption of qualified tribal retirement plans.
          Similarly, the rules relating to the classification of public or elected officials for employment tax purposes has also been different, and confusing, as between state and local governmental employers and tribal governmental employers. In 1959, the IRS sought to clarify the treatment of tribal elected officials. The IRS ruled that amounts paid to tribal council members for their services are not subject to FICA (Social Security and Medicare) taxes or income tax withholding (although they are includible in taxable income). Rev. Rul. 59-354, 1959-2 C.B. 24. The ruling unfortunately did not clarify employee classification issues and has created a patchwork of uneven and uncertain interpretation of how or whether FICA applies to appointed tribal officials, elected tribal officials,
          committee or commission members, and so on.
          What is clear, however, is that Rev. Rul. 59-354 has made tribal council members ineligible for Social Security benefits with respect to their tribal council service. Because amounts paid to tribal council members are not subject to FICA taxes, they are receiving no credits toward Social Security and Medicare benefits while their state and local counterparts are contributing to, and accessing, Social Security benefits.
          Tribes and tribal organizations have been seeking an answer to this problem with Treasury, IRS and the Social Security Administration (SSA) for a number of years. The IRS Indian Tribal Governments division has looked into an administrative resolution over the past several years, including directed interagency meetings between Treasury, IRS and SSA. Unfortunately, the agencies concluded that there was not an administrative resolution and that a legislative fix was necessary. Treasury and IRS, in fact, informed Congressional representatives of the issue and the need for legislative answers. The Tribal Social Security Fairness Act is just such a fix and would remedy decades of inequitable treatment of tribal citizens' access to the Social Security system."

Renae Ditmer, "Native Voices Ignored as House Committee Ponders Changes to Indian Trust Land Policy: 'We should have a higher standard for Native American policy hearings than a panel of non-Native witnesses with axes to grind,' says Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ)," ICTMN, July 26, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/native-voices-ignored-house-committee-
          ponders-changes-indian-trust-land-policy/, reported, "The generally nonpartisan Subcommittee on Indian, Insular and Alaska Native Affairs took a sharp turn to the right at its July 13 oversight hearing, entitled, Comparing 21st Century Trust Land Acquisition with the intent of the 73rd Congress in Section 5 of the Indian Reorganization Act."
           The hearing, at which only one of the four witnesses was an Indian, was supposed to be informational on the committee considering a fix to the problem raised in the Supreme Court decision of Carcieri v. Salaza r. The court had held that the Secretary of the Interior's "exceptionally broad authority to acquire land in trust for Indians" applies only to tribes "recognized and now under federal jurisdiction" as of 1934. While the Obama administration had interpreted "recognized and now under federal jurisdiction" to allow the Secretary to continue to place land into trust for tribes recognized after 1934, and no federal court had acted contrary to that interpretation, many, including some tribes, believed Congress needed formally extend such authority.
          
Subcommittee Chairman Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), took a position opposed to that of the Obama administration on interpreting "recognized and now under federal jurisdiction", asserting that "…the Secretary may no longer use the IRA to acquire trust land for any post- 1934 tribe without specific authorization from Congress."
          
Noting LaMalfa's approach, ranking member of the Natural Resources Committee Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) characterized the hearing instead as an attempt to attack tribal sovereignty and self-determination by questioning the legitimacy of tribes that have received federal recognition since 1934, and by extension, their ability to acquire land to place into trust.
          Grijalva commented, "'This hearing isn't even an attempt to seek information – it's a forum for repeating anti-Native talking points,' Grijalva said, adding that House Natural Resources] Chairman Rob Bishop (R-UT) 'has a long history of opposing tribal sovereignty and attempting to weaken federal recognition for Native Americans.'"
          

The Senate Committee on Indian Affairs held hearings in Santa Fe, NM, in July 2018, considering whether to toughen the penalties and enforcement of the Native American Arts and Crafts Act (ICWA), in response to many Native artists complaints of the sales of fake Indian art using traditional designs (Megan Bennett, "Senators urge crackdown on fake native art," Albuquerque Tribune, July 8, 2017).


          Federal Agency Developments

"OMB Issues Clarifications to the Uniform Guidance and Also Requests Comments on 2017 Changes to the Single Audit Act," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-042, August 15th, 2017. http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-042-0, reported, "On July 24, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released an updated listing of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) that accompany the regulations found at 2 CFR Part 200 for the Uniform Guidance (UG). These FAQ largely clarify earlier topics covered by the UG. Examples include: clarification of the difference between indirect costs and administrative costs; calculating total direct costs; allowability of certain rental costs; calculating non-federal shares in awards; indirect cost issues with pass through entities; and, documentation for indirect cost rates and de minimis rates, among other topics. OMB is also extending the time period for an additional year for non-federal entities to bring their procurement policies in line with the UG. A link to the updated FAQ can be found at: http://files.constantcontact.com/eed4cac7201/255cfbae-2b3f-418d-976c-ac9...
          On August 14, 2017, OMB also published a notice of availability of the 2017 Single Audit Act requirements. We recommend that you share this Single Audit Act Supplement with your outside auditors, as the standards will impact the fieldwork they conduct as part of the annual audit. Comments can be submitted through October 31, 2017. Of particular note is that the 2017 Supplement is extended to cover grant programs under the "477 Program Cluster" which include a range of Indian education, social service, family assistance, and training grants. A link to this Supplement can be found at: https:// www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/08/14/2017-17054/uniform-...

"Interior Announces Revised Strategy, Policies to More Effectively Reduce Fractionation of Tribal Lands," U.S. Department of the Interior, July 31, 2017 Contact : Interior_Press@ios.doi.gov, www.doi.vov, announced, "Following extensive analysis and feedback received from tribal leaders and American Indian landowners, the Department of the Interior today announced a revised strategy for the consolidation of fractional land interests through the Land Buy-Back Program for Tribal Nations (Program). The strategy, which will more effectively allocate the remaining Program funds to reduce the maximum amount of fractional interests, includes a revised schedule for implementation, as well as new opportunities for tribal governments to use the Program's tools and systems to facilitate their own land consolidation initiatives.
          
The Program implements the land consolidation component of the Cobell Settlement, which provided $1.9 billion to purchase fractional interests in trust or restricted land from willing sellers at fair market value. Interests consolidated through the Program are restored to tribal trust ownership. Since the Program began making offers in December 2013, about $1.2 billion has been paid to landowners at 45 locations, more than 700,000 fractional interests have been consolidated, and the equivalent of over 2.1 million acres of land has been transferred to tribal governments. As a result, tribal ownership now exceeds 50 percent in almost 14,000 tracts of land, which strengthens tribal sovereignty and self-determination, and allows for investments in tribal infrastructure and community projects.
          Under the direction of new Departmental leadership, the Program has undergone a full review to determine how best to allocate the remaining $540 million to maximize the interests consolidated –
          

the purpose specifically set forth in the Cobell Settlement. That strategic analysis included how to make the most effective use of the Administrative Fund to facilitate the Program, as well as additional measures to address land fractionation.
          'The revised strategy announced today maximizes the remaining dollars left for the implementation of the Buy-Back Program and seeks to achieve the greatest reduction of fractional interests, the largest number possible of landowners able to participate, and the most effective use of the Department's resources,' said Associate Deputy Secretary James Cason. 'However, while the Department is doing what it can to improve the Program, it is clear Congress has a role as well. We continue to look to congressional leaders for long-term solutions to address the problem of fractionated lands.'
          'As someone who has been involved with this Program since its inception, this significant policy shift announced today is responsive to the tribal feedback we have received over the past several years,' added Acting Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs Michael S. Black. 'Tribal input and involvement has been a cornerstone of Program implementation. I see that continuing and know that we must work together on many fronts to address the fractionation of tribal lands.'
          Fractionation affects nearly 11 million acres of land across Indian Country, preventing beneficial uses of significant resources and creating an overly complicated land tenure status where single tracts of land, like those at Navajo Nation, have more than 1,200 landowners. When tracts have multiple owners, it is difficult to obtain the required approvals for leases or other uses of these lands. As a result, many tracts are unoccupied and unavailable for any purpose.
          REVISED IMPLEMENTATION STRATEGY
          Over the past several months, t he Program has undergone a thorough analysis that took into consideration tribal feedback received through the open comment period announced in the Federal Register, during multiple meetings the Department engaged in, and at the Program's 2017 Listening Session (transcript and presentation available online at:https:// www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/about/past-presentations ). The analysis also reviewed opportunities to leverage government resources and reduce administrative costs in Program implementation, especially as it relates to the management of small fractional interests. This would allow more resources to be used for land consolidation.
          Based on several key factors, Interior then developed a revised process for determining on which ownership interests to make purchase offers. Those factors included: severity of fractionation; appraisal complexity; degree of ownership overlap between locations or geographic proximity; tribal readiness; past response rate; and cost and efficiency (including land value).
          
With these factors in mind, the Department developed a revised schedule to implement the Program at the following locations (in alphabetical order):
          Blackfeet (Montana)
          Bois Forte (Minnesota)
          Cheyenne and Arapaho (Oklahoma)
          Cheyenne River (South Dakota) Crow (Montana)
          Fond du Lac (Minnesota)
          Fort Belknap (Montana)
          Fort Berthold (North Dakota)
          Fort Peck (Montana) Navajo (Arizona, New Mexico, Utah) Northern Cheyenne (Montana) Pine Ridge   (South Dakota)
          Rosebud (South Dakota) Santee Sioux (Nebraska) Skokomish (Washington)
          Spirit Lake (North Dakota)

Standing

Rock

(North

and

South

Dakota)

Umatilla

?

?

?

?

(Oregon)

 

Warm Springs (Oregon) Wind River (Wyoming)
          The Program will continually assess progress and may revise the schedule or add locations as capacity and resources allow, depending on the results achieved. Because effective planning and coordination take many months, the Program will begin the process to educate landowners and build cooperative working relationships with land staff. A Program representative will contact each Tribe at the initial stages of planning for implementation.
          LEVERAGING RESOURCES FOR TRIBAL USE
          In addition to the revised schedule, Interior also announced several policies, which reflect the Department's consideration of tribal comments, to better leverage Program resources, facilitate greater efficiencies, and increase opportunities to consolidate fractional interests, including:
           Facilitating tribal and co-owner purchases. In response to tribal feedback, the Program is evaluating its ability to facilitate tribal and co-owners purchases. This includes working to make certain information, such as mapping and land appraisals, more readily available. This may help tribes direct their own resources to reduce fractionation and manage tribal land. It may also facilitate individual landowner purchases. The Program would look to prioritize some appraisal and other acquisition efforts on tracts where tribes will use tribal funds to make purchase offers on interests, and next on tracts where individual owners will use their funds to make purchase offers on co-owner interests. The Program anticipates announcing more information on these matters in the next few months.
           Maximizing use of appraisals. Initially, the Program established an appraisal validity period of up to 9 months. Many tribal leaders urged Interior to consider a period of up to 12 months. The Program will now strive to utilize mass and project appraisals for up to 12 months, as long as appropriate market conditions exist when such appraisals are issued and thereafter. This approach seeks to maximize the time available to leverage the appraisals.
           Streamlining agreements with tribes. The Program revised the cooperative agreement process to clarify the funding parameters for tribes and to ensure that the maximum amount of funding goes to land consolidation. Revised acquisition approach. To further maximize the remaining funding, the Program has developed an offer approach focused on acquiring: 1) ownership interests in all Mineral
          tracts determined to have no current economically viable mineral value; and 2) interests that are less than 25 percent of the ownership in Surface (S) and Both (B) tracts. (Mineral tracts have ownership rights only to minerals or other resources below ground, while Surface tracts have ownership rights only to the land surface of tracts. Category 'Both' tracts have ownership rights to the land surface and minerals below ground.) Resources permitting, the Program will also look to give priority to those tracts or interests where tribes or individuals are committed to using their own funds to acquire fractional interests. Extending purchase offer timing. Previously, purchase offers were valid for 45 calendar days from the date of the offer cover letter. Tribes and landowners requested a longer review period. The Program has extended the due date from 45 days to 60 days to allow landowners more time to make an informed decision about their land. RESOURCES FOR LANDOWNERS All interested landowners are encouraged to call the Trust Beneficiary Call Center (Call Center) at 888-678-6836 to indicate that they are interested in potentially selling their land and/or to update contact information. Registering as a willing seller does not commit a landowner to selling land, nor does it guarantee an offer will be extended; it merely identifies interest to help advance planning as additional locations are added to the schedule.
          Landowners can also contact the Call Center or visit their local OST office to ask questions about their land or purchase offers, and learn about financial planning resources. More information and detailed frequently asked questions are available athttps:// www.doi.gov/buybackprogram/FAQ to help individuals make informed decisions about their land.
          Office of Public Affairs - Indian Affairs, Office of the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1849 C St., N.W., MS-4004-MIB, Washington, D.C. 20240, Main Phone: 202-208-3710, Press Line: 202-219-4152, as-ia_opa@bia.gov.
          

"Department of Interior Schedules Additional Listening Sessions on the Licensed Indian Traders Regulations," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-040, August 11th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-040, rported, "

On July 28, 2017, the Department of Interior circulated the attached 'Dear Tribal Leader' letter from Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Economic Development Dr. Gavin Clarkson seeking further input on 'the need to update the 'Licensed Indian Traders' regulations.' The letter reports that the Department received comments from 37 tribes and eight tribal organizations in response to the Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) published in the FEDERAL REGISTER on December 9, 2016. (See our General Memoranda 16-077 of December 22, 2016.) The July 28 letter requests additional comments from tribes on the Indian Trader regulations and sets the following dates and locations for a series of "listening sessions and Tribal consultations":
          August 17 – Albuquerque, NM
          August 22 – Portland, OR
          August 24 – Anchorage, AK
          August 28 – Salamanca, NY (Seneca Allegany)
          August 29 – Green Bay, WI
          In particular, the Department seeks further comment and documentation of jurisdictional conflicts that impede tribal business development and economic development. The letter requests tribal comments and information in three areas:
          projects that have been constrained or cannot be carried out due to burdensome regulatory requirements (and that would move forward if there were greater regulatory flexibility);
          economic impact studies showing benefits of tribal economic development on surrounding communities; and
          treaty provisions requiring the United States to protect tribal economic interests. Comments are due August 30, 2017."

"Native American Title VI Older Americans Act Grants for Medicare Outreach," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-035, June 28t h, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum- 17-035, reported, "
          "The Administration for Community Living (ACL) in the Department of Health and Human Services is soliciting grant applications from current grantees of the Older Americans Act Title VI Native American Programs for providing assistance to eligible persons in accessing Medicare programs. ACL has $270,000 available for this grant announcement via the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act. The deadline for applications is August 15, 2017.
          The ACL notice was published June 28, 2017, FEDERAL REGISTER and can be found here: https:// www.federalregister.gov/documents/2017/06/28/2017-13530/availabi...
          The specific programs about which the grantee is to provide outreach and application assistance
          are:

  • Low Income Subsidy Program
  • Medicare Savings Program
  • Medicare Part D
  • Medicare Prevention and Screenings.

          Grantees are to "coordinate at least one community announcement and one community outreach event to inform and assist" eligible persons. Grant amounts will depend on the number of applications received and availability of funds."

In August, EPA was reconsidering whether to pay farmers and businesses in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah for losses resulting from the Gold King Mine waste spill in Colorado in 2015. But even if EPA does decide to pay damages, it was unclear how much the Republican dominated Congress would appropriate for that purpose (EPA to reconsider mine spill claims," Albuquerque Journal, August 5, 2017).
          

"Departments of Commerce and Transportation (Agencies) Seek Comments on Direct Tribal Participation in the 911 Grant Program," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-050, October 4th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-050, reported, " The National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are seeking comments on proposed rulemaking to modernize the 911 grant program pursuant to the Next Generation 911 (NG911) Advancement Act of 2012 (Act). The Act included tribal eligibility for grants but no funding had been available for the program since 2009. In 2016, $115 million from the auction of spectrum was made available for the 911 grants. Hence, the Agencies are now updating the regulations for the upcoming round of grants. Any 911 grant funding tribes received in the past would have come through the state.
          The deadline for receipt of comments is November 6, 2017. The notice of proposed rulemaking published in the September 21, 2017, FEDERAL REGISTER can be found here: https:// www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-09-21/pdf/2017-19944.pdf
          Under the 911 grant program Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) serve as centers to answer emergency calls for police, firefighting and ambulance services. The Agencies note that most state and local jurisdictions are now ready to transition to the NG911 infrastructure as envisioned by the 2012 law referenced above so that "citizens, first responders and 911 call-takers can use IP-based, broadband-enabled technologies to coordinate emergency responses."
          The proposed regulations would allow Tribal Organizations to directly apply for 911 grant program funds (if other statutory criteria are met), while retaining the current framework under which states can apply for funding on behalf of all entities within their jurisdiction. The Agencies recognize tribal sovereignty and note that tribes do not currently receive adequate funding to improve their PSAPs and note the difficulties faced by tribes whose jurisdiction crosses state lines. Specifically, the Agencies are seeking feedback on the following matters:
          If the 911 grant program were open to Tribal Organizations directly, would tribal PSAPs be able to meet the application requirements provided in proposed 47 CFR 400.4, including statutory requirements such as the matching requirement and non-diversion certifications? What would be the challenges with providing the necessary certifications, if any?
           Tribal Organization applying for a 911 program grant must identify the designated State 911 Coordinator(s) and provide certifications that the Tribal Organization has not diverted designated 911 charges. What would be the challenges associated with providing this information, if any?
          Do the tribal PSAPs collect 911 surcharge fees and/or receive State provided 911 surcharge funds? If so, are Tribal Organizations able to certify that tribal sub-entities are not diverting 911 surcharge fees?
          What other tribal PSAP issues or challenges should the agencies consider when determining how to involve tribal entities in this grant program?
          Also requested is feedback on whether a formula-based approach for Tribal Organization grants is the most equitable way to distribute grants funds
. Under the proposal the cap on tribal grants would be $250,000 and it would be based on a ratio of 50 percent population and 50 percent road mileage. This is the same formula used for states whose maximum grant is $500,000. The Agencies would be authorized to allocate 2 percent of available grant funds to tribal organizations.
           'Tribal Organization' would be defined as provided in the Act: Tribal Organization means the recognized governing body of any Indian tribe; any legally established organization of Indians which is controlled, sanctioned, or chartered by such governing body or which is democratically elected by the adult members of the Indian community to be served by such organization and which includes the maximum participation of Indians in all phases of its activities; Provided, that in any case where a contract is let or grant made to an organization to perform services benefiting more than one Indian tribe, the approval of each such Indian tribe shall be a
          prerequisite to the letting or making of such contract or grant."
          

"Waters of the United States: Army Corps and EPA Publish Proposed Step 1 Rule," Hobbs- Straus General Memorandum 17-041, August 11th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general- memorandum-17-041, reported, "On July 27, 2017, the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) jointly published a proposed rule on the definition of 'Waters of the United States' for purposes of the Clean Water Act (CWA) (attached). 82 Fed. Reg. 34899. This proposed rule is the first step in a planned two step rulemaking process as directed by Executive Order 13778, 'Restoring the Rule of Law, Federalism, and Economic Growth by Reviewing the 'Waters of the United States' Rule' (Feb. 28, 2017), 82 Fed. Reg. 12497 (Mar. 3, 2017). Step 1 would reinstate the regulatory text as it was before having been revised in 2015, in effect rescinding the final rule promulgated during the Obama Administration. 80 Fed. Reg. 37054 (June 29, 2015). In Step 2, the agencies will consider making substantive changes in light of court rulings, and they have indicated that they will engage in tribal consultation at that point. The deadline for filing comments on the Step 1 proposed rule is August 28, 2017.
          Significance of 'Waters of the United States.' While the term 'waters of the United States' (often referred to as "WOTUS") is not defined in the statutory text of the CWA, the term is key in determining the extent of the federal government's regulatory jurisdiction under the CWA. The CWA prohibits the discharge of any pollutants, including any dredged or fill material, into 'navigable waters,' unless the discharge is authorized pursuant to the Act. 33 U.S.C. §§ 1311(a), 1362(12). The term 'navigable waters' is defined in the statute as 'waters of the United States, including the territorial seas.' Id. § 1362(7). The term 'navigable waters' has long been understood to include many kinds of waters that are not navigable in fact. As discussed in the preamble of the proposed Step 1 rule, much of the regulatory framework has been in place since 1977. The proposed Step 2 rule would result in a reduction in the scope of CWA regulatory jurisdiction, especially with respect to wetlands.
          The definition of 'waters of the United States' affects the implementation of CWA programs on tribal lands and lands upstream of tribal waters, including section 303, which calls for states and tribes treated like states to adopt water quality standards (WQS); section 401 certification of compliance with WQS, under which tribes can seek accommodation for environmental and cultural values within a federal permit; section 402 National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permits, which regulate discharges of pollutants that may directly or indirectly reach jurisdictional waters; section 404 permits, which regulate the discharge of dredged or fill material into waters, including wetlands; and section 311, which requires oil spill response and prevention plans.
          
EPA has the lead role in administering most provisions of the CWA. The Corps, however, is charged with the lead role in administering the section 404 permit program, although EPA has authority to prohibit discharges at certain sites to avoid unacceptable effects. States have major roles in the CWA, and tribes can become authorized by EPA to be treated like states.
          Supreme Court Opinions. In a 1985 decision, the Supreme Court deferred to the judgment of the Corps and upheld the inclusion of adjacent wetlands in the regulatory definition of WOTUS. United States v. Riverside Bayview Homes, 474 U.S. 121 (1985). Two subsequent Supreme Court decisions, however, ruled that there are some limits to the scope of federal jurisdiction over waters. In Solid Waste Agency of Northern Cook County v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 531 U.S. 159 (2001) (SWANCC), the Court held that isolated intrastate ponds were not subject to CWA jurisdiction. In determining the scope of CWA jurisdiction over waters that are not in fact navigable, the majority opinion introduced the concept of "significant nexus" to waters that are navigable in fact.
          The next Supreme Court decision was Rapanos v. United States, 547 U.S. 715 (2006), a decision without a majority opinion. Justice Scalia authored a plurality opinion (joined by three others) and announced the judgment of the Court. Justice Kennedy provided the decisive fifth vote and wrote an opinion concurring in the result. For Justice Kennedy, the test for the reach of federal jurisdiction under the CWA, as the Court held in SWANCC, is that "a water or wetland must possess a 'significant nexus' to waters that are or were navigable in fact or that could reasonably be so made." Id. at 759. The Scalia opinion did not apply this test. Rather, as summarized in the preamble to the Step 1 proposed rule, the plurality interpreted WOTUS as "covering 'relatively permanent, standing or continuously
          

flowing bodies of water' that are connected to traditional navigable waters, as well as wetlands with a 'continuous surface connection' to such water bodies." 82 Fed. Reg. at 34900.
          Post- Rapanos Developments. The agencies issued a guidance document in 2008, and then conducted a rulemaking process, which culminated in the 2015 final rule. Numerous lawsuits followed. In one case, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide stay of the 2015 rule pending the outcome of judicial review. The issue of whether the Court of Appeals has original jurisdiction is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
          The Step 2 Rule. Executive Order 13778 directs the agencies, through rulemaking, to "consider" defining the term "navigable waters" in a manner consistent with Justice Scalia's opinion in Rapanos. The agencies plan to do that in the Step 2 proposed rule. They say that they "will appropriately consult with tribal officials during the development of a subsequent rulemaking that makes changes to the longstanding definition of 'waters of the United States.'"
          In the Step 1 proposed rule, the agencies are not seeking comment on any substantive issues.
          Rather, they are only seeking comments on their plan to re-codify the pre-2015 regulatory text."

"FHWA Soliciting Grant Applications for Tribal Transportation Safety Funds," Hobbe-Straus General Memorandum 17-049, October 4th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum- 17-049, reported, "The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) at the Department of Transportation (DOT) has published a notice in the FEDERAL REGISTER soliciting grant applications from tribes for FY 2017 and FY 2018 Tribal Transportation Safety Funds (TTSF). The most recent transportation reauthorization, the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, established the TTSF as a set-aside of not more than two percent of the funds made available each fiscal year under the Tribal Transportation Program (TTP). The intent of the TTSF is to prevent and reduce deaths or serious injuries in transportation-related crashes on tribal lands. Since the TTSF grant cycle is nearing a one-year lag in application and funding, FHWA has made the decision to combine the FY 2017 and FY 2018 grant years in one application cycle, essentially creating twice the funding for this year's cycle. The deadline to submit applications is December 11, 2017.
          The FAST Act established a list of eligible projects, of which there are three categories: (1) safety plans; (2) data assessment, improvement, and analysis activities; and (3) infrastructure improvements. A full list of eligible projects can be found in the FEDERAL REGISTER notice: https:// www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2017-09-21/pdf/2017-20111.pdf
          Federally recognized tribes are the only entities eligible to apply for the TTSF. This restriction, however, does not preclude a tribe from partnering with a non-tribal entity to submit an application. Although no cost sharing or match is required, if the total amount of funding requested for "highly qualified" or "qualified" applications exceeds the amount of available funding, FHWA will give priority consideration to those projects that can show that other funding sources will be committed to complement the TTSF funding request. Further information on this grant opportunity, including a link to the application, can be found in the FEDERAL REGISTER notice."

"IRS Issues Interim HEARTH Act Guidance for 'Direct-Pay' Leases," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-034, June 28th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-034, reported, "On June 8, 2017, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued interim guidance to clarify that a per capita distribution of trust income earned by an Indian tribe from a 'direct-pay' lease (such as those executed pursuant to tribal regulations under the HEARTH Act) is not taxable to the tribal member receiving the distribution. Attached is a copy of the IRS' interim guidance memorandum from IRS' Indian Tribal Governments Director Christie Jacobs.
          As the Department of Interior describes, the Helping Expedite and Advance Responsible Tribal Home Ownership Act of 2012 (the HEARTH Act), 'creates a voluntary, alternative land leasing process available to tribes by amending the Indian Long-Term Leasing Act of 1955, 25 U.S.C. Sec. 415. Under the Act, once their governing tribal leasing regulations have been submitted to, and approved by, the Secretary of the Interior, tribes are authorized to negotiate and enter into leases without further approvals by the Secretary.'
          

The interim guidance relies upon IRS Notice 2015-67, which clarified that per capita distributions made to tribes from funds held by the Secretary of the Interior as part of a tribal trust account are excluded from the gross income of tribal members. In 2016, the IRS issued 'Interim Guidance on the Direct Pay of Tribal Lease Funds', to clarify that the tax exemption for per capita distributions of trust income also applies when the source of the per capita distribution is income received by a tribe pursuant to a Bureau of Indian Affairs-approved direct payment from the lessee. The 2016 guidance did not, however, expressly extend the guidance to direct income earned from leases executed under the HEARTH Act.
          Tribal representatives urged clarification extending IRS Notice 2015-67 to HEARTH Act lease income. The IRS and Treasury Department held a listening sessions with tribal representatives on this issue in December 2016. The interim guidance achieves the thrust of the requested clarification and treats the per capita distribution of direct-pay HEARTH Act lease income in accordance with IRS Notice 2015-67."

"Upcoming Deadline for Tribes to Register for the Local Update of Census Addresses," Hobbs- Straus General Memorandum 17-055, November 17th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general- memorandum-17-055, reported, " The Local Update of Census Addresses (LUCA) program is a geographic partnership program that provides governments, including tribal governments, the opportunity to review the Census Bureau's address list for their communities and to provide updates to those addresses prior to the 2020 Census. LUCA is a once a decade opportunity for tribal governments to fix outdated data that could lead to undercounting or other errors by the Census Bureau and American Community Survey. The deadline for tribal governments to register to participate is December 15, 2017.
          LUCA is a voluntary program, but it helps the Census Bureau get a clearer view of where people live so the agency can get a more accurate count. The LUCA program is authorized by the Census Address List Improvement Act of 1994 (Public Law 103–430), which provides an opportunity for designated representatives of tribal, state, and local governments to review the Census Address List. Geography is the base upon which the Census Bureau's data are built. When a household or business answers a Census Bureau survey, the questionnaire response is attached to the household or business location address. The Census Bureau locates this address within established geographic areas, such as a reservation. The Census Bureau then tabulates data for all of the households and/or businesses located within each geographic area. Because the Census Bureau tabulates data by geographic area, it is important for the Census Bureau to have an accurate address list and quality geographic boundaries. The physical location of the household is also essential in the event that the household does not respond to the Census questionnaire. It enables the Census Bureau to send an enumerator directly to the household to attempt to collect a response, making the count more accurate.
          Letters were sent out to tribal and other government leaders over the summer to ask them to have their tribes and communities participate in LUCA, and then recently reminder letters and postcards went out to those governments that the Census Bureau has not yet heard from.
          If your tribal government would like to participate, please visit https:// www.census.gov/geo/partnerships/luca.html, which includes instructions and application materials to participate prior to the December 15 deadline. As of this writing, we understand that relatively few tribes have signed up."

"CFPB Publishes Payday Lending Rule but Future of Rule is Unclear," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-057, December 1st, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-
          057, reported,
          The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) published the Payday Lending Rule in the FEDERAL REGISTER on November 17, 2017. The extensive set of regulations is the culmination of years of work by the CFPB. The hallmark of the rule is the requirement that lenders make a reasonable determination that a borrower has the ability to repay a loan while also meeting basic living expenses, prior to issuing a consumer loan with a repayment term of 45 days or less and longer term consumer loans with a balloon payment. The CFPB has stated that the rule applies to
          

Indian tribes and tribally-chartered companies that lend money. The rule takes effect 21 months after publication and the CFPB expects all lenders who regularly extend credit to comply with the new requirements. The new rule would have significant implications for the tribal short-term lending industry by likely curtailing the amount, number, and frequency of loans extended to customers.
          The CFPB rejected calls for the creation of an exemption for Indian tribes
:
          "Finally, and more narrowly, some Tribal and industry commenters have averred that the Bureau lacks authority to adopt regulations pursuant to section 1031 of the Dodd-Frank Act that apply to Indian tribes or to any of the entities to which they have delegated Tribal authority. These arguments raised on behalf of Tribal lenders have also been raised in Tribal consultations that the Bureau has held with federally recognized Indian Tribes, as discussed in part III, and in various court cases to date. They rest on what the Bureau believes is a misreading of the Act and of Federal law and precedents governing the scope of Tribal immunity, positions that the Bureau has briefed extensively to the Federal courts in some key cases testing these issues." Citing CFPB v. Great Plains Lending, 846 F.3d 1049 (9th Cir. 2017), reh'g denied (Apr. 5, 2017) cert. pending; and Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians v. New York State Dep't of Fin. Servs., 769 F.3d 105, 107 (2d Cir. 2014).
          We note that since the publication of the final rule, the CFPB Director Richard Cordray resigned and attempted to appoint his deputy, Leandra English, as the acting Director pursuant to apparent authority granted in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act. That provision, however, appears to conflict with the authority granted to the President to make acting agency head appointments under the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act. President Trump instead picked Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as the new CFPB acting Director. On November 26, English filed a motion in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia for an emergency temporary restraining order to block Mulvaney's appointment. On November 28, the district court denied English's motion. We report this because Mulvaney is widely expected to attempt to block or greatly pare back the Payday Lending Rule."

The Nationa Indian Gaming Connission: "NIGC Orders Immediate Closure of Nooksack Indian Tribe Casino: Investigation finds multiple violations of IGRA, NIGC regulations and Nooksack Tribal Gaming Ordinance," ICMN Staff • June 16, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native- news/nigc-orders-immediate-closure-nooksack-indian-tribe-casino/, reported, " The Nooksack Indian Tribe has been ordered to close the Northwood Casino in Deming, Washington by the National Indian Gaming Commission.
          
On June 15, Jonodev O. Chaudhuri, NIGC chairman, issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) and immediate Closure Order against the tribe as a result of a thorough and multi-faceted investigation by the NIGC "that identified numerous violations of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA), NIGC regulations and the Nooksack Tribal Gaming Ordinance."
          In a June 15 release from NIGC, the NOV details the violations as:
          The tribe failed to maintain its sole proprietary interest and responsibility for the conduct of any gaming activity.
          The tribe failed to submit the required attestation certifying that the construction and maintenance of the gaming facility adequately protects the environment and public health and safety.
          The tribe failed to maintain and operate the gaming facility in a manner that adequately protects the environment and public health and safety, which is evident in orders issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) detailing significant deficiencies of the Safe Drinking Water Act that have occurred at six water systems, including the Northwood Casino Water System.
          The tribe failed to perform required licensing actions for members of the Nooksack Business Corporation II (NBCII) who are primary management officials of the Northwood Casino."
          The Nooksack Tribe can correct the ongoing violations by complying with all licensing requirements, submit the required construction and maintenance attestation, and address the
          

EPA violations the release states. If the tribe does not seek to correct the violations it could face civil penalty violations in the amount of $50,276 for each violation per day of occurrence."

For other actions by the National Indian Gaming Commission (NICG) go to: https:// www.nigc.gov.

Federal Indian Budgets

See Hobbs-Straus report on Congressional budget activity as of beginning of December 2017, under "Congressional Developments", above.

"President Signs Three-Month Continuing Resolution; Congress Continues Work on FY 2018," Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 17-045, September 11th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-045, reported, "On September 8, 2017 , President Trump signed HR 601, a continuing resolution (CR) to temporarily continue FY 2017 terms and conditions through December 8, 2017. Provisions packaged with the CR include a three-month continuation of the suspension of the Nation's debt ceiling as well as a continuation of emergency firefighting funds for the Departments of Agriculture and Interior and an initial package of funding to aid hurricane-impacted communities. A Public Law number has yet to assigned. Enactment of this law frees up Congress to continue consideration of detailed FY 2018 spending bills.
          What This Means
           During the term of the CR, federal agencies are to operate under the funding levels and instructions provided by PL 115-31, the FY 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act (Omnibus). Given the statutory spending caps in place, tribal-specific programs by and large fared well in FY 2017. For detailed reporting on FY 2017 funding levels and instructions for the Indian Health Service and for Indian Affairs (which includes the Bureaus of Indian Affairs and Indian Education), see our General Memoranda 17-030 and 17-032, respectively.
          What Comes Next?
          While the House and Senate worked quickly to put these temporary measures in place, they are moving forward at a more deliberate pace to each develop their own detailed FY 2018 appropriations bills.
          So far, the House has passed four of their twelve FY 2018 appropriations bills and is working this week to pass a group of the other eight FY 2018 appropriations bills packaged together as separate, additional divisions to HR 3554 (the House Appropriations Committee's Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill). The Senate, on the other hand, is considering each FY 2018 appropriations bill individually. Further, not all Senate appropriations bills have been made public yet, including the bill that would provide proposed instructions and funding levels for the IHS and Indian Affairs. The House and Senate may be taking different approaches to moving their FY 2018 appropriations bills forward but by and large, in the bills that have been made public, both bodies have rejected the substantial cuts proposed by the Trump Administration for Indian programs. We understand that the most likely scenario between now and December 8, 2017, is for the House and Senate to each move their versions of appropriations bills forward and then negotiate together to create a detailed FY 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill to fund the entire federal government for the remainder of the fiscal year. If they do not reach an agreement on an Omnibus or on individual appropriations bills, they will need to pass another temporary CR to avert a federal government shut-down. For detailed reporting on FY 2018 funding levels and instructions proposed by the House Appropriations Committee for the Indian Health Service and for Indian Affairs see our General Memoranda 17-039 and 17-044, respectively.
           Currently, federal agencies are being funded via a Continuing Resolution (PL 115-56) at FY 2017 levels through December 8, 2017. (See our General Memorandum 17-045)."
          

"House Approves FY 2018 Omnibus Appropriations Bill; Senate Unlikely to Act on It," Hobbs- Straus General Memorandum 17-047, September 18th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general- memorandum-17-047, reported, "On September 14, 2017 , the House of Representatives approved on a nearly party line vote legislation, HR 3354, which combined all 12 House FY 2018 appropriations bills. The bill, titled the Make America Secure and Prosperous Appropriations Act for FY 2018, would extend funding through the end of the fiscal year. Originally HR 3354 consisted of only Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations but it became the vehicle to which the other bills were attached. The Senate is not expected to take up HR 3354 as approved by the House, but rather intends to finish marking up its own FY 2018 appropriations bills in the coming months and then negotiate with the House. A major issue is whether Congress will raise the cap on defense spending and the cap non-defense spending before enactment of final appropriations.
          HR 3354 contains many controversial legislative riders and would provide $1.57 billion toward construction a wall on our Nation's southern border – provisions strongly opposed by most Congressional Democrats.
           HR 3354, if enacted, would exceed the legal spending cap for defense spending by $72 billion and would trigger a significant sequestration of defense program funding. In order to avoid a defense program sequestration, the Budget Control Act would need to be amended to raise the cap. There is sentiment in Congress for raising the spending cap for non-defense and the spending cap for defense programs but it remains to be seen if that will happen. Clearly, raising the caps would directly affect the FY 2018 appropriations process.
          The omnibus bill passed by the House on September 14 is nearly the same as the Indian Health Service (IHS) and Indian Affairs (BIA/BIE) provisions approved earlier in the year by the House Appropriations Committee (HR 3354; H. Rept. 115-238). One difference is that the House approved an amendment offered by Representative O'Halleran (D-AZ) which would move $10 million from the Department of Interior Office of the Secretary to BIA Construction.
          Taking into account the O'Halleran amendment, the measure would provide for Indian Affairs $20 million more than FY 2017 and $393 million more than the Administration's request. For the IHS it would provide $97 million more than FY 2017 and $398 million more than the Administration's request. For detailed information on these funding recommendations see our General Memoranda 17-039 (IHS) and 17-044 (BIA/BIE)."

President's Indian Affairs FY 2018 Request
          Hobbs-Straus GENERAL MEMORANDUM 17-038, July 21st, 2017
           http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-038

"In this Memorandum, we report on the Trump Administration's FY 2018 proposed budget for Indian Affairs (which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and Bureau of Indian Education (BIE)), as well as a few other selected programs. The proposed federal budget was released quite late (but not unexpectedly so) for the first year of a new Administration. Because the Congress was itself late passing final appropriations bills for FY 2017, the Administration in its budget request compares the FY 2018 request to the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution spending level annualized for the full fiscal year (essentially FY 2016 spending levels) rather than using the FY 2017 enacted amount. For accuracy in this Memorandum, we have individually calculated the differences between the FY 2017 enacted amounts and the Administration's FY 2018 request.

The Administration proposes large cuts in many programs. Thus far the Appropriations Committees are, by and large, rejecting the Administration's proposed reductions, including the proposed cuts for Indian Affairs and the Indian Health Service.

Congressional Progress and Outlook for FY 2018. On May 16 and 17, 2017, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies continued its recent tradition and held two days of hearings for public witnesses on Indian programs under its jurisdiction. Federal agency
          

witnesses have also testified on the proposed budget. Of note, Congress has yet to adopt a budget resolution setting topline spending numbers for FY 2018 discretionary spending. Despite the lack of certainty for FY 2018, the House has set the topline amount for each Appropriations Subcommittee and has moved aggressively to begin marking up Appropriations bills. These topline Subcommittee allocation numbers may well need to be revisited should Congress adopt a Budget Resolution. Our next Memorandum will compare the House Appropriations Committee's FY 2018 bill with the Administration's FY 2018 request. The Senate Appropriations Committee has not yet set a markup date for its Interior Appropriations bill although it, too, is moving quickly on marking up bills.

INDIAN AFFAIRS (IA) OVERVIEW

For FY 2018, the Administration is requesting $2.4 billion for Indian Affairs. This is $371.1 million less than the FY 2017 enacted amount. The proposed cuts are generally reflected as a 5 percent cut to nearly every single sub-activity and program element, with some singled out for greater cuts or for de- funding altogether. As it would be exhaustive to detail each and every proposed across the board cut, we describe in detail the proposed changes which would: dramatically alter the mission or capabilities funded by a particular sub-activity or program element; are described as a "priority" by the Administration and thus are shielded from larger proposed cuts; or are (rare) proposed increases. In a conference call held after the release of the FY 2018 Budget in Brief summary, Administration officials explained that when crafting the proposed budget, the Department looked to which programs and activities were "getting the most bang for the buck" as well as priorities identified by the Tribal Interior Budget Council (TBIC).

Recent funding priorities such as the day to day operations at BIE schools, replacement school construction and the Tiwahe Initiative are slated for some of the largest cuts. Of note, the Administration includes in its request language which would continue Contract Supports Costs as an "indefinite appropriation" with "such sums as may be necessary" and prioritizes funding for Tribal Grant Support Costs which are essentially the Contract Support Costs of tribally-controlled schools.

Request for Indian Reorganization Act – Carcieri Fix Not Included. Each fiscal year from FY 2011 to FY 2017, the Obama Administration requested and Congress continued to not provide language which would reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's 2009 decision that the Secretary of the Interior does not have authority to take land into trust for tribes under federal jurisdiction after 1934. The Trump Administration did not request this Carcieri Fix language.

OPERATION OF INDIAN PROGRAMS

FY 2016 Enacted $2,267,924,000
          FY 2017 Enacted $2,339,346,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $2,082,506,000

Operation of Indian Programs (OIP) budget includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE).

Fixed Costs and Transfers. From within this total, the Administration requests $17.1 million for fixed cost increases as well as a number of transfers between accounts.

BUREAU OF INDIAN AFFAIRS
          

FY

2016

Enacted

$1,415,557,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$1,447,833,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $1,296,134,000
          

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.
          

TRIBAL GOVERNMENT

?

FY

2016

Enacted

$301,517,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$308,815,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $290,307,000

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.

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. The Administration proposes $160,000 (level funding) to assist the newly-recognized Pamunkey Tribe.

Small and Needy Tribes. This sub-activity is designed to provide small tribes with a minimum Tribal Priority Allocation (TPA) base funding by which they can support their tribal governments. The Administration proposes to zero it out.

Road Maintenance. The Administration requests $28.1 million for this sub-activity and describes it as a
          $1.1 million "increase" above the FY 2017 Continuing Resolution level, however, compared with the actual FY 2017 enacted amount, it would really be a $2.1 million cut. The Administration describes this proposed amount as consistent with efforts to prioritize infrastructure improvement. The Administration states that "At the requested funding level, the program is expected to provide sufficient maintenance to classify 13 percent of BIA-owned roads in acceptable condition." (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-TG-6)

HUMAN SERVICES

FY 2016 Enacted $147,004,000
          FY 2017 Enacted $159,161,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $123,949,000

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.

Tiwahe Initiative. In addition to proposing cuts for all of the Human Services sub-activities which help support the broader Tiwahe Initiative, the Administration proposes to zero out the funding for those tribes participating in the Tiwahe Initiative demonstration project.

Housing Improvement Program. This sub-activity is designed to help address sub-standard housing and homelessness by providing funding for repairs, renovations, modest construction of replacement homes and or portions of housing down payments to use in conjunction with other federal programs. The Administration proposes to zero it out.

TRUST–NATURAL RESOURCES MANAGEMENT
          

FY 2016 Enacted $191,846,000
          FY 2017 Enacted $200,992,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $165,462,000

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.

Irrigation Operation and Maintenance. This sub-activity is designed to help manage water resources on Indian lands by provides funding to operate, maintain and rehabilitate irrigation infrastructure. For FY 2018, the Administration proposes a $1.1 million increase, directed towards the Operations and Maintenance for the Gallegos Pumping Plant. In FY 2016, the responsibility for the plant was transferred from the Bureau of Reclamation to the BIA without any accompanying funds.

Endangered Species. This sub-activity is designed to help tribes offset the cost of achieving endangered species compliance when developing their trust resources for economic benefit. The Administration proposes a 50 percent cut.

Tribal Climate Resilience/Cooperative Landscape Conservation. This sub-activity provides grants to tribal governments to assist with climate adaptation and preparedness, particularly to address concerns about availability of subsistence food resources, water and other necessities. The Administration proposes to zero it out.

TRUST–REAL ESTATE SERVICES

FY 2016 Enacted $127,486,000
          FY 2017 Enacted $123,092,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $112,046,000

The Trust–Real Estate Services sub-activities are: Trust Services; Navajo-Hopi Settlement Program; Land Title and Records Offices; Real Estate Services; Land Records Improvement; Environmental Quality; Alaskan Native Programs; Rights Protection; and Trust-Real Estate Services Oversight. Navajo-Hopi Settlement Program. This sub-activity works to implement the Navajo-Hopi Settlement of 1974 and to further the BIA's mission by providing for the management, protection, and preservation of agricultural and rangeland resources on the Navajo and Hopi Partitioned Lands. This is the one Trust– Real Estate Services sub-activity for which cuts are NOT proposed.

Alaska Native Programs. This sub-activity funds activities related to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (subsistence studies and projects); Alaska Native Allotments (archeology and protection of cultural resources); and the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act (interviews, photographs and recordings of oral history from Native elders). The Administration proposes to zero it out.

Litigation Support/Attorney Fees. This program element is found under the Rights Protection sub- activity and provides assistance to eligible tribes to procure legal services to assist them in establishing or defending tribal rights or protecting tribal trust resources that are guaranteed through treaty, executive order, statute, court decision, or other legal authority. The Administration proposes to zero it out.

PUBLIC SAFETY AND JUSTICE
          


FY

2016

Enacted

$377,423,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$385,735,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $349,314,000

The Public Safety and Justice sub-activities are: Law Enforcement; Tribal Courts; and Fire Protection.

Tiwahe Initiative. An aspect of the Tiwahe Initiative is identifying and treating the social, behavioral and substance abuse needs of convicted offenders and facilitating their re-entry into communities. Another is strengthening tribal court systems to address issues related to children and family services and as well as finding solutions to reducing recidivism. The Administration proposes to eliminate funding for the Tiwahe Initiative-funded pilot programs focused on reducing recidivism in five targeted Indian communities (funded under the Law Enforcement Special Initiatives program element). The Administration explains, "The measurement period for the pilot programs closes in FY 2017. Implementation plans and practices have been documented, along with multiple years of offender data pointing to success. Starting in 2018, all tribal corrections programs will have access to the implementation plan to continue efforts to reduce recidivism through 'alternatives to incarceration' methods." (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-PSJ-2) Further, the Administration proposes to cut $2.4 million from the Detention/Corrections program element (which had been increased in past fiscal years as part of the Tiwahe Initiative to bolster inmate support activities) and cut
          $8.8 million from the Tribal Courts sub-activity. Of the $8.8 million proposed cut to the Tribal Courts sub-activity (which had been increased in past fiscal years to carry out portions of the Tiwahe Initiative pilot program and then to expand it to five additional sites in FY 2017) $7.4 million of the proposed cut is attributed to discontinuing the pilot program. The remaining $1.4 million cut is to be absorbed the other BIA-funded tribal courts currently receiving funding under this sub-activity.

Tribal Justice Support and PL 280 States. In FYs 2016 and 2017, due in part to the important sentencing provisions enacted for tribes in the Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 and the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 as well as the needs of tribal courts in PL 280 states identified by Indian Law and Order Commission's November 2013 report, the Tribal Justice Support program element received important increases. Specifically, in FY 2017, Congress appropriated $17.2 million for the Tribal Justice Support program element, directing that from that amount, "not less than $10,000,000 is to address the needs of Tribes affected by Public Law 83-280. … The Committees expect the Bureau to work with Tribes and Tribal organizations in these States to fund plans that design, promote, sustain, or pilot courts systems subject to jurisdiction under Public Law 83-280." (FY 2017 Explanatory Statement).

In FY 2018, the Administration proposes to cut the Tribal Justice Support program element by that same $10 million, stating, "The proposed reduction eliminates funding to 'asses needs, consider options, and design, develop, and pilot tribal court systems' for tribes primarily located in jurisdictions subject to Pub. L. 83-280 where states have primary local criminal jurisdiction. … The funding available in FY 2016 and 2017 allowed the assessment of tribal court needs for some tribes in 280 states, primarily in Alaska and California. The FY 2018 budget request will focus on providing technical assistance to tribes, as well as training to tribal court personnel, including tribal court judges, tribal court prosecutors, tribal public defenders, and tribal court management computer systems." (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-PSJ-3)

Cultural Items Unit to Investigate NAGPRA Violations. In FY 2017, Congress specified that from within the $202 million provided for the Criminal Investigations and Police Services program element, there was a $1 million program increase for the development of a Cultural Items Unit within the Division of Law Enforcement tasked with investigating violations of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). For FY 2018, the Administration proposes only $190.8 million for the Criminal Investigations and Police Services program element, a cut which could imperil the development of the new Cultural Items Unit.
          

COMMUNITY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
          

FY

2016

Enacted

$40,619,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$41,844,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $39,464,000

The Community and Economic Development sub-activities are: Job Placement and Training; Economic Development; Minerals and Mining; and Community Development Oversight.

Of all of the activities within the OPERATION OF INDIAN PROGRAMS, Community and Economic Development would bear the smallest requested cut from the Administration.

Minerals and Mining including the Indian Energy Service Center. This sub-activity promotes and provides technical assistance for the development of renewable energy, conventional energy, and mineral resources. It also funds the Indian Energy Service Center, which Congress initially funded in FY 2016. The Center is to be tasked with expediting leasing, permitting, and reporting on conventional and renewable energy on Indian lands. For FY 2017, both the House and Senate report language pushed the Department of Interior to get the Energy Service Center up and running, requesting a report on the status of the Center and directing the Department of Interior to submit a budget request for FY 2018 to fund the next phase of the Center. For FY 2018, the Administration proposes to shield the Minerals and Mining sub-activity from the most onerous cuts, specifically protecting the funding for the Indian Energy Service Center.

EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND ADMINISTRATIVE SERVICES

FY 2016 Enacted $229,662,000
          FY 2017 Enacted $228,824,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $215,592,000

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.

73 FTE Reductions. The bulk of the funding cuts proposed for the Executive Direction and Administrative Services activity can be attributed to the proposed elimination of 73 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) positions (some of which are currently vacant, time limited or as the Administration has determined, "no longer needed"). Of this 73 FTE:
          13 would come from the Assistant Secretary Support sub-activity (from the Office of the Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs; Office of Public Affairs; Office of Federal Acknowledgment; Office of Indian Energy and Economic Development and Office of Self-Governance);
          44 would come from the Administrative Services (Central) sub-activity (from the centrally managed administrative positions);
          11 would come from the Information Resources Technology sub-activity (from the Office of Information Management and Technology); and
          5 would come from the Human Capital Management sub-activity (from the Office of Human Capital Management).

BUREAU OF INDIAN EDUCATION
          

FY 2016 Enacted $852,367,000
          FY 2017 Enacted $891,513,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $786,372,000

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 Administration directs the brunt of its proposed cuts to the Bureau of Indian Education–$105.1 million to be precise – and they would hit both elementary/secondary and higher education programs The Administration explains that, "With these decreases, BIE will focus resources on direct school operations, including classroom instruction, text books, student transportation, language development programs, gifted and talented programs and school maintenance. In addition, in this this budget request, BIE prioritizes areas that promote educational self-determination for tribal communities. This budget request proposes to reduce or eliminate programs that are more narrowly focused, support activities outside the core BIE mission, or are newer programs." (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-BIE-2).

Despite this statement of priorities, the Administration proposes to cut $23.4 million from ISEP Formula Funds (the core account for K-12 schools); cut $5.3 million from Student Transportation; cut
          $5.9 million from School Facilities Operations; cut $5.5 million from School Facilities Maintenance; and cut $5.7 million from Tribal Grant Support Costs. Other program elements fare even worse, facing requested cuts of up to 50 percent or elimination altogether.

Implementation of the BIE Transformation. The Administration describes the status of the BIE transformation as follows: The BIE is currently in the process of reorganizing. Phase I involved the realignment of the internal organization of BIE from a regional basis to a structure based on the types of schools serviced; namely,
          (1) schools in the Navajo Nation, (2) tribally-controlled schools, and (3) BIE-operated schools. Phase I also replaced the Education Line Offices with Education Resource Centers (ERCs) which will house School Solutions Teams. The BIE began implementing Phase I of the reorganization in early 2016 after Congress issued a "notice of no objection" to the BIE. Phase II, to be implemented in 2017, involves a realignment of support operations within Indian Affairs including, contracting, IT, and facilities functions to BIE and includes an expansion of the School Support Solutions Teams to include school operations staff. (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-BIE-10)

Continued Limitations on the Expansion of Grades, Charter Schools, Satellite Locations and BIE- funded Schools in Alaska. The Administration requests the continuation of this language from prior years.
          

Elementary

and

Secondary

Programs

(Forward

Funded)

FY

2016

?

Enacted

?

$553,458,000

FY

2017

?

Enacted

?

$575,155,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $520,044,000

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 2018 for these programs will become available for obligation on July 1, 2018, for SY 2018-2017.
          

ISEP Program Adjustments. In FY 2017, Congress conditioned further increases for BIE upon its successful implementation of Government Accountability Office recommendations addressing health and safety issues. The Administration's FY 2018 budget justification also cites Office of the Inspector General reports highlighting safety and security concerns at BIE schools, noting that many schools used their ISEP Program Adjustment funds to help address unique school safety challenges. The Administration proposes to cut this program element by nearly 50 percent.

Education Program Enhancements. In FY 2017, Congress increased this sub-activity in order to support efforts to revitalize and maintain Native languages and expand the use of language immersion programs. The Administration proposes to cut this program element by nearly 50 percent, noting that the proposed cut will also reduce staffing at the new Education Resource Centers, eliminate the partnership with the National Board Certification Program and eliminate the Sovereignty in Indian Education grant program which facilitates the transfer of management and operation of schools from BIE to tribal and locally-driven school boards.

Tribal Education Departments. This program element helps build the capacity of local, tribal education departments. The Administration proposes a 50 percent cut.

Early Child and Family Development. In FY 2017, Congress provided a $3 million increase in order to expand the Family and Child Education (FACE) program to additional sites. The FACE program is designed to strengthen family-school-community relations, increase parent participation in education, and support parents in their role a child's first and most important teacher. The Administration proposes a greater than 50 percent cut. The Administration explains that at this spending level, no new sites would be added to the program.

Tribal Grant Support Costs. Because the FY 2018 budget request was written before the final FY 2017 Omnibus was enacted, the Administration used FY 2016 numbers as the budget baseline to compare with the FY 2018 request. By this accounting, the amount requested for Tribal Grant Support Costs in FY 2018 is described by the Administration as an "increase". This, however, fails to account for the fact that in 2017, more tribes have opted to take over schools from the BIE so Congress, after conferring with the BIE, provided an increase for Tribal Grant Support Costs in order to ensure full funding for all tribally-controlled schools. The Administration's FY 2018 request states "A major goal of BIE is to facilitate tribal sovereignty over education by encouraging the transfer of management and operation functions of schools from BIE to tribes. In order to encourage further participation by tribes, it is important to ensure that the administrative costs, which accompany the management and operation of tribally-controlled schools, are provided by BIE." (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-BIE-4) The Administration goes on to note that currently, tribes and tribal organizations manage 130 of the 183 elementary and secondary schools and to date, six BIE-operated schools have indicated they want to transfer to tribally-operated status in FY 2018.
          

Elementary

and

Secondary

Programs

(Non-Forward

Funded)

FY

?

2016

Enacted

?

$134,263,000

FY

?

2017

Enacted

?

$140,540,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $123,871,000

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.

Facilities Operations & Maintenance (O&M). In FY 2017, Congress provided 78 percent of calculated combined Facilities Operations and Facilities Maintenance need across the BIE-funded schools. The FY 2017 House report also directed the Administration to recalculate the annual estimated need according to industry standards, and report any estimated shortfall in future budget justifications. For
          

FY 2018, the Administration requests a $5.9 million cut to Facilities Operations for a total of $60.2 million (estimated to fund 56.7 percent of calculated need) and a $5.5 million cut to Facilities Maintenance for a total of $53.5 million (estimated to fund 117.5 percent of calculated need).

Juvenile Detention Center Grants. In FY 2016, Congress initiated a 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 Administration proposes to zero this out.

Johnson-O'Malley Assistance Grants. Johnson O'Malley (JOM) education grants are provided through tribes and public schools to support Native students who attend public schools. In FY 2017, Congress expressed concern about the accuracy of the JOM student count, requesting a report. For FY 2018, the Administration requested a $4.8 million cut to the JOM program, noting that the last JOM student count was conducted in 1995.
          

Post

Secondary

Programs

?

(Forward

Funded)

FY

2016

?

Enacted

?

$74,893,000

FY

2017

?

Enacted

?

$77,207,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $72,689,000

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)).

Tribal Technical Colleges. The Administration requests an amount that would be $1 million below FY 2017 enacted level, suggesting that the schools, "close existing programs with limited enrollment, reduce the number of courses offered, reduce staff salaries and/or hold to current student enrollment levels." The other tribal college account is also proposed for a large cut and similar language about limiting enrollment, etc. is utilized as advice for absorbing such a reduction.
          

Post

Secondary

Programs

?

(Non-Forward

Funded)

FY

2016

?

Enacted

?

$64,602,000

FY

2017

?

Enacted

?

$63,581,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $45,721,000

The two post-secondary schools overseen by the BIE are: Haskell Indian Nations University (Haskell), and the Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI). The non-forward funded Post Secondary Programs sub-activity also includes: Tribal Colleges and Universities Supplements; Scholarships and Adult Education; Special Higher Education Scholarships; and the Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund.

Forward Funding Needed for Haskell and SIPI. In FY 2017, Congress "encouraged" the Bureau to forward fund Haskell and SIPI in future budget requests "so that all tribal colleges are on the same funding schedule." For FY 2018, the Administration proposed to cut $2.7 million from Haskell and SIPI and declined to request the one-time funding needed to put them on a forward funded schedule, like all of the other tribal colleges.

Scholarships and Adult Education. This program element is designed to improve tribal quality of life by boosting the adult workforce and increase education access for eligible students through financial assistance. The Administration proposes a $9.5 million, (more than 20 percent) cut.

Special Higher Education Scholarships. This program element provides supplemental financial assistance and loans to Native students pursuing professional graduate degrees and funds the Pre-law
          

Summer Institute, which prepares Native students for entering law school. The Administration proposes to zero this out.

Science Post Graduate Scholarship Fund. This program element was established to increase the number of Native post graduate students pursing STEM professions. The Administration proposes to zero this out.
          

Education

?

?

Management

FY

2016

Enacted

$25,151,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$35,050,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $24,047,000

The Education Management sub-activity consists of Education Program Management and Information Technology.

CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS
          

FY 2016

Enacted

Such

sums

as

?

may be

necessary

(Estimated:

?

?

?

?

?

?

$277,000,000)

FY 2017
          (Estimated:

Enacted

Such

sums

as

?

may be

necessary
          $278,000,000)

FY 2018

Admin.

Request

Such

sums

as

may be

necessary

(Estimated: $241,600,000)

The Administration requests that Contract Support Costs (CSC) continue as a 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 as may be necessary, estimated to be: $236,600,000) and the Indian Self-Determination Fund ($5,000,000).

The Administration explains that their estimate for Contract Support is based on an analysis of the funding levels in the FY 2018 request. Thus, based on the lower funding levels proposed for FY 2018, the amount estimated to fully fund Contract Support is also lower.
          

General

?

Provisions

?

?

Continued.

The Administration requests
          Contract Support

that

the following general
          Costs, Prior

provisions
          Year

be

continued:
          Limitation

Sec. 404. 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 2018. Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2018 Limitation Sec. 405. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2018 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 2018 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.
          

CONSTRUCTION

?

FY

2016

Enacted

$193,973,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$192,017,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $143,262,000
          

The Construction budget includes: Education Construction; Public Safety and Justice Construction; Resources Management Construction; and Other Program Construction/ General Administration.

The Administration requests a staggering $48.7 million reduction to Construction, nearly all of which would come from the Education Construction budget.

EDUCATION CONSTRUCTION
          

FY

2016

Enacted

$138,245,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$133,257,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 80,187,000

The Education Construction sub-activities are: Replacement School Construction; Replacement Facility Construction; Employee Housing Repair; and Facilities Improvement and Repair.

In FY 2017, Congress provided robust funding for Education Construction and urged the Department of Interior to submit with their FY 2018 budget request:
          (1) a revised proposal to reconstitute the National Fund for Excellence in American Indian Education, including provisions to facilitate public-private partnership construction projects; and (2) a school replacement list, much like the 2016 list, to determine which schools will be replaced after the 2016 list is completed. Neither the revised proposal nor the new list were included in the Administration's FY 2018 request. In fact, for FY 2018, the Administration proposes to zero out both Replacement School Construction and Replacement Facility Construction.

Replacement School Construction. This sub-activity replaces entire school campuses in poor condition that have been prioritized on a school replacement list. Currently, there are three schools left on the 2004 list in various stages of construction and 10 schools on the replacement list in various stages of planning and design. The Administration proposes to zero it out and states: The 2018 budget proposes to suspend funding for Replacement School Construction projects. Using the funds currently available, BIA will continue construction of the three replacement schools currently in the pipeline and designs for each of the 10 schools on the 2016 BIE Replacement School list. Funding from 2017 may enable the funding of one of the schools on the 2016 school replacement list for construction; however, suspension of project funding will delay the construction schedule for the majority of the schools identified on the 2016 BIE Replacement School list. Under the current schedule, several schools are expected to complete the design process in summer 2018. At that time, BIA will make a determination on construction contract awards based on individual school readiness and the available funding. Suspension in funding would limit the option of utilizing a design-build construction approach, which includes offsite construction to save time and money, but requires 100% funding for a project before design can begin. (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA- CON-ED-1)

Replacement Facility Construction. This sub-activity is described by the Administration as "an essential component of the comprehensive plan to bring all 183 BIE-funded schools and dormitories into acceptable condition." The Administration proposes to zero it out and states: The 2018 budget proposes to suspend funding for Replacement Facilities Construction. The Replacement Facilities Construction program allows BIA to replace individual education buildings in critically poor condition at schools. The program will continue the facility replacement project at Bug- O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School. The Bug-O-Nay-Ge-Shig High School project is piloting the use of the offsite design-build approach. BIA is validating this cost model for future projects. Funding from 2017 will be used to initiate the next approved facilities replacement project to be determined through the ranking process. (FY 2018 Budget Justification, p. IA-CON-ED-2)
          

Facilities Improvement and Repair. The Administration notes that there is currently over $770.4 million in deferred maintenance across BIE-funded school facilities and grounds that need corrective action. The Administration does not propose any cuts in order to 'prioritize' this sub-activity.

PUBLIC SAFETY & JUSTICE (PS&J) CONSTRUCTION
          

FY

2016

Enacted

$11,306,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$11,306,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $10,416,000

The Public Safety & Justice Construction sub-activities are: Facilities Replacement/New Construction; Employee Housing; Facilities Improvement and Repair; Fire Safety Coordination; Fire Protection.

Joint Venture Demonstration Program. In FY 2017, Congress encouraged the Administration to include in its FY 2018 budget request a legislative proposal for a joint venture demonstration program for regional justice centers, 'similar to the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes' Justice Center, and modeled after the joint venture program for Indian health facilities.' The Administration declined to include such a proposal.

Facilities Improvement and Repair. The Administration notes that there is currently over $39 million in deferred maintenance for public safety facilities. The Administration also proposes a 7 percent reduction for this sub-activity.

RESOURCES MANAGEMENT CONSTRUCTION

FY 2016 Enacted $34,488,000
          FY 2017 Enacted $36,513,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $40,696,000

The Resources Management Construction sub-activities are: Irrigation Project Construction; Engineering and Supervision; Survey and Design; Federal Power and Compliance; and Dam Projects.

Irrigation Project Construction. The Administration proposes a $1.5 million increase for the Irrigation Projects-Rehabilitation program element to address critical outstanding maintenance issues at the 17 Indian Irrigation Projects and a $724,000 increase to the Survey and Design program element to fast track the technical modernization studies needed to complete this rehabilitation work.

Dam Projects. The Administration proposes a $2.4 million increase for the Safety of Dams program element to support award of construction contracts for one or more of the 11 dam safety rehabilitation projects already designed or with expected design completion in FY 2018 and a $1.8 million increase for the Dam Maintenance program element to prioritize deferred maintenance projects at the 138 BIA dams classified as "high hazard." There is currently an identified deferred maintenance need of $538 million.

OTHER PROGRAM CONSTRUCTION/ GENERAL ADMINISTRATION
          

FY

2016

?

Enacted

?

$ 9,934,000

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

$10,941,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $11,963,000

The Other Program Construction sub-activities are: Telecommunications Improvement and Repair; Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair; and Construction Program Management.
          

Telecommunications Improvement and Repair. The Administration proposes a $263,000 increase to support the repair and modernization of BIA telecommunication systems across the regions and agencies.

Facilities/Quarters Improvement and Repair. The Administration proposes a $1.7 million increase to fund deferred maintenance projects at BIA Administration facilities. There is approximately $253 million of deferred maintenance.

INDIAN LAND AND WATER CLAIMS SETTLEMENTS AND MISCELLANEOUS PAYMENTS TO INDIANS

FY 2016 Enacted $49,475,000
          FY 2017 Enacted $45,045,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $13,999,000

The Administration states, "Funding allocations to enacted settlements in 2018 are contingent on the operating plan developed for FY 2017. The 2017 operating plan was not complete at the time the Budget Justification was written. An updated proposal for 2018 allocations will be provided once the 2017 operating plan is complete." (FY 2018 Indian Affairs Budget Justification, p. IA-SET-3)

INDIAN GUARANTEED LOAN PROGRAM
          

FY

2016

Enacted

$7,748,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$8,757,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $6,692,000

In FY 2017, Congress described the Indian Guaranteed Loan Program as "the most effective Federal program tailored, dedicated to, and capable of facilitating greater access to private capital for Indian tribes and Indian-owned economic enterprises." For FY 2018, the Administration proposes a $2 million cut.

OTHER RELATED AGENCIES

OFFICE OF NAVAJO-HOPI INDIAN RELOCATION
          

FY

2016

Enacted

$15,000,000

FY

2017

Enacted

$15,431,000

FY 2018 Admin. Request $14,970,000 NATIONAL PARK SERVICE TRIBAL HISTORIC PRESERVATION
          FY 2016 Enacted $ 9,985,000 FY 2017 Enacted $10,485,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $ 8,996,000

The Administration states, 'The proposed reduction would impact the tribes' capacity to conduct cultural and historic preservation activities and to participate in required consultation on federally- funded projects that impact tribal land or any historic property to which a tribe attaches religious or cultural significance.' (FY 2018 National Park Service Budget Justification, p. 31)"
          

House Appropriations Committee FY 2018 Indian Health Service Recommendations Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 17-039, July 27th, 2017 http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-039

"In this Memorandum we report on the House Appropriations Committee (Committee) recommendations for FY 2018 funding for the Indian Health Service (IHS). The Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Subcommittee marked up the bill on July 12 followed by the full Committee on July 18. The report accompanying the bill, HR 3354, is House Rept. 115-238.

The House Committee has marked up all twelve FY 2018 spending bills even though Congress has not yet adopted a Budget Resolution which sets the spending caps for the fiscal year, and hence adjustments may need to be made later in the year. Subcommittee Chairman Calvert (R-CA) stated with regard to a Budget Resolution he hopes we can have a "broader deal" as we move forward and re-visit some of the issues in the bill.

IHS OVERALL FUNDING
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

$5,039,886,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

Request

$4,739,291,000

FY 2018 House Committee $5,136,873,000

The Committee proposes to reject the reductions from FY 2017 proposed by the Trump Administration and also rejected some of their bill language as well. In addition, the Committee recommended $130 million for the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund. We reported on the Administration's proposed FY 2018 IHS budget in our General Memorandum 17-031 (June 13, 2017) and on the FY 2017 enacted IHS budget in General Memorandum 17-030 (June 5, 2017).

The Administration's proposed decreases for behavioral health initiatives, accreditation emergencies, prescription drug monitoring, detoxification, small ambulatory construction program, domestic violence, and clinic leases, and the Facilities account would be rejected.

Pay Costs Increases. The Committee recommends $36.7 million for pay costs in the Services Account which compares to a FY 2017 enacted amount of $13.2 million. For the Facilities Account, the Committee recommended $3.6 million for pay costs which compares to an FY 2017 enacted amount of
          $1.2 million.

Staffing Packages. The Committee recommends $20 million for staffing of two newly constructed Joint Venture projects – the Flandreau Health Center in Flandreau, SD and the Choctaw Nation Regional Medical Center in Durant, OK. Of that amount $17.9 million is in the Services account and $2 million is in the Facilities Account. This is the same as the Administration's request.

Indian Health Care Improvement Act Funding.–The Committee repeated the language from FY 2017 regarding funding for Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA) authorizations. In the FY 2018 Budget Justification, IHS noted that 90 days is an insufficient time for such a report and also that the cost of it would be significant. The Committee language is as follows:

It has been over six years since the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), 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 requests that the Service provide, no later than 90 days after the date of enactment of this Act, a detailed plan with specific dollars identified to fully fund and implement the IHCIA.
          

Reimbursable Funding.–The Committee also directs the IHS to report on population and service growth over the past 10 years and the funding sources used to address these needs:

The Committee directs the Service to report, within 180 days of enactment of this Act, on patient population and service growth over the past ten years and the funding sources used to provide for these medical services. The IHS is to include a breakdown, by dollar amount and percentage, of funding sources which supplement appropriated dollars to cover the provision of medical services at IHS operated and tribally contracted and compacted facilities. The Committee is interested in detailed information on whether medical services have been able to expand over this time period as a result of increases in the ability to charge medical services to supplementary funding sources. As a point of comparison, and to the extent possible, the Service shall compare these impacts across the twelve IHS areas, with the degree to which patient populations services in the respective states has increased.

Appropriations Structure.–The Committee proposes to continue language that has been in the bill for a number of years that the appropriations structure of the IHS may not be altered without advance notification to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations. The Administration proposed to delete this provision in order "to maximize operational flexibility."

CONTRACT SUPPORT COSTS
          

FY

2017

Enacted

Such

sums

as

?

may be

necessary

FY

2018

Admin.

Request

Such

sums

as

may be

necessary

FY 2018 House Committee Such sums as may be necessary

The Committee recommendation, consistent with the Administration's request for IHS and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), does not make any major changes in the structure or amount of CSC appropriations–although the estimated expenditures are lower than predicted in FY 2017. Funding for CSC in each agency remains a separate appropriation account with an indefinite amount–"such sums as may be necessary."

The Committee estimation for CSC spending for IHS is $717,970,000, the same as in the Administration's budget justification.

The Committee rejected the Administration's proposal to reinstate two provisions of the FY 2016 Appropriations Act that tribes succeeded in having removed from the Consolidated Appropriations Act for FY 2017:

Carryover clause: The Administration's proposal was to reinstate in the FY 2018 bill the FY 2016 Appropriations act language that could be read to deny the carryover authority granted by the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act: "amounts obligated but not expended by a tribe or tribal organization for contract support costs for such agreements for the current fiscal year shall be applied to contract support costs otherwise due for such agreements for subsequent fiscal years."

"Notwithstanding" clause: The Administration's proposal was to also include language that the agency has used as part of the justification to not pay CSC on Substance Abuse and Suicide Prevention (SASP), Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative (DVPI), programs to improve collections public and private insurance, and for accreditation emergencies. The language which the IHS says precludes CSC for these programs is the phrase "Notwithstanding any other law," the funding for these programs "shall be allocated at the discretion of the Director." Congress dropped the "notwithstanding" phrase in the Consolidated Appropriations, FY 2017 Act, which gave tribes a better argument for CSC on these funds.

The FY 2018 budget proposal would continue prior language in the General Provisions section:
          

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 2018. Contract Support Costs, Fiscal Year 2018 Limitation Sec. 406. Amounts provided by this Act for fiscal year 2018 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 2018 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.

FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH SERVICES
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

$3,694,462,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

Request

$3,574,365,000

FY2018 House Committee $3,867,260,000 HOSPITALS AND CLINICS

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

$1,935,178,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

Request

$1,870,405,000

FY 2018 House Committee $1,966,714,000

Tribal Clinic Leases. The House Committee would provide $11 million for tribal clinic leases, the same as FY 2017 enacted. The Administration proposed only $2 million for this purpose. The House Committee also rejected the Administration's proposal for bill language to amend the law in order to avoid full compensation for section 105(l) Indian Self-Determination and Education Act leases which would be contrary to the decision in Maniilaq Association v. Burwell, 170 F. Supp.3rd 243 (D.D.C. 2016).

Accreditation Emergencies. The House Committee proposes $29 million for hospital accreditation emergencies, the same as the FY 2017 level. The Administration proposed only
          $2 million for this purpose. The Committee Report states:

Accreditation Emergencies.–The Committee considers the loss or potential loss of a Medicare or Medicaid agreement with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) at any facility to be an accreditation emergency. The recommendation includes a total of $29,000,000 for accreditation emergencies at an alarming number of facilities over the past year. Funds may be used for personnel or other expenses essential for sustaining operations of an affected service unit, including but not to exceed $4,000,000 for Purchased/Referred Care. These are not intended to be recurring base funds. The Director should reallocate the funds annually as necessary to ensure that agreements with CMS are reinstated, and to restore third-party collection shortfalls. Shortfalls should be calculated relative to a baseline, which should be the average of the collections in each of the two fiscal years preceding the year in which an agreement with CMS was terminated or put on notice of termination.

The following Report language is related to the accreditation crisis and related reform: The accreditation crisis in the Great Plains and the subsequent House provision have highlighted the need for IHS facilities to be significantly more inclusive of Tribes in the decision-making process. The Committees on Appropriations are encouraged by the IHS's own recent initiative to reform its governing boards, but reforms are limited under existing statutes. The Committees are aware that the
          

authorizing committees of jurisdiction are examining this issue and support these efforts to improve the communication and collaboration between the IHS and Tribes at direct service facilities.

Domestic Violence Prevention Initiative. The Committee recommends $12.9 million for this program, equal to the FY 2017 enacted level.

Prescription Drug Monitoring. The Committee recommends $1 million to fund the creation of a multi- state prescription drug monitoring program authorized by Section 196 of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act.

DENTAL SERVICES

FY 2017 Enacted $182,597,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $179,751,000 FY 2018 House Committee $185,920,000

Of the total, $1.46 million is for staffing of Joint Venture facilities ($1.1 million for the Choctaw Regional Medical Center and $330,000 for the Flandreau Health Center). The Committee Report states:

The Committee has recognized for many years the dire need to increase oral health care to American Indians/Alaska Natives. Because of funding increases, an additional 263,565 dental services were provided in fiscal year 2016. However, the demand for dental treatment remains overwhelming due to the high incidence of dental caries (cavities) in AI/AN children. Over 80 percent of AI/AN children ages 6–9 and 13–15 years suffer from dental caries, while less than 50 percent of the U.S. population in the same age cohort have experienced tooth decay. The Committee recognizes that more needs to be done to fully address the need for oral health care.

MENTAL HEALTH
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$94,080,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$82,654,000

FY 2018 House Committee $95,450,000

Of the total, $554,000 is for staffing of Joint Venture facilities ($460,000 for the Choctaw Regional Medical Center and $94,000 for the Flandreau Health Center). Included in this is funding for a Behavioral Health Integration Initiative and the Zero Suicide Initiative ($21.4 million and $3.6 million, respectively, in FY 2017).

ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$218,353,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$205,593,000

FY 2018 House Committee $220,280,000

Of the total, $288,000 is for staffing of Joint Venture facilities ($186,000 for the Choctaw Regional Medical Center and $102,000 for the Flandreau Health Center). IHS states that the request includes $101.5 million for drug control activities which will maintain the program's progress "in addressing the alcohol and substance abuse needs by improving access to behavioral health services through tele-behavioral health efforts and providing a comprehensive array of preventive, educational and treatment services."

PURCHASED/REFERRED CARE
          

FY 2017 Enacted $928,830,000
          FY 2018 Admin. Request $914,139,000 FY 2018 House Committee $928,830,000

Of the total, $53 million is for the Catastrophic Health Emergency Program. The House Committee expresses concern regarding distribution of funds and encourages, in certain circumstances, agreements with non-IHS federal facilities:

The recommendation includes $928,830,000 for Purchased/Referred Care (PRC), equal to the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. The Committee remains concerned about the inequitable distribution of funds as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO– 12–446). The IHS is encouraged to evaluate the feasibility of entering into reimbursable agreements with Federal health facilities outside of the IHS system for patient referrals. Such agreements should be considered only when such referrals save costs and patient travel times relative to referrals to the nearest non-Federal health facilities, and when such referrals do not significantly increase patient wait times at such Federal facilities.

INDIAN HEALTH CARE IMPROVEMENT FUND

The Committee recommended $130 million for the Indian Health Care Improvement Fund. It is listed as its own line item under the Services account. Report language notes it is provided "in order to reduce disparities across the IHS system." Bill language would provide that the Fund "may be used, as needed, to carry out activities typically funded under the Indian Health Facilities Account."

PUBLIC HEALTH NURSING
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$78,701,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$77,498,000

FY 2018 House Committee $80,372,000

Of the total, $875,000 is for staffing of Joint Venture facilities ($601,000 for the Choctaw Regional Medical Center and $274,000 for the Flandreau Health Center).

HEALTH EDUCATION
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$18,663,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$18,313,000

FY 2018 House Committee $18,896,000

Of the total, $58,000 is for staffing for the Choctaw Regional Medical Center. COMMUNITY HEALTH REPRESENTATIVES

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$60,325,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$58,906,000

FY 2018 House Committee $60,825,000

HEPATITIS B and HAEMOPHILUS IMMUNIZATION (Hib) PROGRAMS IN ALASKA
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$2,041,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$1,950,000

FY 2018 House Committee $2,058,000
          

URBAN INDIAN HEALTH
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$47,678,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$44,741,000

FY 2018 House Committee $47,943,000

The Committee comments on the need for culturally appropriate services for Native veterans and also notes the provision in the FY 2018 House Veterans Administration appropriations bill requiring a report regarding the cost differential for VA to reimburse IHS for services rather than to provide services directly to urban Indian veterans:

The recommendation includes $47,943,000 for Urban Indian Health, $3,202,000 above the budget request. IHS is expected to continue to include current services estimates for Urban Indian Health in future budget requests. Seven out of ten American Indians/Alaska Natives live in urban centers and receive vital culturally appropriate health services from urban Indian health organizations. As such, many Indian veterans obtain their health care services from these organizations. Currently the Veterans' Administration (VA) and the Indian Health Service are operating under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which is effective through June 30, 2019. Under this agreement, VA reimburses care provided to Indian veterans at IHS facilities and Tribal health programs. The MOU recognizes the importance of a coordinated and cohesive effort on a national scope to meet the needs of individual tribes, villages, islands, and communities, through VA, IHS, Tribal and Urban Indian health programs; however, to date, there has not been equitable reimbursement for the culturally appropriate services provided to Native individuals, including Native veterans. This year, House Report 115–188 accompanying the fiscal year 2018 Military Construction, Veterans' Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriation bill included a directive requiring the VA to prepare a report for the Appropriations Committee examining the impact of Indian veterans receiving health services at urban clinics and the annual estimated cost differential for VA to reimburse IHS rather than provide services directly in these urban areas. The report is also to estimate the capacity of Indian urban clinics to treat increased Indian veteran caseloads and include any data supporting the use of the higher negotiated reimbursement rate in urban settings versus rural areas. The report is due 90 days after enactment of the Act, and the Committee directs IHS to work with the VA to complete this report.

INDIAN HEALTH PROFESSIONS
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$49,345,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$43,342,000

FY 2018 House Committee $49,943,000

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. Bill language includes $36 million for the loan repayment program and the House Report notes that the American Indians into Psychology Program is continued at not less than $715,077. The House Committee also comments regarding the loan repayment program:

Loan repayment has proven to be the Service's best recruitment tool for staffing health professionals. The Committee was dismayed to learn that the Service has three thousand vacancies for health professionals. Overall, this is a vacancy rate of 20 percent, with a physician shortage rate of 30 percent and a dentist rate of 18 percent. The Committee has included $49,363,000 to better enable the Service to recruit and retain health providers. The Service is urged to consider making health administrators a higher priority for loan repayments, in consultation with Tribes.
          

TRIBAL MANAGEMEN

tFY 2017 Enacted $2,465,000 FY 2018 Admin. Request -0- FY2018 House Committee $,2465,000

The Tribal Management grant program, authorized in 1975 under the authority of the Indian Self- Determination and Education Assistance Act (ISDEAA), provides competitive grants 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.

DIRECT OPERATIONS
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$70,420,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$72,338,000

FY 2018 House Committee $72,338,000

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.

SELF-GOVERNANCE

FY 2017 Enacted $5,786,000 FY 2018 Admin.  Request $4,735,000 FY 2018 House 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 2018 budget justification that in FY 2016, $1.9 billion was transferred to tribes to support 89 ISDEAA Title V compacts and 115 funding agreements.

SPECIAL DIABETES PROGRAM FOR INDIANS

While the entitlement funding for the Special Diabetes Program for Indians (SDPI) is not part of the IHS appropriations process, tribes and tribal organizations routinely include support for this program in their testimony on IHS funding. SDPI is currently funded through FY 2017 at $150 million annually, and the Administration supports $150 million for FY 2018. The program needs to be extended this year.

FUNDING FOR INDIAN HEALTH FACILITIES
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$545,424,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$446,956,000

FY 2018 House Committee $551,643,000

The Administration's proposal for the Facilities Account was especially harsh, proposing a $100 million reduction. The House Committee would restore the funding and add an additional $6 million.
          

MAINTENANCE AND IMPROVEMENT
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$75,745,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$60,000,000

FY 2018 House Committee $77,502,000

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.

FACILITIES AND ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$226,950,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$192,022,000

FY 2018 House Committee $231,412,000

Of the total, $2 million is for staffing of Joint Venture facilities ($1.56 million for the Choctaw Regional Medical Center and $466,000 for the Flandreau Health Center).

MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$22,966,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$19,511,000

FY 2018 House Committee $22,966,000

The House bill language would provide up to $500,000 for TRANSAM equipment and up to $2.7 million for purchase of ambulances. The IHS Budget Justification stated that IHS expects to provide
          $450,000 to purchase TRANSAM equipment from the Department of Defense and no funding for the purchase of ambulances, but the House would restore those amounts.

CONSTRUCTION

Construction of Sanitation Facilities
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

$101,772,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

Request

$ 75,423,000

FY 2018 House Committee $101,772,000

The House Committee proposed funding level would reject the cuts the Administration proposed for projects to serve new or like-new housing; existing homes, emergency projects, and studies and training related to sanitation facilities construction projects.

The IHS sanitation facilities construction funds cannot be used to provide sanitation facilities for HUD- built homes.

Construction of Health Care Facilities
          

FY

?

2017

?

Enacted

?

$117,991,000

FY

2018

?

Admin.

?

Request

$100,000,000

FY 2018 House Committee $117,991,000

The House Report does not specify specific construction projects; while The IHS proposes construction funding for the following specific projects:
          

$45 million to complete construction of the Rapid City Health Center, Rapid City, SD;
          $50 million to continue construction of the Dikon Alternative Rural Health Center, Dikon, AZ; and
          $5 million for design/build activities for the Alamo Health Center, Alamo, NM

Small Ambulatory Program/New and Replacement Quarters. The House Report notes that their recommended funding level would restore FY 2017 funding levels which would therefore make available $5 million for the Small Ambulatory Program and $8.5 million for new and replacement quarters.

The House Report repeats language from the FY 2017 Explanatory Statement (conference report) addressing the need for a project-level funding distribution plan for healthcare facilities construction, and calls for a gap analysis of the level of healthcare services across the IHS system:

The Committee remains dedicated to providing access to health care for IHS patients across the system. The IHS is expected to aggressively work down the current Health Facilities Construction Priority System list as well as work with the Department and Tribes to examine alternative financing arrangements and meritorious regional demonstration projects authorized under the Indian Health Care Improvement Act that would effectively close the service gap. Within 60 days of enactment of this Act, the Service shall submit a spending plan to the Committees that details the project-level distribution of funds provided for healthcare facilities construction.

The IHS has no defined benefit package and is not designed to be comparable to the private sector health system. IHS does not provide the same health services in each area. Health services provided to a community depend upon the facilities and services available in the local area, the facilities' financial and personnel resources (42 CFR 136.11(c)) and the needs of the service population. In order to determine whether IHS patients across the system have comparable access to healthcare, the IHS is directed to conduct and publish a gap analysis of the locations and capacities of patient health facilities relative to the IHS user population. The analysis should include: facilities within the IHS system, including facilities on the Health Facilities Construction Priority System list and the Joint Venture Construction Program list; and where possible facilities within private or other Federal health systems for which arrangements with IHS exist, or should exist, to see IHS patients.

CONTINUING BILL LANGUAGE

The proposed bill continues language from previously enacted bills, including the following: IDEA Data Collection Language. The proposed budget would 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. The proposed budget would continue the prohibition on the implementation of the eligibility regulations, published September 16, 1987.

Services for Non-Indians. The proposed budget would 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 DHHS. The proposed budget would 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. The proposed budget would 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:
          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
          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
          Such contract was awarded prior to the date of enactment of this Act.

Use of Defaulted Funds. The proposed budget would 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."

In the Courts

The U.S. Supreme Cour

t"U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Use of Disparaging Trademarks; 'Redskins' Case to End," Hobbs-Straus General Memorandum 17-036, June 30th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general- memorandum-17-036, reported, "On June 19, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 in Matal v. Tam that the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act is an unconstitutional burden on free speech and therefore the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) cannot refuse to register a disparaging mark. The Court's ruling dealt a fatal blow to Native Americans in another case – Pro- Football v. Blackhorse – seeking to cancel the "Washington Redskins" football team's trademarks. Following the Court's ruling, the football team asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit to reverse the judgment of the district court, vacate the district court's order directing the PTO to cancel the team's trademarks, and remand the case with instructions to grant summary judgment to the team. Both the Blackhorse defendants and the United States as intervenor in the case wrote separate letters to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals stating that they agreed that the Tam decision controlled the outcome of the case and that the court should grant the football team's request.
          In Tam, the plaintiff, Simon Tam, the leader of an Asian American band called 'The Slants', sought to register the name of his band as a trademark with the PTO. Tam said that the band chose its name to "reclaim" the term and break down its derogatory nature. The PTO, however, refused to register the mark because the name disparages persons of Asian descent. Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act states that the PTO can refuse to register trademarks that disparage persons, living or dead. Tam appealed the PTO's decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. The court first upheld the PTO's decision but then on en banc review it reached the opposite conclusion and held that the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act was unconstitutional and that the PTO should have registered the band's name as a trademark.
          

The Supreme Court upheld the Federal Circuit's decision. The Court ruled that trademarks are not government speech, which means that they are not afforded the higher level of First Amendment protections given private speech. The Court also firmly rejected Tam's assertion that the Lanham Act's disparagement clause does not apply to racial and ethnic groups. In ruling for the band, the Court wrote that the disparagement clause "offends a bedrock First Amendment principle: Speech may not be banned on the ground that it expresses ideas that offend." Thus, the Court ruled that the PTO should register the band's name as a trademark.
          The Tam decision directly affected the Blackhorse case. In Blackhorse, five Native Americans, led by Amanda Blackhorse, challenged the 'Washington Redskins' name on disparagement grounds before the PTO. In 2014, the PTO agreed with them and revoked six of the football team's trademarks. The team sued the Native American defendants in district court to overturn the PTO's decision. In 2015, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia upheld the PTO's decision. The team appealed the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit which put the case on hold pending the outcome of the Tam case. The Blackhorse case, like the Tam case, turned on the disparagement clause of the Lanham Act. Now that the Supreme Court has deemed that clause unconstitutional, the Native American defendants and the United States have conceded the outcome to the "Washington Redskins" football team."

Anna V. Smith, "NEIL GORSUCH: What Trump's Supreme Court pick holds for Indian Country," High Country News, December 14, 2017, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/785028/what-trumps- supreme-court-pick-holds-for-indian-country/?mc_cid=3ecbf08bc2&mc_eid=cde7993ced, commented in part, "During the Senate hearings that put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court this year, Democrats made it clear they were leery of his conservative judicial record. Gorsuch was confirmed in April along party lines, and no Western Democrat voted in his favor. But Gorsuch has a strong background in Indian law and a record of recognizing tribal sovereignty and self-determination, and, those concerns notwithstanding, his nomination may well represent a potential positive development on big cases in Indian Country.
          In a court dominated by East Coast justices, Gorsuch is from the West, the source of many Indian law cases."
          " According to the Native American Rights Fund, which supported his nomination, Gorsuch ruled favorably for tribes 57 percent of the time on cases ranging from jurisdiction and religious freedom to tribal sovereignty. His opinions show an appreciation of history and context, important tenets of Indian law, says John Dossett, general counsel of the National Congress of American Indians, who first met Gorsuch at an NCAI function 10 years ago.
          Gorsuch's opinions often read like a primer on the history of the tribe in question and are firmly couched in an understanding that, as he has written, 'ambiguities in the field of trust relations must be construed for, not against, Native Americans.'"
          "Not all have such a positive view. Robert Anderson, law professor at University of Washington, says that many of Gorsuch's past rulings on tribal affairs were 'open and shut' cases. Gorsuch may receive such glowing reviews, Anderson says, because people compare him to Antonin Scalia, the justice he replaced. (According to an analysis by the Native American Rights Fund, Scalia voted against tribes 86 percent of the time.) Anderson points to a case involving the Navajo Nation, in which Gorsuch's written opinion determined that disputed lands were not considered Indian Country. "My assessment is that in the one case where things were really contested, in a matter regarding sovereignty, he went with the anti-tribal view," Anderson says."
          
Still, Gorsuch's experiences as a Westerner and his understanding of Indian law and history could prove advantageous for Indian Country."

Lower Federal Courts

"Tenth Circuit Overturns Indian Defendant's State Murder Conviction Due to Lack of Jurisdiction," Hobbs Straus General Memorandum 17-043, August 25th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17-043, reported, "On August 8, 2017, the Tenth
          

Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the state murder conviction of Patrick Murphy, a member of the Muscogee Creek Nation who was found guilty of murdering another member of the Muscogee Creek Nation, in the case Murphy v. Royal. The crime occurred in McIntosh County, Oklahoma, on former allotment lands within the historic reservation boundaries of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Murphy appealed his state court murder conviction, alleging that the crime occurred within the Muscogee Creek Nation, and therefore the State of Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction to prosecute him.
          The State of Oklahoma claimed that while the land where the crime occurred was previously an Indian allotment, the land is now owned by non-Indians and was, therefore, within the state's jurisdiction. Murphy appealed, alleging Oklahoma lacked jurisdiction because the Major Crimes Act grants exclusive jurisdiction to the federal government to prosecute murders committed by Indians within Indian Country, and the location of the crime was within the historic boundaries of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Under federal law, 'Indian Country' includes (1) all lands within the limits of any Indian reservation, (2) dependent Indian communities, and (3) Indian allotments. The Tenth Circuit determined that the land's non-Indian ownership was inconsequential because the Supreme Court previously determined that 'reservation status depends on the boundaries Congress draws, not on who owns the land inside the reservation boundaries.' Under this standard, all land within reservation boundaries qualifies as Indian Country, regardless of who holds title to the land.
          
On appeal, the Tenth Circuit examined whether the location of the crime qualified as Indian Country. The State asserted that the Muscogee Creek Nation's reservation boundaries had been diminished through the allotment process and the establishment of the State of Oklahoma, whereas Murphy argued that Congress had never acted to diminish or disestablish the boundaries of the Muscogee Creek Nation. The Tenth Circuit utilized the Supreme Court's three-part test from the case Solem v. Bartlett to determine whether a reservation has been diminished or disestablished. Under Solem, courts start with the presumption that a reservation has not been diminished or disestablished. Courts then look at three factors: 1) whether any statutory text includes 'express language of cession,' evidencing an intent to divest the tribe of its lands in exchange for fixed compensation; 2) whether the events surrounding the passage of the statute showed there was 'a widely-held, contemporaneous understanding that the affected reservation would shrink as a result of the proposed legislation,' due to 'the manner in which the transaction was negotiated with the tribes and the tenor of legislative reports presented to Congress'; and 3) whether 'to a lesser extent, events that occurred after the passage of the relevant statute,' including federal treatment of the area and demographic history indicate that the reservation boundaries were diminished or disestablished.
           Since Congress treated tribes differently through treaty negotiations and legislation, the Solem test requires a thorough examination of a tribe's historical relations with the federal government to determine whether a reservation's boundaries remain intact. Importantly, courts must interpret ambiguities within statutory texts in favor of the Indians. This rule 'is applied to its broadest possible scope in disestablishment and diminishment cases,' requiring courts to find 'substantial and compelling evidence" before they can rule that a reservation's boundaries have, in fact, been diminished or disestablished. As the party attempting to assert jurisdiction and arguing for diminishment, the State of Oklahoma bore the burden to prove the Muscogee Creek Nation's boundaries had been diminished.
          Oklahoma presented eight separate statutes to support its position that the boundaries of the Muscogee Creek Nation had been diminished. The state asserted that while there was no explicit statutory text accomplishing disestablishment, the cumulative effects of the statutes divested the Muscogee Creek Nation of its governmental authority over former tribal lands. However, the court found that a tribal government's powers and its reservation boundaries are not the same thing. The specific statutory language recognized the continued existence of the Muscogee Creek Nation's borders and the present governmental authority of the Muscogee Creek Nation. Additionally, within these acts, Congress provided that surplus tribal lands should be used for tribal purposes, including equalizing allotment values, and establishing public buildings such as schools, jails, courthouses, and churches. This fell short of the 'express language of cession' necessary to find disestablishment. For
          

disestablishment, there must be some "hallmarks of disestablishment," such as language saying reservation lands have been discontinued, vacated, restored to the public domain, ceded, conveyed, transferred, or relinquished.
          Applying Step Two of the Solem test, the court held: 'When the statutory text at step one does not reveal that Congress has disestablished or diminished a reservation, such a finding requires unambiguous evidence that unequivocally reveals congressional intent.' Previously, the Tenth Circuit found the Osage Nation within Oklahoma had been disestablished with Step Two evidence, because the legislative history and negotiation process between the federal government and the Osage Nation left no doubt that all parties understood the reservation's boundaries would be diminished through allotment. However , in Murphy, the Tenth Circuit found 'mixed evidence' falling short of the 'unambiguous and unequivocal' standard. All that existed were statements of individual senators expressing their desires to abolish the Muscogee Creek Nation's government. However, most of the discussion centered on tribal governance and power, not reservation boundaries. 'Isolated statements from a few senators do not show that Congress disestablished a reservation.' While the State's evidence centered on title to land and governance, it did not speak to whether the reservation's boundaries had been disestablished. This fell far short of the 'unambiguous and unequivocal' evidence necessary to find disestablishment when there is no explicit statutory text.
          Lastly, the Tenth Circuit dismissed the State's remaining Step Three arguments that treatment of the land after allotment and the demographics of the area supported state jurisdiction. Without any evidence showing disestablishment in Step One or Step Two of the Solem test, the State had failed to meet its burden of proving disestablishment.
          The Murphy decision may significantly reshape the boundaries of criminal jurisdiction within Oklahoma. State prosecutors have exerted jurisdiction over Indians committing crimes within the historical boundaries of tribal nations for the last century, and have convicted numerous individuals without establishing the jurisdiction to do so. Under Murphy, many of those convictions may now be subject to review.
          On August 15, 2017, the Tenth Circuit granted the Oklahoma Attorney General's request for additional time to file a petition for rehearing, meaning the final judicial resolution of the issues addressed in the case may not arrive for some time. In the interim, it is unclear whether a legislative resolution to the issues is either likely or advisable."

Tanya H. Lee, "Termination or Extermination for Penobscot Indian Nation? State of Maine Declares Jurisdiction Over Penobscot River; Federal Courts Agree," ICTMN, August 7, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/termination- extermination-penobscot-indian- nation/, reported, "On June 30, a federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that severs the Penobscot Indian Nation from the waters of the Penobscot River, a ruling that Penobscot Indian Nation Chief Kirk Francis says is reminiscent of federal termination policy–or worse.
          'The river and our relationship to it and the 200 islands [that form the reservation] are the core of our cultural identity. If our ability to protect the river is taken away, we lose a big part of who we are,' Francis told ICMN.
          For decades, the tribe has been monitoring the quality of the water in the river and working with state and federal agencies, power companies and conservation groups to stop the industrial and municipal pollution that has led to unacceptably high levels of mercury, dioxin, PCPs and other toxins in the river."
          Dawn Neptune Adams said, "'Fishing is something that we do as part of our culture; it's been part of our culture for thousands of years. I myself am a single parent... We have treaty-reserved fishing rights, but those fishing rights don't do any good if we can't eat the fish.' Cancer rates on the reservation are two to five times higher than in the rest of the state."
          "In 2012 Maine Attorney General William Schneider denied the tribe's right to protect the waters on which it has relied for untold generations."
          " The tribe filed a lawsuit in federal court, alleging the state's position violated its sustenance fishing rights. MICSA, noted the tribe, provided that members of the tribe "may take fish, within the boundaries of their…Indian reservation, for their individual sustenance." The U.S.
          

Departments and Justice and Interior intervened on the side of the tribe.
          In 2015 the U.S. District Court for the District of Maine ruled that while the tribe did have the right to take fish from the river, the reservation included only the islands, not the water in the river. The tribe appealed and on June 30, two judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit affirmed the lower court's finding regarding the water and declined to rule on the tribe's fishing rights.
           The third appeals court judge, Juan R. Torruella, wrote a strongly-worded dissent, arguing in part that since MICSA granted the tribe the right to fish within the boundaries of its reservation, the reservation must include the waters surrounding the tribal islands; otherwise, fishing would be permitted only on dry land, a clear absurdity."

The U.S 10th Circuit Court of Appeals denied standing to the Gallup McKinley School District in its challenge to Navajo Nation Courts having jurisdiction in cases involving Navajo employees in public schools on the Navajo reservation, holding that as the school district won the case in question in the Navajo Nation Supreme Court, the district suffered no injury or loss from the decision, and thus had no grounds to appeal (Bill Donovan, "U.S. to Gallup McKinley: You can't appeal if you do not lose," Navajo Times, June 29, 2017).

Ben Moffat, "Gila River Tribes' Water Win in Court: Appeals court upholds tribes' claim in dispute over Gila River water," ICTMN, June 18, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/environment/gila-river-tribes-water-win-court/, reported, "A federal appeals court agreed with two tribes who challenged a Freeport Minerals plan to divert water from the Gila River, saying the company had failed to show that its proposal would not affect the tribes.
          
The June 13 ruling by a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington D.C. said the company, now Freeport-McMoRan, did not meet its burden of proving that the plan to reroute water would not have substantial negative effects on those downstream, which included the Gila River Indian Community and the San Carlos Apache Tribe."

"Court Rules Freedmen Have Citizenship Rights in the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma," Hobbs- Straus General Memorandum 17-046, September 11th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general- memorandum-17-046,
          reported, "On August 30, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a decision in Cherokee Nation v. Nash, the case involving the right of the 'Freedmen', former slaves of the Cherokee people, to join the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma ('Cherokee Nation') as citizens. Judge Thomas Hogan, writing for the court, held that the Freedmen have the right to citizenship under The Treaty of July 19, 1866 with the Cherokee ('1866 Treaty'). Following the decision, the Cherokee Nation's Attorney General said that he will not file an appeal and that his office 'will move forward in a way that best serves the interests of the Cherokee Nation and its citizens, including Freedmen descendants.'
          
The Cherokee Nation filed suit in 2009 against the Freedmen and the U.S. Interior Department in order to obtain a ruling on whether a 2007 amendment to the Tribe's Constitution to terminate the Freedmen's citizenship was permissible. The 2007 Constitutional amendment followed a 2006 Cherokee Nation Supreme Court ruling that the Freedmen were eligible for tribal citizenship.
          In the Cherokee Nation decision, Judge Hogan ruled that 1866 Treaty gave the Freedmen the same rights as 'native' Cherokees. Article 9 of the 1866 Treaty states: 'that all freedmen who have been liberated by voluntary act of their former owners or by law, as well as all free colored persons who were in the country at the commencement of the rebellion, and are now residents therein, or who may return within six months, and their descendants, shall have all the rights of native Cherokees.'
          Hogan wrote that the Cherokee Nation was mistaken 'to treat [F]reedmen's right to citizenship as being tethered to the Cherokee Nation Constitution when, in fact, that right is tethered to the rights of native Cherokees. Furthermore, the [F]reedmen's right to citizenship
          

does not exist solely under the Cherokee Nation Constitution and therefore cannot be extinguished solely by amending that Constitution.'
          Hogan concluded:
          'The Cherokee Nation's sovereign right to determine its membership is no less now, as a result of this decision, than it was after the Nation executed the 1866 Treaty. … The Cherokee Nation can continue to define itself as it sees fit but must do so equally and evenhandedly with respect to native Cherokees and the descendants of Cherokee [Freedmen].'
          Counsel for the Freedmen have stated that they will work with the Cherokee Nation to secure full citizenship rights in the tribe, including voting rights, the ability to run for office, and access to health care, education and other benefits. In a recent press release, Cherokee Nation announced that it has begun processing membership applications for Freedmen descendants."

"Tribal Self-funded Member Health Plans Not Subject to ERISA," Hobbs-Straus GENERAL MEMORANDUM 17-037, July 19th, 2017, http://www.hobbsstraus.com/general-memorandum-17- 037, reported, "In this General Memorandum we report on a recent decision by the United States District Court for the East District of Michigan in Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, No. 1:16-cv-10317-TLL-PTM (E.D. Mich. July 14, 2017). This decision is of interest to any tribe that has both an employee health insurance plan and a self-insured health plan for its tribal members.
          In this case, the Tribe had purchased a fully insured health care benefits plan for its employees from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan (BCBSM). The Tribe paid a premium to BCBSM for coverage and BCBSM in return assumed sole responsibility for paying claims from the plan's participants. The Tribe later decided to provide health insurance coverage for all members of the tribe. Rather than purchasing a fully-insured plan, like the plan for tribal employees, the Tribe chose a self-funded plan under which the Tribe directly paid the cost of health care benefits and paid BCBSM a fee for administering the member plan.
          
This case is one of many brought against BCBSM alleging that BCBSM breached its fiduciary duties under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) by charging hidden administrative fees to its clients. A Sixth Circuit decision in Hi-Lex Controls, Inc. v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, 751 F.3d 740 (6th Cir. 2014) conclusively established BCBSM's liability as an ERISA fiduciary for charging hidden fees in administering employee health plans subject to ERISA. The issue in the Saginaw Chippewa case was whether the Tribe's Member Plan was also subject to ERISA. If so, BCBSM would be acting in a fiduciary capacity in administering the Tribe's member plan, and thus subject to liability under ERISA for charging hidden fees in administering the Member Plan.
          The court held that the Tribe's Member Plan was not subject to ERISA because it was not created by the Tribe to provide health care coverage for tribal employees. The court determined that circumstances surrounding the creation and administration of the Employee Plan and the Member Plan demonstrate that they were not intended to be a single plan, so that the question whether they are subject to ERISA must be conducted separately. The Tribe created its Employee Plan in its capacity as an employer to provide health care coverage for its employees. Thus, the Employee Plan was an ERISA plan. On the other hand, the Tribe created its Member Plan in its capacity as a sovereign to provide health care coverage for its members unrelated to employment by the Tribe. The fact that some tribal member employees had opted for coverage under the Member Plan did not make the Member Plan subject to ERISA because coverage of those member employees was unrelated to their employment relationship with the Tribe.
          The court also held that BCBSM did not breach its ERISA fiduciary duty in allocating payments to its physician providers under a Physician Group Incentive Program (PGIP), which allocated a portion of yearly fee increases to physicians in BCBSM's network based on certain performance measures. The court determined that unlike the hidden access fees at issue in the Hi-Lex decision, BCBSM never received any financial benefit from the PGIP and the Tribe did not establish that it was charged an additional amount because of PGIP."
          

A lawsuit was filed in Federal District Court in Denver, CO, in September 2017 , by a lawyer and Deep Green Resistance, an environmental group, stating that the Colorado River was the plaintiff, against Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, asserting that the governor was liable for violating the river's "right to exist, flourish, regenerate, be restored and naturally evolve." Legal experts say that the suit has a low likelihood of succeeding, but if it did, it would likely change environmental law, giving natural entities legal standing for people to suit on their behalf (Julie Turkewitz, "Plaintiff in Federal Lawsuit Over Violation Rights Is the Colorado River," The New York Times, September 27, 2017).

A number of lawsuits have been filed in Federal District Court by Indian Nations and environmental groups challenging President Trump's shrinking of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante national monuments in Utah, asserting that, while the president has legal authority to create new, and expand existing, national monuments, he has no legal authority to shrink them (Brady McCombs and Michelle L. Price, "Lawsuits by tribes, conservation organizations ask whether president can modify national monuments," NFIC, December 2017),

The Chilkat Indian Village of Klukwan, AK, and three environmental groups brought suite, December 4, 2017, in Federal District Court against the U.S. government, claiming that the Bureau of Land Management improperly issued a permit to Constantine Resources, Ltd. to undertake exploratory mining upstream of the Chikkat River in Southwest Alaska, without taking necessary consideration of the impact a mine in that area would have on salmon in the river and upon a bald eagle preserve (Dan Joling, "Critics sue over mine exploration near Alaska eagle preserve," NFIC, December 2017).

The Navajo Nation has filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court, in Gallup, NM, in December 2017, against Wells Fargo Bank, claiming that the bank had engaged in unlawful and predatory practices that targeted and harmed Navajo people, particularly elderly Navajos (Bill Donovan, "Lawsuit filed against Wells Fargo," Navajo Times, December 14, 2017).

Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton, "Creek File Lawsuit Claiming Concurrent Jurisdiction With Casino in Limbo: Lawsuit comes as the tribal town continues to a second attempt to launch a casino near one of Oklahoma's largest cities," ICTMN, August 28, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/creek-file-lawsuit-claiming-concurrent- jurisdiction-casino-limbo/, " With its would-be casino in limbo, a Creek tribal town has filed a federal lawsuit claiming it and three other tribes are entitled to equal legal authority over 11 eastern Oklahoma counties.
          
On August 17, attorneys for the Kialegee Tribal Town filed litigation with the District of Columbia District Court seeking an injunction against Secretary of Interior Ryan Zinke, acting Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Michael Black and National Indian Gaming Commission chairman Jonodev Chaudhuri, a citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.
          Citing 18th and 19th century Creek treaty rights and the Creeks' pre-removal organization, the Kialegee Tribal Town argues that it, along with the other two traditional Creek tribal towns with federal recognition, has jurisdiction over the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's recently reinstated reservation in eastern Oklahoma."

State and Local Courts

Montana's 13th Judicial District began operating the fifth Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Court in the U.S., in September 2017, handling ICWA cases in Yellowstone County, MT (Phoebe Tollefson, "New ICWA court connect Native foster kids with family," NFIC September 2017).

The Idaho Supreme Court ruled, November 3, 2017, that decisions by Tribal Courts in the state must be abided by and enforced throughout the state. The case involved a case begun in 2014,
          

in which the Coer d'Alene Tribal Court fined two non-tribal members residing on the Coer d'Alene reservation $17,400 in civil penalties for building a dock on the river within the reservation without a permit from the tribe (Kimberlee Kruesi, "State Supreme court rules Coer d'Alene Tribal Court judgement is to be enforced in Idaho," NFIC November 2017).

Gale Courey Toensing, "Schaghticoke Tribal Nation's $610 Million Lawsuit Against CT Inches Forward: Schaghticoke Tribal Nation sues Connecticut for $610 million in allegedly unpaid land use fees," ICTMN, September 3, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/schaghticoke- 610-million-lawsuit-connecticut/, reported, " The first court action in a lawsuit filed a year ago by the Schaghticoke Tribal Nation against the State of Connecticut will take place this month. The complaint claims the State of Connecticut owes the tribe more than $610 million in mismanaged land use trust funds. A pretrial evidentiary hearing will be held at Connecticut Superior Court in Hartford on September 14 on the state's motion to dismiss the case.
          The lawsuit, which was filed in October 2016, says the state illegally took most of the Schaghticoke (pronounced Skat' i coke) Tribe's land and then sold it off, rented it or otherwise profited from it without compensating the tribe. The nonpayment of funds has violated state statues and resolutions for more than 250 years and will continue to do so every year until the tribe is paid, the lawsuit says.

Tribal Courts

Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma is bringing suit in its tribal court against a set of major drug companies over the opiod perscription drug crisis which has been devisating to the Cherokee Nation. The suit asserts that the pharmacy chains Walmart, Walgreens and CVS Health, along with the drug distributors McKesson, Cardinal Health and AmerisourceBergen, violated federal drug- monitoring laws and allowed prescription opioids to flood into the Cherokee territory at some of the highest rates in the country. The drug companies are attempting to move the case to federal court (Jan Hoffman, "In Opioid  Battle, Cherokee Want TheirDay in Tribal Court: Decimated by addiction, its heritage at risk, the Cherokee Nation is trying to sue pharmacies and distributors. But it may be blocked from doing so," The New York Times, December 17, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/17/health/cherokee-opioid- addiction-pharmacies.html&_r=0.

Tribal Governments and State and Local Government Developments

Stephanie Woodard, "Native Voting Rights–Back to the Drawing Board in South Dakota? 'Everyone should have an equal chance to participate in our democracy', ICTMN, August 11, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/native-voting-rights-back-drawing-board-south- dakota/, reported, "Controversy erupted in South Dakota following the state's announcement that voters on the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation would have very restricted ballot-box access for the 2018 national elections. After Crow Creek Chairman Brandon Sazue criticized Buffalo County for offering the reservation 11 days across the primary and general elections, as compared to 94 days in other parts of the state, county commissioners told ICMN they were looking at revising the plan."

Debra Utacia Krol, "Keeping Hawaiian Lands in Native Hawaiian Hands: Hawaii legislature approves lowering blood quantum for homestead inheritance," ICTMN, August 31, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/keeping-hawaiian-lands-native-hawaiian-hands/, reported, " Hawaii is one step closer to realizing a Native Hawaiian prince's vision for providing a place to call home for all people indigenous to the island state. In July, Gov. David Ige signed HB 451, which will change the requirement to inherit Hawaiian homesteads from its current one-fourth to one-thirty-second."
          

A bill has been introduced in the North Dakota state legislature that would allow the tribes in the state to make compacts with the state for the Indian nations to levy state sales taxes and keep a yet to be determined percentage of the collected tax (James MacPherson, "Norjh Dakota bill would allow tribes to enter into agreements to levy/keep state sales taxes," NFIC, December 2017).

The Alaska Attorney General stated, October 17, 2017, that while most tribal banishment cases are private civil actions concerning which the state has no authority, but if asked in the few cases involving criminal or constitutional issues, the state would investigate. He stated that the state collaborates with tribes in many ways, including in the enforcement of protective orders by tribal courts. Also, the state's new civil diversion agrement program allows tribes to have jurisdiction over low low level crimes, including certain assaults, reckless endangerment and substance abuse offences (Rachel d'Oro, "Alaska Attorney General Outlines state position on tribal banishment," NFIC, October 2017).

Finding that a significant number of Navajo tribal membes did not have birth cirificates, making it difficult to renew driver's licenses, Tribal member and New Mexico state representative Sharon Clahchischilage arranged with state agencies to have on reservation pop-up locations in Shiprock and Crown Point, NM, where tribal members born in New Mexico could obtain delayed birth certificates (Pauly Dennetclaw, "Pop-upservice offers delayed birth certificates," Navajo Times, Otober 5, 2017).

The Fond du Lac Chippewa of Minnesota and Minnisota Governor Mark Dsyton signed a memorandum of understanding, December 8, 2017, on how the state and the nation will work together monitoring fish and wildlife harvesting levels as the tribe and its members exercise their hunting and fishing rights ("Fond du Lac Chippewa formalize final management agreement on treaty resources," NFIC, December 2017).

"GOVERNOR BAKER PROCLAIMS NOVEMBER NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE
          MONTH IN MASSACHUSETTS," Cultural Survival," November 22, 2017, https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/news/governor-baker-proclaims-november-native-american-heritage- month-massachusetts, reported, "For the first time in recent history, Governor Charles Baker proclaimed November Native American Heritage Month in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."

Steve Quinn, Alaska Adopts New Law Declaring Indigenous Peoples Day: Inupiaq Democrat sponsored the bill; and one of the first to request an apology from fellow Rep. David Eastman for recent racist remarks," ICTMN, June 27, 2017, "https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/alaska- adopts-new-law-declaring-indigenous-peoples-day/, reported, "Alaska Gov. Bill Walker on Saturday, June 24, 2017 signed a bill into law officially designating the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day."

An increasing number of municipalities in the U.S. have been changing Columbus Day into Indigenous People's Day. Acting to do so recently are Moscow, ID, Kalamazoo, MI, Detroit, MI and Stanford, KY. A campaign is in progress in Baltimore, MD to make the change, where a resolution introduced in 2016 in the city council to do that failed to pass ("Columbus vs Indigenous People's Day - name change gaining support," NFIC, October 2017).
           Nashville. TN has also made the change from Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day (Albert Bender, "Nashville Mayor, City Council move to recognize Indigenous Peoples Day in lieu of Columbus Day," NFIC, November 2017).

"Blackjack and Baccarat Through 2030: Seminoles Reach Settlement With Florida: Florida will take "aggressive enforcement action" against player-banked card games at rival tracks," ICMN, July 11, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/business/blackjack-baccarat-2030-seminoles-
          

reach-settlement-florida/, reported, "The Seminole Tribe and the State of Florida have agreed to terms that honor the tribe's exclusive statewide rights to operate table games like blackjack and baccarat through 2030, while holding the state accountable for cracking down on player-banked card games at parimutuels."
          
" Under the new terms, the tribe will resume payments to the state through 2030. Florida will receive $340 million over the next fiscal year, including $220 million immediately. The money contributed by the tribe totals to more than twice as much as the banked games at parimutuels would have contributed to state coffers. The tribe has shared more than $1.7 billion with Florida since 2010."

The Hopi Tribe became the last in Arizona to sign a gambling compact with the state. The agreement authorizes the nation to operate 900 slot machines. Finding new sources of tribal income is important, as the Hopi face losing 85% of their budget when the Kayenta Mine closes in 2019 (Felicia Fonseca, "Hopi last Arizona tribe to sign gambling agreement," ICTMN, December 2017).

"California Tribes Form Cannabis Association: Newly formed California Native American Cannabis Association seeks formal consultations with governor," ICMN, September 3, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/california-tribes-form-cannabis-association/, reported, " The newly formed California Native American Cannabis Association is asking Gov. Jerry Brown to begin government-to-government consultations with tribes to ensure that cannabis regulations include specific language to respect tribal sovereignty and the right to self-regulate. The law governing California's multibillion-dollar cannabis industry goes into effect on January 1 but currently does not include specific language addressing the sovereign rights of Indian nations.
           To help build tribal support and ensure that tribal sovereignty is protected in the new law, C-NACA is planning a symposium on tribal cannabis issues from October 29 to November 1 at the Morongo Casino Resort in Cabazon, California."

In September 2017, the city of Eureka, CA resumed efforts to return remaining portions of Indian Island to the Wiyot people (Andre Cramblit, "White Privilege Returns to Indian Island: Wealthy Robin Arkley protests Eureka, CA's decision to give Indian Island to the Wiyot Tribe," ICTMN, September 2, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/opinions/white-privilege-returns- indian-island/).

The Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation in Utah has asked the city of Westville, UT to stop holding the annual battle reenactment on Labor Day weekend, saying that the "sham battle" is a racially and culturally insensitive portrayal of American Indians. The city's mayor, Thomas Bailey, said he hoped some kind of compromise could be obtained to continue the event in some form. The Ute Indian Political Action Committee was planning a protest demonstration at the September 20, 2017 city council meeting ("Shoshone call in Utah city to end annual battel reenactment," NFIC, September 2017).

Lynn Cordova, "Christopher Columbus Loses a Holiday in Los Angeles, and Loses His Head in New York: Los Angeles will now celebrate Indigenous Peoples Day on the second Monday in October. Meanwhile in New York, someone cut the head off a statue to Columbus," ICTMN, September 1, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/christopher-columbus-loses-holiday-los- angeles-loses-head-new-york/, reported, " The L.A. City Council voted 14-1 to dump Columbus Day as a city-recognized holiday for Indigenous Peoples Day which will be celebrated on the second Monday in October, according to reports. Natives of every stripe – Aztecs, Diné, Lakota, and more – descended upon City Hall on August 30 to speak in favor of the shift they say sheds light on the atrocities Columbus and his men committed upon the indigenous people they encountered in 1492."
          A growing number of cities have switched from celebrating ColumbusDay to honoring Indigenous Peoples or Native American day.
          

Tribal Developments

Indian Country Today (ICTMN) suspended operatiuons in October, 2017, to either find a new owner or a n ew business model (See Mark Trahant's commentary on this event in Research Notes, below). "Oneida Nation to Donate Indian Country Today Media Network Assets to NCAI," ICTMN, October 4, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/oneida-nation-donate-indian- country-today-media-network-assets-ncai/, reported, " The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) today announced that it is assuming control of the assets of Indian Country Today Media Network (ICTMN), the result of a donation to the organization by the Oneida Indian Nation." NCAI would move in the coming months to a new ICTMN platform.

Rebbecca Clarren, "Righiting the Scales," The Nation, December 18, 2017, discusses the long history of lack of justice in Native commuitiees in instances of domestic violence, and the significant, but limited, progress that has been made in addressing it more recently. The issue is huge, as in 2016 U.S. Department of Justice study found that four out of five Native women have suffered violence from an intimate partner.
          Examples of progress include the innovation and flexibility of the Yurok Tribal Court, in California, that has developed a number of programs that provide alternatives to incarceration, and which has jurisdiction over non-Indians within its geographical jurisdiction. The programs include a state approved wellness program working with people to overcome addictions, and restorative justice program for rehabilitating people who have committed partner or child abuse.
          
There is evidence emerging that the tribal restorative justice programs can have very high rates of rhabilitation. For example, the Kake Tribe in Alaska reported a 97.5% rate of people in their tribal member peacemaking project fullfilling their court-ordered amends, compared to the 22% rate in the regular state courts. The Leach Lake Band of Ojibwe Wellness Court, allowing tribal members arrested for DWI to receive culturally specific treatment on reservation, experienced a 60% drop in repeat DWI arrests the year following the introduction of the program. A major problem for Indian nations wishing to undertake such programs is a lack of funding. The Bureau of Indian Affairs reported in 2015 that most tribal courts were only receiving about 6% of the funding they need.
          Another justice problem for tribes, historically, has been a lack of cooperation by state and local courts with tribal courts. Among the improvements in that area, is that as of late 2017 there were at least 15 tribal-state court forums, in which tribal, state and federal judges meet regularly to facilitate the enfocement of cross juirisdictional court orders and compliance in child welfare cases.

Laura Paskus, "With an eye to the future, the Pueblo of Santa Ana restores lands, wildlife," NM Political Report, September 11, 2017, http://nmpoliticalreport.com/449309/with-an-eye-to-the-future- the-pueblo-of-santa-ana-undertakes-restoration-wildlife-projects- en/?utm_source=The+NM+Political+Report&utm_campaign=b555912aa0- EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_12&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_192e41dc5e-b555912aa0- 138662129&mc_cid=b555912aa0&mc_eid=cde7993ced, reported, The Pueblo of Santa Ana has been bringing back pronghorn. "The species had been extirpated from the area about four decades ago. But over the course of three releases in 2009, 2010 and last winter, the department brought about 100 animals back to the pueblo. Some traveled off the reservation, a few died from the stress of being relocated, and predators killed others. All told, today there are now about 70 living within the pueblo's boundaries, just north of Rio Rancho and Bernalillo.
          And the tribe is working on more than just bringing back pronghorn."
          "Protecting places like the bosque along the Rio Grande is important to everyone, he says– especially to tribal members, for whom the river is culturally important."
          Under the direction of the Pueblo of Santa Ana tribal council, the department is reintroducing wild turkeys, restoring the bosque along the Rio Grande, recovering grasslands impacted by heavy grazing and reintroducing healthy fire to the landscape. They also measure
          

rainfall and other conditions, work with tribal ranchers to rotate livestock and install guzzlers and water tanks that wildlife and migrating birds can visit."

"AMERIND Critical Infrastructure: Broadband Builds Tribal Communities: Press release: AMERIND Critical Infrastructure recently helped New Mexico Pueblos bring broadband to their communities, ICTMN, September 3, 2017, reported, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/business/amerind-critical-infrastructure-broadband-builds- tribal-communities/, "Two New Mexico Tribal consortium applications were recently awarded a total of almost $8 million in federal E-rate funds to bring broadband to their schools and libraries. The funding awarded to these two applications–one filed on behalf of the Santa Ana, San Felipe, Santo Domingo and Cochiti Pueblos, and the other filed on behalf of the Jemez and Zia Pueblos–will be used to construct Tribally owned fiber broadband networks. "Tribal schools and libraries have been going at it alone to increase their access to broadband Internet–with limited and varied success. "The new E-rate opportunities allowed the two Tribal consortia in New Mexico to address connectivity issues together by aggregating demand and working with our Tribal neighbors, to create a network that is exponentially faster at a fraction of the cost," Sekaquaptewa said. "'These applications show what E-rate can–and up until now has been unable to–accomplish in Tribal communities. They are bringing connectivity to Tribal schools and libraries that, but for E-rate dollars, would never enjoy benefits that 21st Century fiber connectivity provides,' Flannery said."

Reporting indicates 39 cases of confirmed child sex abuse cases and 35 confirmed sexual assault cases involving adults on the Navajo Nation from July 2016 to June 2017. Victims ranged from 2 to 49 years of age. The identified perpatrators were most often male family members, but in some cases aquaintances or school mates.
          
At Fort Defiance, a regional multidisiplanary team was established after hearing this report. The team has been focusing on why these cases have not been prosecuted, and what needs to be done to get them prosecuted.
          The Navajo Office of Education and Research and Statistics undertook a study of what grant, public and BIA schools serving the reservation were doing in the way of sex abuse education and training, and how they handle reports of sexual abuse. Many schools provide sex abuse training to teachers, staff and professionals, but only few to students. The training is not uniform. The schools reported that, depending on the severity of the abuse, they report it to police or social services . The Chair of the Tribal Council Sexual Assault Prevention Subcommitee recommended that the Department of Dine Educaion require sexual assault training to students, and stated that requiring the training will be required in the reauthorization of the Dine BIA schools. The Chair noted that with electronic communication, reporting abuse is easy to do if people know how to do it (Arlyssa Becenti, "Study: Sex abusers are usually relatives," Navajo Times, October 26, 2017).

The Navajo Nation Council passed an ordanance making human trafficking a crime, during its summer 2017 session. While no cases of human traficking had been reported on the reservation, sex trafficking cases were known just off the reservation (Alyssia Becenti, "Coucil oasses bill making hujman trafficking a crime," Navajo Times, 2017).

The cost of health insurance is rising for Navajo Nation employees, in many cases by 38% from 2017 to 2018, because clam costs in 2017 had exceeded the budget. In some cases deductables are increasing while coverage drops (Christopher S. Pineo, "Tribal workers insurance costs going up," Navajo Times, December 4, 2017).

First Nations Development Institute, " Indian Country Food Price Index," July 2017, found that food prices on reservation are generally higher than the national average. At the food store at Window Rock on the Navajo Reservation, prices for milk and apples were a dollar higher than the national average. The only thing lower on the resevation than the national average was Cheetos (Chstopher S. Pino, "High Prices for Food," Navajo Times, August 3, 2017).
          

Despite efforts to get Navajo Nation chapters to reduce the amount of money that they do not spend, and is not set asside for special funds, the amount of unspent money by the 110 chapters has continued to increase, reaching $69.6 million on June 30, an increas of $12.1 million in six months (Bill Donovan, "Chapters have $69.6 million unspent audit says," Navajo Times, October 5, 2017).

DNA People's Legal Servicesonthe Navajo Nation has had to close three of its branches because of reduced funding: Ship Rock, Crown Point and Monument Valley (Bill Donovan, "DNA closes 3 branches, keeps eye in Congress," Navajo Times, September 2, 2017).

The Southern Ute Tribe has developed a new land assignment code through a two decade process with input from tribal members, as part of the Tribe's continuing effort to include as much traditonal particpatory decission making as feasable in its decision making ("Tribal Council approves Land Assignment Code," Southern Ute Drum, November 22, 2017).

In order to provide housing for homeless tribal members, the Leach Lake Ojibwe have deceided not to renew 350 leases for waterfront lots to non-tribal members. 75 of thes lots have cabins owned by the renters, who will have to sell them, move them, or leave them behind. The lots will be consolidated to provide homsteading for 80 tribal famileis. The action is expensive for the tribe, which will loose about $500,000 in rent each year ("Leech Lake Ojibwe refuse new lease to non Indian, on tribal land to ease tribal homelessness," NFIC, October 2017).

Kelly Gilbreth, White Earth Ojibwe, as part of her work in the Americans for Indian Opportunity (AIO) Ambassador Program in 2010/11 undertook a community initiative project to create a transitional living home for young Indigenous girls leaving incarceration. As of July 2017, Gilbreth had secured a location, began the 501(c)3 process and found a fiscal sponsor ("Reciprocity in Action," AIO Newsletter, July 2017).

The Winnebago Nation of Nebraska plans to install 1000 solar panels generating more than 300 KW of electricity, reducing its electric bill by $40,000 a year ("Nebraska reservation moves toward solar energy," NFIC, September 2017),

Renae Ditmer, "Choctaw Nation: Tribal Constitutional Convention Seeks Separation of Powers: A group of Choctaw citizens pursues reform, despite mighty challenges, ICTMN, September 1, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/choctaw-nation-tribal-constitutional- convention-seeks-separation-powers/, reported, "Viewing the constitution of her beloved Choctaw Nation as out of date, tribal citizen and well-known Democratic tribal activist Kalyn Free is organizing a revolution. She's calling it a new constitutional convention as she seeks what's known as a "Bureau of Indian Affairs Secretarial Election" to bring about the changes she and other Choctaw citizens desire."
          
It may take three years for the process to unfold in a tribal election, if the attempt to attain one is successful.
          _^_^_^_^_^_^_^_

Economic Developments

Indian nations have had difficulty convincing banks to open branches on their reservations, while they have been able to open only a few banks and credit unions of their own. Indian Country Today identified only some three dozen credit unions and banks owned by tribes, tribal entities and individual members in a 2017 search. In contrast, in recent years there has been a growth in tribally focused community development financial institutions (CDFIs), of which ICTMN found 70. CDFIs are non-profit community based lenders that have no deposit, but make
          

housing and economic development loans. The one's related to reservations are run by tribal members who usually have extensive knowledge of reservation conditions and needs. Examples include, Lakota Funds, on the Oglala Lakota reservation in South Dakota, and the Four Bands Fund, on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservation, in South Dakota. Native CDFIs have their own association. The First Nations Oweesta Corp., funds other Native CDFIs. Its 2016 annual report stated that it had made $11 million in loans to Native CDFIs and was launching a capital aggregate loan pool of $10 million. The CDFI Fund reported that its Native Initiatives program has provided
          
$120 million in financial and technical assistance to Native CDFIs and provided 1,600 hours of training. (Mark Fogarty, "Are Native CDFIs the Financial Institution of the Future? If Native CDFIs are to continue to grow and become self-sufficient, they need to have sources they can rely on for funding, ICTMN, September 1, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/business/native-cdfis-financial-institution-future/).

Mark Fogarty, "Northwest Area Foundation: Native CDFIs 'Engines of Change': The new site offers CDFIs to benefit reservations where financial institutions are scarce," ICTMN,
          July 11, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/northwest-area-foundation- native-cdfis-engines-change/, reported, " The Northwest Area Foundation is one of the most prominent philanthropic funders of American Indian projects, targeting 40 percent of its grants to Native efforts. Now, it has started a webpage to benefit Native community development financial institutions (CDFIs), local alternatives to the kinds of financial institutions that are scarce on reservations."

In order to make it far easier for Native Americans to obtain mortgages on reservations, where banks and other private lenders most often are reluctant to make housing loans as the property is not available as collateral, a number of U.S. federal agencies have been offering mortgages on reservations since the late 1990s. The leader in providing reservation mortgages has been the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 184 loan, which guarantees 100 percent of lender outlays. As of the end of fiscal 2015, the HUD 184 had guaranteed 3,844 mortgages on trust land, using $460.2 million of finance, averaging about $120,000 per mortgage. The Department of Veterans Affairs Native veteran mortgage program, has extended $140 million in finance through more than 1,000 loans for an average of $140,000 per loan, according to a DVA PowerPoint. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Housing Service section 502 direct mortgages on trust land have only totaled about 350 to date, averaging about $120,000 per loan, to total around $42 million in finance. HUD's Title VI loan, a "project" loan often used to finance infrastructure for housing developments, has extended about 100 mortgage loans on trust land over the past 20 years, totaling about $239 million. The Bureau of Indian Affairs Housing Improvement Program for Indians living within tribal service areas issued 140 HIP grants in fiscal 2015. In addition, the RHS section 504 program provides grants and loans for home improvements and was used in Indian country in fiscal year 2014 to issue 67 RHS 504 loans and grants.
           USDA's total mortgages to Indians (on and off reservation) come to 6,796 loans for $887 million between 2009 and 2015, during which time It invested $498 million in water and environmental projects. The HUD 184, totals through fiscal 2015 are 630 loans on allotted lands for a total of $90 million, and 3,214 loans on tribal trust land, for total finance of $370 million.
          HUD officials makes a large number of 184 mortgage loans in areas just adjacent to reservations, while some of the states with the most Native populations do not have reservations. In Alaska, for example, with more than 200 Native Alaskan villages with no trust status, HUD provided only one allotted HUD 184 and one on tribal trust land in fiscal 2015. Oklahoma, which has no reservations but some allotments, had more than 4,000 HUD 184s made in fiscal 2015 but just one on allotted land. (Mark Fogarty, "Government Reservation Mortgages Pass $600 Million in Finance, 5,000 Loans: The most successful Indian mortgage program to date has been the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Section 184 loan," ICTMN, September 1, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/politics/government-reservation-mortgages-pass-600- million-finance-5000-loans/).
          

Mark Fogarty, "Veterans Housing and Mortgages Continue to Rise for Tribes: One hundred tribes have signed MOUs, passing 1,000 loans from the VA's Trust Land Mortgage Program to assist with veteran housing, ICTMN, August 31, 2017, https:// indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/veterans/veterans-housing-mortgages-continue-rise- tribes/, reoprted, "The Department of Veterans Affairs has passed the 1,000 mark in the number of direct mortgages it has made to American Indian veterans of some 100 tribes.
          
As of May of last year the number of loans stood at 1,010, with total financing of $120 million, according to a VA presentation. That is an average of $120,000 per loan."

Ray Landry, " The Thriving Small Businesses of the Navajo Nation: From fresh coffee to auto repair, the small business community on the Navajo Nation is alive and well, ICTMN, September 1, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/business/thriving-small-businesses-navajo- nation/, reported, "When you think about enterprise on Indian reservations, chances are you're picturing roadside vendors or towering casinos.
          There's plenty of both on the 27,000-square-mile Navajo Nation, which spans portions of three states and has an unemployment rate that tops 50 percent. The Nation's four casinos–all built in the last 10 years–get a lot of attention, alongside some big-name companies in the energy sector.
          The Navajo Nation also operates 12 enterprises, including a utility authority, radio stations, a newspaper, transportation, construction and housing authorities, and 110,600 acres of farmland. But on the country's largest Indian reservation, sometimes it's the smallest businesses that make the biggest difference.
          The Navajo Division of Economic Development keeps a list of certified, Navajo-owned businesses operating on or near the reservation. As of July 2017, there were 220 such businesses–each with at least 51-percent ownership by tribal members."
          
Among these Dine businesses are: Caffeinated Ape, Shiprock, NM, Hozho Total Wellness, Gallup, NM, Arizona Canyon Jeep Tours, Chinle, AZ, TC Automotive; Farmington, NM, and Shima Grill & Catering, and Shima Transport, a non-emergency medical transportation service that employs about 50 drivers in Gallup, NM.

The Navajo Nation, in July 2017, launched Nataani Development Corporation as a holding company in health, environment, construction and manufacturing. It is to be a private sector vehicle focusing on job creating economic projects, generating revenue for Navajo Nation through dividend sharing. One of its aims is to end the 47 percent unemployment on Navajo Nation, as it diversifies the nation's economy (Arlyssa Becenti, "Begaye: New tribal corp. could end unemployment in 3 years," Navajo Times, July 23, 2017).

Ranching expert Delane Atcity has told the Navajo Nation that it has sufficient range land so that ranching could be developed into a quite profitable business for the tribe and for individual tribal members (Cindy Yurth, "Beefing up the nation," Navajo Times, October 26, 2017).

Since 2012, wool and mohair buyers have been coming to a number of places on the Navajo reservation to buy wool. Many Navajo wool producers now have a shorter drive to buyers, than previously when they had to go to trading posts to sell their wool. Moreover, the buyers are offering better prices than the trading posts. These buyers say they are paying more to help the Navajos, while keeping their prices low enough to sill make a reasonable profit (Cindy Yurth, "Wool buyers say they have motives beyond profits," Navajo Times, June 15, 2017).

"2016 Indian Gaming Revenues Increased 4.4%," NICG, July 17, 2017, https:// www.nigc.gov/news/detail/2016-indian-gaming-revenues-increased-4.4, reported , "Today Chairman Jonodev Osceola Chaudhuri, Vice Chair Kathryn Isom-Clause, and Associate Commissioner Sequoyah Simermeyer of the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) released the Fiscal Year 2016 Gross Gaming Revenue numbers totaling $31.2 billion, an overall increase of
          

4.4%. The success reflected in the 2016 gross gaming revenue is due, at least in part, to the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act's promotion of tribal self-determination principles,' said the Chair of the NIGC, Jonodev O. Chaudhuri.
          In the 1970s rural Tribes began gaming, mostly as small bingo facilities, as a means to provide revenue and jobs for their people and to manifest self-determination. The same holds true today as is evident by 57% of gaming revenue being generated by small or moderately sized Indian gaming operations grossing less than $25 million per year. For gaming tribes, revenue has become a lifeline to generate economic development and supplement moderate funding received from federal government programs and services.
          Revenues are calculated based on 484 independently audited financial statements, comprised of 244 federally recognized Tribes across 28 States. The GGR for an operation is calculated based on (1) the amount wagered minus winnings returned to players and (2) earnings before salaries, tribal-state compacts and operating expenses. Each of the NIGC administrative regions showed growth during
          FY16 with the following increases being reported: Sacramento Region (6.3%)
           Oklahoma City Region (5.7%) Portland Region (5.1%)
          Phoenix Region (4.4%)
          Tulsa Region (4.0%) Washington, DC Region (3.8%) St. Paul Region (1.1%)
          
'The stable growth is reflective of a healthy and well regulated industry with a tremendous impact on local and state economies," said Chairman Chaudhuri. "When Congress passed IGRA almost thirty years ago, it expressly cited in its findings and purposes the long standing federal policy goal to promote tribal economic development, tribal self-sufficiency, and strong tribal governments; no other economic driver has been able to do that for Indian country as successfully as gaming,' he said."

Jack McNeel, "Kalispel Tribe Plans Big Expansions: Diversity is the name of the game, with many of the projects having a May completion date," ICTMN, August 23, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/business/kalispel-tribe-plans-big-expansions/, reported, "The Kalispel Tribe is going all out to expand and improve its holdings on the West Plains, just west of downtown Spokane, Washington. A huge apartment complex will be built, plus a large RV park which includes cottages, plus improvements to Northern Quest Resort and Casino, plus a theater complex that's state-of-the art.
          
Ground breaking recently took place for the casino expansion and the R.V. Park. Phil Haugen, Chief Operating Officer for Kalispel Tribal Economic Authority, explained that the roughly 50,000 square feet expansion of the casino is not for additional gaming machines but to make it more family oriented. It will house Kid Quest with electronic games for youngsters plus Cyber Quest with adult activities like pool games, ping pong tables, and other things of that nature. The majority of the expansion will contain Windfall, the tribe's own retail shop carrying traditional retail items. A portion of that shop will contain tribal made goods including items by local tribal artists."

The Meskwaki Nation of Iowa is expanding its businesses, building a 30,000 square foot factory-warehouse, to increase e-cigarettes and tobacco sales as well as other retail business and construction, while continuing to operate its casino and bingo hall. (Meskwaki Nation looks to diversify business profile," NFIC. October 2017).

Community Impact: Blue Lake Rancheria Invests in Clean Energy Self-Sufficiency, NICG, HTTPS://WWW.NIGC.GOV/PUBLIC- AFFAIRS/COMMUNITY- IMPACT/BLUE- LAKE-RANCHERIA-INVESTS-IN-CLEAN-ENERGY-SELF-SUFFICIENCY, reported,
           "The success of the Blue Lake Casino and Hotel has created significant economic opportunities for the Blue Lake Rancheria Tribe. Casino revenue has provided investment capital, allowing for diversification and development of the Tribe's economy and contributes to improving the health
          

and environment for the region's population. The Tribe has partnered with the State of California, academia, the federal government, and industry to install a community-scale microgrid with solar photovoltaic (PV) power and advanced energy storage as its backbone. For day-to-day activities, the microgrid provides cleaner and far less expensive power -- but in emergencies, the Tribe can disconnect from the larger grid and generate emergency power for as long as needed."
          For more information on The Blue Lake Rancheria, visi t http://bit.ly/2ssWWzb.

Theresa Braine, "Standing Rock Sioux to Spearhead $1 Million in Renewable Energy Projects: Standing Rock Sioux receives inaugural Henry A. Wallace Prize for courage under DAPL fire, plus
          $250,000, from Wallace Global Fund," ICTMN, July 11, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/native-news/standing-rock-sioux-renewable-energy/, reported, "Throughout much of 2016 and into the winter of 2017, water protectors stood fast against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), even in the face of severe injury. The egregiousness of the actions taken against unarmed water protectors caught the attention of the Wallace Global Fund, founded by Henry A. Wallace, who was Vice President of the United States under Franklin D. Roosevelt. The progressive fund awarded $250,000 to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and pledged to invest an additional $1 million in renewable energy initiatives, to be led by the tribe."

The Southern Ute Tribe of Colrado dedicated its new 800 KW solar plant on July 24, 2017, a major development in its moving into solar energy production, both to power tribal facilities and for sale beyond the reservation (Cloe Seibel, "Finding New Alternatives to Greener Energy," Southern Ute Drum, July 21, 2017).

Alysa Landry, "Navajo Generating Station Lease Extended Through 2019: New lease buys 18 months for economic and energy alternatives to be found," ICTMN, July 6, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/environment/navajo-generating-station-lease-2019/, " The largest coal-fired power plant in Indian country will continue operating for another 18 months following the Navajo Nation's approval of a lease that promises to keep the Navajo Generating Station open until December 2019.
          
During a ceremony on July 1, Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye signed a $350 million lease that calls for utility owners to extend operations at the 2,250-megawatt plant near Page, Arizona, through 2019. The lease, a 35-year agreement between the tribe and utility owners, secures
           $110 million in continued lease payments to the Navajo Nation through 2054, requires the Nation to receive minimum fuel purchase revenues of $39 million for 2018 and 2019, and allows owners access to the land for decommissioning activities and long-term environmental monitoring.
          The lease also allows the tribe to keep existing water infrastructure, transmission lines and railroad lines between the plant and Kayenta Mine, the plant's sole provider of coal. Begaye hopes the infrastructure can be used to deliver solar- or wind-generated energy."

"Puyallup Tribe's Medicine Creek Analytics Detects What's in Weed Sold in Washington: The tribe hopes Medicine Creek Analytics, its cannabis testing lab, supports holistic medical treatment efforts for cancer patients," ICMN, July  20, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/business/puyallup-tribes-cannabis-lab-medicine-creek- analytics-detects-whats-weed-sold-washington-state/, reported, "On the daily , medical and recreational marijuana is tested at Medicine Creek Analytics for its safety and purity. The lab, approved by the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB), is a nonprofit corporation owned and operated by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians. It detects exactly what's in the weed sold at dispensaries across the State of Washington–from potency to microbes, moisture, residual solvent and much more.
          The tribe's interest in cannabis quality control stems from its desire to develop natural medicines for treating cancer patients in its community. "The immune-compromised state of cancer patients makes the quality of medicinal marijuana very important," the company states. Medicine Creek's high-tech
          

equipment can actually discern what chemicals are present at one-billionth per gram of pot. Paying mind to the sensitive needs of cancer patients requiring medical marijuana, Medicine Creek specifically tests for heavy metals, mycotoxins and pesticides."

Kristin Butler, "'Bigger Than Bingo': Seminole Gaming Visionary James Billie to Help Tribes Produce Marijuana: James Billie's MCW firm teams up with Electrum Partners to help tribes build cannabis businesses and navigate the legal landscape," ICTMN, June 28, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/business/bigger-than-bingo-indian-gaming-visionary-
          james-billie-help-tribes-produce-marijuana/, reported, "James Billie, a former Seminole Chairman renowned for initiating high-stakes bingo and paving for the way for tribal gaming rights, aims to help tribes produce marijuana and cannabis products on their lands. 'Wherever it's legal, that's where we're going, where the other Native Americans are,' Billie told CNNMoney."

The Las Vegas Paiute Nation has opened a drive-thru window in their Las Vegas, NV recreational marijuana dipensary ("Paiute open recreational pot dipensary drive-thru," NFIC, November 2017).

The St. Croix Chippewa of Wisconsin, in November 2017, was preparing to grow hemp, in order to extract the oil for medical purposes ("St. Croix Chippewa ready to grow hemp," NFIC, November 2017).

"Quapaw Tribe's $1M Processing Plant Will Aid its Farm-to-Fork Goals and Economic Development: Quapaw Tribe is nearly ready to debut its processing plant to produce USDA-approved bison and cattle meat," ICMN, June 21, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/business/quapaw-tribes-1m-processing-plant-will-aid- farm-fork-goals-economic-development/, reported, " Quapaw members, traditionally agricultural people, are embracing a farm-to-fork lifestyle and economic development with their soon-to-open processing plant for bison and cattle meat.
          Today, bison, goats and about 500 head of cattle roam 1,500 acres of the tribe's Ottawa County plains in northeastern Oklahoma. Gardens and greenhouses grow fresh veggies and herbs, and some 50 beehives produce honey that the tribe hopes to develop for market. The tribe may add poultry to the mix, too."
          " The processing plant will help make healthy and culturally relevant food available to its members and the surrounding community. The $1 million, 25,000-square-foot facility is slated to open this summer. The tribe began work on the plant near Miami, Oklahoma in late August 2016.
          The plant will additionally serve as a training center for regional educational institutions."

"Cow Creek Band Launches Takelma Roasting Company, Producing Specialty Grade Coffee: Takelma Roasting Company brings coffee beans from Guatemala, Nicaragua, Brazil and Sumatra to Oregon & online," ICMN, July 17, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/business/cow-creek-band-launches-takelma-coffee- roasting-company-southwestern-oregon/, reported, "On July 12, the tribe cut the ribbon to commemorate the launch of Takelma Roasting Company. The freshly roasted beans will be brewed and served at the tribe's hotels, truck and travel stop, and other businesses–namely Seven Feathers Casino Resort, which boasts K-Bar Steak House, Cow Creek Restaurant, The Gathering Place Buffet, Stix Sports Bar and Kabi Café. The tribe will additionally distribute its coffee and equipment wholesale to other companies and organizations in Douglas County, Oregon. (Takelma is the largest coffee roasting production company in the county, according to news reports.) Delicious, single-origin coffee and rad Takelma gear, like mugs and t-shirts, are also available to purchase on the Takelma Roasting e- commerce website."

New Mexico Community Capital, a nonprofit in Albuquerque, NM, is focused on building tribal entrepreneurship and has been providing business support for Indian owned businesses
          

(Kevin-Robinson-Avila, "Program helps boost Native entrepreneurship," Albuquerque Journal, November 25, 2017).

The Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada and the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association signed a framework of cooperation, September 7, 2017 ("Aboriginal Tourism Association of Canada signs an MOU with American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association," NFIC, September 2017).

Education and Culture

"The Storydancer Project (TSP) Rainbow Bridge Initiatives (October 9, 2017, http://thestorydancerproject.cmail19.com/t/ViewEmail/d/19D1612C561A8D0A/5919963D2302A F4E44D0DD5392A9C75A) are a collaboration with New Mexico Navajo Nation to help meet the needs of children, women, families and community leaders.
          
Rainbowbridge Initiative #1, " What's in a Story School Program currently reaches 1000+ students in over 40 classrooms per semester
           CHALLENGE: Lack of exercise and focus in the classroom
           PROGRAM: "Wisdom" stories, transformative self-care exercises, sign language and Diné- Bizaad (Navajo) vocabulary, fun ways for students to participate and interact
           OUR GOALS: To train an additional Diné facilitator and an assistant; to partner with two more schools or early childhood centers
           OUR PARTNERS: San Juan County and McKinley County: Indian Hills, Catherine A Miller, Chee Dodge, Tohatchi, Naschitti, Gallup Headstart, NTU-Childcare Center, Shiprock Career Prep Early Childhood Center, Nizhoni, Eva B Stokely, Mesa, Dream Diné, Farmington Public Library / Boys and Girls Club, Ch'ooshgai, Twin Lakes, Rocky View."
          "Our TSP Mission is to inspire positive change in the face of adversity through transformation self-care and movement awareness (MAP) that restore vitality and cultivate joy. TSP programs are based in 'body, heart and mind connection.'"
           Rainbow Bridge Initiative #2: "Strengthening Hearts and Minds" Navajo Mothers' Program is a bilingual (English/Diné-Bizaad) program offering holistic self-care for Navajo mothers facing depression and trauma, facilitated by 3 unique women specialists in the fields of education, healing and self-care.
           Rainbow Bridge Initiative #3 "Self Care for Community Leaders" reaches educators, human service and health care professionals, domestic violence advocates, counselors and youth leaders. The program involves Take a Minute™ Movement Awareness Practice (MAP)–simple exercises that refresh, reset and relieve–rejuvenating the human spirit. The goal is to bring exercises of stress relief and self-care to community leaders to share with their community.
          @@@@@@@ International Developments
          Phineas Rueckert, "7 Victories for Indigenous People Around the World You Probably Didn't Hear About in 2017, Beyond Standing Rock, Global Citizen, September 8, 2017, https:// www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/indigenous-victories-you-didnt-hear-about-in- 2017/?utm_source=Iterable&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=iterable_campaign_US_Sep_15_20 17_Fri_content_digest_actives, reported, in part, on the following:
          "The year 2017 may well be remembered in indigenous rights history for the Standing Rock Sioux protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline – a monumental, headline-grabbing, months-long battle that drew massive attention to native land rights.
          
Thousands of 'water warriors' withstood water cannons, concussion grenades, police dogs, and batons in their quest to protect tribe land and water from development, until US President Donald Trump issued an executive order in February to move forward with construction of the gas pipeline, dealing a huge blow to activists.
          

Take Action: Let's Fight Against Climate Change and Future Diseases Together
          Theirs was a crushing defeat, and one that's been shared by other indigenous groups in countries around the world, from Bolivia to Canada.
          But for every crushing defeat Indigenous activists have experienced, there have been moments of success, as well. Many of these fights never reached the level of press attention the Dakota Access Pipeline garnered, but nonetheless protected sacred lands and set important environmental precedents.
          Read More: Fighting for Their Lives, Indigenous People Rise Up Around the World
          The Global Goals for Sustainable Development enshrine climate action as one of 17 requisites for ending extreme poverty, and indigenous groups are often at the front lines of these battles. You can take action here.
          Most recently, Indigenous land rights activists secured a major victory in Brazil, after a federal court blocked President Michel Temer's attempt to open the Amazon rainforest to gold mining.
          Similar victories have taken place in other countries around the world – from Canada to
          Kenya.
          Global Citizen is bringing you seven monumental land rights cases you may not have heard of
          this year:
          1/ Canada
           This August, the Canadian province of British Columbia shot down a $5.5 billion pipeline expansion project that threatened the water supply of 90% of the local First Nations indigenous group in the area. The province said that developers must 'meaningfully 'consult local indigenous tribes before moving forward with the project, according to Reuters."
          "2/ Australia
          In July, a federal court recognized an "exclusive native title claim" for the indigenous Yindjibarndi people, giving them back an area of land that's been used for heavy mining by the Fortescue Metals Group. The decision on the case, which was first brought to court in 2003, was called a "landmark" victory for aboriginal rights.
          Read More: Australia Swears In Its First Indigenous Minister" "3/ Kenya
          In May, the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights ruled in favor of an indigenous hunter-gatherer Kenyan tribe called the Ogiek, saying that the government violated their rights by evicting them from their land dating back to 1911.
          'In this one ruling, the court has both affirmed the Ogiek's right to live freely on their ancestral land, and proved to the continent that regional justice mechanisms work," Amnesty International's Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, said."
          "4/ Peru
           Two international oil companies, one French and one Canadian, were given a slap on the wrist by a Peruvian court this March, when the court ruled they must consult indigenous Awajun and Wampis communities before drilling in indigenous lands.
          The court case, brought before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in Washington, was said to be the first to be successfully litigated against an oil company in Peru, but advocates warned the damage was already done, citing polluted streams and rivers that have seeped chemicals into water for drinking, cooking, washing, and bathing."
          "5/ Ecuador
          This January, a provincial court in Ecuador ruled 'partially' in favor of an Afro- Ecuadorian indigenous group called the Canton, saying two oil palm companies – Los Andes and Palesema Oil Palm Companies – were responsible for "social and environmental damages" against the indigenous tribe. It was the world's first civil court case where Nature was considered to be a third-party and 'subject of rights,' along with the tribe."
           "6/ New Zealand
          
This March, after a fight by Indigenous Maori tribes lasting more than 140 years, the country of New Zealand declared the 90-mile Whanganui River – revered by the Maori – to have the same legal rights as a human, NPR reported. The decision, approved in a parliamentary vote, also earmarked $30 million to improve the river's health, in a major win for the environment, as well.
          

Read More: India's Most Polluted Rivers Are Now Legally Humans." "7/ Indonesia
          Just four days into 2017, the government of Indonesia granted land rights to nine separate Indigenous tribes in accordance with a 2013 court case that put rainforest land rights into the hands of the Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago (IPAA). Although the decision took place more than four year ago, the January announcement marked the first official establishment of 'customary forests' to be handed over to the IPAA. "

International Organization Developments

Earth Web Technologies LLC, "Traditional Knowledge and Climate Change, International Indian Treaty Council, October 3rd, 2017, https:// www.iitc.org/traditional-knowledge-climate-change/, reported, "September 11-12, Indigenous Peoples from all regions met with States, UN bodies (UNFCCC and UNESCO) in Ottawa Canada to continue discussing the implementation of operative paragraph 135 of the United Nations Paris Agreement. OP 135 recognizes the need to strengthen Indigenous Peoples' "knowledge, practices, innovations and efforts" and also calls for the development of a new Traditional Knowledge Exchange Platform to mitigate Climate Change.
          
In this and other dialogues, IITC has continued to call upon States to change the policies and practices that undermine Indigenous Peoples ability to practice and protect their traditional knowledge in their homelands. These include industrial agriculture using GMO's and pesticides, habitat destruction, restrictions on access to traditional lands and water, Treaty violations and continued fossil fuel development, as well as failure to implement Indigenous Peoples' rights to Free Prior and Informed Consent and Cultural Heritage, among others.
          
IITC also continued to underscore the need to include Indigenous Traditional Knowledge holders, elders and practitioners in the development and implementation of the new Exchange Platform. For example the participants in the 3rd International Indigenous Peoples Corn Conference, March 7 – 9, 2017, Tecpan, Guatemala, affirmed "that the new Platform for Traditional Knowledge Exchange under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is developed with the full and equal participation of Indigenous Peoples from all regions and especially our knowledge holders and traditional food producers and in a manner that fully respects our rights, traditional indigenous sciences and the richness of our ancestral knowledge " (from The Declaration of Tecpán).
          The development of the Traditional Knowledge Exchange Platform will be a focus for IITC's and other Indigenous Peoples' participation in the 23rd Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change which will take place in Bonn Germany from November 6-17, 2017.

"Success! Repatriation is now included in UNESCO's Draft Policy on Indigenous Peoples," International Treaty Organization, https:// www.iitc.org/success-repatriation-now-included-unescos- draft-policy-indigenous-peoples/, reported, "on August 9th 2017 the Executive Board of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) adopted a revised draft of their "Policy on Engaging with Indigenous Peoples" which now includes operative paragraph 77
          
r) on repatriation of Indigenous Peoples' human remains and sacred items as follows:
           Indigenous peoples have the right to repatriation of their human remains and States should seek to enable access and/or repatriation of ceremonial objects and human remains in states' possession through fair, transparent and effective mechanisms developed in conjunction with the indigenous peoples concerned."

Earth Web Technologies LLC, "Joint NGO Letter for a General Comment on Child Rights and the Environment,14 Sept. 2017 ," International Treaty Organization, September 22, 2017, https:// www.iitc.org/joint-ngo-letter-general-comment-child-rights-environment-14-sept-2017/ , reported, "Terre des Hommes and Human Rights Watch sent a letter calling upon the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child to draft a General Comment on Child Rights and the
          

Environment. The co-signers believe that a General Comment on Child Rights and the Environment would provide much-needed guidance on state obligations and business responsibilities, convey the relevance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to environmental policy makers, and help strengthen linkages between largely separate fields of child rights and the environment.
          
The need for such a General Comment was highlighted during the Sept 2016 Day of General Discussion on Child Rights and the Environment, and the June 2017 the Expert Consultation by Special Rapporteur John Knox. International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) is a signatory on the letter." The letter is available at: https:// www.iitc.org/wp-content/uploads/Joint-NGO-Letter-CRC-GC-on- Environment-14-September-2017.pdf.

"UN expert calls for more protection for uncontacted tribes," Survival International, October 25, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11844, reported, " The UN's top expert on indigenous peoples has highlighted the need for South American states "to redouble efforts to protect the territories" of uncontacted tribes.
          Addressing a meeting of the Latin American Network for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention in New York earlier this month, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz said that pressure on uncontacted tribes' land has caused "a growing wave of contacts and interactions in the border regions between Peru and Brazil, some initiated by isolated indigenous peoples themselves as a result of the dire circumstances they live in due to incursions on their lands."
          She stressed the urgent need to address the threats to their land. The reported killing last month of a group of around 10 uncontacted Indians by illegal goldminers in Brazil's Amazon made headlines round the world highlighting how vulnerable these people are when governments fail to protect their lands.
          
Drawing attention to the importance of guidelines which uphold uncontacted tribes' right to remain uncontacted as 'an expression of the right to self-determination', she said their situation should be 'part of the action plans and programmes of the highest-level political bodies of the United Nations and Organization of American States.'
           There are more than a hundred uncontacted tribes around the world. They are a vitally important part of humankind's diversity, but they face catastrophe unless their land is protected. Survival is doing everything it can to secure their land for them, and to let them live. Watch our new film at: https:// www.survivalinternational.org/uncontactedtribes."

The October 2017 Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) on Guatemala (in Spanish), Argentina (also below, in Research Notes), and Russia are available from Cultural Survial at: https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/reports.

The June to October 2017 (plus others from earlier) UN Universal Periodic Reviews of Mali, Botswana, Bangladesh, Cameroon and Russia are available from Cultural Survial at: https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/reports.

UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) published findings on Serbia, Algeria, Jordan, Australia, Slovakia and Belarus are available at: http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1139&Lang=e n.
          CERD's next session will be from 23 April to 11 May 2018 to review Kyrgyzstan, Mauritania, Nepal, Peru, Saudi Arabia and Sweden. More information here : http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?.

Regional and Country Developments

A law suit is proceeding in Canada raises the questions of how binding treaties are. The Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation, and other Yukon First Nations agreed, by modern treaty, to
          

have a commission, on which they were representative, decide what portions of their land would be open for development and what portion free from it. The commission decided that 80% of the land would be development free . The Yukon government, however, stated that the commission's decision was only advisory, and moved for considerably more development in the wilderness area, in particular allowing Chevron to mine the estimated 18 billion tons of iron ore beneath the land. The Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation brought suit and has won in two lower court decisions. The case now goes to the Supreme Court. (Dan Levin, "Canada Legal Fight May 'Destroy the Faith' in First Nations Treaties," The New York Times, November 5, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/11/05/world/canada/yukon-indigenous-treaties.html).

Ian Austen, "Canada to Pay Millions in Indigenous Lawsuit Over Forced Adoptions," The New York Times, October 6, 2017, https:/ /www.nytimes.com/2017/10/06/world/canada/indigenous-forced- adoption-sixties-scoop.html&_r=0, reported, "For decades, Canadian social workers forcibly separated indigenous children from their families, putting them up for adoption by nonnative families in Canada and around the world.
          
On Friday, the Canadian government took a step to make amends for that adoption program, which began in the 1960s and lasted till the 1980s, by agreeing to pay 750 million Canadian dollars in legal settlements.
           The settlement – affecting as many as 30,000 people – is part of a broader push across Canada in the last few years to grapple with its legacy of injustices against the country's indigenous populations.
          It includes a similar settlement for indigenous children who were separated from their families and sent to residential schools far from their homes as well as measures like a promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to address a long list of native concerns."

Catherine Porter, "Canada Wants a New Nafta to Include Gender and Indigenous Rights," August 14, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/14/world/americas/canada-wants-a-new-nafta-to- include-gender-and-indigenous-rights.html, reported, " Canada's idea of a fair trade deal seems very different from President Trump's.
          Just two days before heading into the first round of negotiations over the North American Free Trade Agreement
, the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally laid out its core objectives, and second on the list was to make the 23-year-old pact "more progressive."
          By that, the government meant not only strengthening the existing labor safeguards and environmental provisions, but also adding whole new chapters on both gender and indigenous rights, and addressing climate change."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a major shift in Canada's relationship with its Indigenous peoples, in September 2017. The government dissolved the Indigenous and Northern Affairs department, whose "colonial structures" it described as an impediment to the government's hope of developing a new partnership with First Nations. In their place, two new ministries were created. One is to specialize in delivering services, while the second is responsible for the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous people. Trudeau's intent is to move beyond the Indian Act of 1876, to a new relationship enabling closing socio-economic gaps and advance Indigenous self-government and self-determination.
          
In acting, the Liberal government cited the 20-year-old Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, which produced a five-volume report that until now has been mostly ignored. Its recommendations inclued dividing the department that administered Indigenous affairs, while recognizing Indigenous governments as a third order of government, alongside the federal and provincial or territorial levels.
          The question now, is how far this and future Canadian governments will go in recognizing Indigenous sovereignty. The royal commission report proposed that Indigenous governments take control of "all matters relating to the good government and welfare of Aboriginal peoples." This was to encompass everything from control over lands and waters to health, education, justice and social services. If the government moves very far with the nations in doing this, there may be major
          

developments in how Indigenous governments are organized, and whether, or to what extent, the existing more than 600 First Nations bands would continue as political entities.
          The commission envisioned the possibility that some groups would choose a nation model, under which bands with shared identity and close territory would combine to form governments. The report estimated Canada had 60 to 80 Indigenous nations, such as the Mi'kmaq, Anishinaabe, Haida and Inuvialuit. The commission also suggested that Indigenous people living in municipalities could form urban aboriginal governments functioning within municipal boundaries.
          With great variation in the size of bands, and in their resources, as well as in their political traditions, a variety of aboriginal forms and processes of governance are possible. There are currently in excess of 20 examples of Indigenous self-government in Canada, in some cases with a degree of local control, particularly in parts of B.C. and Yukon. For example, the Nunavut land-claims settlement led to the formation of a government representing all residents of the territory regardless of heritage, and in northern Quebec, the Cree communities are not subject to the Indian Act and operate their own regional authority. There are also instances of more limited arrangements for at least some aboriginal management of sectors or programs, such as education. An example is the recent agreement between the Anishinabek Nation and Ontario, which provides the nation control over curriculum.
          All of this is will be difficult to work out, if the government proceeds very far in following the thrust of the royal commission recommendations. In addition, there are land and resource issues. The commission stated that self-government would not be possible without "fair redistribution of land and resources" to allow the new governments to become self-sustaining. First Nations would also need a say in what happens in Parliament, which the commission said would eventually require a House of First Peoples. How far the current or future governments may move on these issues is an open question. Russell Diabo, an Indigenous policy analyst, noted that it is still unclear what direction the Liberal government will take. It has made a number of promises, including to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Diabo stated, however, that to date the government's actions have not matched its rhetoric (Liam Richards, "Looking to move beyond the Indian Act, can Canada shed its 'colonial structures?'," The Globe and Mail, September 1, 2017,
          https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/looking-to-move-beyond-the-indian-act-can-canada- shed-its-colonial-structures/article36154927/).

Carl Meyer, "Trudeau didn't consult Indigenous leaders on solutions," National Observer, November 27th 2017, https:// www.nationalobserver.com/2017/11/27/news/trudeau-didnt-consult- indigenous-leaders-solutions, reported, The Trudeau government is being urged to improve relations with Canada's Indigenous peoples after it failed to involve senior leaders in drafting a proposal to do just that.
          The heads of both Canada's national Inuit and First Nations organizations said they weren't involved in the development of 10 principles released this summer by Justice Minister Jody Wilson- Raybould, that would guide the government's Indigenous law and policy review.
          The government's justice minister, and its minister in charge of Indigenous relations, both told National Observer that the principles were meant to be government-focused, and consultations will occur later on.
          The principles are supposed to steer the government's approach to Indigenous issues such as consent and self-determination, and are based on the Canadian constitution and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which the government said it will back through an NDP private member's bill."

Shiri Pasternak, "Notes on the 0.2% economy: Mercenary colonialism: Third-party management, Debt is still a powerful weapon used against First Nations," ricochet, October 25, 2017, https://ricochet.media/en/1994/mercenary-colonialism-third-party-management, reported that most Canadian First Nations have so little money budgeted to them by the Canadian federal government that it is a struggle to barely provide for the band's basic needs. Often, in trying to do so they fall into debt, which they can't pay off on their very limited budgets. If the debt level
          

reaches8% of the band's annual budget, INAC places their finances under third party financial management. This means that INAC takes over the band finances and hires an accounting firm to do the managing. The firm's accounts almost never come to the reserve they are managing. The $200,000 to $500,000 management fee to the accountants is taken out of the band's already less than adequate budget. As of October 2017, 143 bands, almost a quarter of the Canadian bands, were under third party management. Third party management has become big business at the expense of the bands and their members. Some call it "a mercenary act of financial warfare against the poorest of the poor."

Peter Mazereeuw, "Health Canada could have a big stake in the split, with a huge part of its budget tied to Indigenous health care," The Hill Times, September 6, 2017, https:// www.hilltimes.com/2017/09/06/nobody-losing-job-inside-indigenous-affairs-split/117718, reported, " It will likely be a year before the government makes good on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's pledge to split Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in two, and 'nobody is losing their job' while the details are worked out, says a spokesperson for the department's two ministers.
           Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett (Toronto-St. Paul's, Ont.) will lead a roughly-six month consultation with Indigenous stakeholders to gather feedback on how to split the department and rework the government's approach to Indigenous affairs. The conclusions drawn from those consultations must then be drafted into legislation to dissolve INAC and introduce the new departments, a process that could take several more months, said James Fitz-Morris, who as of last week was the director of communications to both ministers now working on the Indigenous file."
          "However, over time the government's goal is to reduce the federal staff needed for Indigenous affairs by signing more self-governance agreements with First Nations, which will in turn be responsible for delivering their own services, he said.
          Mr. Trudeau (Papineau, Que.) split up responsibility for Indigenous issues in an Aug. 28 cabinet shuffle, reassigning now-former health minister Jane Philpott (Markham-Stouffville, Ont.) to cover Indigenous services, and Ms. Bennett, who was previously the sole minister responsible for Indigenous and northern affairs, to cover Crown-Indigenous relations and northern affairs."
          "Hélène Laurendeau will continue to serve as INAC's lone deputy minister, the top civil servant, while the department plans for the split, said Mr. Fitz-Morris.
          "The two departments, once created, will eventually have separate deputy ministers, the prime minister told reporters Aug. 28."
          "Decisions about how to re-divide the funding, policies, and employees devoted to Indigenous affairs could have a big impact on Health Canada as well as INAC."
          "Health Canada allocated about 73 per cent of its planned budget for 2017-18 (about $3.1-billion of
          $4.3-billion total), and about 23 per cent of its planned staff (2,083 full-time equivalent positions of a total of 9,261) towards health programs, benefits, and infrastructure for First Nations and Inuit people, according to its departmental plan for this year.
          Moving the delivery of Indigenous health services under the responsibility of the Indigenous services minister, instead of the health minister, could eventually hive off enough money into the Indigenous Services Department to give it a budget rivalling national defence, which boasts one of the largest in government–with more than $18-billion planned spending this year–said Harry Swain, who served as deputy minister of what was then the Indian and Northern Affairs Department from 1987 to 1992.
          New Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor will oversee a department that currently spends about three-quarters of its budget on Indigenous health programming."
          " INAC divisions in 2017-18: Programs and internal services
          2017–2018 planned full-time-equivalent positions Governance and Institutions of Government
          409
          Rights and Interests of Indigenous Peoples 254
          Management and Implementation of Agreements and Treaties 86
          Education 300
          Social Development
          

159
          First Nations Individual Affairs 259
          Residential Schools Resolution 260
          Indigenous Entrepreneurship 30
          Community Economic Development 456
          Strategic Partnerships 70
          Infrastructure and Capacity 450
          Urban Indigenous Participation 13
          Northern Governance and People 88
          Northern Science and Technology 45
          Northern Land, Resources and Environmental Management 230
          Subtotal 3,109
          Internal Services 1,518
          Total 4,627
          Source: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada's 2017-18 departmental plan."

Jorge Barrera, "Treasury Board President willing to amend access to information bill in response to First Nation concerns: New rules could make getting information more onerous for First Nations, says researchers," CBC News, October 19, 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/treasury-board-access-information-first-nations-1.4361587, reported, "Canada's treasury board president says he is open to amending a proposed bill to modernize federal access to information laws over First Nations' concerns it could be used to block the settling of historic claims."

James Munson, "The AFN is divided on environmental assessment reform, i Politics, October 21st, 2017, http://ipolitics.ca/2017/10/21/the-afn-is-divided-on-environmental-assessment-reform/, reported that while some members of the Assembly of First Nations were in favor of supporting the Canadian Liberal government concerning changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA, 2012) and the National Energy Board Act (NEB Act), others were opposed, claiming the government's that cabinet secrecy was preventing the government from bringing First Nations more fully into the legislative drafting process.

"Sir John A. Macdonald on trial," CBC News, August 24, 2017, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/programs/ontariotoday/sir-john-a-macdonald-on-trial- 1.4260748 , reported that the Elementary teachers' union in Ontario wants to rename schools in Pickering named after this Father of Confederation, calling him an architect of genocide, in the residential schools. The idea is to have school names reflect foster diversity.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced, June 21, 2017, that the Assembly of First Nations would have the use of 100 Wellington St., in Ottawa, a historic building that sits across from Parliament Hill. However, the Algonquin Nation has not given final permission for this use. The issue raised a number of questions about land rights that First Nations people say have not been resolved (James Munson, "AFN raises flag at 100 Wellington without Algonquin permission,"
          

September 6th, 2017, https://ipolitics.ca/2017/09/06/afn-raises-flag-at-100-wellington-without- algonquin-permission/).

David Tabachnick, "Who has the right to Ontario's Algonquin lands?" NationTalk, November 22, 2017, http://nationtalk.ca/story/who-has-the-right-to-ontarios-algonquin-lands-tvo, reported in part, "There are many unsettled issues related to Indigenous rights and self-government in Canada, but there's broad consensus on one point: Aboriginal rights are collective in nature. They are held by communities, and facilitated by a deep and abiding bond between the people and the land. In turn, the settlement of land claims is of critical importance to Indigenous people so that they can actually practice their rights.
          
Here's the inherent challenge of collective rights, however: Groups often contain smaller groups within them, and the interests of those subgroups do not always align with those of the whole.
          
That's the conundrum facing the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO), which represents approximately 10,000 members. Since the early 1990s it has been negotiating the transfer of approximately 117,500 acres of Ontario Crown land – running from around Hawkesbury to North Bay
          – to Algonquin ownership. This is the largest piece of land under treaty negotiation in Ontario.
          Last year, the membership voted overwhelmingly to accept an agreement in principle to settle the claim. Around the same time, members of the Pikwakanagan First Nation, one of the 10 communities represented by the AOO, held a separate vote and cast their ballots decisively against the deal (74% rejected the deal, 26% voted to accept).
           Soon after, a stalwart group of grandmothers from Pikwakanagan, launched a $350 million lawsuit to force their band council to withdraw from any further treaty negotiations, arguing that the agreement would negatively transform their reserve – the only one in the entire land claim area – into a "mere municipality" not covered under the Indian Act, a change whose consequences would include the introduction of individual property ownership to the reserve..."

Julius Melnitzer, "Ontario slowly closing in on the largest land-claims settlement in Canadian history: The treaty negotiations cover 36,000 square kilometres, 86 municipalities and 1.1 million residents in the province," Financial Post, November 21, 2017 , http://business.financialpost.com/legal-post/ontario-slowly-closing-in-on-the-largest-land-claims- settlement-in-canadian-history, reported in part, " Ontario closes in on a treaty with the Algonquins of Ontario, the first modern-day treaty the province has ever signed. The treaty negotiations, which involve the federal government as well, cover 36,000 square kilometres, 86 municipalities and 1.1 million residents in Ontario.
          "The territory claimed embraces land stretching from Ottawa to Kingston to North Bay. Within its boundaries are the nation's capital, including Parliament Hill, large parts of the Ottawa Valley, and virtually all of Algonquin Provincial Park. Because the claims are not limited to Crown lands, however, and cover a wide range of private property rights and interests, the negotiations are extremely complex."

The Ktunaxa First Nation of British Columbia lost its appeal against Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations and Glacier Resorts Ltd., in Ktunaxa Nation v. British Columbia (Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations), 2017 SCC 54, November 2, 2017,
          Docket: 36664, https://scc-csc.lexum.com/scc-csc/scc-csc/en/item/16816/index.do.
          The initial court decision read in part:
          " The Ktunaxa are a First Nation whose traditional territories include an area in British Columbia that they call Qat'muk. Qat'muk is a place of spiritual significance for them because it is home to Grizzly Bear Spirit, a principal spirit within Ktunaxa religious beliefs and cosmology. Glacier Resorts sought government approval to build a year-round ski resort in Qat'muk. The Ktunaxa were consulted and raised concerns about the impact of the project, and as a result, the resort plan was changed to add new protections for Ktunaxa interests. The Ktunaxa remained unsatisfied, but committed themselves to further consultation. Late in the process, the Ktunaxa adopted the position that accommodation was impossible because the project would drive Grizzly Bear Spirit from Qat'muk and
          

therefore irrevocably impair their religious beliefs and practices. After efforts to continue consultation failed, the respondent Minister declared that reasonable consultation had occurred and approved the project. The Ktunaxa brought a petition for judicial review of the approval decision on the grounds that the project would violate their constitutional right to freedom of religion, and that the Minister's decision breached the Crown's duty of consultation and accommodation. The chambers judge dismissed the petition, and the Court of Appeal affirmed that decision.
          Held: The appeal should be dismissed."

Tad Lemieux, "What Comes Next for Clyde River After Supreme Court Victory?: Consultation can't continue to be theatre for predetermined outcomes, economic or otherwise, if Trudeau's insistence that Inuit have the final say on development is to be taken seriously
          August 20, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/first-nations/comes-next-clyde-river- supreme-court-victory/, reported, "What comes after being heard?
          After a six-year battle, the Nunavut hamlet of Clyde River has won its bid in the Supreme Court of Canada to end a National Energy Board [NEB] authorization that allowed a Norwegian energy consortium to conduct seismic testing in the waters of Baffin Bay and Davis Strait.
          
The Inuit feared it would permanently damage their economies, food sources and traditions. The Supreme Court decision clarified the terms of adequate consultation, reaffirmed that regulatory tribunals can perform the duty to consult and stressed the need to consider the impact
          
on indigenous rights rather than the environment."


          Court Rejects Nevsun Bid to Block Forced Labor Lawsuit," Freedom United, November 21, 2017, https:// www.freedomunited.org/news/nevsun-eritrea-forced- labor/?trk_msg=T3TTDTPPOQMK73J5N9HGTPKJ94&trk_contact=B6M8ONO3GA0V4UPHDKT7 AR6C7G&trk_sid=5A98T49JGQFOU83PBC0NEBNQDO&utm_source=Listrak&utm_medium=email &utm_term=Court+Rejects+Nevsun+Bid+to+Block+Forced+Labor+Lawsuit&utm_campaign=News+ Digest&utm_content=News+Digest_11282017, reported, "An appeals court in Canada has rejected Nevsun Resources Ltd.'s bid to throw out a lawsuit against the company in which six Eritreans claim they were subjected to forced labor at the company's mine in East Africa. The men say that they worked at Nevsun's Bisha from 2008 to 2012, where they "endured harsh conditions at the Eritrean gold, copper and zinc mine, including hunger, illness and physical punishment at the hands of military commanders."

Hans Tammemagi, "Pender Island Reconciliation Heals Deep Wounds: Pender Island, B.C., population 2,300, is forging new paths of forgiveness, friendship and cultural understanding," ICTMN, August 31, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/first-nations/pender-island- reconciliation-heals-deep-wounds/, reported, "It was the latest in a series of initiatives launched on 2,300-population Pender Island, British Columbia, by Canadians seeking not just reconciliation but also knowledge of Tsawout language, culture and history. The programs' success is an example of how spontaneous, grassroots reconciliation initiatives could sprout throughout North America.
          
"Over the last four years Pender Island and the Tsawout First Nation have been developing a community-to-community relationship built on recognition, respect and trust," said Paul Petrie, head of the South Pender Historical Society."
          " Catalyzed by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's work, several concerned people established the Pender Reconciliation Circle and organized five presentations in 2013. Each program was followed by a circle in which participants passed an eagle feather around to people who wanted to speak, granting them the floor. One after another, Pender Island residents poured out their heartfelt empathy to residential-school survivors and their children, and voiced distress at the damage Canada's policies have wrought."

Konnie LeMay, "Student Deaths: Thunder Bay Gets Barely Passing Grade: Canada needs to do
          

more after deaths of seven First Nations youths, families say," ICTMN, September 1, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/first-nations/student-deaths-thunder-bay-gets-barely- passing-grade/, reported, " Jethro Anderson, 15. Reggie Bushie, 15. Robyn Harper, 18. Kyle Morrisseau, 17. Paul Panacheese, 17. Curran Strang, 18. Jordan Wabasse, 15.
          
The families of these seven First Nations youths who died while attending school in Thunder Bay, Ontario, want their names to be remembered. More than that, they want their lives and untimely deaths to be the catalyst for change and future protection of all First Nations children.
           To that end, the families are planning, through their attorneys, to grade annually the progress on 145 recommendations made by a jury after a nine-month inquiry into those deaths. The first grades are in, and they don't reflect well on the government of Canada. The overall grade for all progress is only modestly better.
          The families' attorneys delivered this year's overall grade plus specific grades, based on what they believe is an objective system, in a report card for nine entities charged with making changes during a press conference on Wednesday August 23 at Lakehead University's Bora Laskin Faculty of Law in Thunder Bay.
          'The grade overall (for the full set of recommendations) is a C+; that is a disappointing grade,' said Jonathan Rudin, director of Aboriginal Legal Services, which represents six of the seven youths' families.
          The lowest grade, a 'D,' went to the government of Canada. The families graded the governments of Ontario and Thunder Bay (31) and the Nishnawbe Aski Nation as 'C+'; Thunder Bay Police Service earned a "B+"; the Northern Nishnawbe Education Council and the two schools attended by the students–Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School and Matawa Learning Centre–earned 'A-'; while the Keewaytinook Okimakanak, Northern Chiefs Council, received an 'A."
          Progress has been slow or nonexistent on many recommendations, Rudin said.
           Only 15 percent are completed, and a quarter haven't even been started,' he said after the press conference. 'The response from the Canadian government is clearly the most disappointing; they barely got a D.'
          In addressing the recommendations, the Canadian government entities 'gave the same response–this generic nothingness, just not responsive,' he added.
          Elsewhere he saw encouraging points of positive progress, Rudin said. The education providers have increased orientation materials and mentors. (A number of the youths who died were newly arrived to Thunder Bay.) Those groups also offer enhanced education and programs dealing with substance abuse and have partnered with Thunder Bay programs to provide more services. The federal government also has increased the funding available for First Nations students remote northern reserves to visit home more frequently.
          'One of the challenges that the education providers have is that many of the things they were asked to do require funding, and this is one of the challenges that we faced in grading this,' Rudin said. 'While the schools, the education providers, have done what they needed to do, it doesn't mean necessarily the recommendations themselves are complete, because funding has to be found. But certainly the three education authorities have done as much as they possibly could.'
          One of the biggest areas of pleasant surprise, Rudin admitted, was the response from the Thunder Bay Police Service, which has already completed 40 percent of the 10 recommendations directed at it.
          'They've enhanced a program where the police go to the [remote] communities in the summer to meet with the students who will be coming to Grade 9,' Rudin said. 'They've done a safety audit of the river areas in Thunder Bay, and that's a very important step.'
          The seven tragedies that generated the inquest occurred between November 2000 and May 2011. These young students traveled from their remote northern Ontario reserves to the metro hub of Thunder Bay for high school. Many reserves do not have upper-grade classes available."

Paulina Villegas, "In a Mexico 'Tired of Violence,' Zapatista Rebels Venture Into Politics," The New York Times, August 26, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/26/world/americas/mexico-
          

zapatista-subcommander-marcos.html, reported, "The Zapatistas, the most powerful political rebels in Mexico in nearly 100 years, are renouncing armed revolution, after decades of opposing the government, for a simple reason: Mexico is so riddled with violence, they say, that the country cannot handle any more of it.
          
today, analysts say. The rebels have not reached a peace deal with the government, nor won their longstanding push for indigenous rights. But killings in Mexico are rising so quickly that even a movement rooted in armed struggle feels compelled to back away from violence."
          "Instead, they have decided to work within the system they once revolted against, backing a candidate to run for president in next year's elections."

Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, "The Social Contract Is Broken': Inequality Becomes Deadly in Mexico," The New York Times, September 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/30/world/americas/mexico-inequality-violence- security.html, reported, " As Mexico descends into its most violent year on record and the state proves incapable of responding, those with resources are taking matters into their own hands. Landowners, businesses and the rich are buying security by means legal and not.
          
Any social compact is built in part on the agreement that security is a public good, shared and maintained by all. As Mexico's rich effectively withdraw, the implicit arrangements that hold society together are breaking down.
           Though the effects are subtle, they are everywhere. The rise of vigilantism, criminal impunity, police corruption and state weakness can all be traced in part to this growing security inequality."

ICG, Arturo Matute, Analyst, Guatemala, "Guatemala Stumbles in Central America's Anti- corruption Fight ," Latin America and Caribbean Commentary, September 1, 2017, https:// www.crisisgroup.org/latin-america-caribbean/central-america/guatemala/guatemala-stumbles- central-americas-anti-corruption- fight?utm_source=Sign+Up+to+Crisis+Group%27s+Email+Updates&utm_campaign=660df8bce4- EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_09_01&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1dab8c11ea-660df8bce4- 359871089 , commented, "Guatemala's fight against corruption is in danger after President Morales attempted to expel the head of a uniquely effective UN-backed anti-corruption organization. In this Q&A, Crisis Group's Analyst for Guatemala Arturo Matute says a corrupt elite is waging a battle to maintain its privileged position.
          What is happening in Guatemala?
           A remarkable and hopeful two-year interlude in one of Central America's most corrupt countries may now be ending.
          The key reversal came on Friday 25 August 2017, at a meeting requested by Guatemala's President Jimmy Morales with UN Secretary-General António Guterres in New York. Morales signaled his intent to eject the head of the UN-backed International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), Iván Velásquez. Morales protested that Velásquez had interfered in Guatemalan politics by calling for constitutional reforms and by exploiting media coverage in legal proceedings. After returning to Guatemala he declared Velásquez persona non grata and ordered his expulsion from the country
.
           This represents a setback to the progress made toward rooting corruption out of Guatemala's political system between 2015 and 2017, thanks to a combination of popular protests, a new president, a brave external judge and a groundswell of support for change in the growing educated middle class.
           Guatemalans are still not ready to go back to the old ways. Two days later, on 27 August, the Constitutional Court – Guatemala's highest court on constitutional issues – temporarily suspended President Morales' order. Some members of the government resigned to protest Morales' move, notably the minister of foreign affairs, the minister of health and most of their vice ministers. Demonstrators in support of Velásquez poured into squares in Guatemala City,
          

while other sets of demonstrators voiced their support for Morales' move against CICIG's Commissioner. On 29 August, the Constitutional Court overturned the expulsion order.
          Exactly what will happen next is unclear. In a social media posting on Monday 28 August, Guatemala's president said that he will respect resolutions from judicial bodies. While the fact that he has adopted this position is welcome, it does not mean he will halt his efforts to ensure Velásquez departs the country and to curb CICIG's influence.
          Why has President Morales moved against CICIG?
          CICIG – proposed by Guatemalan civil society, in operation since 2007, and acting through the attorney general's office – has been steadfast in its fight against corruption in Guatemala. Central to CICIG's recent success has been Velásquez, a courageous former judge with considerable experience dealing with political corruption in his native Colombia. Velásquez has moved CICIG away from a more general mission of fighting impunity toward a tightly-focused mandate of combating illegal money-producing schemes. It has spearheaded probes into political funding and corruption, resulting in almost two hundred defendants facing investigation and trial this year alone. Most are currently jailed on remand, including former President Otto Pérez Molina and his Vice President Roxana Baldetti.
          Corrupt traditional actors who have profited in the past from Guatemala's rigged political system have campaigned relentlessly against CICIG. Morales was swept into office after the country experienced a wave of disgust at revelations of the depth and breadth of a high-level corruption scandal in 2015 that forced the previous incumbent, Pérez Molina, to resign. Since then he has come under considerable pressure from elements of Guatemala's political and business elite to revise his initially supportive attitude toward CICIG's agenda of reform and to oppose the anti-corruption campaign.
          Morales had some success in treading a balanced line, but events last week altered his political calculus. On 25 August, the same day that Morales flew to New York, CICIG and the attorney general's office formally presented a request to the Supreme Court to lift Morales' presidential immunity, a necessary step before a final decision is made by Congress. They claimed there are sufficient grounds to investigate Morales for illicit financing of his 2015 presidential campaign, specifically $900,000 USD in unreported contributions. It was the first time in Morales' presidency that CICIG had targeted the president himself, making clear to Morales that his political survival could be at risk. Rather than abiding by his previously balanced line, the president heeded the counsel from elements of the business and political elites and set out to defend his own endangered mandate by seeking Velásquez's expulsion.
          Why does the attempted expulsion of the head of CICIG matter?
           The future of Guatemala's corruption-fighting commission is closely tied to the country's development as a democratic state. Since the 2015 corruption scandal, CICIG has capitalized on the political fallout from the previous government's collapse. It has sought to bring about lasting change by backing proposals to reform the constitution and bolster the justice system's independence.
          But Guatemala has been ensnared in an ongoing political crisis between two camps. On one hand, there are social, political and business actors supporting CICIG's efforts to strengthen Guatemala's justice institutions. On the other hand, there is a traditional, conservative group of actors who seek to maintain their privileged position. They control ports and customs offices, have links to organized crime and are involved in illicit activities such as people smuggling and drug trafficking. They have wielded significant power and influence over various government institutions for many years.
          CICIG's work also has kindled discord in Guatemala's foremost business elite group, the Coordinating Commission of Agricultural Commercial Industrial and Financial Associations (CACIF). Within the organization, which traditionally has presented a united public face and has been a powerful actor in Guatemala, younger industrialists and tradesmen who support CICIG's anti-corruption agenda are pitted against others who seek to reduce the risk of their own prosecution. President Morales' recent move to weaken the anti-corruption agenda will make it more difficult for the business organization to maintain its unified position.
          
CICIG's support to the justice system through technical advice and direct collaboration designed to reveal large corruption schemes has catalyzed previously unthinkable modifications to
          

Guatemala's legal order. The expulsion of its head would have represented a significant setback to the anti-corruption fight, validating claims that CICIG has exceeded its mandate when in reality it is robustly enforcing it. It might even have served as a stepping stone toward a "conservative restoration"
          a return to the more corrupt mores of the past – in the country's political system and damage the country's favorable image in Latin America as a relative success story. Such an outcome would have reassured other regional leaders that they could continue to act with impunity and could fight back any effort to establish a CICIG-like entity in their country. Finally, it would have meant that even the most innovative tool of international cooperation to strengthen the rule of law in the form of CICIG is not strong enough to break a well-established corrupt system.
          What are the next steps and potential risks?
           The Constitutional Court's provisional decision to block Velásquez's expulsion is now definitive. The court's final ruling found that the order violated the constitution because it was only signed by the president and not by all of his ministers. While some observers speculate that this merely was a temporary, face-saving measure approved by the UN and Morales to avoid a direct conflict, and that Velásquez will still eventually be removed, for now the president has had to back down.
          This is good news. Although there is a risk that Morales might seek to assume more power in light of this crisis, this seems limited given the potential for judicial action against him and significant public opposition to his recent actions. Nor does Guatemala appear likely to experience a resumption of the state-sponsored violence that plagued it in the past. Both the minister of defence, General Williams Mancilla and government Spokesman Heinz Heimann have ruled out the imposition of a state of siege or punitive measures against those who had protested President Morales' decision to expel Velásquez. That the minister of the interior, Francisco Rivas, a trusted former attorney, has remained in place suggests that heavy-handed methods can be avoided. The army, too, has been weakened in recent years and no longer is a decisive political actor
.
          That said, protests could well grow. For now, widespread turnout remains significantly short of the unprecedented level of mobilization that was witnessed during the 2015 corruption scandal. However, should there be a future attempt to remove Velásquez or curb CICIG, this could trigger wider anger. Most importantly perhaps, it remains to be seen what Morales will now do to resist CICIG's requests to lift his immunity from prosecution for illicit campaign financing.
           What can the international community do?
          The U.S. has important interests in Guatemala, frequently referred to by high-level U.S. officials as a significant national security concern. The European Union (EU) also has an interest in Guatemala. It has provided as much financial support to CICIG as the U.S. Both the EU and
          have made clear their opposition to Morales' action, the EU through communiqués opposing Morales' decision, the U.S. through the voice of its ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, as well as through various members of Congress. They, along with others, should continue to support Velásquez's position but without a heavy-handed approach that would smack of interference. Facing such pressure, Morales may already have realized that he has committed a political error, and will need to devise less provocative strategies to avoid the threat of prosecution and a premature end to his presidency. He also will want to avoid overly alienating the U.S., given the risk of counter-measures from Washington, in particular a halt to its financial aid to the Northern Triangle area.
          For the international community, CICIG is a unique case study in international support for the justice sector in a weak democracy. It remains to be seen if CICIG will be strong enough to stand up to the power of a national corrupt system under threat. Whatever happens, measures to clean up Guatemala's system should emanate from Guatemalan institutions, not from obvious direct impositions by outside powers, and the international community should demonstrate its confidence in them and in the country's citizens. Over the past decade, the CICIG has shown the capacity to act effectively, even if it is now threatened by those who stand to lose money and influence or who seek to justify the defence of their interests by denouncing foreign intervention
          

in a sovereign state. That is an indicator in itself of CICIG's success, which can and should be replicated in other Latin American countries."

Kirk Semple, "A Flawed Asylum System in Mexico, Strained Further by U.S. Changes," The New York Times, August 5, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/05/world/americas/mexico-central- america-migrants-refugees-asylum-comar.html, reported, "As the Trump administration pushes forward with its plans to harden the southwest border, Mexico has found itself under pressure to take in an increasing number of asylum seekers making their way north from Central America, many of them fleeing gang violence.
          But immigrants' advocates say Mexico's asylum system and its ability to protect migrants have not kept pace with these demands, impeding access for many migrants to the safety they deserve and the refugee status they may be entitled to.
           While the Mexican government has made improvements to its asylum program in recent years and has awarded protection at increasingly higher rates, the system remains deeply flawed, leaving many migrants vulnerable to harm, according to at least seven reports published in recent weeks by American, Mexican, Central American and international groups focused on human rights and migration.
           The weaknesses include inadequate staffing in Mexico's refugee agency, leading to months long waits for applicants; uneven training and supervision of immigration agents; and inconsistent adjudication of asylum law, according to the reports.
           Many who might qualify for asylum have been unable to begin the process because government officials have not taken the steps needed to allow them to apply, the groups contend. In some cases, border agents have actively discouraged migrants from applying for asylum, threatening them with long detention in Mexico while their petitions are being considered, advocates
          say."
          Neil MacFarquhar, "Sentencing of Tatar Leader in Crimea Is Called a Sham," The New York Times, September 11, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/11/world/europe/russia-crimea- tatar.html, reported, "A Russian court in the contested Crimean peninsula sentenced a minority Tatar politician to eight years in prison on Monday, in a trial that his lawyers and human rights organizations called a sham."

Elisabeth Malkin, "Honduran President Declared Winner, but O.A.S. Calls for New Election," The New York Times, December 17, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/17/world/americas/honduran-presidential- election.html&_r=0, reported, "" The Honduran electoral commission on Sunday declared President Juan Orlando Hernández the victor in a bitterly contested race, but the Organization of American States called for a new election, arguing that the vote was so riddled with irregularities that it was impossible to be sure of a winner.
          The electoral commission, which is controlled by allies of Mr. Hernández, said he had won by about 50,000 votes over the opposition candidate, Salvador Nasralla.
          The announcement, and the response from Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the O.A.S.,
           seemed likely to escalate the political crisis that has gripped Honduras since the Nov. 26 vote."

Elisabeth Malkin, " U.S. Leans Toward Incumbent in Honduras, Despite Disputed Resulthttps:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/world/americas/honduras-hernandez-president- oas.html 19, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/19/world/americas/honduras- hernandez-president-oas.html, " The United States appears to have thrown its weight behind President Juan Orlando Hernández of Honduras, who was declared the winner of last month's disputed election, ignoring a call from the Organization of American States for a repeat of the voting."

Rick Kearns, "More Companies Withdraw From Berta Cáceres Related Honduras Project: German engineering firms Voith Hydro and Siemens, which provide industrial turbines, will no longer supply
          

components to the DESA Corporation," ICTMN, September 3, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/indigenous-peoples/companies-withdraw-berta-caceres- related-honduras-project/, reported, " Two more companies have decided to no longer support the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam in Honduras, the same project that slain indigenous leader Berta Cáceres had protested before her murder in 2016.
          
The international non-profit advocacy organization Oxfam confirmed in mid August that German engineering firms Voith Hydro and Siemens, which provide industrial turbines, will no longer supply components to the DESA Corporation which is in charge of the Agua Zarca hydroelectric dam project."

Laura Hobson Herlihy, "SANDINISTAS SLAUGHTER INDIGENOUS YATAMA PARTY IN
          NICARAGUAN ELECTIONS," Cultural Survival, November 30, 2017, https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/news/sandinistas-slaughter-indigenous-yatama-party-nicaraguan- elections, reported, "'Yatama should have never broken their alliance with the Sandinistas...the Sandinistas are going to be in power for many more years."' Salvador Fermin Chow, a Miskitu elder and religious leader.
          The Sandinistas symbolically massacred the Indigenous Miskitu people along the Caribbean Coast in the Nicaraguan municipal elections. The Nicaraguan state first conquered and incorporated the Caribbean Coast in 1894. Local intellectuals claim the recent elections on November 5, 2017 represent the Nicaraguan state's final conquest and domination of the Miskitu people and their resource-rich, rainforest homeland along the Caribbean Coast.
          
The ruling National Liberation Sandinista Front (FSLN) state party was expected to win big throughout Nicaragua in the recent elections, which they did. The FSLN won 135 of 153 mayoral posts, amidst accusations of unprecedented voter abstention (70-80%), electoral fraud and post- electoral violence. Seven citizens reportedly were killed, dozens jailed, and hundreds injured in the 24 hours following the election.
          Monsignor Silvio José Báez, the Auxiliary Bishop to the Catholic Archdiocese of Managua, had announced prior to the election that he would abstain from voting, due to 'a flawed electoral system with the well-documented history of electoral fraud and officials that do not provide confidence to the people. A common expression heard throughout Nicaragua is, 'Why vote when you already know who's going to win?' One week after the 2017 municipal elections in La Cruz de Río Grande (RACCS), the Nicaraguan military killed with impunity six more citizens–mainly young men, two under the age of 18--in an opposition region filled with former Contras, rumored to be re-arming. The Nicaraguan Bishops Episcopal Conference declared that "violence now occurring was the result of a broken electoral system.'
          The Caribbean Coast was a highly-contested and politically-divided region in the Nicaraguan municipal elections. Here, the FSLN's main opposition party is Yatama (Yapti Tasba Masraka Nanih Aslatakanka/Children of the Mother Earth), the largest and only grassroots Indigenous and Afro- descendant organization on the Caribbean Coast. Founded in 1987, Yatama became a political party in 1990. The majority of Yatama's supporters identify as Miskitu, but Indigenous Mayangna, Ulwa and Rama, Afro-Indigenous Garifuna; Afro-descendant Kriuls, and Native mestizos fill out its membership.
          Politics of the Autonomous Regions
          Many members of Yatama fought as former Contras, or counter-revolutionaries, in the US- backed war within the victorious Sandinista revolution (1979-1990). The Caribbean Contras represented about one-fourth of the total Nicaraguan Contra forces, but were the only successful force. Due mainly to Contra resistance, the Sandinista state passed the Autonomy Law (law 28) in 1987, awarding two autonomous regions to the Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples. The North and South Caribbean Coast Autonomous Regions (the RACCN and the RACCS) each had their own legislative bodies, becoming a model for pluri-ethnic, politically autonomous regions throughout Latin America.
          Academics and activists now concur that Caribbean Coast autonomy exists on paper only, and that the fatal flaw of the autonomy project was that it provided for the region's continued involvement with national political parties. This meant that invading mestizo land colonists, who illegally settle and cut down rain-forest lands and vote FSLN, would eventually outnumber the
          

Indigenous and allied Afro-descendant peoples; losing elections, then, could mean a de facto loss of political autonomy. This fait accompli was speeded up during the last few electoral processes.
          In the 2014 regional elections, the FSLN national party won, taking control of the RACCN and RACCS governments away from Yatama. The day after elections in Bilwi, the RACCN capital, Yatama women protested election results and occupied the regional government building; street skirmishes broke out between Yatama and FSLN youth gangs. Yatama officials then formerly broke their alliance (2006-2014) with the FSLN and accused the FSLN of both electoral fraud and non- completion of saneamiento, a movement to remove colonists and outside industries from Indigenous and Afro-descendant territories, as called for by Nicaraguan Law 445, the communal property law.
          Yatama increased its membership after breaking their alliance with the FSLN. New members joined Yatama to protest the invasion of Indigenous and Afro-descendant territories by agricultural and cattle-ranching colonists from the Nicaraguan interior and Pacific; and the Sandinista state's refusal to complete saneamiento. Beginning in 2014, violence erupted in Wangki-Twi Tasba Raya (RACCN) between mestizo colonists and Miskitu resident-activists. Colonists, armed with automatic weapons fought with Miskitu men, wielding machetes, harpoons and shot-guns. Over 100 Miskitu have been killed, kidnapped or injured and in 2015-2016, 3,000 refugees fled to Honduras, with no protection or support from the Nicaraguan government.
          Yatama made new alliances with Creole, Garifuna, Ulwa, and Rama peoples in the RACCS, and gained support in nearby Corn Island, where the Miskitu population is growing. These new activists protest Nicaraguan Law 840, the Canal Law, and the Chinese-backed (HKND) inter-oceanic canal, set to cut through Rama and Kriol lands. Indeed, the Rama-Kriol Indigenous Territorial Government (GTI) in 2014 and again, in 2015 successfully put forth human rights claims against the Nicaragua state to the OAS's Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR).
          
In the 2016 Nicaraguan General Elections, a dramatic election took place on the Caribbean Coast. Brooklyn Rivera, the long-term Miskitu leader and director of Yatama, won back his legislator seat in the National Assembly. The vote showed that his people still supported him after the Sandinista-controlled National Assembly in 2015, had criminalized Rivera and illegally ousted him from the assembly, where he had served as a legislator since 2007.
           Following the General Elections, the FSLN-allied Supreme Electoral Council (CSE) delayed in posting results, causing suspicion in the opposition parties. The CSE then announced that the FSLN would control 71 of the 92 legislator seats in the National Assembly; and that, of the five assemblymen seats (diputados) on the Caribbean Coast, the FSLN had won three and that Yatama and the PLC (Constitutionalist Liberal Party) had each won one a-piece–only Rivera was elected for Yatama. Yatama denounced the electoral fraud, arguing that they had won more seats based on the system of proportional representation.
           Yatama held a protest march in Bilwi that began peacefully. Protesters then were met by Sandinista youth gangs, Riot Police sent in from Managua and Bilwi's National Police force, who attacked with rocks, tear gas, and rubber bullets. Yatama youth fought back in retaliation, rand- sacking the regional government buildings and looting local stores.
          Given the history of violence that occurred in the last two elections (2014 and 2016), Bilwi residents feared another tumultuous show-down between the FSLN and the Indigenous Yatama party during the 2017 municipal elections. Hundreds of Riot Control Police from Managua militarized Bilwi and other coastal towns prior to election day on Nov. 5th. The FSLN justified the militarization of Bilwi, and other municipal centers, as an attempt to protect its citizens from Yatama's violent protests. Rivera answered, 'Who are the violent ones? They steal lands and elections and kill our people. When we fight back and try to defend ourselves and our rights, they call us violen
t.'
           Election Day Violence
          
Yatama's campaign finale march reportedly occupied more than ten city blocks. The march intended to show FSLN supporters that Yatama had an obvious majority and planned to win Bilwi. Yatama leadership anticipated the FSLN would attempt to steal the elections. They prepared their supporters to document and denounce every voter anomaly they witnessed.
          

Throughout election day in Bilwi, Yatama members posted on social media, pictures and descriptions of electoral anomalies. Voting centers closed at 6:00 pm. Yatama leaders still occupied the Marvin Michel voting precinct, demanding their supporters be allowed to vote, after a reported 800 had been illegally turned away.
          Shortly after 10:00 pm, the Sandinistas claimed victory in the municipality of Bilwi and celebrate through the streets. Yatama leaders simultaneously claimed victory on the radio and argued that ballot boxes from their loyal communities in the Sandy Bay district had not yet arrived nor been counted. News of violence in other RAACS and RACCN municipalities is reported, including the murder of a Miskitu Yatama man in Sandy Bay Sirpe (RACCS). It became clear…the FSLN intended to sweep the last four Yatama-held municipalities in the autonomous regions.
          The following day, Yatama refused to accept the results reported by the CSE, who claimed the FSLN had won 12, and the PLC had won four of the 16 municipalities in the autonomous regions (RACCN and RACCS). According to the CSE, Yatama did not win any municipalities, despite Yatama officials claiming to have won their formerly controlled municipalities of Bilwi, Waspam, and Prinzapolka in RACCN and Desembocadura de Río Grande in the RACCS.
           Yatama officials denounced the FSLN for lack of transparency in the elections, claiming FSLN precinct supervisors alone controlled and had access to the ballots, giving them the opportunity to withhold, replace and destroy ballots. Additionally, Yatama leaders claimed 3,000 of their supporters were not allowed to vote. Yatama defiantly accused the FSLN of electoral fraud and voter suppression and alleged the following voter anomalies:
          withholding voter identification cards to Yatama sympathizers
          intimidation and harassment of Yatama supporters at voting precincts
          the manipulation of voter data (sending voter's names to far-away municipalities)
          using state vehicles to transport FSLN supporters
          multiple voting by FSLN sympathizers (using removable ink on their thumbs)
          the purchasing of votes by the FSLN
          allowing the FSLN-backed land colonists and Riot Police to vote in local elections, although not legal residents
          setting up parallel headquarters and computer systems to tally votes
          Yatama held a protest march on the afternoon of November 6. Yatama sympathizers reportedly engaged in violence after being confronted by Sandinista youth gangs, backed by the Riot Police brought in from Managua and the Bilwi Police force. Both Yatama and Sandinista youth gangs, and a-political, rogue neighborhood gangs, caused destruction to personal and public property, such as the looting of the Claro smart-phone distribution center and burning of buildings.
          Armed para-military forces arrived at the Yatama house to detain Yatama leaders Brooklyn Rivera and Elizabeth Henríquez, who both escaped after Yatama youth fought their captors. Yatama headquarters, a sacred temple of Indigenous identity, and its community radio station Yapti Tasba Bila Baikra (Voice of Mother Earth), known for broadcasting in the Miskitu language, were set afire and burned. Yatama leaders caught in the fire reported that Riot Police sent from Ortega's central government, accompanied by Sandinista youth and the Bilwi Police, were responsible.
          Perhaps most symbolically, the iconic statue of the Indian ("El Indio") was demolished in Bilwi's town center. Yatama leaders accused Sandinista youth, protected by the Police, of committing this racist, hate crime. The statue, erected decades ago, represented the Indigenous struggle and resistance on the coast.
          By the morning of November 7, the red and black FSLN flag had been mounted high upon the surviving radio tower, replacing Yatama's forest-green flag. The Bilwi Police then began arresting Yatama members involved in the destruction of property and violence, but turned a blind eye to the destruction caused by Sandinista youth and rogue gang-members. All total, two Miskitu Yatama men were shot dead, forty were injured and over 90 Yatama members were arrested and held in the Bilwi jail.
          Yatama not only lost the recent municipal elections to the increasingly authoritarian Sandinista regime, but their members also experienced the following human and Indigenous
          

rights violations:
          military occupation
          criminalization and detainment of their leaders
          arbitrary repression and imprisonment of more than 90 of their sympathizers
          the burning of their Indigenous community radio station--Yapta Tasba--that broadcasts in the Miskitu language
          the burning of the Yatama meeting house, a sacred Indigenous temple
          the destruction of a civic monument, the Indian statue that represented the Indigenous struggle that stood in the town's center for nearly 30 years
          the suppression of the Indigenous Yatama flag by the state's FSLN flag
          On November 7, the Riot Police launched tear-gas into the domestic compound of Brooklyn Rivera, preempting this 65 year-old's second escape in the last 24 hours.
One thing is clear to Rivera, as he remarked by phone on November 8, 'The FSLN state is too strong and strategically smart to overcome…There is no reason for Yatama to continue participating in elections unless the electoral system is reformed. Free elections do not exist in Nicaragua.; Rivera now fears for his life, while trying to decide the future of Yatama. Will Yatama remain a political party or return to its pre-1990 roots as an Indigenous organization?
          The Ortega-Murillo Dynasty, the Nica Act and the OAS
          The Sandinista revolutionaries in 1979 valiantly ousted the US-backed Somoza dynasty (1930- 1979), and the FSLN guerilla leader Daniel Ortega served as President from 1984-90. Ortega returned to power in 2006 and has remained President for three consecutive terms. The FSLN-dominated National Assembly changed the Nicaraguan constitution, abolishing presidential term limits in 2014; and used the FSLN-controlled Supreme Court to eradicate Eduardo Montealegre of the Independent Liberal Party (PLI), the only real opposition presidential candidate in the 2016 general elections.
          President Ortega, along with his wife and first-time Vice-Presidential running mate, Rosarillo Murillo, won the 2016 general election. Many predict the emerging Ortega-Murillo dynasty will continue for decades to come, as Daniel and Rosario have more than a half-dozen children and the family does not plan to relinquish power. Many of the original Sandinistas of the 1980s perceive the Ortega-Murillo dynasty as high jacking 'Sandinismo' and replacing it with the ideology of 'Danielismo.'
          The US House of Representatives unanimously approved The Nica Act (Nicaraguan Investment Conditionality Act), now moving toward the Senate, to restrict loans to Ortega's government by multilateral organizations (such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the IMF, and the World Bank). These actions were taken due to the country's loss of the democratic process and electoral transparency. A new version of the Nica Act called for electoral observation in the 2017 municipal elections, as the US State Department had previously reported human rights violations in the 2016 general election in Nicaragua, and the lack of international electoral observers.
          The Organization of American States (OAS) collaborated with the Ortega government to monitor the recent municipal elections but did not engage in negotiations concerning the strengthening of Nicaragua's democratic institutions. Supporters of the Nica Act opposed the OAS presence, accusing the OAS of being complicit in fraudulent elections. As predicted by Nica Act supporters, the OAS publicly stood behind the legitimacy of the Nicaraguan elections, while the Nicaraguan press and human rights organizations in Costa Rica and Nicaragua denounced the FSLN for fraudulent elections, violence and human rights violations throughout Nicaragua.
          Unanswered Questions
          Ethnic and national identities collide and overlap in Nicaragua. Does being Miskitu mean being Yatama? Does being Nicaraguan mean being Sandinista? What about those who identify as Miskitu- Sandinistas? Muskitia is the poorest region within the second poorest country in the Americas, following Haiti. Miskitu people encounter many more employment opportunities, which they need to feed their families, if they register with the Sandinista regime. As such, many Miskitu-Sandinistas now embrace Managua's modernist discourse of development and economic prosperity, but harbor deep Yatama affinities.
          Many Miskitu-Sandinistas, like the rest of the country's citizens, acquiesce to the FSLN for two
          

main reasons: they see the FSLN dictatorship as an inevitable, irreversible force; and secondly, they want to avoid revolution and war at all cost: they lived through the violent 1980's and still have unhealed wounds. Taking advantage of the coastal people's conflict-avoidance mentality, the FSLN has successfully divided and thus, conquered the coastal peoples. Following the municipal elections, the future of the Yatama political party and perhaps, the larger autonomy process, is at stake.
          Increasingly frustrated, and with their backs up against the wall, many Yatama sympathizers dream of returning to their glory days as Contra warriors--they long to re-arm to fight the state. Unlike the 1980s, however, Yatama does not have US or other international backing. As Rivera explained, "We can't fight, we have only rocks and they have automatic weapons." Rivera is well-aware that Nicaragua has the most sophisticated military in Central America; and that United States international politics is now focused far beyond its southern neighbors, on the Middle East and East Asia.
          A Statement by Brooklyn Rivera
          'We were projected to win four municipalities and we won these -- Bilwi, Waspam, and Prinzapolka, and Desembocadura de Río Grande. Yatama does not recognize the results reported by the CSE. We accuse the Sandinista state government of stealing the elections.
          The National Police continue to persecute leaders and members of the Yatama organization that denounce the electoral fraud that occurred in the municipal elections on the Nicaraguan Caribbean Coast. Protests took place after the elections this past Nov. 5th, and still in jail are 52 activist members of Yatama in Bluefields, Corn Island and Bilwi. And they [the Police] continue capturing more people, inventing crimes of robbery and looting.
          On our part, we've been victims of violence and we continue suffering abuses at the hands of the para-military riot police that have been sent from Managua, who are capturing our people, the youth more than any. What is strange is that the FSLN has ordered to burn our offices…our radio station…they've killed two or more of our compañeros and many more are wounded, and none of the other guys are in prison. Only the victims are the ones incarcerated. We will denounce this before the OAS's IACHR and Amnesty International.
          The repression continues of Indigenous activist members of our Yatama organization. We're busy providing humanitarian effort to help the mothers, children, and wives of our activists, who are being intimidated, incarcerated and persecuted by the government of President Ortega.'"

John McPhaul, "COSTA RICA'S SUPREME COURT STOPS HYDROELECTRIC PROJECT FOR FAILING TO CONSULT INDIGENOUS PEOPLES," Cultural Survival, January 02, 2017,
          https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/news/costa-ricas-supreme-court-stops-hydroelectric-project-failing- consult-indigenous-peoples, reported, "On November 1, 2016 , the Constitutional Chamber of Costa Rica's Supreme Court provided some good news to a Terraba (Teribe) Indigenous territory when it stopped the state-run Costa Rica Electricity Institute (ICE by its Spanish acronym) from going forward with the Diquis hydroelectric project for failing to consult Indigenous communities who would see part of their lands flooded.
          The permit, issued in 2007 under former President Oscar Arias, had declared the dam to be located at the mouth of the General River Valley in the southern Pacific and part of the country of 'national interest.'
          The court ruling did not question the 'national interest' part of the permit, but said ICE had failed to comply with a previous high court order to adequately consult the Indigenous communities. The project has been stalled since 2011 over the Indigenous consultation issue.
          The 650 megawatt 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 1547 people.
          The project would also flood 10 percent of the Terraba (also known as Teribe) China Kichá Indigenous territory (104 hectares) and 8 percent of another Terraba communities of Curré and Boruca (726 hectares). Officials estimate that 200 sacred Indigenous sites would be destroyed by the reservoir.
          Some see the development as very positive. The $2.5 billion project would provide employment in the region to 3,500 people. The Diquis project would increase that renewable energy capacity and
          

also allow Costa Rica to sell energy to neighboring Central American countries. Costa Ricans are proud of their electrical energy system which provides energy mostly from renewable resources. In 2016, the country went most of the year without resorting to using oil-fired thermal generators. But sometimes even renewable energy has high cost, especially when it comes to hydro-electric dams.
          The high court ruling referred to Article 8 of the Arias Administration decree which would have allowed ICE to gather materials for the dam, power station, and connected works in locales in the areas of El General, Buenos Aires, Changuena and Cabagra, despite the fact that Indigenous people live in the areas.
          According to the Constitutional Chamber's press office, the annulled article was challenged previously in September of 2011, when the court determined that the decree was constitutional just as long as the Indigenous communities were consulted within a period of six months from the notification of the ruling.
          However, early the next year, the court ruled that the six months established by the Court had passed and the consultation had not been made. "The Constitutional Chamber has demonstrated that, in fact, in the space of time established in the 2011-12975 ruling, the referred to consultation was not made nor did any party come to this Chamber request an extension of the time limit granted. Therefore, since the condition dictated in ruling 2011-12975 have not been met, the Article 8 of the No. 34312-MP- MINAE executive decree is unconstitutional because the consultation failed to occur," said the press office.
          The Terraba say they are not interested in the offers made so far to relocate their communities to other lands and provide them with well-paid jobs. 'We don't believe in the promises of employment for Indigenous Peoples, as up until today it had been demonstrated that all the qualified and best paid personnel have been brought from outside, Indigenous workers are used only to break rocks,' said community leader Jehry Rivera.
          For Indigenous people, ICE offers are only opportunism. Indigenous Peoples want better lands and compensation in order to agree for the project to go forward.
           The Court said that the consultation of Indigenous communities under Costa Rican law was necessary since the project is located in areas declared as an Indigenous reserve, 'In fact, Costa Rica could be in violation of not complying with international conventions in relation to the autonomy of Indigenous Peoples over their territory. Costa Rica is a signatory of the International Labor Organization's Convention on Indigenous and Tribal People.'
          Indigenous Peoples are not the only ones opposed to the project. Environmentalists say that the dam's reservoir would dry up the intensely green Térraba River Valley and would destroy irreplaceable habitats such as the Ramsar wetland and the river delta that drains into the Pacific. The wetlands and delta are the nesting grounds for many species including the endangered hump-back whale."

Witness for Peace, reported, December 9, 2017, https://actionnetwork.org/letters/hernan- bedoya-presente-tell-the-us-state-department-and-embassy-to-act-to-protect-colombian-social-leaders, "Yesterday, on Friday, December 8th, community leader Hernán Bedoya from the collective territory of Pedeguita and Mancilla was assassinated. Hernán was both a partner and friend of Witness for Peace, and today our hearts are heavy with his loss.
          According to the Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz Hernán was shot several times while he was on his way home. Sources suspect he was murdered by paramilitaries from the group Autodefensas Gaitanistas de Colombia."
          "Hernán is the second community leader assassinated in the Urabá region in 10 days. On November 26th, Mario Manuel Castaño Bravo - a leader from La Larga Tumaradó - was killed. Mario was shot multiple times in front of his family. He, like Hernán, was working to protect collective ancestral territory in the Bajo Atrato region.
          
In the midst of these assassinations, threats against other leaders continue. On December 6th, Las Camelias community leader María Ligia Chaverra was threatened."
          "All of the above mentioned social leaders were displaced from their ancestral territory in 1996 and 1997 as a result of military and paramilitary operations 'Operation Genesis' and
          

'Operation Black September'. Approximately 15,000 were forcibly uprooted from their homes and livelihoods during these operations. The Colombian troops who conducted these abuses were commanded by Army General Rito Alejo del Rio. Del Rio was trained at the now infamous School of the Americas and was at one point hailed as a military training 'success story'. In 2008 del Rio was found guilty for the murder of Marino Lopez and was sentenced to 25 years in jail. However, Marino was only one of many murders and human rights violations for which del Rio is responsible.
          In 2013, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights found the Colombian state guilty of mass forced displacement in the operations of 1997. However, as can be seen, there have been little advances to date. The ongoing threats and murders of community leaders who are protecting and reclaiming their land is evidence of the ongoing insecurity in the region and State failure to both rectify and provide reparations for its past harms."
          Take ACTION now by demanding the following:
          Immediate, effective protection of the families of Hernán Bedoya and Mario Manuel Castaño, communities in the Urabá región, and all social leaders and human rights defenders throughout Colombia.
          A strong condemnation by the US State Department of the on-going threats and assassinations of social leaders and increased pressure to fulfill the ruling of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
          Prompt and complete implementation of the peace accord with the FARC (and the forthcoming accord with the National Liberation Army (ELN), when completed), including meaningful inclusion of Afro-descendant and Indigenous peoples. throughout the implementation process.
          Protection of Indigenous and Afro-Colombian peoples' territorial and other collective rights, provided through meaningful inclusion and consultation with Afro-descendant and Indigenous peoples."

"INDIGENOUS LEADER MURDERED IN COLOMBIA," Cultural Survival, November 30, 2017, https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/news/indigenous-leader-murdered-colombia, reported, "On November 24, 2017, an Indigenous Inga leader from the Colombian Amazon was found dead alongside a colleague Duber Prieto, in the department of Caquetá, Colombia. His body showed signs of torture.
           Mario Jacanamijoy was a well known organizer for the rights of the Inga people and the protection of the environment. 'Mario was a friend, a respected social leader and a prominent member of Tandachiridu Inganokuna, an organization fighting for the rights of the Inga people and the rights of mother earth. Mario was also a spiritual follower of yagé-medicine and one of the founders of the Union of Indigenous Doctors of the Colombian Amazon,' shared his colleagues at UMIYAC in a statement on Twitter.
          Since the signing of the Peace Accords in Colombia one year ago, Indigenous leaders, social activists, and human rights and environmental defenders have been massively targeted by threats and violence.
          
Colombia's Human Rights Ombudsman counted 156 human rights defenders killed between January 2016 and March 2017, in an investigative report on the issue. In their report "Defenders of the Earth" from 2016, NGO Global Witness found that globally, nearly four people were murdered every week in 2016 protecting their land specifically from agribusiness, oil, mining, and logging. 'They threaten you so you will shut up. I can't shut up. I can't stay silent faced with all that is happening to my people. We are fighting for our lands, for our water, for our lives,' said Jakeline Romero, Colombian land defender, to Global Witness.
          Despite the Peace Accords, some areas of Colombia have still not found peace. 'One dissident FARC front refused to go along with the top leadership, and they are found in areas where the proportion of Indigenous to non-Indigenous inhabitants is the highest in the country: in the southeastern plains and forests. In this region, open combat between FARC and former paramilitaries has continued in a fight to secure territory planted in coca, or rich in minerals like tungsten and coltan," explained anthropologist and professor emeritus at MIT, Jean Jackson, after the peace accords were signed in December of last year.
          On November 24, the day of Jacanamijoy's assassination, Colombia's President Juan Manuel
          

Santos insisted during the anniversary celebration of the signing of the peace accords that the extensive number of human rights defenders killed over the past year was not a "systematic" problem.
          But many, including the Organización Nacional Indígena de Colombia (ONIC), which represents all of the countries 106 ethnic groups, and UMIYAC, the organization that Jacanamijoy co-founded, have called for pressure to be put on the Colombian government to take steps to end violence and impunity that has allowed for these murders to continue without justice. On October 31st 2017, Colombian Indigenous people joined the national Minga for Life (Minga por la Vida). Over 100,000 Indigenous people mobilized throughout the country for the right to life, against the systematic violence targeting social and Indigenous leaders and for the
           implementation of the Havana Peace Accords. In a press release, the coalition stated,
          'We continue to seek a peace that is holistic, stable, and inclusive. However, we are saddened and worried to see that despite the Peace Accords and the Ceasefire, the violence has not stopped. As Indigenous Peoples, campesinos (farmworkers), Afros, and other grassroots leaders, we continue to be targets of violence and impunity is growing.'
          'We note that these grave acts of violence are not isolated incidents like the government and some of the media attempt to demonstrate, but rather are part of a systematic strategy of extermination based on socioeconomic interests on our territories, in a fight for power over our lands to control natural resources, illicit economic activities like drug trafficking, as well as mining, logging, ecotourism, and other extractive industries... in the void left on lands exited by the FARC. This generates social and environmental harm, fuels conflict, and does not contribute to the construction of a stable and lasting peace, which clearly violates the Peace Accords of Havana.'"

"INDIGENOUS FEDERATIONS ENTER INTO NEGOTIATIONS WITH PERU AS
          PROTESTS PARALYZE OIL EXTRACTION," Cultural Survival, October 25, 2017, https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/news/indigenous-federations-enter-negotiations-peru-protests- paralyze-oil-extraction, reported, "Since mid-September 2017, Indigenous communities in Northern Peru have maintained a peaceful blockade at 50 oil wells in Peru's largest oil concession, paralyzing 12,000 barrels of oil production per day. The federations are calling for respect of Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) before a new license is authorized by the Peruvian government. The communities have repeatedly demanded and been promised environmental remediation and health services. Multiple sources have estimated the cost of clean up at $1 billion USD.
          
At the exclusion of Indigenous communities, PetroPeru, the state oil company, was in talks with Canadian Frontera Energy to extend the petroleum operations for another 30 years on the rusty, leaky infrastructure that has already been extracting and transporting petroleum from Indigenous lands within the Amazon since the 1970s. On October 11th, 2017, PetroPeru announced that conditions were "inadequate" for Frontera to receive an extended license for extraction, and their contract is set to end in 2019.
           On October 24th, a delegation of Indigenous apus representing 16 communities of Achuar, Quechua, and Kichwa Peoples initiated negotiations with the Ministry of Energy and Mines after the ministry had excluded these Indigenous federations, FEDIQUEP (Federacion Indígena Quechua del Pastaza), FECONAT (Federación de Comunidades Nativas del Alto Tigre) and FECONACO (Federación de Comunidades Nativas del Corrientes) from earlier discussions despite a 2011 law that mandates prior consultation.
          Two UN human rights experts, Baskut Tuncak and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, requested in July 2017 that the Peruvian government suspend any negotiations on the Lot 192 and observe the rights and opinions of Indigenous Peoples living on the territories that are to be affected by the proposed development. In 2015 the UN Rapporteurs issued a mandate to the Peruvian government expressing their extreme concern about the situation's absence of prior consultation with Indigenous communities in the area
.
          Lot 192 is the largest petroleum concession in the northern Amazon of Peru on the border with Ecuador and covers 290 thousand hectares of land. It is the biggest oil producer in the country,
          

contributing 17% of the crude oil production in the country. The Ministry of Energy and Mines estimates that the reserves contain 134 million more barrels, which will last for another 20 years. 'We don't oppose the investment, but the state has to secure our rights. We are more than 30,000 Indigenous people who just want to safeguard our rivers and forests from oil contamination,'
          FEDIQUEP's president Aurelio Chino Dahua told Peruvian newspaper Peru21.
          As early as 1984 the Peruvian government declared the area 'the most environmentally damaged region in the country.' Despite the stricter standards for evaluation of environmental impacts set in the 1990s, multiple environmental emergencies were declared. After years of protests by Indigenous Peoples, the government continues an inadequate response to remediation. "The impacts on the Achuar, Kichwa, Kukama, Quechua and Urarina indigenous peoples living in this region have been appalling: contaminated rivers, streams, lakes, lagoons, soils, gardens, game, fish, and all manner of related health problems, including epidemics, miscarriages, skin diseases, diarrhoea and deaths, according to reports," noted The Guardian newspaper.
          The Peruvian government continues to ignore the articles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; in particular, the articles dealing with the control of lands and Indigenous peoples' right to be consulted on any development plans taking place on their territory. The right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent is one of the main principles formulated in the Declaration, and it obligates the government to consult and get permission from Indigenous communities before launching any development project affecting the lands and resources.
          Indigenous organizations actively seek to have their voice heard so that the high level officials acknowledge and respect the demands that communities have in connection with the project. Firstly, they expect the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent to be guaranteed in the negotiations before licenses are granted, falling in line with international law. They also expect to establish effective communication between communities and state representatives in order to ensure that both sides agree on every stage of the project and that all environmental impact is carefully researched and harmful consequences are minimized."

Rick Kearns, "Mayan Communities Able to Identify and Hopefully Protect Territories: 'We have a landmark decision from the highest court of Belize but it is the duty of each Maya village to breathe life into this decision'," ICTMN, September 2, 2017, https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/news/indigenous-peoples/mayan-communities-able-identify- hopefully-protect-territories/, reported, " Mayan communities in Belize now have a way to officially identify and potentially protect their territorial boundaries.
          
On August 9, the International Day of the Worlds Indigenous Peoples, the Sarstoon Temash Institute for Indigenous Management (SATIIM) in Belize launched the Maya Lands Registry and announced the project they developed for the Crique Sarco community.
          
In their press statement, SATIIM noted that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) had ordered the Belize government in 2015 to "create an effective mechanism" to identify and protect Mayan lands in accordance with their traditional governance.
          "Two years later and still no mechanism exists," according to the SATIIM press release. "Given the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the court order, Crique Sarco took the matter into their own hands," Froyla Tzalam, SATIIM Executive Director said."

"Brazil: Tribe defy miners – "Our life depends on the life of the earth and the forest," Survival International, October 31, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11856, reported, " The Waiãpi tribe in Brazil have defied a hostile government to defend their land rights.
          
The tribe has circulated a powerful open letter in which they state: 'We're against mining because we want to defend our land and forest. We believe the land is a person'.
           The letter was written in response to the Brazilian government's attempt to open up the Amazon forest around the tribe's land to large-scale mining. Following a global outcry by indigenous peoples and campaigners, the government backed down.
           However, given the power of Brazil's notorious agribusiness lobby, the Waiãpi are on the alert. In the letter they vow to defend their territory at all costs against mining interests.
          

The tribe say mining will not bring benefits to them. They are concerned about conflict and disease brought by an influx of outsiders, and the opening up of their land to destructive economic interests such as hydro-electric dams, ranching and gold mining.
          This small Amazon tribe knows the devastating impacts of highways and mining. Sporadic contacts with outsiders hunting wild cats for their pelts and groups of gold prospectors in the latter part of last century introduced fatal diseases like measles to which the isolated Waiãpi had no resistance. Many died as a result.
          In 1973 FUNAI, the government's indigenous affairs department decided to contact the Waiãpi because the country's military dictatorship wanted to build a highway through their land.
          At the time of contact, the Waiãpi numbered a mere 150 individuals and seemed on the brink of extinction. However, they have proved extraordinarily resilient and today number over 1,200 people.
          They have set up their own organizations, expelled the gold miners working illegally on their land, and trained their own health agents and teachers who work in the communities.
           Some members of the tribe have made innovative films documenting their campaign for land rights. Some toured abroad for international support, and their communities physically mapped out their land, which was finally recognized by the government in 1996. Since then, they have occupied all the regions within the territory to protect it from invasion.
          The letter underlines their strong sense of cohesion: 'We Wajãpi have a very strong culture, which we continue to value and transmit to our future generations'.
          Important events in the natural calendar such as fish spawning and honey gathering are celebrated with ceremonies where all generations join in the dancing, accompanied by flute music and the consumption of caxiri, a drink made from fermented manioc. Like most tribal peoples, their botanical knowledge is immense – they cultivate over 15 types of wild manioc and 5 types of corn.
          In 2008 UNESCO recognized the Waiãpi's graphic art, which they call kusiwa, as the "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity". It is based on the use of natural paints from plants, like the red anatto paste, which is used to paint intricate designs on the body and to decorate objects like baskets
          However national and international pressure is fundamental to support the Waiãpi in their continuing struggle to assert their rights as they face increasing threats to their land, a hostile congress and a government intent on weakening indigenous rights in Brazil.
          
Their letter ends with a call to all who are concerned about the destruction of the Amazon to support them. Readers can take action by participating in Survival's campaign at: https:// www.survivalinternational.org/petitions/stop-dangerous-laws.

"Brazil: Uncontacted people threatened by forest fire in Amazon," Survival International, October 26, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11850, reported, " Forest fires are raging in an indigenous territory on the edge of the Brazilian Amazon, threatening to wipe out uncontacted members of the Awá tribe.
          
Neighboring Guajajara Indians are attempting to contain the blaze and demanding greater support from government.
           Campaigners are concerned that the current wave of fires could wipe out the uncontacted Awá and are calling for urgent action.
          The Awá are already under great pressure as illegal loggers are devastating their territory, which is an island of green amid a sea of deforestation
.
          Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples the planet. Tribes like the Awá are being wiped out by violence from outsiders, and by diseases like flu and measles to which they have no resistance. Unless their land is protected, they face catastrophe.
          Among those fighting the fires are indigenous fire-fighters of the Environment Ministry's fire prevention scheme "Prevfogo," and members of the "Guajajara Guardians," who live in and frequently patrol the area in an attempt to crack down on illegal logging, and protect their uncontacted neighbors who are living on the run.
          
Kaw Guajajara, one of their leaders, said: 'Our uncontacted relatives can't survive without their forest… As long as we live we will fight for our forest and the uncontacted Indians.'
          

The Guardians' role in protecting their forest highlights the vital role tribal peoples play in conservation, ahead of the COP23 conference in Bonn, Germany next month.
          Tribal peoples like the Guajajara and Awá have been dependent on and managed their environments for millennia. Evidence proves that tribal peoples are better at looking after their environment than anyone else. They are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world.
          Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples' rights, is lobbying the Brazilian government to ensure the Arariboia fires are extinguished as a matter of urgency, and that all invaders are evicted from the territory."

"Renowned indigenous leaders call for end to uncontacted 'genocide', Survival International, October 9, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11833, reported, " Three of Brazil's most prominent Indian leaders have denounced their government's concerted attack on indigenous rights as 'genocidal.'
          Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, a shaman and leader from the Yanomami people of the northern Amazon, Raoni Metuktire, leader of the Kayapó people, and Sonia Bone Guajajara, a Guajajara leader and activist, have released an open letter.
          It was released to mark International Indigenous Peoples' Day/ Columbus Day.
          In the letter they say: 'A genocide is unfolding in our country, Brazil…
          'Our government is destroying us indigenous peoples, our country's first people. In the name of profit and power, our land is being stolen, our forests burned, our rivers polluted and our communities devastated. Our uncontacted relatives, who live deep in the forest, are being attacked and killed.
          But we won't be silenced. We do not want the riches of our land to be stolen and sold. For as long as we can remember, we have looked after our lands. We protect our forest, as it gives us life.
          'We indigenous brothers and sisters of more than 200 different tribes are coming together in protest. From the heart of the Amazon rainforest, we are crying out to you. At this time of emergency, we need you. Please tell our government that our land is not for stealing.'
          The letter was written in response to growing concerns about the close ties between the Temer government, installed after the impeachment of Dilma Rousseff last year, and the country's powerful and notoriously anti-indigenous agribusiness lobby.
           Campaigners have described the current administration's attitude towards tribal peoples as "the worst for two generations." Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet, but where their land rights are respected, they continue to thrive.
          FUNAI, the country's indigenous affairs department, whose agents patrol and protect tribal territories, has had its budget significantly cut. This has left many tribes fatally exposed to violence from outsiders and diseases like flu and measles to which they have no resistance
.
           There has also been a serious spike in anti-indigenous violence by people trying to steal tribal lands and resources. In August, around 10 uncontacted Indians were reportedly massacred in the Javari Valley. Earlier this year, ranchers attacked a group of Gamela Indians with machetes, horrifically mutilating several of them.
          Uncontacted tribes are not backward and primitive relics of a remote past. They are our contemporaries and a vitally important part of humankind's diversity. Where their rights are respected, they continue to thrive.
          Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: 'Brazil's government is determined to undermine indigenous rights throughout the country. It's deliberately leaving uncontacted tribes' territories open to invasion in the full knowledge of the deaths and suffering which will inevitably result. What's happening in Brazil is an urgent and horrific humanitarian crisis, and the international community should throw its weight behind indigenous leaders and others in Brazil calling for an end to the persecution.'"

"Mining threat to uncontacted Indians in Brazil," Survival International, August 30, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11790, reported, " In another blow to indigenous rights and the environment, Brazil's President Temer has abolished a protected area in the Amazon known as the Renca reserve.
          

Renca lies within a mosaic of protected areas in northern Amazonia which includes two indigenous territories. It is believed that a group of uncontacted Indians also lives in the region.
          
With the reserve abolished, an area of rainforest the size of Denmark could be opened up to large-scale mining by multinationals. It is likely to that wildcat miners will invade the area, polluting the rivers with mercury, as the Yanomami have witnessed to devastating effect.
          
Should this happen, the consequences will be catastrophic for the vulnerable uncontacted Indians who will be exposed to deadly diseases in encounters with outsiders, and will see their lands invaded and stolen.
          In response to an outcry in Brazil and abroad, the government has just announced that it will publish a decree outlining how it will protect indigenous territories and conservation areas in the area.
          The Brazilian authorities have not consulted with indigenous peoples about their plans.
          
The Waiãpi Indians, who live to the east of Renca, were only contacted in 1973 and are also likely to suffer from the impacts of mining. They depend entirely on the forest and rivers for their livelihood, and like all tribal peoples they have a deep spiritual connection to their land.
          Jawaruwa, a Waiãpi spokesman said: 'This won't bring development for us. It will only bring catastrophe for the Amazon rainforest in Brazil.'
          There is ample evidence of the serious negative impacts of large-scale mining on indigenous peoples south of this region, where the massive Carajás mine and related projects operate.
          The mine, its roads and railways introduced thousands of colonists and loggers, who have had a devastating impact on uncontacted Awá Indians.
          Survival is protesting to the Brazilian authorities against the abolition of the reserve, highlighting in particular the danger to the area's uncontacted Indians."

"Brazil: campaigners welcome court rulings in favor of indigenous land rights, Survival International, August 17, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11777, reported, "activists and human rights campaigners around the world yesterday celebrated Brazil's Supreme Court ruling unanimously in favor of indigenous land rights.
          In two land rights cases, all eight of the judges present voted for indigenous land rights and against the government of Mato Grosso state, in the Amazon, which was demanding compensation for lands mapped out as indigenous territories decades ago.
          
Although ruling on one further case was postponed, this outcome has been seen as a significant victory for indigenous land rights in the country.
          An international campaign was launched earlier this month after President Temer attempted to have a controversial legal opinion on tribal land recognition adopted as policy.
          
The proposal stated that indigenous peoples who were not occupying their ancestral lands on October 5, 1988, when the country's current constitution came into force, would no longer have the right to live there. This new proposal was referred to as the 'marco temporal' or 'time frame' by activists and legal experts.
           If the judges had accepted this, it would have set indigenous rights in the country back decades, and risked destroying dozens of tribes. The theft of tribal land destroys self-sufficient peoples and their diverse ways of life. It causes disease, destitution and suicide.
          In response to the ruling, Luiz Henrique Eloy, a Terena Indian lawyer, said: 'This is an important victory for the indigenous peoples of these territories. The Supreme Court recognized their original [land] rights and this has national repercussions, because the Supreme Court indicated that it was against the concept of the time frame.'
          APIB, Brazil's pan-indigenous organization, led a protest movement, under the slogan 'our history didn't start in 1988.'
          The measure is being opposed by Indians across Brazil
. Eliseu Guarani from the Guarani Kaiowá people in the southwest of the country said: 'If the time frame is enforced, there will be no more legal recognition of indigenous territories… there is violence, we all face it, attacks by paramilitaries, criminalization, racism.'
          Survival International led an international outcry against the proposal, calling on supporters around the globe to petition Brazil's leaders and high court to reject the opinion. Over 4,000 emails
          

were sent directly to senior judicial figures and other key targets.
          While the ruling does not end the possibility of further attacks on tribal land rights in Brazil, it is a significant victory against the country's notorious agribusiness lobby, who have very close ties to the Temer government.
          Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: 'If the judges had accepted this proposal it would have set back indigenous rights in the country by decades. Brazil's indigenous peoples are already battling a comprehensive assault on their lands and identity – a continuation of the invasion and genocide which characterized the European colonization of the Americas. We're hugely grateful for the energy and enthusiasm of our supporters in helping the Indians fight back against this disastrous proposal.'

"Landmark talks on uncontacted tribe fail to stop logging," Survival International, August 24, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11784, reported, " Landmark talks between the Paraguayan government and a recently contacted tribe have yet to reach an agreement, allowing rampant deforestation to continue. Some members of the tribe are uncontacted, and live in a rapidly shrinking island of forest.
          The talks began six months ago after a petition from the Ayoreo tribe to the Inter- American Commission on Human Rights, an influential body which holds governments in the Americas to account on human rights issues. The Ayoreo have been claiming the right to their ancestral land since 1993.
          
Halfway through the year-long process, however, and little concrete action has been taken, leading to fears for the tribe's long-term survival. A technical study is due to be carried out to assess the feasibility of securing the land.
          The government has also failed to stop the rapid logging of land owned by the Ayoreo, despite a 2016 emergency order from the Inter-American Commission to protect the uncontacted Indians and halt deforestation.
          Background briefing
          The Ayoreo live in the Chaco, which is the largest forest in South America outside the Amazon and has recently been recorded as having the highest rate of deforestation in the world. Experts estimate that the forest lost almost 10 million trees in January 2017.
          This poses a deadly threat to the Ayoreo, who face catastrophe unless their land is protected.
          Many members of the Ayoreo tribe were forcibly contacted by missionaries between 1969 and 1986. Continual land invasions forced them to abandon their homes. Many have since suffered from disease, including a TB-like illness, poverty, and exploitation on the fringes of mainstream Paraguayan society.
          Recently contacted members of the tribe spent years fleeing from bulldozers, which they called "beasts with metal skin." The machines are used by loggers to clear paths for cutting trees.
          The petition which finally brought the Paraguayan government to the negotiating table is called Petition 850-15. It features a claim for the restitution of Ayoreo land.
          - In February 2016, the Inter-American Commission issued an emergency order (MC 54-13) calling for the protection of uncontacted Ayoreo and their forests. Although this was in response to a separate petition submitted by the Ayoreo, the orders are to also be discussed during the talks.
          – The local support group GAT, and indigenous organization OPIT, have played an important role in lobbying the government, and after months of warning, finally pressed them to investigate the logging in July 2017. It remains to be seen whether the deforestation will be stopped and the perpetrators brought to justice.
          Survival International is calling for a complete halt to logging on Ayoreo land, and for the return of all lands which have been titled to ranching companies.
          Uncontacted tribes are not backward and primitive relics of a remote past. They are our contemporaries and a vitally important part of humankind's diversity. Where their rights are respected, they continue to thrive.
          They are the best guardians of their environment. And evidence proves that tribal territories are the best barrier to deforestation.
          Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: 'The Ayoreo have already been waiting more than
          

twenty years for their lands to be protected. All this time they've seen their forests destroyed about them. They hoped the Inter-American Commission's intervention would finally push the government to act, but that hope too has proved an illusion. Tragically, it seems that Paraguay's government is so firmly tied to the ranchers and landowners who control the levers of power that nothing short of massive public pressure will move them to act.'"

Neil MacFarquhar, "In Crimea, Russian Land Grab Feeds Cries of 'Carpetbaggers!'," The New York Times, September 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/30/world/europe/crimea- annexation-russia-ukraine.html, reported, " More than three years after Russia snatched Crimea from Ukraine, the peninsula is suffering through an extended season of discontent.
          
Shady, Kremlin-appointed bureaucrats are proving to be just as corrupt and inept as their Ukrainian predecessors. International sanctions, shrugged off in the heady days after the Russian annexation, have jacked up food prices while endlessly complicating ordinary aspects of life, like banking and travel.
           Perhaps most galling to Crimeans, the government is hauling thousands of residents into court to confiscate small land holdings distributed free as a campaign ploy in 2010 when Ukraine controlled the Black Sea peninsula."
          The United Nations issued a report this week accusing Russian security agencies of committing 'grave' human rights abuses since the annexation. Many of those abuses occurred right after the annexation against those who resisted the takeover. Russia dismissed the report as "absurd" inventions spread by its opponents.
          Locals largely focus on different complaints. They invariably denigrate the new bureaucrats as carpetbaggers, using the word "varyagi" in Russian, an old word for Viking outsiders, especially when it comes to land confiscation."

International Crisis Group (ICG,) "Double-edged Sword: Vigilantes in African Counter- insurgencies," Africa report 251, September 7, 2017, https:// www.crisisgroup.org/africa/west- africa/sierra-leone/251-double-edged-sword-vigilantes-african-counter- insurgencies?utm_source=Sign+Up+to+Crisis+Group%27s+Email+Updates&utm_campaign=911de13 4a5-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_09_04&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1dab8c11ea- 911de134a5-359871089, commented, " Vigilante groups have been successful in providing local security. But subcontracting security functions to vigilante groups for counter-insurgency purposes is a dangerous option for fragile African states. African leaders should set clear objectives and mandates when enlisting vigilantes and invest in disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs.
          Executive Summary
          As weak African states face growing insurgencies, they do what weak states tend to do: subcontract certain security functions to non-state actors or vigilante groups, many of which had taken up arms to protect their communities. This approach at times is viewed as a necessity, but is often dangerous, particularly in politically fluid and fractious states. The more fragile the state, the more it is dependent on vigilantes, but also the less able it is to police them or prevent abuse of power. The more successful the vigilante group against insurgents, the harder it is to demobilize, and the more likely it will become entrenched. As a result of ethnic rivalries and allegiances, community defence groups can morph into predatory, quasi-criminal organisations or enemies of the central state. Yet even when risks outweigh benefits, African leaders may not have the luxury of choice. At a minimum, African governments and their international backers should learn from the past, try to prevent abuses, guard against vigilantes' mission creep and plan how to manage them once the conflict dies down.
          By their very nature, vigilante groups carry inherent risk. Typically recruited from local communities, their members likely share the same ethnic or political identity, collective interests and threat perceptions, raising the odds that they will act as local militias – potentially more powerful than state authorities – and pursue narrow ethnic agendas; a short-term necessary evil that could pave the way for longer-term conflict. A solution for states in dire need of backing, vigilantes too often take
          

advantage of their newfound capacity – and compensate for inadequate support and resources – by seeking to maximize their power and wealth through extortion, kidnapping, and other violent abuses.
          But there are positive lessons to be learned too. Vigilante groups can be far more effective than state actors in providing local security. They generally enjoy greater legitimacy by virtue of community roots, and can be more efficient in identifying, tracking and combating insurgents thanks to their familiarity with local languages, geography and culture. Successfully managed by state authorities – and international actors – they can enable national leaders to forge lasting political pacts with provincial elites and bolster state legitimacy among local communities. In short, and while African and international policymakers rightfully may be concerned that empowering non-state forces will undermine the state, vigilantes also can serve as valuable intermediaries between local communities and central authorities.
          Drawing on four illustrative cases – Sierra Leone, Uganda's Teso region, South Sudan's former Western Equatoria State and Nigeria's north east – this report seeks to shed light on factors that determine vigilantes' evolution and impact on security and stability with the objective of helping governments and their international partners navigate this dilemma.
          Among these factors: regime neglect of, or hostility toward such groups (as in South Sudan) can give rise to new rebels, while unbridled state support (as in Sierra Leone) can empower armed groups controlled by strongmen and motivated in part by narrow self-interest. The clearer vigilantes' objectives and mandate are set in advance, and the greater the oversight by national and local leaders, the state military and local communities, the more effective the group can be and the less likely it will veer away from community defence and counter-insurgency goals. This is more likely to occur in instances where the political interests of the central state and local leaders are roughly aligned (as in Uganda). By contrast, a less defined mandate – one that allows vigilantes to step into local governance roles – can be a recipe for trouble, prolonging the existence of vigilante groups and enlarging their scope, enabling them to consolidate their power and creating greater economic incentives for them to hold on to it. In the longer term, investing in sufficiently generous demobilization and reintegration programs is key to offering vigilante members viable alternative livelihoods and due recognition. Transitioning selected members to community policing units also could help prevent their reactivation in more hostile guises.
          Several broad lessons, each to be applied with due care for local conditions, emerge from the case studies. In particular, African leaders that enlist vigilante groups for counter-insurgency purposes should:
          
Engage local leaders with influence over vigilantes with the aim of settling on finite, mutually acceptable objectives within an overarching counter-insurgency strategy, and ensuring they provide political oversight over rank-and-file  members; Be clear upfront with vigilante leaders and foot soldiers as to what they should expect as reward  for their efforts  and compensation for any losses; Provide vigilantes with adequate political and material support, including weapons when necessary, with the goal of ensuring they are able to pursue their objectives, thereby reducing the risk of extortion of resources from    civilians; Where possible, provide military oversight of, and ensure accountability for vigilantes' abusive actions;
           Put in place upfront a gender-sensitive plan to demobilize vigilantes once the insurgent threat has receded and to help them find work in locally-relevant sectors.
          International donors and partners face a similar conundrum. They too should benefit from relatively strong state authorities enjoying a monopoly over the use of violence. But when the state is too weak to confront an insurgency alone, or when the insurgent group doubles up as a terrorist organization threatening outside interests, the temptation will be great for international actors to support a militia or vigilante group – with or at times without the state's consent. Those international actors' interests would be best served by working in concert with state authorities, helping them manage relations with vigilante groups, cautioning against the pitfalls of unfettered support or counterproductive repression. To the extent international players interact with vigilante groups, they should avoid providing direct support, lest they weaken national authorities' bargaining position.
          

Instead, they should be willing to assist states with resources to better control vigilantes and more effectively demobilize and reintegrate them.
          Reliance on vigilante groups often is a faute de mieux solution for states facing a threat they cannot address alone. But as the cases in this report illustrate, there are better and worse ways of doing so, and of ensuring that a short-term expedient not turn into a long-term headache."

Minority Rights Group International," AFRICAN COURT DELIVERS LANDMARK JUDGMENT ON OGIEK LAND RIGHTS CASE AGAINST KENYAN GOVERNMENT
          June 1, 2017, https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/news/african-court-delivers-landmark-judgment-ogiek- land-rights-case-against-kenyan-government, reported, "On May 26, 2017, the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights (the "African Court") delivered a long-awaited judgment on a case brought before it by Ogiek Peoples against the Kenyan government for consistent violations and denial of their land rights.
           The Court set a major precedent for Indigenous Peoples' land rights by ruling in favor of the Ogiek community of Kenya. Putting an end to an eight-year legal battle of a land rights case that dates back to colonial times, the Kenyan government was found in violation of seven separate articles of the African Charter.
          'Crucially, the Court has recognized that the Ogiek– and therefore many other Indigenous Peoples in Africa–have a leading role to play as guardians of local ecosystems and in conserving and protecting land and natural resources, including the Mau Forest
,' says Lucy Claridge, Minority Rights Group International's legal director, who argued the case.
          'For the Ogiek, this is history in the making. The issue of Ogiek land rights has finally been heard and the case has empowered them to feel relevant. I know that the case also gives hope to other Indigenous Peoples, [as] it has made the issues seem real,' says Daniel Kobei, executive director of Ogiek Peoples' Development Program (OPDP).
          The Ogiek, 35,000 of whom are the victims in this landmark case, live in the Mau Forest Complex in the Rift Valley of Kenya. They are one of the few remaining forest-dwelling communities and among the most marginalized Indigenous Peoples in Kenya. Since time immemorial, the Ogiek have lived in the Mau Forest in the forested areas around Mount Elgon, relying on these territories for food, shelter, identity, rights violations.
          Even prior to Kenya's independence from colonial rule, the Ogiek have been routinely subjected to arbitrary forced evictions from their ancestral land by their government, without consultation or compensation. This has had a detrimental impact on the Ogiek's pursuit of their traditional lifeways, access to natural resources on their land, and access to education, health services, and justice. Ogiek have a spiritual,
          emotional, and economic attachment to the forest.
           This is the first time the African Court, in operation since 2006, has ruled on an Indigenous Peoples' rights case. It is by far the largest ever case brought before the Court. Originally lodged with the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights (the "African Commission"), it was referred to the Court on the basis that it evinces serious and mass human
          Minority Rights Group International, Ogiek Peoples' Development Program, and Centre for Minority Rights Development (CEMIRIDE) were the three original Complainants before the African Commission. This is also one of the first cases brought originally by NGOs to have been referred to the African Court by the African Commission, and is the first case to have reached hearing stage. It sets important procedural as well as legal precedents.
          In 2009, a case was lodged by OPDP and CEMIRIDE on behalf of the Ogiek before the African Commission against the government of Kenya. Minority Rights Group International became involved in April 2010 and, after an extensive fact finding mission and community consultations, drafted and filed admissibility submissions before the African Commission in August of that year.
          In 2012, the African Commission decided to refer the case to the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights, as it demonstrated serious and mass human rights violations. On March 15, 2013, the African Court issued a provisional measures order requiring the Kenyan government to (i) immediately reinstate the restrictions it had imposed on land transactions in the Mau Forest Complex,
          

and (ii) refrain from any act/thing that would/might irreparably prejudice the main application, until the African Court gives its final decision in the case. The order was issued as the African Court considered that "there is a situation of extreme gravity and urgency, as well as a risk of irreparable harm to the [rights of the] Ogiek of the Mau Forest."
          In late November 2014, the African Court heard arguments from the African Commission legal team as well as two Ogiek witnesses, an expert witness, and an intervention by Minority Rights Group on behalf of the original complainants. Twenty-five Ogiek community members were able to attend the hearing, and an additional 40 were able to view the hearing in Kenya via livestream.
          While awaiting judgement, there have been continuing violations of the provisional measures order, including a violent eviction of approximately 1,000 Ogiek and police intimidation. In May 2017, the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD) noted its concern in response to reports of ongoing forced evictions, and urged the Kenyan government to ensure legal acknowledgement of the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples and to prevent, punish, and sanction acts threatening their security and property. The Kenyan government has also announced plans for the Mau Forest Complex, which will soon become government land and its inhabitants forcibly relocated.
          
'By ruling that through a persistent denial of Ogiek land rights, their religious and associated cultural and hunter-gatherer practices were also violated, the Court has sent a crystal clear message to the Kenyan and other African governments that they must respect Indigenous Peoples' land rights in order to secure their livelihoods and cultures,' Claridge says.
          Ogiek rights over ancestral land are already recognized in both the Kenyan Constitution and the recently enacted Community Land Law, and in light of the upcoming elections and history of lax implementation of the 2010 African Commission Endorois judgment that declared the expulsion of Endorois people from their ancestral lands illegal, the Kenyan government is obligated to fully respect the Court's judgment and take immediate steps to remedy the violations experienced by Ogiek over decades.
          'This case is of fundamental importance for Indigenous Peoples in Africa, and particularly in the context of the continent-wide conflicts we are seeing between communities, sparked by pressures over land and resources,' says Claridge. 'Ultimately the Court [ruled] on the crucial role of Indigenous Peoples in the conservation of land and natural resources, and consequently, the mitigation of climate change in a region currently ravaged by drought and famine..'"

ICG, Murithi Mutiga, Senior Analyst, Horn of Africa, "Violence, Land, and the Upcoming Vote in Kenya's Laikipia Region ," Africa Commentary, July 25, 2017, https:// www.crisisgroup.org/africa/horn-africa/kenya/violence-land-and-upcoming-vote-kenyas- laikipia- region?utm_source=Sign+Up+to+Crisis+Group%27s+Email+Updates&utm_campaign=5758c2b089- EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_07_24&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1dab8c11ea-5758c2b089- 359871089, comments , "Crisis Group's Senior Analyst Murithi Mutiga has just returned from a weeklong tour of the troubled central Kenyan county of Laikipia, where violence between indigenous nomadic pastoralists and ranchers is escalating in the run-up to elections scheduled for 8 August.
          Clashes between pastoralists, farmers and conservationists in the central Kenyan county of Laikipia – triggered initially by drought but worsened by political tensions linked to local elections scheduled for August – could escalate into a wider, even more damaging conflict unless authorities act quickly to defuse tensions.
           Laikipia has long been contested land. It sits at the foot of Mount Kenya, Africa's second highest mountain. In recent decades, its sweeping Savanna vistas have made it one of the country's most important tourist destinations while its ample fertile land has attracted commercial agriculture. For centuries before this, however, the region's permanent springs, basalt hills and open grassland supported the semi-nomadic lifestyles of local pastoralist communities.
          Local communities have long fought for control of Laikipia's lush pasturelands. Now some
          

local politicians have been accused of using these traditional grievances to incite communities and gain advantage ahead of the vote.
          As the elections approach, observer missions should deploy in significant numbers in counties such as Laikipia to boost trust in the process and deter irresponsible political actors seeking to subvert the polling or displace voters
.
           A Troubled History
          
When British settlers arrived at the end of the nineteenth century, some of the land they coveted most in Kenya was occupied by the Maasai, a storied warrior community that had acquired the best real estate in the country through conquest. The British displaced the Maasai from the central Rift Valley, forcing them into two reserves set up in Laikipia and southern Kenya near the border with Tanzania. They promised clan elders that the community could hold the land 'so long as the Maasai shall exist as a race'.
          The British broke their word in 1911, pushing the Maasai out of Laikipia to open the way for large ranches and farms. This betrayal still rankles the Maasai and others in the region. The lopsided land ownership that resulted from the expulsion of these pastoralists more than one hundred years ago helps explain local grievances today.
          Laikipia borders the semi-arid counties of Isiolo, Baringo and Samburu. In recent years, regular droughts have battered these counties, adding to the stress already caused by rising populations and an increase in livestock herds. The latest drought, which has affected most of East Africa, forced pastoralists in search of well-watered pasture to move tens of thousands of cattle into the Laikipia farmlands and conservation areas.
          Political Incitement
          Such migrations have occurred periodically during previous droughts. What makes this year different is the level of armed violence. About 25 people, including ten policemen, have been killed and dozens of civilians injured as the herders forcibly occupy farms, community-owned ranches and sprawling conservancies – many owned by third-generation Kenyans of British origin. The 23 April shooting of the prominent author and conservationist Kuki Gallmann attracted widespread attention.
          Some media reports have portrayed the victims as mainly Kenyans of European extraction who own conservancies, but that is not wholly accurate. Herders from the Samburu and Pokot ethnic groups have also displaced many indigenous Kenyan farmers. Even several Maasai-owned ranches have been occupied in what appears to be an effort to stake a lasting claim to Laikipia land.
          Many believe that politicians are deliberately inciting violence prior to the elections on 8 August. Under Kenya's 2010 constitution, substantial resources are now managed at the local level by elected officials. Although this devolution of power is popular, it also has made local campaigns increasingly intense and violent, especially in ethnically-mixed areas.
          'You have politicians whose whole platform revolves around whipping up ethnic emotions and inciting pastoralists to forcibly occupy land in an effort to win votes', Ndiritu Muriithi, a former government minister and candidate for the position of Laikipia county governor – the most powerful elected post in the county – told Crisis Group.
          In repeated interviews, local farmers and ranchers pointed an accusing finger at Matthew Lempurkel, a firebrand local MP from the Samburu community. In November 2016, the Director of Public Prosecutions charged Lempurkel with incitement to violence. The case remains in court and no judgment has been issued yet.
          Lempurkel strenuously denied claims he had stirred up the agitation in an interview with Crisis Group. 'That is propaganda spread by my opponents. It is not true. Most of the pastoralists have no voters' cards or ID [national identification] cards. Their illiteracy levels are high. What would I stand to gain by inciting them? This problem was caused by the long, persistent drought'.
          Lempurkel, however, said it was unfair that "a few ranchers own tens of thousands of acres" while many locals were landless. Lempurkel was re-arrested on 22 July and charged with fresh counts of incitement. He was released after posting bail two days later.
          Joseph Shuel, a Maasai community leader and human rights activist, accused Samburu leaders of harboring an expansionist agenda and of engaging in "ill-informed incitement." He said the community with a legitimate historic claim to Laikipia was the Maasai but Samburu and Pokot
          

warriors had forcibly taken over numerous Maasai-owned ranches. Shuel said the various parties should strike a middle ground that allows indigenes to co-exist with the large land owners but also offers help to pastoralists to cope with the tough conditions created by changing weather patterns and shrinking resources.
          Ranchers
          In many ways, Martin Evans typifies the ranchers and large-scale farmers whose holdings have been besieged by pastoralists. His great grandmother arrived in the central Kenya town of Nyeri from Britain in 1902 and was one of Kenya's pioneer coffee farmers.
          Evans' father bought the Ol Maisor ranch in Laikipia, where the family has grown wheat and kept livestock since 1968. He speaks fluent Kiswahili, the Kenyan national language, and considers Laikipia home.
          Evans told Crisis Group the latest confrontation with pastoralists was the worst he could remember. 'This is totally the result of political instigation', he said. Two workers were killed on his ranch when Pokot herders drove tens of thousands of cattle into the farm. The herders remain on the ranch in a tense standoff with army troops brought in to protect the family and farm workers.
          He noted that devolution had brought power closer to the people but also created 'ethnic mini- nations', some of whose leaders were inciting their followers to take over land to advance their political ambitions.
          Conservancies and Pastoralists
           Laikipia could serve as a model for resolving tensions between agriculturalists and herders. Because of its stunning biodiversity, it has the resources to help pastoralists transition to more sustainable cattle keeping.
          Over the last few years, many donors, most prominently the U.S. government, have poured tens of millions of dollars to support NGO-managed conservancies in the area. These help protect wildlife by sharing the income generated by tourism with communities that have surrendered large tracks of land for conservation.
          However, as Modecai Ogada, a prominent environmentalist notes, 'under the current system, pastoralists have been left on the periphery. Many traditional dry season grazing areas are out of bounds and fenced off as conservancies. If even a small percentage of the funds being sent to these NGOs went to helping the pastoralists, you wouldn't be witnessing a crisis of such severity'.
          It is a fair point. Donors that support conservation efforts in Laikipia and elsewhere should offer funding and technical support to regenerate the devastated grasslands in neighboring counties. This would help remove the need for herders to leave their home ranges in large-scale migrations that inevitably trigger conflict.
          The greater challenge falls to the Kenyan government, which needs to formulate a policy for helping pastoral communities adjust to changing conditions, especially climate stresses that undermine the traditional semi-nomadic pastoralism that has been practiced for centuries.
          
The Kenyan government has historically neglected the cattle-keeping sector, instead promoting commercial crops such as coffee and tea that are big foreign exchange earners. This neglect helps explain the low levels of development and high rates of illiteracy among pastoral communities in Laikipia and much of northern Kenya.
          The national and county governments should invest resources in helping pastoralists by improving extension services, establishing breeder farms and offering funding for research to help locals improve the quality of cattle, thus allowing them to raise smaller, more productive herds.
          The government should lead the effort, working with donors and local grassroots organisations, to rehabilitate rangelands devastated by drought and overgrazing in Samburu, Isiolo, Baringo and elsewhere. Greater investment in education is also essential. Pastoralists should learn to engage in sustainable cattle keeping or empowered to pursue alternative means of earning a livelihood.
          The county government should establish migratory corridors for cattle herds and restore access to dry season grazing lands appropriated, some locals say, by powerful government officials.
          Many in Laikipia told Crisis Group that they expected the government to launch a major
          

security operation after the election to push back the pastoralists from land they have occupied. Onesmus Musyoki, the County Commissioner in overall charge of security forces in Laikipia, told Crisis Group the government was determined to restore the rule of law.
           But the government should act with restraint to avoid inflaming tensions again. Underlying these repeated and escalating cycles of violence is a long history of betrayal and economic neglect."

ICG, Murithi Mutiga, Senior Analyst, Horn of Africa, "August Election Tensions Rise in Storied Kenyan County," Africa Commentary, June 14, 2017, https:// www.crisisgroup.org/africa/horn-africa/kenya/august-election-tensions-rise-storied- kenyan- county?utm_source=Sign+Up+to+Crisis+Group%27s+Email+Updates&utm_campaign=6fe770 dcb0-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_06_12&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1dab8c11ea- 6fe770dcb0-359871089 , commented, "The stakes are high in contests for local power in Kenya's August 2017 elections. There is still time for the government and international donors to help avert a replay of past electoral violence, notably by renewing support for local peace committees .
          
The county of Narok is one of Kenya's most economically important regions, home to wildlife sanctuaries like the world-famous Maasai Mara reserve, vast agricultural plantations, and highways linking the East African coast to the interior.
          Narok is also one of a number of Kenyan counties expected to witness heavily contested, potentially violent, local elections due in August under a system of devolved government that confers considerable power and resources to elected county-level administrators.
           While a cut-throat competition for the presidency is garnering most attention, the subnational vote will be hotly contested and deserves more focus from the government and international partners. As a new Crisis Group report notes, significant violence could result from the political use of violence to influence county-level voting and acrimonious fallout from the winner-take-all polling for county governor position.
           Devolution and Ethnic Contest
          
Kenya adopted a new constitution in 2010 as one response to the weeks of violence that followed the 2007 disputed presidential election. The fighting killed more than 1,000 people and displaced hundreds of thousands. The new constitution sought to substantially remodel the government and reduce the concentration of power and resources in the presidency. The aim was to distribute the patronage power presidents enjoy more evenly, and by that means end the all-or-nothing battles for national leadership that contributed to violent elections in the past.
          The new constitution created and endowed 47 new counties as primary centres of devolved power run by elected governors and county assemblies. County administrations now receive at least 15 per cent of all national government revenue to run local affairs. The county chiefs appoint cabinets that are in charge of services, including basic education, healthcare, agriculture and local infrastructure maintenance. They control a budget of millions of dollars with wide remit to decide where to channel the funds.
          Perhaps because Kenyan elites have now witnessed the considerable influence and patronage resources counties command, the 2017 polls are expected to be more hotly contested than in 2013. Many national figures, including former presidential candidates and at least half a dozen senators, are running to lead these governorates. With many counties divided along religious, ethnic and sub-ethnic lines, there are concerns that candidates will play the communal card and exacerbate tensions and political violence.
          Warning Signs
          The storm clouds gathering over Narok are partly national. The county is a key battleground in the contest between the ruling Jubilee Party and the opposition National Super Alliance (Nasa). Both are investing heavily in the presidential and governorship races.
          But the problem is also local. Kenya's National Cohesion and Integration Commission (NCIC), a government agency promoting social harmony, has listed Narok as one of the counties vulnerable to an outbreak of electoral violence. A June 2015 commission communiqué cited "inequitable
          

distribution of county resources, competition (for) scarce resources, cattle rustling and incitement by politicians" as destabilizing factors here and in several other multi-ethnic counties in the Rift Valley and northern Kenya.
          Numerous interviewees report political players are mobilizing young people. A youth leader from the large Purko clan of the Maasai tribe told Crisis Group a victory for the incumbent would be "absolutely unacceptable". Surrounded by other young men from the clan at a restaurant in Narok, he said, without elaborating, that the youth were working on an "alternative remedy" if they feel the election outcome does not restore leadership to their group.
          Intra-Maasai Divisions
          For decades, Narok had been dominated by members of the Purko Maasai clan. But in 2013, three Purko candidates split the clan vote. That allowed Governor Samuel Tunai, a political newcomer, former civil servant and member of the minority Siria Maasai clan, to win on the ticket of the United Republican Party headed by Deputy President William Ruto. The result was viewed as a disaster by many local elites and described in apocalyptic terms as an "earthquake" and "tsunami" in national media.
          Although many Kenyans think of Narok as a Maasai county, it is in fact multicultural with a complex history.
          The Purko are a storied branch of the Maasai community renowned for battlefield victories over rival ethnic groups and clans in the pre-colonial period. But they were settled in Narok after having become victims of mass displacement when British settlers seized their landholdings during the colonial period. Other Maasai clans were moved into districts in south-west Kenya. Since then, Narok has attracted substantial numbers of non-Maasai because of its ample land, large wheat and maize plantations, and location on key transport routes between the Indian Sea coast and Uganda, Rwanda and eastern DR Congo.
          This diversity drives Narok's county politics. The biggest non-Maasai group is the Kipsigis, a branch of the Kalenjin, Kenya's third largest ethnic group. There are substantial numbers of Kikuyu, Kenya's largest ethnic group, as well as Kisii, Luo, Luhya and other communities. It was an alliance of the Kipsigis and Kikuyu, working with smaller Maasai clans, that pooled the numbers to get Tunai over the line in 2013.
          Losing power in the county triggered months of protests by Purko leaders. The agitation against the governor came to a head with a 25 January 2015 march seeking Tunai's ouster. Running battles between the police and protesters resulted in two deaths and significant property damage in Narok town.
          Anger Over Lost Power
          Three major issues dominate local criticism of Governor Tunai's administration.
          A key point of Purko contention is the sharing of local resources. The renowned Maasai Mara game reserve has long been controlled by local Purko elites. The Kenya Wildlife Service runs most game parks in the country, but the Mara is operated by the county, reflecting the fact that much of the park's land was donated by far-sighted Maasai elders in 1961.
          The Tunai administration has sidelined many of the Purko youth who previously worked in the park, local leaders say. "Before this administration came in, the Maasai Mara was entirely a local employment space", said Kimaren Riamit, executive director of the Indigenous Livelihoods Enhancement Partners, a civil society group. "It's true that there was some graft in management of the funds but at least the money circulated locally".
          Conservation politics are another source of grievance. Narok is home to the Maasai Mau "water tower", the largest closed-canopy forest in Kenya and a vital source of rivers that feed the county. During the administration of President Daniel Arap Moi (1978-2002), thousands of farmers, many from Moi's Kalenjin community, were settled illegally in the area. Deforestation diminished the Maasai Mau's ability to absorb seasonal rains and then feed rivers for the rest of the year.
          The Tunai administration has been accused of not pushing aggressively enough to oust beneficiaries of irregular land allocations, many of them from the Kipsigis community that helped him get elected. The Maasai have long bitterly protested these settlements, complaining about the long- term negative effects on the environment that threaten their economic lifeline as semi-nomadic
          

pastoralists. "Maasais have preserved these forests for hundreds of years," Joseph Siameto Pareyio, a Maasai elder, told Crisis Group. "There is a lot of bitterness about the destruction of this heritage to reward illegal political settlers".
          The third and most pronounced complaint is the dominance of "outsiders" (that is, non-Maasai) in local county administration positions. The governor cultivated his electoral coalition by handing many county jobs to members of other communities. A 2015 audit by the NCIC cohesion agency found Narok to be one of the three most inclusive counties due to the high number of individuals from different communities employed by the county administration.
          However, many Purko see the governor's strategy as marginalizing them. "Devolution was designed to be a form of affirmative action that brings resources closer to the people", Riamit said. "Locals feel short-changed. They are being sidelined while the minorities are happy. Jobs here are shared [evenly] between the communities. But why aren't Maasais given the same jobs in the other counties where these minority groups hail from and where the dominant groups take 90-95 per cent of the jobs?"
          Together with this complaint comes the question of electoral representation. A consistent issue that came up in interviews is the growing role of non-local communities in determining election outcomes by pooling their numbers to defeat Purko candidates, whose votes are often split among multiple Purko candidates.
          Political Battle-lines
          The race for governor is expected to be a three-way affair. Tunai, will seek to defend his seat. He will be backed by the Jubilee party leaders, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto. He will face two Purko contenders, despite the best efforts of elders to unite the clan behind one of their own.
          Musuni ole Tiampati, who was endorsed at a gathering of Purko elders at the end of 2015 as the community standard bearer, will fly the flag of the Orange Democratic Movement and will receive strong support from opposition Nasa heavyweights, led by its presidential candidate, Raila Odinga. The Narok West MP Patrick ole Ntutu, also Purko, will run on the ticket of the Chama Cha Mashinani party that is headed by Bomet Governor Isaac Ruto, a challenger for the leadership of the Kalenjin to Deputy President Ruto (no relation).
          The race for the Senate is attracting attention too, with media reports indicating a youthful Kipsigis candidate, Albert Kimingin, could benefit from divisions among several Purko candidates. A victory for him undoubtedly would deepen local grievances and heighten the danger of violent protests and inter-communal fighting.
          What to Do?
          Understandably, competition for the presidency has attracted the bulk of attention. But with a reformed constitutional order having raised the stakes at the local level, steps also need to be taken to help avert poll-related violence in Narok and Kenya's many other ethnically divided counties.
          First, to minimize the risk of election-related violence, state agencies working on peaceful co- existence such as the NCIC, together with their international partners, should step up peacebuilding and reconciliation efforts in Narok. In particular, the NCIC should continue efforts to record all political rallies to monitor politicians engaging in hate speech. In the same spirit, the agency should work more closely with the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to compile strong cases for possible prosecution for incitement, a development that would serve as a deterrent to others. Donors should enhance technical assistance to the agency to improve its capacity on this score.
          Second, the government and donors should revive support for the substantial grassroots peace- building infrastructure that was established following the 2007-2008 post-election crisis and which largely has been neglected since the relatively peaceful 2013 elections. Informal institutions including peace committees – district gatherings of elders and local civil society groups that engage in traditional mediation – can play an important role in fostering reconciliation at the subnational level.
          Interviews in Narok with members of these groups suggests that backing from the Office of the President for these entities, now known as County Peace Committees, largely has dried up. Members no longer receive honoraria or support to travel to and hold meetings. Even important non-monetary recognition, such as awards for outstanding peace builders, are not extended in the same way they
          

were while memories of the 2007-2008 post-election violence were fresh. This is a mistake. Local level peace committees, particularly in northern Kenya, typically have played a vital role in maintaining harmony at the grassroots and exploring non-violent dispute resolution.
          Third, formal governmental structures such as the County Security Committee – a body that brings together security officials, including police chiefs and provincial administrators – should take the lead in ensuring a peaceful election. They should recommend beefing up police presence in the county before, during and after voting day, even as attention is paid to ensuring that police and paramilitary units act in a neutral and professional manner and that they liaise more effectively with the informal elders' caucuses and peace committees to promote peaceful dispute resolution. In particular, security officials should encourage regular dialogue between community elders who still retain considerable sway with potential militants.
          Fourth, religious leaders, donors and the business community should lean on candidates for office both at the local and national levels to sign a pre-election code of conduct, whose content can be agreed upon by religious leaders and candidates, signaling a commitment to a peaceful election. They should also agree to channel any disputes to the court system.
          Once the election is over, it will be time for the government to try to address persistent land issues, including by resolving boundary disputes at the root of tension in several parts of Narok, and halt the destruction of forests so vital for the county's water supplies."
          "The peace builders of Northern Kenya; Successful research led model spreads to other African nations," Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation ( Founded in aftermath of 2007- 08's national post-election violence, Kenya's Shalom Centre pioneers successful, research-led formula for preventing conflict between rival groups), July 7, 2017, posted on EurekAlert!, https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-07/tca-tpb062617.php, reported, " An innovative research- led model for building peace has been pioneered by an Irish Catholic priest and his Shalom Centre colleagues working in areas of Northern Kenya where assault rifles are as common in households as cooking pots.
          Lawlessness is prevalent in the isolated areas of Kenya bordering Uganda, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia, and family possessions include, on average, 1.6 AK-47s, the weapon of choice also of organized cattle-rustling gangs.
           Weak institutions, porous borders and climate change, meanwhile, combine to make conditions harsher, nurturing historic, sometimes violent competition over scarce resources between the 11 ethnic communities of Northern Kenya with which the Centre works.
           More recently, conflicts over official positions and new administrative boundaries driven by politics have become commonplace. Of immediate concern to the peace makers: the Aug. 8 Kenya general elections. In 2007-08, post-election violence nationwide, fueled by political in- fighting, retaliation and power struggles, left roughly 1,300 Kenyans dead, 60,000 maimed and 600,000 displaced.
          The Shalom Center for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation, founded by Fr. Patrick Devine in 2009, which works as well in the slums of Nairobi, has cultivated a unique approach to conflict resolution, its success recognized and celebrated with a host of international awards.
          
And the model is expanding into other parts of Africa, starting with Côte d'Ivoire, Tanzania and the Central African Republic, with further plans to establish centres as well in Ethiopia, South Sudan, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
           The model's success is founded on extensive research into areas of complaint and issues that drive conflict then working with key community opinion-shapers -- elders, women, youth and influential chiefs -- to reach a common understanding of both the history and current definition of a conflict's source, while building trust and co-operation to reach solutions.
          Through workshops, Shalom is creating a legacy of conflict resolution, training to date more than 9,600 community leaders as peacemakers.
          Strategies also include sustainable human development in conflicted communities through projects. Lasting results include the building of solar-powered inter-ethnic and inter-religious schools, medical centres and water projects.
          

The philosophy of Fr. Devine, a 29-year veteran of African ministry: Conflicts are created by unmet human needs and the inability of weak institutions to help people actualize their potential. Shalom's peaceful coexistence goal is simple: 'To help the people become the architects of their own future.'
           Shalom's grassroots-based methodology, he says, embraces prevention and transformation
          -- 'delving deep into the social, economic, historical, cultural and religious factors that contribute to extremist behaviors that cause significant destruction and trauma to individuals and communities. Conjecture and speculation are no basis for policy making
.'
           Conflict in the region can be linked to several primary causes: scarcity and mismanagement of core environmental resources, infrastructure insecurity, weak institutions and the political economy of governance, historic tribal land and cultural conflict, all contributing to an unhelpful proliferation of illegal small arms.
           'Every conflict has a memory,' says Fr. Devine, honored in 2013 with the International Caring Award, and recently nominated for Ireland's prestigious Tipperary International Peace Prize. 'When the causes of conflict are not only identified, but also agreed upon by those involved, peace- building techniques create a way to look forward to a constructive future.'
          Nairobi-based Shalom Centre's international research and field staff are expert in conflict management theory and practice. All have at least a masters' level education. 'And I have never met a group with the persistence, commitment and consistency of Shalom staff,' says Fr. Devine.
          The goal is not what he calls 'negative peace,' or just an end to fighting but rather 'positive peace,' where both sides in a conflict see the benefits of protecting the others' security and wellbeing.
          
'There's more than enough in the environment for everyone's need,' he says, 'but not enough for everyone's greed.'
          Fr. Devine explains why he founded Shalom: 'I didn't want to spend another 25 years just dealing with the symptoms of conflict and poverty, nor just putting money through a sieve without substantial endurable results.'
          'Our center helps people in this region emerge from patterns of ongoing conflict, an environment in which people are persistently killed, maimed and displaced, preventing social and religious values, such as truth, justice, peace, mercy and reconciliation, from taking deep root. Nor can development be sustained if schools, hospitals, programs, and religious centres are regularly made inoperable due to conflict.'
          Fr. Devine underlines the non-sectarian nature of the center's work. 'Shalom should not be owned by any one religious tradition,' he says. 'If we can bring about peace in the world, we can all find our path to God.'
          At a May EU meeting in Brussels to address the humanitarian situation in Africa, Yemen and Syria, Joe McHugh, Ireland's Minister of State for the Diaspora and Overseas Development, noted the impossibility of sustainable development without peace.
          He singled out Shalom's 'great work' and lauded the center for making inroads in 'interethnic conflict reconciliation where, for the first time in a particular region even with drought and massive challenges, the peace is holding.'
          'If there are examples working we should look to them and support them.'
          Dr. Laura Basell, a professor at Queen's University, Belfast, and an archaeologist in Africa for 20 years, praises Shalom's diverse, highly qualified international team.
          'What particularly impresses me is Shalom's theoretical underpinning focused on education, empowerment, and transcending ethnic and religious boundaries in order to address the root causes of conflict,' she says.
          'Rev. Dr. Devine has demonstrated that Shalom is an institution that speaks not only through the verbal articulation of its guiding principles but predominantly through its deeds. While much remains to be done, their work is clearly making a difference from individuals to entire communities - a wonderful achievement.'
          Says Dr. Michael Comerford, a South Sudan-based board director of Shalom:
          

'From the beginning, I was struck by the Shalom Centre's methodology to resolve conflict and promote peace, which avoided quick fixes to problems that had existed for years, if not generations. There was something about 'taking time to work with people' that struck me as new. The approach involved working directly with local communities and their leaders, taking time to build relationships between communities, taking time to build peace."
          The Shalom Centre for Conflict Resolution and Reconciliation is supported by partner organizations and a network of visionary donors, primarily from the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland.
          With a budget of less than $1M US per year and low (7%) overhead costs, Shalom leverages the donations of its supporters to maximize its work on the ground in tribal areas, particularly in the semi- arid terrains, and in the largest slum settlements in urban centres of Eastern Africa.
           The Center focuses on the root cause of violence in the tribal lands of eastern Africa. It was created in 2009 in the wake of persistent widespread violence and dislocation across Northern Kenya, and in the aftermath of the disputed Kenyan elections. Shalom has made a major impact on peace initiatives in this vital strategic area of Africa.
          The Centre's work is strictly non-sectarian and closely aligned with civil society organisations. Fr. Patrick Devine serves as the organization's executive director, leading an international team of conflict resolution experts from various religious backgrounds and disciplines who are based in Kenya and neighboring countries.
          Shalom's approach to peace-building:
           Deliver quality conflict management training consistently to local communities. Conduct research among local communities into the causes of violence.
          Work with local leaders and influential opinion shapers to ensure they are part of the long-term solution to preventing conflict; engaging them in problem-solving workshops.
          Promote the construction and development of projects that benefit multiple groups in a community, including those on opposite sides of a conflict.
          Conduct peace education in primary and secondary schools and with groups of influential opinion shapers in conflict environments, aimed at delegitimizing the use of force in solving conflicts.
          Shalom benefits from Memoranda of Understanding with the governments of eastern Africa that comprise the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The Centre also partners with international and regional colleges and universities on peace-building courses, as well as religious association and councils in Africa
.
           Shalom makes its findings available to partners, relevant governments, ethnic representatives and United Nation and regional organizations.
          High-profile speaking engagements help raise awareness of this successful peace-development model so it can be implemented in other conflict environments. Last year, Fr. Patrick lectured at Harvard Law School, and in January gave a presentation to a group of Washington D.C. diplomats, academics and peace practitioners on preventing radicalization and extremism."

ICG, "Herders against Farmers: Nigeria's Expanding Deadly Conflict," Africa Report 252, September 19, 2017, https:// www.crisisgroup.org/africa/west-africa/nigeria/252-herders-against- farmers-nigerias-expanding-deadly-conflict, commented , " Propelled by desertification, insecurity and the loss of grazing land to expanding settlements, the southward migration of Nigeria's herders is causing violent competition over land with local farmers. To prevent the crisis from escalating, the government should strengthen security for herders and farmers, implement conflict resolution mechanisms and establish grazing reserves.
          
Executive Summary
          Violent conflicts between nomadic herders from northern Nigeria and sedentary agrarian communities in the central and southern zones have escalated in recent years and are spreading southward, threatening the country's security and stability. With an estimated death toll of approximately 2,500 people in 2016, these clashes are becoming as potentially dangerous as the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east. Yet to date, response to the crisis at both the federal and state
          

levels has been poor. President Muhammadu Buhari's administration and affected state governments need to work together, taking immediate steps to shore up security for herders and farmers, strengthening conflict-resolution mechanisms and initiating longer-term efforts to reform livestock management practices, address negative environmental trends and curb cross-border movements of both cattle rustlers and armed herders.
          Familiar problems – relating to land and water use, obstruction of traditional migration routes, livestock theft and crop damage – tend to trigger these disputes. But their roots run deeper. Drought and desertification have degraded pastures, dried up many natural water sources across Nigeria's far- northern Sahelian belt and forced large numbers of herders to migrate south in search of grassland and water for their herds. Insecurity in many northern states (a consequence of the Boko Haram insurgency in the north east and of less-well-reported rural banditry and cattle rustling in the north-west and north- central zones) also prompts increasing numbers of herdsmen to migrate south. The growth of human settlements, expansion of public infrastructure and acquisition of land by large-scale farmers and other private commercial interests, have deprived herders of grazing reserves designated by the post- independence government of the former Northern region (now split into nineteen states).
          Herders migrating into the savannah and rain forests of the central and southern states are moving into regions where high population growth over the last four decades has heightened pressure on farmland, increasing the frequency of disputes over crop damage, water pollution and cattle theft. In the absence of mutually accepted mediation mechanisms, these disagreement increasingly turn violent.
          The spread of conflict into southern states is aggravating already fragile relations among the country's major regional, ethnic and religious groups. The south's majority Christian communities resent the influx of predominantly Muslim herders, portrayed in some narratives as an ''Islamisation force''. Herders are mostly Fulani, lending an ethnic dimension to strife. Insofar as the Fulani spread across many West and Central African countries, any major confrontation between them and other Nigerian groups could have regional repercussions, drawing in fighters from neighboring countries.
          As these conflicts increase in frequency, intensity and geographical scope, so does their humanitarian and economic toll. The increasing availability of illicit firearms, both locally-produced and smuggled in from outside, worsens the bloodshed. Over the past five years, thousands have been killed; precise tallies are unavailable, but a survey of open source reports suggests fatalities may have reached an annual average of more than 2,000 from 2011 to 2016, for some years exceeding the toll from the Boko Haram insurgency. Tens of thousands have been forcibly displaced, with properties, crops and livestock worth billions of naira destroyed, at great cost to local and state economies.
           The reaction from Nigeria's federal and state authorities, so far, has been wanting. Aside from the recent push against Boko Haram and military operations against cattle rustling, they have done little else to address rural insecurity in the north. Federal security and law enforcement agencies have established neither early-warning nor rapid response mechanisms; they have not arrested and prosecuted perpetrators of violence or offered redress to victims. Until recently, officials have paid little if any attention to improving livestock management practices to minimize friction with agrarian communities. State governments' responses overall have been short-sighted; most have failed to encourage community-level dialogue. As a result, both herders and farmers are taking matters into their own hands, further aggravating conflicts.
          President Buhari's government, which is increasingly viewed with misgivings by many in central and southern states, should make it a priority to take firm and transparent steps to ensure better protection for both herders and farmers. Affected state governments also should better coordinate with federal authorities to reduce risks of violence. The federal government's failure to define a clear and coherent political approach to resolving the crisis, or even acknowledge its scope, is putting Nigerian citizens at risk. Federal and state authorities should implement five steps. In the short term, these include:
          
Strengthen security arrangements for herders and farming communities especially in the north-central zone: this will require that governments and security agencies sustain campaigns against cattle rustling and rural banditry; improve early-warning systems; maintain operational readiness of rural-based police and other security units; encourage communication and collaboration with local authorities; and tighten control of production, circulation and possession of illicit firearms and
          

ammunition, especially automatic rifles, including by strengthening cross-border cooperation with neighboring   countries' security forces; Establish or strengthen conflict mediation, resolution, reconciliation and peacebuilding mechanisms: this should be done at state and local government levels, and also within rural communities particularly in areas that have been most affected by conflict; Establish grazing reserves in consenting states and improve livestock production and management in order to minimize contacts and friction between herders and farmers: this will entail developing grazing reserves in the ten northern states where governments have already earmarked lands for this purpose; formulating and implementing the ten-year National Ranch Development Plan proposed by a stakeholders forum facilitated by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in April 2017; and encouraging livestock producers' buy-in through easier access
          to credit from financial institutions.
          In the longer term, federal and state governments should consider the following:
           Address environmental factors that are driving herders' migration to the south: this will require stepping up implementation of programs under the Great Green Wall Initiative for the Sahara and the Sahel, a trans-African project designed to restore drought-and-desert degraded environments and livelihoods including in Nigeria's far northern belt; and developing strategies for mitigating climate change impact in the far northern states; Coordinate with neighbors to stem cross-border movement of non-Nigerian armed herders: Nigeria should work with Cameroon, Chad and Niger (the Lake Chad basin countries) to regulate movements across borders, particularly of cattle rustlers, armed herders and others that have
          been identified as aggravating internal tension and insecurity in Nigeria.
          Although some of the proposed steps will not yield immediate results, Nigeria's federal and state authorities, as well as other relevant actors, need to take remedial actions with a greater sense of urgency. Failure to respond, decisively and effectively, would allow Nigeria to continue sliding into increasingly deadly conflict."

Julius Gale, "Experts call for new approach to S. Sudan's peace process," Xinhuanet, August 28, 2017, http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/28/c_136401612.htm, reported, " Experts have called on the international community to change their mediation strategy in war- torn South Sudan and adapt a new approach that accommodates all armed groups and aggrieved local communities instead of just dealing with two warring factions.
          Speaking during a forum for peace and dialogue in Juba on Wednesday, the experts said the South Sudan conflict have evolved into ethnic divisions and inter-communal violence characterized by emergence of new rebel groups, as such demands a multi-stakeholder peacemaking strategy.
          William Ongoro, specialist in conflict resolution and mediation, said the 2015 peace agreement and a national dialogue initiative announced by the country's leader late last year may not necessarily solve South Sudan's problems if grassroots grievances and conflicts are left unresolved."
          The conflict is no longer one primarily between two sides, but amongst numerous ethnic and local groups not directly represented by the national elites. " Ongoro said all peace building initiatives should focus on constructive engagement with rural communities to address issues such as land wrangles, inter-communal conflicts and power struggle.
          
He added that without strengthening peace building, social justice, institutional reforms and accountability, the war-torn country may find it hard to end the ongoing political, social and economic crisis." (See also Rene Wadlow, "As South Sudan Disintegrates, People Move" in Research Notes, below).

ICJ, "Niger Clash Kills U.S. and Nigerien Troops ," Africa Commentary, October 5, 2017, https:// www.crisisgroup.org/africa/west-africa/niger/niger-clash-kills-us-and-nigerien- troops?utm_source=Sign+Up+to+Crisis+Group%27s+Email+Updates&utm_campaign=8bdc11a92b- EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_10_05&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1dab8c11ea-8bdc11a92b- 359871089, commented, " A deadly ambush near the Niger-Mali border on 4 October marked the
          

unprecedented killing of American and Nigerien forces in the region. In this Q&A, Deputy West Africa Project Director Jean-Hervé Jezequel and Research Assistant Hamza Cherbib say that jihadist violence cannot be divorced from deeper inter-communal tensions related to local competition over resources and illicit economic activity.
          
What happened and where?
          
According to U.S. and Nigerien security sources, on 4 October 2017 a mixed patrol of U.S. and Nigerien special forces was ambushed near Tongo Tongo, a village located in the Tillabery region (about 120km north of the capital, Niamey), a few kilometres from the border with Mali. The precise death toll is still uncertain but at least five Nigerien and three U.S. soldiers were killed. Several others are wounded or missing, and Nigerien sources say the patrol's vehicles were looted or destroyed.
          
The patrol may have been attacked by jihadists operating in the region, but there was no early claim of responsibility and what happened may only become clear over time. U.S. troops are supporting Nigerien armed forces fighting jihadists in at least two locations in the country, Aguelal and Diffa. The U.S. also is present elsewhere in Niger (and the region): it is establishing a drone and airbase near Agadez (northern Niger) and its forces are present at Niamey airport where they share space with French and Nigerien forces.
           This is not the first attack against security forces in the area. Indeed, Nigerien forces have suffered repeated attacks there since early 2017, including against the special counter-terrorism unit whose men are trained by the U.S. But this is the first attack to have claimed the lives of U.S. soldiers.
           What is known about jihadist groups in the area?
          
In recent months, several attacks targeting security forces near the Mali-Niger border have been claimed by the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS), the Islamic State's local branch led by Abou Walid Al Sahraoui. This includes a raid on the Koutoukale prison in October 2016 that was fended off by Nigerien security forces.
          Another recent attack was claimed by the Jamaat Nosrat al-Islam wal-Mouslimin (JNIM, the "Group for the support of Islam and the Muslims"), a jihadist coalition of militant groups with a history of cooperation that was established in March 2017. JNIM's leader, Iyad Ag Ghali, a Malian Tuareg, declared his allegiance to al-Qaeda and other top leaders of the group have well established al-Qaeda ties.
          What might be behind these attacks?
           While international attention focuses on jihadists and sees their ideology as the source of the problem, there are other important dimensions. Indeed, attacks against military personnel represent only a small part of the problem as armed violence exacts a heavy albeit underreported death toll among civilians in the regions of Tillabery and Tahoua, especially among isolated nomadic communities.
          In July 2017, alone, local representatives of the Fulani community – one of the largest ethnic group in West Africa comprised mostly of herders – claimed that militias of rival ethnic groups, the Tuareg and Doosaak (a nomadic group close to and often confused with the Tuaregs but with a distinct language) killed some 46 civilians, purportedly as part of counter-terrorism operations. Conversely, Tuareg representatives repeatedly accuse local Fulanis of murdering members of their communities with jihadist supp
ort.
          In reality, jihadist violence often intertwines with local intercommunal tensions related to competition over natural resources and trafficking, making it difficult to distinguish the real nature and motives of many incidents.
           Is this a home-grown problem to Niger or one that is spilling over from nearby states of the Sahel?
          
Nigerien officials often claim that perpetrators of these attacks hail from neighboring Mali and especially from the Menaka region where jihadist groups are entrenched. (Crisis Group commentary, "Forced Out of Towns in the Sahel, Africa's Jihadists Go Rural", 11 January 2017). But there is far more to this than spillover from the Malian crisis. In addition to the intercommunal tensions just noted, and which reflect local Nigerien dynamics, most sources agree that jihadist groups have
          

taken root in the northern Tillabery region, especially but not exclusively among young Fulanis looking for ways to counter their ethnic rivals or protect their businesses or communities.
          Ethnic and counter-jihadist agendas mix, at times to highly damaging effect. Authorities suspect Fulani communities in particular of having ties with jihadist groups. In turn, the Nigerien government reportedly authorized Malian Tuareg Imghad and Doosaak armed groups to hunt jihadist elements; under that pretext, those groups are said to repeatedly have targeted Fulanis from the Tahoua and Tillabery regions. Fulani representatives told Crisis Group they suspect that France – through its operation Barkhane, a military mission centered on fighting jihadist groups in the Sahel and with troops deployed in Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali – also provided support to these groups. In July 2017, Malian armed groups reportedly killed dozens of Fulani herders.
          But does the Fulani community in fact have close ties to jihadist groups?
          Jihadist groups do tend to recruit among Fulani youth, part of a strategy that aims to capitalize on intercommunal conflicts, local grievances and frustration with the state about bad governance, lack of services, unemployment and corruption. Crisis Group examined this dynamic in a previous report (Central Mali: an uprising in the making?, 6 July 2016). However, the notion of a "Fulani jihad" is dangerously misleading. It distracts from the reality that Fulani often are drawn to jihadist groups because of underlying communal tensions, not out of ideological affinity.
          A similar situation exists in other West African countries (Herders against Farmers: Nigeria's expanding deadly conflict, 19 September 2017). A central problem is that this overall dynamic paves the way for Sahelian states such as Niger, whose security apparatus already is overstretched due to threats emanating from the north (Libya) and south east (Boko Haram), to enlist ethnic-based militias as proxy counter-terrorism forces. This in turn risks aggravating intercommunal tensions and thus, in a vicious cycle, encouraging more young Fulani to seek protection from jihadist groups. Such groups adapt accordingly, forging relations with local rural and semi nomadic communities based on matrimony, business ties or the provision of protection and dispute resolution mechanisms to marginalized communities.
          Do you think this attack will lead the U.S. or other powers to change their policy toward Niger and the greater Sahel region?
          As noted, the attack against U.S. soldiers was a first for this region. It is likely to lead to increased military operations against the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, the JNIM and other associated groups, with both French and U.S. support. Whether it will persuade the U.S. to switch its position on the G-5 Sahel, a French-backed regional military operation comprising forces from Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad is unclear. That force is intended to fight terrorism as well as trafficking in humans, weapons and drugs in the Sahel and expected to be deployed later this year. However, it faces a substantial funding shortfall. The French have sought funding through the UN, but thus far Washington has resisted such efforts, preferring to channel any support to the countries involved bilaterally.
          Deployment of a regional counter-terrorism force in the Sahel could be a welcome first step toward ensuring African states take responsibility for their security. But myriad questions surround the G5's putative role and mandate, particularly its relationships with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) and the French Barkhane operation already deployed in the region. Nor is the enemy well defined: many armed groups in the Sahel – and certainly not only jihadists – are involved in trafficking. Failure to clarify its mandate, which armed groups it will fight and its relationship with other forces risks stirring up further instability and could lead to a security traffic jam in the region.
          
What can the Niger government and Western partners do?
          
There will be a natural temptation to up the tempo of military operations. Clearly for Niger and its Western partners, such operations are a critical component of their response to militant groups that attack security forces and whose violence and intolerance threaten state and society alike.
          Focusing only on military action would be shortsighted, however. Instead, what is urgently needed is to end the cycle of violence that is harming civilians far more than Western or Nigerien soldiers and is creating propitious conditions for the spread of jihadist groups. That entails above
          

all addressing problems related to the management and sharing of natural resources and providing dispute resolution mechanisms and security for all communities.
          
Opening channels of communications with armed groups is another necessity. Earlier this year, the government of Niger reportedly established contacts but nascent discussions were challenging because of mutual distrust and ultimately were aborted after militant attacks on its security forces. Officials told Crisis Group that no serious negotiation could begin with these groups at this point and that the only option was military.
          This too is likely to be self-defeating. Rather, the goal ought to be to try to disentangle hardcore militants from others who join these groups out of despair or for lack of viable alternative options. The government should priorities efforts to rebuild relations with nomadic communities in the northern Tillabery area, especially with the Tolebbe (a Fulani subgroup), one of the few remaining Nigerien communities that lack a district chief ("chef de canton") recognized by the state
."

"Outrage as tour operators sell "human safaris" to Andaman Islands," survival International, October 17, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11839, reported, " Tour operators in India's Andaman Islands are selling 'human safaris' to the reserve of a recently-contacted tribe, despite government promises to ban the practice.
          Tourists travel along a road through the Jarawa's forest, treating tribespeople like animals in a safari park. In 2013, the Andaman government promised to open a sea route to the Islands' most popular tourist destinations, which would stop tourists needing to drive through the Jarawa's reserve. The sea route has recently become operational.
          But despite the authorities' commitment to ensuring all tourists would have to use the sea route, very few currently do, and the market in human safaris along the road is flourishing.
          One tour company, Tropical Andamans, states that: 'The Famous Jarawa creek is a lonely planet in itself. It is the dwelling place of the oldest tribes found in these islands. The tribes known as Jarawas, are aloof from the civilized world. They are the wonder of the modern world, for they feed on raw pigs, fruits, and vegetables. They don't speak any language known to general public. Their pitch black skin and red eyes will leave you dazzled in case you happen to meet them.'
          A tourist website, Flywidus, offers a glimpse of 'primitive tribals' to tourists driving through the Jarawa reserve, and another, Holidify, describe the Jarawa as a 'major attraction' and claims that the Jarawa 'love the high of specific drugs, one of it being tobacco.'
          In 2002 India's Supreme Court ordered the road closed, but it has remained open continuously despite pressure from human rights campaigners.
          
Survival International led a global campaign against the human safaris, calling for a boycott of the Andaman tourist industry until they came to an end. Nearly 17,000 people from around the world pledged not to holiday in the islands in protest.
          In a recent statement, the Andaman government said that the road: '…shall remain open for the use of both islanders and the tourists as no decision has been taken by this Administration for closing it down for the tourists. However, the tourists have been advised to avail boat service.'
          The road brings a daily invasion of hundreds of tourists into the heart of the Jarawa reserve. The promotion by tour operators of sightings of the Jarawa is illegal in the islands, but this is not being enforced.
          The UN, India's Minister for Tribal Affairs and members of the European Parliament have all condemned the practice.
          One tourist described his trip: "The journey through tribal reserve was like a safari ride as we were going amidst dense tropical rainforest and looking for wild animals, Jarawa tribals to be specific."
          - The Jarawa, like all recently contacted peoples, face catastrophe unless their land is protected.
          The human safaris are also dangerous – one Jarawa boy lost his arm after tourists threw food at him from a moving vehicle. They sparked global outcry in 2012 after footage emerged of a tourist forcing several Jarawa girls to dance.
          Tribal peoples' land rights have been part of international law for generations. The key to their survival and prosperity is to ensure their land remains under their control.
          

All uncontacted and recently contacted tribal peoples face catastrophe unless their land is protected. Survival International is leading the global fight to secure their land for them, and to give them the chance to determine their own futures.
          Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: "The new sea ferry was supposed to stop tour buses driving through Jarawa land, and so put an end to these dangerous and disgusting human safaris. But the government wants it to be optional which defeats the purpose entirely. Tourist companies are still selling the safaris and profiting from the exploitation of tribal people. Ethical tourists should boycott the islands until this is stopped.'"

"Serial poacher's arrest exposes failure to protect world's most isolated tribe," Survival International, August 3, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11764, " A man has been arrested for the ninth time for poaching sea turtles and illegally entering a tribal reserve in India's Andaman Islands. The islands are home to uncontacted and recently contacted tribes, who could be wiped out if the authorities fail to protect them.
          The man, named by Andaman police as Narayan Roy, and an accomplice, were found with a bag containing a dead sea turtle. Local press has reported that he had previously been released on bail nine times for "entering the Jarawa Tribal Reserve, poaching and exploitation of the tribe."
          The reserve is home to the Jarawa, who have only had contact with the settlers who have lived near their reserve since 1998. They are extremely vulnerable to violence and sexual exploitation from outsiders, diseases to which they have no resistance, and the loss of animals which they hunt to feed their families.
           Although poaching in the reserve carries the penalty of mandatory imprisonment and a fine, Mr. Roy has been repeatedly released. Campaigners are concerned that this shows that the Andaman authorities lack the political will to provide the protection which the Jarawa need.
          Survival International, which has been campaigning for the rights of the tribes in the Andamans for decades, has written to the Andaman authorities urging them to implement their own policies and clamp down on poaching in the tribal reserves.
          As well as the Jarawa, the Andaman Islands are home to the uncontacted Sentinelese tribe, the most isolated tribe in the world. If poaching is allowed to continue similarly unchecked in other parts of the Andamans the very survival of the Sentinelese is also at risk.
          The arrest follows alarming reports suggesting that poachers and illegal fishermen have been getting extremely close to the Sentinelese, who live on nearby North Sentinel Island.
          Officially, India has a "hands-off, eyes-on" policy – protecting the Sentinelese from forced contact but monitoring them, from a distance, to check for problems. However, recent comments from the tribal affairs ministry in New Delhi have raised concerns that a more active approach might be adopted.
          Minister Jural Oram reportedly said: /Today it is not yet clear how many of them are alive. We need to do something otherwise they will become extinct one day… making contact with the Sentinelese still remains a challenge.'
          Uncontacted tribes like the Sentinelese are the most vulnerable people on the planet. They are at risk of being wiped out by violence from outsiders who steal their land and resources, and diseases like flu and measles to which they have no resistance.
          Although the Jarawa have had limited contact with settlers living near their forest for almost twenty years, they remain extremely vulnerable. In 1999 and 2006, the tribe suffered from outbreaks of measles, a disease which has wiped out many tribes worldwide following contact with outsiders.
          There is concern that unless more is done to protect the boundaries of the Jarawa reserve and the seas around North Sentinel Island, and to prosecute those who steal their food, the tribes could face further disasters. These tribes rely entirely on the foods they can hunt and gather from the sea and the forest in order to continue their self-sufficient ways of life.
          
Survival is leading the global fight for uncontacted tribes' rights. The organization launched a film in May 2017 starring actors Sir Mark Rylance and Gillian Anderson, with the aim of spreading the message that uncontacted tribes face catastrophe unless their land is protected.
          

Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: "The Indian government is responsible for ensuring that the Jarawa, Sentinelese and other Andaman tribes can determine their own futures, unmolested by outsiders. They should learn from the dreadful experiences of forced contact that took place under British colonial rule, when whole tribes were wiped out. The Jarawa and Sentinelese must have their land protected, or they face annihilation.'"

"Guard's arrest backs up tribals' claim that many Kaziranga "poachers" were innocent," Survival International, August 10, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11737, " A forest guard in India's notorious "shoot on sight" Kaziranga National Park has been arrested, after an incident that local people say proves their longstanding claim that many people shot as 'poachers' are innocent local people.
          Three villagers, one from the local Mising tribe, have been tortured and beaten by Kaziranga forest officials after selling cattle at a market. They report that officials took their money, beat them, and threatened to shoot them and claim they were poachers caught in the act.
           One of the villagers managed to escape and get help. Subal Bawri, a tribal man, tried to intervene and was also badly beaten. The victims believe that had other villagers not arrived they would have been killed.
          The men have made a formal police complaint against their treatment, and protests have been held by local people. They claim that this is an abuse of the legal immunity guards have been granted, supposedly to help them protect wildlife. One forest guard has been arrested.
          Subal Bawri said: 'I saw the beat officer [forest guard] and two battalion men [from the Assam Forest Protection Force]. The battalion men were holding both the hands of Arshad Ali and the beat officer had a stack of money in one of his hands and a broken bottle in the other and I very distinctly heard him say,' I will murder you with this bottle, take you by the river and shoot you.' Hearing this I got very angry and asked them if they are Gundas [villains]. I also said that the government is giving you this uniform and also spending so much money for you to do your duty in Kaziranaga, have you come here to murder? So this is how you have been framing innocent people as poachers and you are protecting the real ones.' He was subsequently grabbed by the throat and beaten by two officers.
          Witnesses report hearing the guards specifically threaten to shoot two of the men and claim they were poachers.
          
Kaziranga guards have effective immunity from prosecution and are instructed to shoot poaching suspects on sight. 106 people were reportedly killed there in a twenty year period, including a severely disabled tribal man who had wandered over the park's unmarked boundaries.
          The park was the subject of a BBC report, 'Killing for conservation,' after Survival International led a global outcry over the "shoot on sight" policy, and over the shooting of a seven-year-old tribal boy in July 2016. The boy, Akash Orang, is now maimed for life.
           Several Kaziranga park officials have been arrested for involvement in the illegal wildlife trade, despite being employed to protect the endangered one-horned rhinos and tigers which live in the park.
          Survival International is leading the global campaign against abuses in the name of conservation, and in favor of a conservation model that respects tribal peoples' rights.
          Tribal peoples have been dependent on and managed their environments for millennia. They are the best conservationists and guardians of the natural world. In one tiger reserve in southern India where tribal people won the right to stay, tiger numbers have increased at dramatically above the Indian national average.
          Despite this, tribal people face arrest and beating, torture and even death, in the name of conservation.
          Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: 'Incidents like this show the true face of conservation as practiced in places like Kaziranga: horrendous violence and corruption among officials, with tribal people then blamed for harming the environment. It's a con. And it's harming conservation. When will people wake up to the fact that the current conservation model is killing tribal peoples? This sort of horror is not going to protect the rhino or the tiger."
          

"India: Tribal leader dies in police custody – as tribe denounce harassment campaign," Survival International, June 28, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11724, reported, " A leader of a tribe in India, which made headlines around the world when it won a David and Goliath battle against a British mining corporation, has died in police custody – following a violent police campaign of harassment and intimidation against activists.
          Bari Pidikaka of the Dongria Kondh tribe was arrested and detained on his way
back from a protest in October 2015, and died this week.
          The Dongria from central India report systematic 'intimidation, abduction and wrongful incarceration" of their leaders by state police, who they claim are acting to "further the interests" of Vedanta Resources, a British-based mining company.
          Local police also arrested Kuni Sikaka, a 20-year-old Dongria activist and relative of the two most prominent Dongria leaders. She was dragged out of her house at midnight, despite the fact that police had no warrant.
          She was then paraded in front of officials and local media as a "surrendered Maoist [member of an armed resistance group]" despite there being no evidence to support this.
          
Other members of the tribe have also faced brutal harassment. Activist Dasuru Kadraka has been detained without trial for over 12 months. Dongria have been beaten, and tortured with electric wires to force them to stop campaigning for their rights.
          With the support of local officials, Vedanta has previously attempted to pressure the tribe into allowing bauxite mining on their ancestral land in the Niyamgiri Hills. In a historic referendum in 2013, the tribe unanimously rejected the proposal.
          But the Dongria fear that, as long as Vedanta operates its refinery at the foot of the hills, the threat of mining remains. Those detained claim that police demanded that they stop protesting against the mine.
          In an open letter to the President of India, over 100 independent Indian organizations said: 'In the last 2-3 years, several Dongria Kondh youth and elders have been arrested, harassed, and killed, and one has committed suicide after repeated harassment and alleged torture by security forces. In none of these cases have [officials] been able to produce evidence linking them to so-called Maoists.'
          
Dasuru Kadraka said: 'I was arrested and taken to the superintendent of police's office. There I was tortured with my hands tied and electric wires attached to my ears and electric shock given to me, to force me to surrender… and to make me leave the Save Niyamgiri movement. But I refused… The movement is my life, I will never stop protecting the Niyamgiri hills and forests."
          The Dongria Kondh's right to their ancestral land has been recognized in Indian and international law. Survival International led the global campaign to protect their land, and will continue to fight for the Dongria to be allowed to determine their own futures without harassment.
          Survival's Director Stephen Corry said: 'It's now clear that there's a brutal campaign to harass, intimidate and even murder the Dongria Kondh, to weaken their resistance to the exploitation of their land. But the Dongria are absolutely determined to protect the Hills, which not only provide them with food, housing and clothing, but are also the foundation of their identity and sense of belonging.'"

Angelica Rao, "THE NEW VOICES OF NEPAL COMMUNITY RADIO," Cultural Survival, September 2017, https:// www.culturalsurvival.org/publications/cultural-survival-quarterly/new-voices- nepal-community-radio. " Deep in the center of the bustling city of Kathmandu, where life continues amidst the rubble of the 2015 earthquake that shook Nepal to its core, 30 women from 11 different Indigenous communities convened for a radio journalism training this past June led by Cultural Survival, Radio Namobuddha, and Indigenous Media Foundation. In Nepal, a country with 125 caste and ethnic groups, 59 of whom are officially recognized Indigenous groups and 123 spoken languages, Indigenous community radio is the main source of news, education, and information for many Indigenous Peoples.
          However, women's presence in radio has been limited. Workshop participant Sampoda
          

Yangyun, explains: 'The idea is that men are the ones with the knowledge. They read the newspaper, sit in cafes, and have careers. Women are the ones who raise the families and stay at home. It's hard to prove that you are worthy of having your voice heard.'
          Nevertheless , young women are committed to paving the way for Indigenous women in Nepal, who are determined to have their voices heard, and to bring women's issues to the public realm and advocate on behalf of their rights often against the status quo. Over the course of the five-day workshop, participants learned about a vast array of topics ranging from basic journalism and the role of community radio to field reporting, news gathering and news writing, Indigenous women's history in Nepal and the current tragedy of human trafficking, to technical skills such as program formatting, editing, and mixing.
          Sangeeta Lama, an Indigenous woman journalist with more than 25 years' experience in the field, motivated participants with her story of overcoming adversity and rising to the top of the journalism field in Nepal. "People don't get involved in radio because they are pressured to . . . it is a passion, it comes from within," she said. For Indigenous women, there are many barriers to overcome. In Indigenous communities in Nepal, a woman's reputation is placed under fierce scrutiny; something as minor as sitting in a coffee shop to conduct an interview with a male figure can have grave consequences for a woman and her family's reputation.
           In addition to cultural constraints, there are also security concerns for women journalists. Commuting to and from the radio station early in the morning and late at night, conducting interviews with men, and travelling to unsavory places to conduct interviews can be dangerous for women in the field. For Palpal Moktan Tamang, participant from Radio Kairan, these two barriers are often compounded. "It is a very long and potentially dangerous walk to and from the radio [station], so walking with a male colleague is necessary, but it isn't acceptable for women to walk alongside men in public. I try to use the radio to open the minds of the villagers to these realities, but it is difficult," she said. Lama asserts that this career choice is not for the weak willed. "It will take plenty of hard work, plenty of resistance against the status quo and plenty of perseverance and persistence over a long period," she says.
          Luckily there is no lack of will for the women in this group. For many, working in their community stations has been a lifelong aspiration. For Asmita Ghising Tamang, having her own Tamang radio program has been a dream ever since she listened to a local Tamang radio station as a child and was inspired by literature programs in her native language. She was in seventh grade when she first started writing poetry, songs, and stories. "I always knew that I would make a great radio broadcaster, but I just didn't have the skills or the training. Now I know that I can do it. I've already filled out an application at the [station] in my village, and once I'm done here I'll go back and show them my diploma," Tamang said.
          Other participants already have their foot in the door at their local community station, but they dream of making an impact for women in their communities. Satisha Suwal, a young woman who has been working for just over a year at Radio Janasanchar in Bhaktepur, 25 kilometers from Kathmandu, explained that she wants to have a program that is focused solely on women's empowerment. She said wants to see more women standing up for their rights and believes that a program would be a good way of inspiring them to do that: "As a woman, it can be scary to fight for your rights for fear of what society or [your husband] might say, but there are examples of women who are making changes in society. Change is gradual and it must happen at the individual level first. To see change, we must first change ourselves."
          The participants in the workshop are women bringing about just this type of change. They are women who refuse to be limited to traditional roles and believe in their ability to break barriers, using radio as their tool. However, filling the void of professional women journalists available to work in radio is only half the battle. Another challenge is making radio a space that is inclusive of women, not just in the lowest positions, which they typically inhabit, but as journalists, station managers, and members of the governing bodies that make decisions about station programming and policies.
          Although there is a long road to equality for women in community radio in Nepal, four community radio stations funded by Cultural Survival's Community Media Grants Program, took crucial steps to create more inclusive spaces for women in community radio. Radio Kairan, Radio
          

Sumatlung, Radio Likhu, and Radio Namobuddha took part in a two-day workshop aimed at developing policies for gender equality and social inclusion at their community stations. Through it, the women succeeded in attaining short paid maternity leaves, quotas for women's participation in leadership and broadcasting roles, and responses to security issues, among other victories. Roshani Danuwar of Radio Namobuddha pointed out, "It is important to have things written down because then our rights are not left to the whim of whoever the station manager is at the time."
          However, having written policies and women trained in journalism are only the first steps. Sampoda Yangyun, a participant who was accompanied by her 8-year-old son, highlighted how discouraging community radio can be for women. "They said I had a very nice voice, but that as a mother, I don't have the time or the training to do what it takes to be a journalist." She explained that with this training opportunity, she is confident that she will prove that she can do the work, and perhaps the station managers will be willing to give her a shot. Significant changes in gender equality and view on women as journalists need to take place for women to truly succeed, and these women feel confident in their role in playing a key part in this change.
          Sachita Singh Tharu, a new mother who is making her way back to community radio, said, "Women need the guts to break the cycle." Tharu plans to develop an awareness-raising program to make girls realize their power, worth, and rights in society and hopes that through this and initiatives like it, her daughter's generation will no longer face the same barriers. "I of course want my daughter to follow in my footsteps and be a radio journalist as well, but my dream is that she holds a leadership position in the radio.'"

"Suffering of Jumma tribes continues 20 years after peace accord," Durvival International, December 2, 2017, https:// www.survivalinternational.org/news/11873, reported, " On the 20th anniversary of the peace accord between the Jumma tribal peoples and the Bangladesh government, campaigners have raised concerns that successive Bangladeshi administrations have failed to implement this vital agreement, or protect the Jumma.
          
The tribe continue to face endemic violence, land-grabbing and intimidation on their ancestral land in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT). Jumma women and girls are frequently subjected to rape and sexual assault.
          
The Bangladesh government has been moving Bengali settlers onto the lands of the Jumma tribal people for more than 60 years. The Jummas have gone from being practically the sole inhabitants of the Hill Tracts to now being outnumbered by settlers.
          In June this year, at least 250 houses belonging to Jummas were burnt to the ground by Bengali settlers. An elderly woman, Guna Mala Chakma, was trapped in her home and burned to death
.
          Eyewitnesses report that army and police personnel stood by and did nothing as settlers set fire to Jumma houses and shops in three different villages.
          On 2 December 1997 the government and the Jummas signed a peace accord that committed the government to removing military camps from the region and to ending the theft of Jumma land by settlers and the army.
          The accord offered hope, but twenty years on military camps remain in the Hill Tracts and violence and land grabbing continue unabated."

Austin Ramzy, "More Than 70 Killed in Fighting in Western Myanmar," The New York Times, August 25, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/25/world/asia/myanmar-rakhine-killed-kofi- annan.html, " More than 70 people were killed on Friday in clashes between militants and security forces in Rakhine State in western Myanmar, which outside observers called a worrying upsurge of violence in the troubled region.
          The dead included at least 12 members of the security forces and at least 59 Rohingya insurgents, according to a statement from the office of Myanmar's de facto leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Myanmar's armed forces said the militants used knives, small arms and explosives in coordinated early-morning attacks on several police and military posts around Buthidaung and Maungdaw, near Myanmar's border with Bangladesh."
          

The late August fighting led to atleast another 18,500 Rohigya fleeing eastern Myanmar into Banfladesh (Megan Specia, "Violence in Myanmar Pushes at Least 18,500 Rohingya Into Bangladesh," The New York Times, August 30, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/08/30/world/asia/myanmar- rohingya-flee-bangladesh.html).
          Hannah Beech and Austin Mamzy, "Refugees' Flight and Land Mines Spur Bangladesh Protest to Myanmar," The New York Times, September 6, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/09/06/world/americas/bangladesh-rohingya-land- mines.html, reported, " Bangladesh on Wednesday protested the huge influx of people fleeing violence in Myanmar and raised concerns with Myanmar's government about reports that its military was placing land mines along the countries' shared border."
          Bangladesh 'demanded immediate measures from Myanmar to de-escalate the ongoing violence
,' according to a statement from the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry."
          Those fleeing are almost all Rohingya, a Muslim minority long persecuted and denied citizenship rights in largely Buddhist Myanmar. Attacks against police stations and a military base, August 25, 2017, by a Rohingya militia group, in response to harsh treatment of the Rohingya living near the Bangladesh border, were met by the military and mobs of ethnic Rakhine torching Rohingya villages shooting at fleeing residents. More than 146,000 Rohingya have fled the current violence, joining some 400,000 who previously fled to Bangledesh.
           Numerous Muslim nations, as well as human rights groups, have protested the anti- Rohingya actions by the Myanmar military and by some of the country's civilians.

ICG, The Rakhine State Danger to Myanmar's Transition," Asia/Statement, September 8, 2017, https:// www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-east-asia/myanmar/rakhine-state-danger-myanmars-transition, commented, " The violence since 25 August that has driven 270,000 Rohingya civilians over Myanmar's border into Bangladesh is not just causing a humanitarian catastrophe. It is also driving up the risks that the country's five-year-old transition from military rule will stumble, that Rohingya communities will be radicalised, and that regional stability will be weakened.
          
Since 2012, the International Crisis Group repeatedly has warned that, if left unresolved, Rakhine State's volatile dynamics pose a major risk to Myanmar's transition. If dealt with primarily through a heavy-handed, indiscriminate security response, rather than in the framework of a political strategy, the dangers were clearly set to become far worse. The events of recent weeks are not just causing enormous suffering to civilians, but bring Myanmar precipitously close to just such an unraveling of much that has been achieved since the end of military rule.
          The 25 August attacks on Myanmar security forces by the militant group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), also known as Harakah al-Yaqin, which the government has designated a terrorist group, undoubtedly were intended as a provocation. Neither these attacks nor the reported killing of non-Rohingya civilians, at least some of which are undoubtedly the work of the group, are excusable, no matter what political agenda they claim to represent. Any government has the responsibility to defend itself and the people living in the country. At the same time, such government security responses need to be proportionate and not target civilians.
          
It is extremely difficult to verify the numerous reports of atrocities amid the confusion and chaos, and very limited access for media and humanitarian agencies. Yet even if specific allegations cannot be proven, the scale of the crisis is clear. The 270,000 Rohingya who have fled in the last two weeks to the Bangladesh-Myanmar border and across are telling, both in terms of their numbers and the accounts they bring. The vast majority of these people, mostly women and children, are unlikely to be militants. Along with some 87,500 who fled a previous upsurge in violence in October 2016, nearly half of Myanmar's estimated one million Rohingya may now have been forced from their homes.
          
It may indeed be difficult for the government to distinguish between ARSA members and other Rohingya. The events of last year and recent weeks, particularly the heavy handed military response in the wake of the October 2016 and August 2017 attacks, appear to have promoted a sense among Rohingya that a general uprising is underway. But operationally challenging as this is, it cannot be an excuse for military action against the general population. By doing so, the
          

military will not quell the crisis, but rather play straight into the hands of ARSA by increasing the sense of grievance and hopelessness.
          It is similarly vital to treat with utmost caution claims that the current crisis is being fueled by militants with transnational jihadist aims. Rohingya communities have not typically been radicalized in this fashion and there are no indications that ARSA has been pursuing goals congruent with those of global jihadist outfits. While there may be domestic political imperatives or gains to be had for politicians in the region to make these claims, doing so is deeply dangerous. If the Myanmar government chooses to continue a massive military response against the general population, even if parts of this population may be sympathetic to ARSA, or publicly to treat the violence as the work of jihadists, it risks creating conditions for the entrenchment or rise of those very same dynamics. An alienated, desperate and dispossessed population that is shunned by the country it claims as its home and by neighbors is ripe for exploitation by such groups and may believe it has little to lose if it were to turn to violence. The risks to those who live
          in Myanmar, the country's transition and regional stability are considerable.
          There is no military solution to the crisis in Rakhine state. The Myanmar government will find no success, only long term violence and crisis, if it uses the presence of militants and the growth of some sympathy for them, as an excuse to address in an extreme manner the long- standing challenges of Rakhine state. The path to stability lies in dealing head on with the fears, claims and desires of all groups in the state, Rakhine, Rohingya and other minorities. This political path is difficult and will require compromises many may find distasteful. But taking this road is the only way to reduce the risks of serious violence, more displacement and greater human misery."

ICG, "Building Critical Mass for Peace in Myanmar," Asia Reported 287, June 29, 2017, ttps:// www.crisisgroup.org/asia/south-east-asia/myanmar/287-building-critical-mass-peace-myanmar, commented, " Despite important progress at the 24-29 May 2017 round of peace talks, the path toward a negotiated end to Myanmar's conflicts remains fraught with difficulties. All sides must redouble their engagement to broaden armed groups' participation in the talks, and improve the implementation of the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement.
          
Executive Summary
           Myanmar's latest peace conference, held on 24-29 May 2017, made welcome progress. Following a deal brokered by China on the eve of the meeting, more armed groups came to Naypyitaw than expected. On the final day, they agreed on 37 "principles" for a future peace accord, including a key provision that the state will be a federal democracy. Yet despite these steps forward, fundamental questions remain regarding where the peace process is heading and how many armed groups are ready to participate. Without new momentum and broader participation, a negotiated end to the conflict will remain elusive.
          Until just days before the conference, the dynamics appeared much bleaker. The event had been delayed by three months as the government struggled to convince more armed groups to sign the Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA). Only a few of the planned subnational preparatory dialogues had been held, and others – involving the Shan and Rakhine armed groups – had been blocked by the authorities, adding to frustration. In a further setback, in April the powerful United Wa State Party (UWSP) convened a summit of seven north-east-based armed groups. They issued a statement rejecting the current National Ceasefire Agreement text – an accord signed in 2015 by eight armed groups and the government that paved the way for political talks – and announcing a new alliance, the Federal Political Negotiation and Consultative Committee (FPNCC, "Wa alliance"). A deadlock appeared inevitable since the government and military continued to insist that only by signing the existing ceasefire agreement could armed groups join the peace process.
          What would have been a high-profile failure of Aung San Suu Kyi's signature initiative was only avoided through Beijing's last-minute shuttle diplomacy. After obtaining concessions from the Myanmar government and military, a Chinese envoy convinced representatives of the seven north- eastern armed groups to attend the conference. As a result, fifteen of 21 armed groups were present for the opening – the eight that signed the ceasefire agreement and the seven in the new Wa alliance – a
          

symbolically important win for the government. Beyond symbolism, this also set an important precedent by allowing three previously-excluded groups – the Kokang, Palaung and Arakan armies – to join negotiations. It also could open up new channels of communication with groups in the Wa alliance.
          Yet progress should not be overstated. The Wa alliance groups attended the opening session and dinner but were not permitted to participate in substantive sessions and returned to Kunming two days before the end of the conference. They remain unwilling to sign the current ceasefire agreement and the government remains unwilling to revise it. It is unclear how much appetite there is on all sides for concessions needed to bring these groups into the peace process.
          Discussions with the armed groups that signed the ceasefire agreement also were far from smooth. Key 'principles' related to self-determination and the possibility for states to have their own constitutions within a future federal structure could not be agreed as groups opposed the quid pro quo requirement that they reject any possibility of secession. This failure to achieve what should have been an acceptable compromise – state constitutions are a longstanding demand of ethnic communities and no group wishes to secede – highlighted deficiencies in the process and lack of trust. Furthermore, the principles that were agreed were pushed through the plenary without discussion.
          
With its last-minute intervention, China has assumed a high-profile role in the process. But the extent of its commitment remains unclear and its interests do not necessarily align with those of a robust peace process. If it stays focused only on delivering symbolic wins at critical moments, little may change. But if China is determined to see sustainable peace on its border, it can use its considerable leverage as well as sophisticated diplomacy and mediation to push all sides to compromise."

Nick Cumming-Bruce, "Myanmar's Rohingya Actions May Be Genocide, U.N. Official Says," The New York Times, December 5, 2017, https:// www.nytimes.com/2017/12/05/world/asia/myanmar- rohingya-genocide-un.html&_r=0, reported,
          "Myanmar came under renewed international pressure on Tuesday for its treatment of Rohingya Muslims as United Nations officials said it should be investigated for crimes against humanity and possibly genocide by security forces.
          
The country's security forces "deliberately and massively targeted civilians" in operations that drove more than 626,000 Rohingya, half the population of Rakhine State, into neighboring Bangladesh, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, told a special session of the Human Rights Council that convened in Geneva on Tuesday."


          Fortify Rights, "Thailand: Government Officials Convicted of Human Trafficking, Organized Crime: Verdicts delivered in Thailand's largest human trafficking trial," July 20, 2017, http://www.fortifyrights.org/donate.html?ct=t(Thailand_Senior_Officials_Convicted_of_H7_20_2017
          )&mc_cid=7c72b51b11&mc_eid=24e6ca1455, reported, "Criminal Court in Thailand yesterday sentenced 62 defendants, including senior government officials, to up to 94 years' imprisonment for crimes including trafficking and murdering Rohingya refugees from Myanmar and Bangladeshis in 2015. These verdicts mark a step forward for Thailand's efforts to combat human trafficking, but authorities should reopen the investigation into the trafficking of tens of thousands of Rohingya and Bangladeshis from 2012 to 2015, said Fortify Rights."

Ruth Aby Gita, "NYC chair urges gov't protect 'peace zones'," SunStar Manila, August 15, 2017, http://www.sunstar.com.ph/manila/local-news/2017/08/15/nyc-chair-urges-govt-protect-peace- zones-558583, reported, " The chairperson of the National Youth Commission (NYC) on Tuesday appealed to the military and other groups involved in the conflict in Mindanao to treat schools, including Lumad schools, as zones of peace. 'The youth, along with other vulnerable and marginalized sectors, must be protected. Peace zones, including schools, hospitals, and religious structures must be free from the presence of state or non-state armed groups,' NYC chair Aiza
          

Seguerra told reporters in Malacañang . Seguerra's statement came after President Rodrigo Duterte said last month that he would order the police and the military to bomb the schools of the indigenous peoples, which have been used to 'hate government and eventually go to war.' In July, Duterte warned of bombing Lumads' 'illegal learning institutions' that continue to operate even without the clearance or permit of the government."

Jacqueline Williams, "Australia to Ban Climbing on Uluru, a Site Sacred to Indigenous People," The New York Times, November 1, 2017, http://www.nytimes.com/pages/todayspaper/index.html, reported that, "board members of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, which manages the popular site also known as Ayers Rock, a sacred site to the Anangu people who call it Uluru, banned climbing on the site beginning in 2019."

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