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Weekly Environmental Updates
Donald Trump has signed the presidential permit allowing construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline, pronouncing it "a new era of American energy policy". The project still needs a permit from the state of Nebraska and activist groups opposed to the pipeline vow to continue their fight. Trump reportedly seemed surprised upon hearing that the pipeline will be 900 miles long, exclaiming "Wow" when reading the statement at the signing.
The Senate has approved the rollback of hunting restrictions on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The move allows hunters to kill bears and wolves while near their dens or cubs and engage in various other practices such as live trapping and baiting as well as aerial hunting. Opponents of the repeal allege that it amounts to slaughter rather than hunting and term it "brutal".
Wildly fluctuating weather has affected the cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., with more than half perishing in the unseasonably freezing temperatures of March. Warmer than average February temperatures encouraged abundant blossoming, but the ensuing cold snap left the trees in various stages of bloom, including visible florets, slightly damaged blossoms and dead and dying. Follow the above link for pictures of the trees along the Tidal Basin.
The biotechnology group Revive and Restore is working to bring back extinct species such as the wooly mammoth, the passenger pigeon, and the heath hen through genetic engineering. Some conservationists argue that the funds used to resurrect extinct animals should be used to prevent future extinctions. Revive and Restore insists that it strictly assesses its de-extinction projects to insure that they are consistent with preserving existing biodiversity.
A relic tree dating back to the age of the dinosaurs 90 million years ago and long thought extinct is alive and well at the University of Wisconsin-Madison thanks to National Geographic, which has made a limited number available in the U.S. Discovered by a bushwalker in an Australian national park in 1994, the Wollemi Pine numbers only 100 in the wilds of Australia. The public can view the tree in the UW-Madison botany greenhouse.
Roman Hills