President Obama had a busy week last week, and this included some major news for outdoor conservation. Here are the news headlines and stories from the outdoors from last week.
Bristol Bay supports one of the world's most productive and well managed salmon fisheries. Rather than provide for temporary restrictions on oil and gas exploration in the area, President Obama has created an indefinite restriction. The area, comprising 52,000 square miles of water, is north of the Alaska Peninsula and roughly the size of Florida.
On a recurring basis, scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration count mammals and other marine life found in the waters off the U.S. West Coast. In this year's count, a number of species were found much farther north than normally encountered. This includes a pygmy killer whale, a marine mammal never before seen north of Mexico. Many aquatic bird species also ventured farther north than usual. Higher than normal ocean temperatures are behind the northern encounters.
In all corners of the U.S. West, Native American tribes played a pivotal role in environmental issues. This summary from High Country News covers just a few of the issues that have impacted tribal areas and where tribes have wielded their influence.
The President had a news-filled end-of-the-year press conference last Friday. One of the topics he covered was the Keystone XL pipeline, and for the first time he indicated that he sees little benefit for the United States by approving its construction. The Republican controlled House and Senate are expected to approve the pipeline next year, and at this point it is unclear if President Obama will veto it.