It was not a subtle change.
Changes are hitting plenty of federal websites under the new administration of US president Donald Trump, but the latest may be the most flamboyantly literal display of shifting priorities yet: The banner image on the Bureau of Land Management’s website was changed last week from a photograph of a man and a boy exploring a scenic bluff to a giant wall of coal.
Here’s what the page looked like before the change:
The BLM manages more than a quarter-billion acres of the nation’s federal lands—stunning natural landscapes and tracts of wilderness, frequented by hikers and home to wildlife. It also manages 700 million acres of “subsurface mineral estate” below that land—and leases a mixture of both to fossil fuel companies. Under the Obama administration, the BLM stopped leasing any new federal land to coal-mining companies, though it continued leasing land for oil and natural gas production. But Trump lifted the ban on new coal leases in March, and that month, the US issued a lease to the Canyon Fuel Company to mine 56 million tons of coal on federal land in Utah.
BLM spokesperson Megan Crandall said in an email Friday that the new banner image is part of the agency’s “transition to a new website design,” and that the agency intends to rotate the image once a week, to highlight all aspects of BLM programs. “Tomorrow, the second photo in our rotation will be posted, reflecting recreation on public lands.”
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