June 12, 2024

News That Didn’t Make the Headlines

News That Didn’t Make the Headlines: Public Lands and Ticketmaster Antitrust

Public Lands

The Biden-Harris Administration joined the 30x30 international effort to protect 30% of Earth’s surface by 2030. This effort is guided by core principles: relying on science and honoring tribal sovereignty, while supporting the priorities of Tribal Nations. The Biden-Harris Administration, like most Democratic administrations, has its share of scientists. But unlike past Democrats, in response to grassroots pressure from Native leaders, Biden and Harris have placed Indigenous leaders in key land-stewardship roles. Over fierce Republican opposition

Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, an enrolled Laguna Pueblo Tribe member, was confirmed to the powerful post previously held by Republican anti-environmentalists like James Watt and Ryan Zinke.

According to American Progress: “In 2023 alone, the Department of the Interior protected more than 12.5 million acres of public lands as national monuments, mineral withdrawals, wildlife refuges, and more—safeguarding nearly the same amount of lands in 2023 as during the administration’s first two years. Combined, all these areas would be about the size of Virginia.”

Another historic first is the appointment of the appointment of the National Park Service’s Director, Charles Sams III, an enrolled member of the Cayuse and Walla Walla Tribes. These Indigenous leaders, buoyed by the success of an Obama-era program to buy millions of acres of land shares from individuals and return ownership to tribal trusts, have accelerated the work between states, landowners, and Tribes to return stewardship of biodiverse land back to Tribal Nations. This includes a recent historic agreement addressing the land theft during the 1800s Gold Rush. 

The agreement returns control of the ‘O Rew redwood forest land back to the Yurok Tribe and moves to return 30,000 acres of land surrounding the Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument, named by President Obama in 2016, to the Penobscot Tribe.

To meet the 30x30 goals, Biden has swiftly created and expanded national monuments, with several more large designations in the works this term, closely following Native leaders’ demands. This is a welcome change after President Trump shrunk the Bears Ears and the Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments’ footprints by 85% and 50%, respectively, in a legally questionable move sought by mining companies. (Biden restored these monuments, saying, “This may be the easiest thing I’ve ever done as president.”)

After the far-right and scientifically illiterate US Supreme Court blew a giant hole in the Clean Water Act, exposing millions of acres of wetlands (those lacking “continuous surface connections” to protected bodies of water) to pollution, development, and grazing, the Biden-Harris Administration has pledged to protect 8 million acres of such wetlands. The administration also plans to reorient US policy away from the destruction of wetlands towards a massive increase in these vital carbon sinks.

A Democratic trifecta is urgently needed, however, to appropriate new funds to adequately protect these lands.


Last month, Taylor Swift visited La Defense Arena for four concerts; the Democrats Abroad France Youth Caucus was outside, reaching some of the 94.2% of Americans in France who did not vote in the last presidential election. As we enter our voter-registration era, however, the Biden-Harris Administration continues to define a new post-neoliberal era for economic policy, one that brings workers rights and antitrust enforcement together. This means going after concentrated private economic power, including the Ticketmaster monopoly. In the lawsuit filed against Ticketmaster-Live Nation, head of antitrust enforcement for the Department of Justice, Jonathan Kanter, explains the “flywheel” effect, whereby Ticketmaster’s high profit margins on obscene ticketing fees gives its concert promotion the power to lock in artists and venues, further empowering the company to charge junk fees. This monopoly is able to use thuggish tactics to attack competitors and wring fan dollars from musicians’ pockets; it’s gotten to the point that most musicians lose money on tour. Kanter is intent on holding not just big corporations but their executives accountable for illegal competition practices.