Previous Legal and Political News 2019

Science Panel Staffed With Trump Appointees Says E.P.A. Rollbacks Lack Scientific Rigor 12-31-19

A top panel of government-appointed scientists said three of Trump’s most far-reaching and scrutinized proposals to weaken major environmental regulations are at odds with established science. Read more at The Washington Post

US Court Upholds Ruling on Vast Marine Monument Established by Obama 12-31-19

Defenders of ocean habitats celebrated Friday after a federal court upheld a lower court ruling defending the right of the U.S. executive branch to set aside marine areas as national monuments. Read more at EcoWatch

Forests and Climate Big Losers in 2020 Federal Spending Package 12-19-19

Using satellite data, scientists have confirmed that a 2018 blowout turned a natural gas well in Ohio into a “super-emitter,” leaking more methane in 20 days than all but three European nations emit over an entire year. Read more at RCC

RCC Leads Climate Comments to U.S. House 12-19-19

In three parts, this memorandum identifies the key climate threats posed by continued mismanagement of US forests, policies responsive to those threats, and steps needed to implement the policies. Read more at RCC

UNC Asheville Fossil Fuel Divestment: Four Years of Action 12-18-19

In 2016, UNCA Divest was able to meet with members of the UNC Asheville Endowment Investment Committee and the Board of Trustees to present the case for divestment. Read more at RCC

‘Our War Against Nature Must Stop’: UN Secretary General Launches COP25 With Urgent Call for Climate Action 12-02-19

COP25, the UN Climate Change Conference, begins today in Madrid, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres wants everyone to know the stakes are high. Read more at EcoWatch

At a Protest in Arizona, Border Communities Are Fighting Trump’s Wall 11-24-19

“This is a human tragedy and an ecological tragedy.”

On a Saturday morning in early November, Edwina Vogan and a few of her friends drove over two hours from the Phoenix suburbs to southern Arizona to protest new wall construction at the US-Mexico border. Read more at Mother Jones

FBI eyes how Pennsylvania approved pipeline 11-12-19

The FBI has begun a corruption investigation into how Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration came to issue permits for construction on a multibillion-dollar pipeline project. Read more at Associated Press

E.P.A. to Limit Science Used to Write Public Health Rules 11-11-19

The Trump administration is preparing to significantly limit the scientific and medical research that the government can use to determine public health regulations, overriding protests from scientists and physicians who say the new rule would undermine the scientific underpinnings of government policymaking. Read more at The New York Times

Trump Interior nominee fast-tracked a ‘deficient’ drilling permit 11-04-19

In March 2017, a politically connected oil firm called Cimarex Energy Co. was in a hurry to begin fracking on a flat expanse of farmland in the western Oklahoma oil patch. Read more at Reveal

White House Pressed Car Makers to Join Its Fight Over California Emissions Rules 10-30-19

Monday’s surprise move by General Motors, Toyota and other auto giants to back President Trump in his fight with California over pollution rules came after days of White House pressure to support one of the administration’s biggest efforts to weaken climate regulations. Read more at The Washington Post

House Democrats set to introduce first-of-its-kind climate refugee bill 10-26-19

House Democrats are set to introduce the first major piece of legislation to establish protections for migrants displaced by climate change, ramping up a push for a long-overdue framework for how the United States should respond to a crisis already unfolding on its shores. Read more at Grist

The Student Vote Is Surging. So Are Efforts to Suppress It. 10-24-19

The share of college students casting ballots doubled from 2014 to 2018, a potential boon to Democrats. But in Texas and elsewhere, Republicans are erecting roadblocks to the polls. Read more at The Boston Globe

Peter Dykstra: Spoiling “America’s Best Idea” 10-20-19

The bipartisan neglect of our National Parks Read more at Environmental Health News

Bipartisan Report Says Trump’s Abuse Has Pushed Federal Science to a ‘Crisis’ 10-03-19

All presidents over the past two decades have nudged science to support their policies, but a report out of N.Y.U. said the Trump administration has driven federal science to a “crisis point.” Read more at The New York Times

The EPA fired these air pollution scientists. They’re meeting anyway. 09-28-19

An advisory panel of air pollution scientists disbanded by the Trump administration plans to continue their work with or without the U.S. government. Read more at Grist

September Climate Strikes 09-25-19

Over the weekend, climate strikes swept across the nation as activists sought to apply pressure on world leaders gathering in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly. Read more at RCC

Why California Is Standing Firm Against Trump on Auto Emissions 09-16-19

In an e360 interview, Mary Nichols, the long-time chair of the California Air Resources Board, talks about California’s continued efforts to stop the Trump administration’s rollback of stricter fuel efficiency standards, and why the auto industry is largely on its side. Read more at Yale Environment 360 

Trump Admin Goes After States for Protecting the Environment 09-09-19

The Trump administration has been on a collision course with California, and it appears that collision is imminent. An administrative action to undermine the authority granted to the state by the Clean Air Act to protect its citizens from vehicle pollution appears to be imminent. Read more at EcoWatch

U.S. Beekeepers File Suit Against Trump EPA Charging ‘Illegal’ Approval of Insecticide Linked to Mass Die-Off 09-08-19

A group of beekeepers joined forces on Friday against Trump’s U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by filing a lawsuit over the agency’s move to put a powerful insecticide — one that scientists warn is part of the massive pollinator die-off across the U.S. — back on the market. Read more at EcoWatch

Democrats’ Climate Forum Exposes Rifts On Fracking, Nuclear Power And The Filibuster 09-05-19

Turns out there would be plenty for the Democrats to debate, should they ever get the chance. Read more at HuffPost

America’s Best Colleges for Student Voting 2019 09-03-19

The schools doing the most to turn students into citizens. Read more at Washington Monthly

Emails Show Monsanto Orchestrated GOP Effort to Intimidate Cancer Researchers 08-23-19

In 2015 the World Health Organization’s cancer research arm, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, classified glyphosate, an active ingredient in the herbicide Roundup, as a “probable carcinogen,” setting off a global debate about the world’s most popular weedkiller. Read more at The Intercept

22 states sue the Trump administration over its climate ‘plan’ 08-13-19

Twenty-two states and seven cities sued the Trump administration on Tuesday over the Environmental Protection Agency’s new plan for power plants. Read more at Grist

Trump Pushed for Mining Project That Could Destroy Alaska Salmon Ecosystems, Despite EPA Opposition 08-12-19

“Gold over life, literally.” Read more at EcoWatch

Revealed: FBI and police monitoring Oregon anti-pipeline activists 08-08-19

Emails show the latest example of environmental groups facing increased surveillance by law enforcement Read more at The Guardian

What Would a City-Level Green New Deal Look Like? Seattle’s About to Find Out 08-15-19

The next step is turning the City Council’s resolution into pro-climate policies and finding ways to pay for them. Seattle has a few big ideas. Read more at Inside Climate News 

Debate’s Attempt to Show Candidates Divided on Climate Change Finds Unity Instead 08-01-19

The Democrats may butt heads on climate policy details, but they all see growing risks to security, economy and health that the next president can’t ignore. Read more at Inside Climate News

Berkeley Approves Natural Gas Ban in New Buildings 07-25-19

Berkeley, California on Tuesday became the first U.S. city to approve a ban on natural gas hook-ups in all new residential buildings, a move that proponents argued is a needed step for all cities in the state if California is to meet its goal of shifting to net-zero carbon emissions from energy sources by 2045. Read more at EcoWatch

Ohio Governor Signs Nuclear and Coal Bailout at Expense of Renewable Energy 07-23-19

Opponents fear the law will send the growing wind and solar industry to neighboring states while Ohio homeowners are stuck boosting old, uneconomical power plants. Read more at Inside Climate News

How fast can the political pendulum swing? Ask Maine. 07-17-19

In a world of political hot takes and partisan outrage, it can feel as if an opposing politician or party is doing irreparable damage. But Maine shows how quickly and dramatically things can change. Read more at The Christian Science Monitor

Intelligence aide, blocked from submitting written testimony on climate change, resigns from State Dept. 07-10-19

Rod Schoonover’s decision to leave was voluntary, according to individuals familiar with the matter Read more at The Washington Post

Trump’s Misleading Speech on His Environmental Record Is a ‘True “1984” Moment’ 07-09-19

President Donald Trump delivered a speech Monday on “America’s environmental leadership” that failed to even once mention climate changeThe New York Times reported. The speech was also riddled with inaccuracies, as the president took credit for environmental achievements enacted by previous administrations and downplayed the impacts of his deregulatory agenda. Read more at EcoWatch

U.S. Mayors Pressure Congress on Carbon Pricing, Climate Lawsuits and a Green New Deal 07-02-19

The U.S. Conference of Mayors opposed any limits on suing fossil fuel companies over climate change, which would rule out a carbon tax plan supported by industry. Read more at Inside Climate News

Politicians are Choosing Corporate Polluters & Planet Wreckers over Our Welfare: Can we Make them Stop? 06-29-19

From the White House to Ohio, too many politicians care more about protecting toxic industries than their constituents. Read more at Informed Comment

This North Carolina lawmaker is trying to slam the brakes on wind. Again. 06-24-19

North Carolina State Senator Harry Brown just doesn’t like wind. Read more at Grist

Supreme Court Upholds Virginia’s Ban on Uranium Mining 06-18-19

In a blow to the Trump administration, the Supreme Court ruled Monday to uphold a Virginia ban on mining uraniumReuters reported. Read more at EcoWatch

The uphill battle for communities that ban pesticides 06-17-19

As cities and counties across the US restrict or ban pesticides, many are realizing passing a law is but a battlefield victory in a prolonged war. Read more at Environmental Health News

A Bipartisan Group of Former EPA Heads Say the Agency Must Return to Its Mission 06-12-19

Former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leaders from four different administrations testified before a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee Tuesday, and all agreed on one thing: They don’t like what the Trump administration has done with the place. Read more at EcoWatch

Breathe easier: States are passing a buttload of clean-energy bills 06-10-19

Climate victories are thundering down from statehouses like hail in a spring storm. Read more at Grist

These senators are going after the biggest climate villains in Washington 06-07-19

Sens. Whitehouse, Heinrich, and Schatz discuss how to hold the Chamber of Commerce accountable. Read more at Vox

Court to Big Fracking Company: Trespassing Still Exists — Even For You 06-06-19

In a key property rights decision, two West Virginia residents scored a rare victory from the state Supreme Court. Read more at ProPublica

EPA Science Advisers Push Back on Wheeler, Say He’s Minimizing Their Role 06-06-19

Under Trump, the EPA administrator — a former coal lobbyist — is also pushing a plan to reduce the use of science in decision making, particularly with pollution. Read more at Inside Climate News

Chicken Farmers Thought Trump Was Going to Help Them. Then His Administration Did the Opposite. 06-05-19

The Agriculture Department is barely enforcing regulations on big meat companies. Read more at ProPublica

Trump Administration Is Restricting How Scientists Conduct Climate Science 05-28-19

The Trump administration is changing the way some government agencies conduct climate science, The New York Times reported Monday, limiting them from assessing the future consequences and worst-possible outcomes of climate change. Read more at EcoWatch

States aren’t waiting for the Trump administration on environmental protections 05-19-19

More than a dozen states are moving to strengthen environmental protections to combat a range of issues from climate change to water pollution, opening a widening rift between stringent state policies and the Trump administration’s deregulatory agenda. Read more at The Washington Post

Maryland Department of the Environment and Delmarva Poultry Industry Partner for New Air Quality Project 05-12-19

For a variety of reasons, the meeting ultimately pitted growers against community members and environmentalists, a frustratingly consistent pattern on the Eastern Shore. Read more at Rachel Carson Council

Notes from a Remarkable Political Moment for Climate Change 05-01-19

On Wednesday, the British House of Commons, led by the Conservative Party, voted to declare that the planet was in a “climate emergency.” Read more at The New Yorker

Colorado Democrats Took on the Oil and Gas Industry. Now the Recalls are Starting. 04-28-19

AFTER SEIZING UNIFIED control of the Colorado state government in November’s wave election, Democrats there did something unusual: They governed. Read more at  The Intercept

The Energy 202: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is doubling down on Green New Deal 04-18-19

Even after recent setbacks in Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is expanding her push for her Green New Deal. Read more at The Washington Post

Trump signs executive orders fast-tracking the pipeline approval process 04-10-19

When Donald Trump was campaigning to become president in 2016, he promised to speed up the government review process for “private sector energy infrastructure projects.” On Wednesday, he made good on that pledge by signing two executive orders that would put pipelines on the fast track to success. Read more at Grist

Trump Is About to Make the Pork Industry Responsible for Inspecting Itself 04-05-19

Next time you tuck into a pork chop or a carnitas-filled burrito, spare a thought for the people who work the kill line at hog slaughterhouses. Read more at Mother Jones

Interior Nominee Intervened to Block Report on Endangered Species 03-26-19

After years of effort, scientists at the Fish and Wildlife Service had a moment of celebration as they wrapped up a comprehensive analysis of the threat that three widely used pesticides present to hundreds of endangered species, like the kit fox and the seaside sparrow. Read more at The New York Times

Can New York have a Green New Deal and a new fracked gas pipeline? 03-21-19

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Deputy Secretary for Energy and Environment Dale Bryk faced a riled up crowd Wednesday night in New York City. Nearly two dozen local advocacy groups organized an accountability forum on the state’s own version of a Green New Deal, calling on the governor to get even tougher on fossil fuels. Read more at Grist 

US judge halts hundreds of drilling projects in groundbreaking climate change ruling 03-20-19

In a rebuke of the Trump administration’s ‘energy-first’ agenda, a judge rules greenhouse gas emissions must be considered. Read more at The Guardian

Senate Votes to Overturn Trump’s Emergency Declaration to Fund Wildlife-Harming Border Wall 03-15-19

The U.S. Senate voted 59 to 41 Thursday to overturn President Donald Trump‘s emergency declaration to fund a border wall that would threaten 93 endangered species and devastate the environment and communities of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Read more at EcoWatch 

How America’s food giants swallowed the family farms 03-09-19

Across the midwest, the rise of factory farming is destroying rural communities. And the massive corporations behind this devastation are now eyeing a post-Brexit UK market. hollowed out. Read more at The Guardian

How Much Would Trump’s Climate Rule Rollbacks Worsen Health and Emissions? 03-06-19

Using government data, a new analysis adds up the harm to humans and the climate from scrapping 6 greenhouse gas rules involving cars, power plants and oil and gas. Read more at Inside Climate News

Facing Pushback, Markey Makes the Case for the Green New Deal 03-05-19

Senator Ed Markey has heard the criticism of the Green New Deal as overly broad and unrealistic. But in an e360 interview, Markey, who co-introduced the proposal in Congress, explains why he believes it will spark a much-needed debate about how to confront the climate crisis. Read more at Yale Environment 360

A look into Big Oil’s fight against electric cars 03-04-19

Last November, oil industry representatives huddled with conservative state lawmakers at a hotel a few blocks from the White House. Read more at E&E News

A bunch of representatives got Fs on their environment report cards 02-27-19

Every year since 1970, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) tallies how members of Congress vote on environment and public health-related legislation and has released a scorecard that shows where they stand on all things environment. Read more at Grist

Scientist who resisted censorship of climate report lost her job 02-17-19

For several years, climate change scientist Maria Caffrey led a trailblazing study outlining the risks of rising seas at national parks. After Friday, she’ll be out of a job. Read more at Grist

GOP Green New Deal stunt is a great deal for Democrats 02-17-19

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) decision to put the Green New Deal resolution to a Senate vote will backfire. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has quickly pounced, urging the GOP leader to “bring it on.” Read more at The Hill

The Energy 202: The Senate just saved a popular park conservation fund 02-13-19

The Senate just passed the largest public lands bill in a decade on Tuesday, a rare bipartisan package that will impose more stringent federal protections for millions of acres and hundreds of miles of wild rivers across the country. Read more at The Washington Post

How the Trump Admin Pulled Back on Regulating Toxic Chemicals 02-10-19

The Trump administration has halted bans on toxic chemicals that are known to cause serious health threats. These moves, led by an ex-industry group executive now at the EPA, have allowed the continued use of products found to cause cancer, birth defects, and other ailments. Read more at Yale Environment 360

The Energy 202: Ocasio-Cortez, Markey unveil Green New Deal with backing of four presidential candidates 02-07-19

For months, the term Green New Deal has been bandied about by Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail for president as their catchall phrase for a sweeping effort to halt runaway climate change. Read more at The Washington Post

What the New Green Deal Means for the Food on Your Plate 02-07-19

The long-awaited policy proposal from Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Ed Markey has finally surfaced—and it aims to turn U.S. agriculture into a positive force for climate change and social justice. Read more at Civil Eats

The House Natural Resource Committee’s climate change hearing turned into a heated conversation about race 02-06-19

On Wednesday, while the rest of the nation was busy scrolling through Pelosi State of the Union golf clap memes, two major panels — the House Natural Resources Committee and a separate subcommittee on energy and commerce — met to discuss the impact of global warming on the nation as a whole. Read more at Grist

House Committees Hold Hearings on Climate Change for First Time in Years 02-05-19

Climate change is back in the House. Emboldened under a new Democratic majority, two main energy and environment committees are holding simultaneous hearings Wednesday to discuss rising global temperatures and averting climate catastrophe, Roll Call reported. Read more at EcoWatch

The Only National Park Site Reopening Amid Shutdown Is a in Trump Hotel 01-03-19

Although the government shutdown is expected to continue into next week at least, the tower is set to reopen by the end of this week, according to a report by E&E News. Read more at EcoWatch