Previous Legal and Political News 2016

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 PipelineRead 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