Previous Legal and Political News

Women scientists: “We’re not backing down, and we’re not going away” 01-29-17

It started as a group text message among four friends from graduate school about new kids, puppies, and jobs. You know, the successes and struggles that are the building blocks of everyday life. Read more on Grist


Trump’s War on Science Sparks Massive Resistance 01-26-17

The Trump-Pence Administration’s war on facts may have galvanized the next major demonstration in the nation’s capital—the Scientists’ March on Washington, which is as yet unscheduled but is garnering significant enthusiasm online. Read more on EcoWatch


Beginning of a Movement 01-23-17

Tens of thousands of students and academics join Women’s March on Washington. Read more on Inside Higher Ed


At the Women’s March, a call for climate protection, too 01-22-17

Amid a sea of signs and pink hats, plenty of people also marched for environment and climate science. Read more at The Daily Climate


The Most Dangerous Bill You’ve Never Heard of Just Passed the House 01-10-17

Last, week, under the cover of a media bliss-out except among Koch funded right-wing channels, the House of Representatives passed a bill which would effectively repeal future standard setting under every important environmental, public health, consumer protection, labor standards, occupational safety and civil rights law on the books. Read more on EcoWatch


Trump EPA Nominee Scott Pruitt Would Trash Air And Water Safeguards 01-03-17

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has sued the Environmental Protection Agency more than a dozen times to block air, water and climate protections. Read more on Huffington Post


Elections Expert Says North Carolina is No Longer A Democracy 12-23-16

Andrew Reynolds, an adviser with the Harvard-based Electoral Integrity Project (EIP), has observed elections across the world — from Afghanistan to Burma, Egypt to Sudan. Read more on Grist


EPA Turns Away from CAFO Water Pollution 12-22-16

Inspections and enforcement have declined since 2011, but fines for all pollution increased. Read more on Circle of Blue


Leaked Transition Team Memo Outlines Trump’s Catastrophic Energy Agenda 12-8-16

A memo obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy outlining Donald Trump’s energy agenda for when he takes Office next January has revealed the full extent to which Donald Trump is going to lay waste to America’s climate record and clean energy industry. Read more on Cleantechnica


The dirty deplorables: Who’s who on Trump’s team 12-9-16

What do Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees and advisors think about climate change and other sustainability issues? As you would expect, it’s not looking good so far for those of us concerned about a habitable climate and livable cities. Read more on Grist


Fighting a pipeline in the age of Trump 11-18-16

Politics and property rights take center stage as Mid-Atlantic pipeline opponents strategize post-election. Read more on The Daily Climate


Trump and his key advisors stand to profit from the Dakota Access Pipeline 11-15-16

Trump has personally invested between $500,000 and $1 million in Energy Transfer Partners — the very same company that’s constructing the pipeline. Read more on Grist


These Are The Protesters Fighting For Their Rights At Standing Rock 11-24-16

For the past seven months, members of the Sioux Nation at Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota have been fighting for their way of life by protesting the planned construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Read more on Huffington Post


What It Means To Be A Writer In The Time Of Trump 11-17-16

Ernest Hemingway said, “The writer’s job is to tell the truth.” Read more on Huffington Post


Exclusive: EPA’s top official commits to doing right by communities of color 10-27-16

The fundamental facts of environmental justice — that communities of color face disproportionately higher rates of pollution — have been known for decades. It’s been more than 20 years, for instance, since President Bill Clinton signed an executive order directing federal agencies to provide environmental protection for poor and minority communities. Read more on Grist


Citing Environmental Risks, Scientists Back Tribes in Dakota Access Fight 10-15-16

Close to 100 scientists have signed onto a letter decrying “inadequate environmental and cultural impact assessments” for the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), and calling for a halt to construction until such tests have been carried out as requested by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. Read more on Common Dreams


U.S. companies tout climate policies, fund climate skeptics 9-16-16

U.S. companies that have expressed the most fervent public support for President Barack Obama’s environmental agenda are also funding its biggest enemies – the scores of U.S. lawmakers who are climate change skeptics and oppose regulation to combat it, according to a Reuters review of public records. Read more on Reuters


What a liberal sociologist learned from spending five years in Trump’s America 9-6-16

Five years ago, right as the Tea Party was becoming a major force in American politics, Arlie Russell Hochschild realized she didn’t really know any conservative Republicans. Ensconced in her liberal outpost at the University of California, Berkeley, the famed sociologist understood little about the lives or beliefs of a huge swath of the country. Read more on Vox Energy & Environment


EPA Won’t Investigate Scientist Accused of Underestimating Methane Leaks 8-12-16

Environmental advocates accused former EPA adviser of scientific fraud in study of oil and gas facilities, but agency’s Inspector General declines to investigate. Read more on Inside Climate Change


Supreme Court Is About To Get A Good Look At How North Carolina Messes With Voting Rules 8-18-16

The state’s Republican Party is making tweaks to early voting, and the justices will know all about it.

An appeals court in July said that North Carolina’s voter ID law and similar provisions targeted black voters “with almost surgical precision.”  Read more on Huffington Post


Lawmakers Fund New Policy Center at UNC 8-10-16

A new policy center being set up to take a lead research role in a legislative effort to revise state water pollution rules has environmentalists on alert and UNC-Chapel Hill officials moving quickly to hire staff and begin work. Read more on Coastal Review Online


Commentary: To tax or not to tax—that is the question 7-18-16

Flawed models, downplayed risk and uncertainty—why we need to pump the brakes on carbon tax clamoring and ask the hard questions

As in most things, the devil is in the details. Read more on The Daily Climate


Election Guide 2016 – We’re here to make sense of an election that doesn’t 7-18-16

In the United States, presidential elections get all the attention (especially when reality TV stars are topping national tickets). Regrettably, that means they also tend to dictate which issues hog the spotlight — and sustainability too often gets the shaft. Read more on Grist


Hanford union blackballed for insisting on safety 7-7-16

At the most contaminated worksite in America – the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland – observers could assume workers don every necessary protective device, including breathing masks similar to what firefighters use. Read more on NBC King 5 Western Washington


Sanders and Clinton teams fight over climate language in Democratic platform 6-28-16

The Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee has written a stronger climate change section than the platform had in 2012, but it also rejected a series of more ambitious climate and energy amendments on Friday. That’s raised the ire of Bernie Sanders and his appointees to the drafting committee, like climate activist and author Bill McKibben. Read more on Grist


When the oil boom went bust, Oklahoma protected drillers and squeezed schools 5-17-16

Oilmen won a big victory when legislators made permanent one of the juiciest tax breaks in the United States. Schools, meanwhile, are having to cut classes, administrators and teachers to make up a growing revenue shortfall. …Full article


Many Davids Beat Goliath 3-24-16

Eight years ago a business lobbyist who had formerly worked for then Gov. Mike Easley called just as I was leaving the office for the day. He said he wanted to give me a “heads-up” that a major new industry was about to announce plans to locate in Wilmington, and that it would be a wonderful economic stimulus for southeastern N.C. He assured me that the company would be a good coastal steward, and encouraged the N.C. Coastal Federation to welcome the project …Full article


Scalia’s Death Means Obama’s Clean Power Plan is More Likely to Succeed 2-14-16

Three weeks ago, after the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit denied motions to stay the EPA’s Clean Power Plan there was cautious optimism about what that decision signaled for the future of the historic climate rule. For the first time in U.S. history, the Supreme Court setpped in to stay a regulation that was still being reviewed by the lower court …Full article


Banning Fracking Isn’t Enough: How We Fight to Stop Pipelines, Compressor Stations and Gas Plants 1-15-16

Hundreds of climate activists and renewable energy advocates gathered for a State of the Climate rally and march outside of Gov. Cuomo’s State of the State address in Albany recently. Along with the petition scroll, the groups also delivered more than 500 letters to Gov. Cuomo’s office …Full article


Congressmen Urge Halt to Seismic Permitting 1-6-16

39 members of Congress, including Republican Rep. Walter B. Jones of coastal NC, signed a letter in December expressing deep concerns about the use of seismic air guns for oil exploration off the …Full article


Environmental Justice Scores A Win in California Carbon Policy 12-7-15

The cap part of California’s cap-and-trade program gets a lot of love. It place hard limit on emissions, which benefits everyone. The trace part, however, has its detractors—and with good reason. Plenty of communities in the state, largely communities of color, still suffer from disproportionate pollution. In short, a log of the good that’s created for by by the cap is negated for some people by the trade …Full article


EPA Warns State on Permit Cases 11-12-15

An official with the Environment Protection Agency has put North Carolina’s environment secretary on notice regarding two recent pollution permit cases facing public challenges: Decisions in the cases may affect the state’s authority to issue water and air quality permits int he future …Full article


Cuomo Adminstration Blocks Massive Tar Sands Oil Facilty Expansion in Albany 5-21-15

In the face of a court challenge from a broad coalition of environmental and community groups and massive community opposition, the Dept. of Environment Conservation halted Global Companies’ proposed expansion of its massive Albany oil train facility to handle tar sands oil. The expansion would have allowed Global to pump tar sands oil out of railcars, store and heat it in storage tanks on-site at the Port of Albany, and transfer the oil onto barges for transport down to the Hudson River to East Coast refineries …Full article


As Opposition to Offshore Drilling Mounts, Activists to Join “Hands Across the Sand” for Annual International Day of Action 5-14-15

Ocean activists kicked off the 5th Annual Hand Across the Sand International Day of Action, by joining hands in front of the Capitol Reflecting Pool in a symbolic gesture to oppose the expansion of offshore drilling to the Atlantic and Arctic oceans …more


Protesters to Join Hands Against Oil and Coal 5-11-15

North Carolinians will take 15 minutes Saturday to join hands with strangers in a peaceful demonstration against fossil fuels. The event, known as Hands Across the Sand, will take place in different states and countries around the world. “What it does is it creates an amazing, powerful image,” said Dede Shelton, executive director of Hands Across the Sand. “We send this image to elected officials so they see people won’t want this to happen” …Full article


This is Not My State 4-17-15

This speech, by Derb Carter, Director of the Southern Environmental Law Center, focuses on the damage being inflicted on North Carolina’s environment by the state’s General Assembly and current state administration. Budget cuts, the repeal of longstanding legislation and sweetheart deals with polluters have all contributed to increasing damage to North Carolina’s beautiful mountains, coast, rivers and natural areas …more


19 Students Arrested by Yale Police at Fossil Fuel Divestment Sit-In 4-10-15

Nineteen Yale students were arrested by Yale police yesterday following a day-long sit-in that called for the university to reopen the conversation on fossil fuel divestment. Yale is one of the first schools where a fossil fuel divestment action has led to arrest. “Yale would rather arrest its students than re-engage in the conversation” said Fossil Free Yale Project Manager Mitch Barrows …Full article


Drought Stricken California Exempts Big Oil and Big Ag From Mandatory Restrictions 4-2-15

An April snowpack assessment in California, which set an all-time record for lowest snowpack levels in the state’s history, finally spurred governor Brown’s office to issue an executive order to residents and non-agricultural businesses to cut water use by 25% in the first mandatory statewide reduction in the state’s history. Some groups have been exempted from the water restrictions, specifically big agriculture which uses about 80% of Caiifornia’s water, and oil companies …Full article


New Fracking Rules on Public Lands ‘A Giveaway to Oil and Gas Industry,’ Advocates Say 3-20-15

The new rules are released following a 4-year process that included more than 1.5 million public comments. The Bureau of Land Management claimed they would “support safe and responsible hydraulic fracking on public and American Indian lands.” Drilling has been occuring on federal lands for years with more than 100,000 wells in existence. However, following the fracking book of the last 2 decades, more than 90% of new drilling operations involve that process, evading the regulations of 30 years ago …Full article


U.S. Interior Department Plan: Open Atlantic Coast to Offshore Drilling 1-27-15

The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management’s new five-year offshore drilling strategy calls for opening the offshore stretch from Virginia to Georgia, an area the energy industry says could hold large amounts of oil and gas. The Obama administration proposes an unprecedented opening of the waters off the Atlantic coast for oil and natural gas drilling …Full article