Previous Legal and Political News 2020

Kamala Harris makes Amy Coney Barrett’s climate views a campaign issue 10-15-20

Questions about how the Supreme Court would rule on climate cases are now officially a campaign issue. Read more at The Washington Post

Worry Wards 10-05-20

Climate change could tip the scales in these 6 toss-up House races. Read more at Grist

Oil search in Atlantic on hold as Trump administration permits expire 10-01-20

A major court battle over the Trump administration’s plan to use deafening blasts to search for oil under the sea is ending with a whimper. Read more at The Washington Post

145 Progressive Groups Urge Biden to Shun Fossil Fuel Execs and Lobbyists 09-01-20

A diverse coalition of nearly 150 progressive advocacy groups is demanding that Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden ban fossil fuel executives and lobbyists from his 2020 campaign. Read more at EcoWatch

Democrats’ climate plan takes aim at the fossil fuel industry’s political power 08-24-20

Senate Democrats are set to release a 200-page plan arguing that significant U.S. climate action will require stripping the fossil fuel industry of its influence over the government and the public’s understanding of the crisis. Read more at Grist

“The Proof Is In The Pudding.” Coal Country Responds To Democrats’ Clean Energy Transition 08-21-20

Democrats made their pitch to the American people during a largely virtual Democratic National Convention and addressing climate change emerged as a central tenet of the party’s plan. Read more at Ohio Valley Resource

New Trump Rule Could Create ‘Bomb Trains,’ Environmentalists Say 08-20-20

The administration has a ‘wildly unsafe’ plan to transport liquified natural gas on railroads, with tanks carrying enough explosive power to level a city, according to a new lawsuit. Read more at Rolling Stone 

Lujan Grisham touts clean energy jobs in convention speech 08-19-20

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham took center stage Wednesday at the top of a lineup of party heavy hitters on the third night of the Democratic National Convention, stressing the need to invest in clean energy jobs. Read more at The Santa Fe New Mexican

Trump Eliminates Major Methane Rule, Even as Leaks Are Worsening 08-13-20

The weakening of Obama-era efforts to fight climate change amounts to a gift to many oil companies. Researchers warn that the decision ignores science. Read more at The New York Times 

On Climate, Kamala Harris Has a Record and Profile for Action 08-12-20

As Joe Biden’s running mate, the California senator will draw in the activist community that Biden hopes to have behind his candidacy. Read more at Inside Climate News

The Environmental Legacy of Kamala Harris, Joe Biden’s Newly-Announced Running Mate 08-12-20

Former Vice President Joe Biden made a historic announcement Tuesday when he named California Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate in the 2020 presidential election. Read more at EcoWatch

Memo: Battleground Senate Voters Support Bold Climate Action 08-06-20

Voters in the key senate battleground states of Arizona, Iowa, Maine, and North Carolina support a broad range of climate policies and are more likely to support candidates that pledge bold climate action Read more at Data for Progress

Democratic Bill Banning Toxic Pesticides Applauded as ‘Much-Needed’ Step to Protect Kids and Planet 08-05-20

Democrats in the House and Senate on Tuesday introduced sweeping legislation that would ban some of the most toxic pesticides currently in use in the U.S. Read more at EcoWatch

Why Biden’s car plan might not be a ‘clunker’ 08-04-20

Former Vice President Joe Biden wants millions of Americans to trade in their older, polluting cars for shiny new electric vehicles. Read more at E & E News

Inside the rise of the green super PACs 07-29-20

Conservative outside groups spent nearly a year airing ads in Michigan attacking Democratic Sen. Gary Peters and boosting his main Republican rival, John James. Read more at E & E News

EPA Watchdog to Investigate Trump’s Tailpipe Emissions Rollback 07-28-20

The inspector general for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will look into one of the Trump administration’s hallmark environmental rollbacks: the weakening of Obama-era emissions standards. Read more at Ecowatch 

The curse of ‘both-sidesism’: How climate denial skewed media coverage for 30 years 07-28-20

Ever wonder why Americans have been so slow to support climate action? A new study lays some of the blame on media bias —for 30 years, three of the country’s most influential sources of news gave too much credence to arguments that the world shouldn’t take decisive action to mitigate climate change. Read more at Grist

House passes major conservation package with bipartisan support 07-23-20

A major piece of land conservation legislation is making its way to President Trump’s desk after overwhelmingly passing the House late Wednesday. Read more at The Washington Post

Political, Not Partisan: Covering the 2020 Elections as a Climate Story 07-17-20

Every presidential election is critical in its way. Even so, 2020 manages to feel unique. With a deadly virus stalking the land and crashing the economy and political polarization so high that the truth itself is often in question, this November will certainly mark a turning point in American history. Read more at EcoWatch

Court strikes down Trump administration’s methane rollback 07-16-20

A federal court late Wednesday struck down a Trump administration rule that weakened restrictions on methane gas releases from drilling on public land, restoring an Obama-era rule. Read more at The Hill 

The BREATHE Act would defund police — and fund environmental justice 07-10-20

As the U.S. enters another month of sustained protests against anti-Black racism and police brutality, organizers are working to turn the protests’ energy into legislative action. Read more at Grist

The House Select Committee’s “Blueprint” for Solving the Climate Crisis 07-10-20

Historically, the ocean has been overlooked in the climate debate. That makes no sense. Read more at Our Daily Planet

Biden consolidates support from mainstream environmentalists with new endorsement 06-25-20

Joe Biden further consolidated the support of mainstream environmentalists by scoring the endorsement of a major green group on Wednesday. Read more at The Washington Post

The Energy 202: Senate passes big conservation bill to spend billions on national parks and other public lands 06-18-20

Backers of the bill, called the Great American Outdoors Act, hailed it as one of the most significant pieces of conservation legislation in decades. Read more at The Washington Post

Big Money Bought the Forests. Small Logging Communities Are Paying the Price 06-11-20

Its surrounding forests are still being logged. But Falls City isn’t seeing the profits. Read more at ProPublica

Trump trashes 50-year-old environmental law, blames coronavirus 06-10-20

With the nation’s eyes on ongoing protests for racial justice (not to mention a seemingly endless public health crisis), last week President Trump signed an executive order that would waive key requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). Read more at Grist

A Powerful Petrochemical Lobbying Group Advanced Anti-Protest Legislation in the Midst of the Pandemic 06-07-20

Analysis by Yale and Columbia universities shows US lagging far behind other industrialized countries in a range of categories. Read more at The Intercept

US ranks 24th in the world on environmental performance 06-04-20

Analysis by Yale and Columbia universities shows US lagging far behind other industrialized countries in a range of categories Read more at The Guardian

At last, a climate policy platform that can unite the left 05-27-20

The factions of the Democratic coalition have come into alignment on climate change. Read more at Vox

The Most Anti-Nature President in U.S. History 05-21-20

President Donald Trump has thrown in reverse the United States’ proud, bipartisan record of nature conservation. Read more at American Progress

Big Oil Taking $1.9 Billion in CARES Act Tax Breaks 05-17-20

A federal judge upheld his April 15 ruling Monday, tossing a key permit required by the Keystone XL and other pipeline projects to cross streams and wetlands. Read more at EcoWatch

House Democrats don’t touch oil and gas company aid in new coronavirus bill 05-13-20

House Democrats unveiled a huge, new coronavirus relief package that would inject more than $3 trillion into state and local governments, health systems and other parts of the economy rocked by the coronavirus pandemic. Read more at The Washington Post

Federal Judge: Pipelines Must Not Cross Streams Without Considering Endangered Species 05-12-20

A federal judge upheld his April 15 ruling Monday, tossing a key permit required by the Keystone XL and other pipeline projects to cross streams and wetlands. Read more at EcoWatch

Plastic recycling is broken. So why does Big Plastic want $1 billion to fix it? 05-11-20

As the coronavirus pandemic cripples the U.S. economy, corporate giants are turning to Congress for help. Polluting industries have been among the first in line: Congress has already bailed out airlines, and coal companies have snagged over $30 million in federal small-business loans. Read more at Grist

The Trump Administration Is Reversing Nearly 100 Environmental Rules. Here’s the Full List. 05-06-20

After three years in office, the Trump administration has dismantled most of the major climate and environmental policies the president promised to undo. Read more at The New York Times

GOP lawmakers target banks’ refusal to fund fossil fuel projects 05-05-20

“You think this is a cost-free action? Let’s see about that,” Alaska’s Dan Sullivan said in an interview. Read more at Politico

‘A big deal’: Keystone XL ruling could threaten other pipelines 04-22-20

A sweeping court ruling last week that halted construction of the Keystone XL pipeline through waterways set off alarm bells for some energy industry analysts. Read more at E&E News

How Earth Day gave birth to environmental movement 04-22-20

Denis Hayes, one of the event’s founders, recalls the first and how its influence spread. Read more at Environmental Health News

How did you first become interested in environmentalism? 04-22-20

When I grew up, in a [Washington state] paper-mill community, there was no form of pollution control on the smokestacks. The stench from sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide was pervasive. Read more at Environmental Health News 

The Energy 202: Biden says he’s open to ‘expanding’ his climate plan to win over young voters 04-20-20

Joe Biden, who picked up an endorsement from a big-spending green group this morning, says he will expand his climate plan as part of an effort win over young voters who see rising global temperatures as a generational crisis. Read more at The Washington Post 

How will Earth Day celebrate its 50th birthday? Not as planned. 04-19-20

Picture the biggest protest you’ve ever seen. Crowds stretch on for miles between downtown skyscrapers on streets normally bustling with cars. From a birds-eye view, the moving bodies form a glittering mosaic. Zoom in, and the mass of chanting people brims with bright signs and unmistakable enthusiasm. Read more at Grist

Republicans Are Planning to Use Coronavirus to Gut Renewable Energy 04-13-20

Conservative groups aligned with the oil industry hope to block any aid for the solar and wind industries, which have been decimated by the pandemic. Read more at Vice

U.S. to Announce Rollback of Auto Pollution Rules, a Key Effort to Fight Climate Change 03-30-20

The Trump administration is expected on Tuesday to announce its final rule to rollback Obama-era automobile fuel efficiency standards, relaxing efforts to limit climate-warming tailpipe pollution and virtually undoing the government’s biggest effort to combat climate change. Read more at The New York Times

DOI Is Using Coronavirus as a Smoke Screen 03-26-20

With the public distracted, Secretary Bernhardt is advancing environmental harm Read more at Outside

How Washington allows clear-cut logging in cities that don’t want it 03-19-20

When the community of Newcastle protected a critical salmon watershed, they didn’t know state regulations would undermine them decades later. Read more at Crosscut

EPA Is Hiding Information About New Chemicals: Green Groups Sue to Stop the Secrecy 03-18-20

When Congress updated the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in 2016 for the first time in 40 years, public health and environmental advocates hoped it would be a game-changer for protecting Americans from dangerous chemicals, enabling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finally ban harmful substances like asbestos. Read more at EcoWatch

Judge Rules Against Trump’s Attempt to Log in America’s Largest National Forest 03-13-20

A federal judge in Alaska ruled late Wednesday against a Trump administration plan to open 1.8 million acres of America’s largest national forest to logging. Read more at EcoWatch

Holding the Bill 03-04-20

Insurance companies and lenders are responding to climate change — by shifting risk to taxpayers. Read more at Grist

The Energy 202: How a powerful lobbying group got stricter energy efficiency codes out of a big Senate energy bill 03-04-20

Making new homes and businesses more energy efficient has long been recognized as a key way of curbing climate change. Read more at The Washington Post

Trump’s environmental rollbacks are deeply unpopular with swing voters 02-26-20

It may be hard to tell, but in between jabs at climate science, federal science agencies, and stalwart environmental regulations, President Trump has been trying to position himself as an environmentalist. Read more at Grist

Op-ed: Trump’s polluted policies leave children in bad air 02-27-20

Children get a vicious message from President Trump in his proposed budget cuts for 2021 Read more at Environmental Health News

How Republican Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan teamed with a climate-crusading Democrat to pass an ocean cleanup bill 02-23-20

An unlikely friendship between a climate change champion from the East Coast and Alaska’s junior U.S. senator paved the way for a bipartisan effort. Read more at Anchorage Daily News

This Is Why the GOP Can’t Have Nice Climate Plans 02-14-20

Some Republicans want to respond to moderates’ concerns about global warming. Others are appalled by any concessions at all. Read more at The New Republic

Makers of plastic products tell Democrats to back off 02-12-20

Democrats’ wide-ranging anti-plastics bill garnered a severe reaction from the plastic industry after Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Rep. Alan Lowenthal of California introduced the legislation yesterday. Read more at E & E News

A federal appeals court judge’s remarkable speech is the latest surprise in NC’s hog nuisance lawsuits 02-03-20

Over the last two years, juries at the federal district court level have awarded 34 eastern North Carolina plaintiffs $97.9 million in compensatory and punitive damages for nuisance claims. Read more at NC Policy Watch

EPA’s new water rule is a mockery of science and the Clean Water Act 01-27-20

If the Trump administration’s own scientific advisory board, a host of biological societies, and scores of former government agency officials are disappointed, the rest of America should be fearful and angry. Read more at Environmental Health News

‘This Will Be the Biggest Loss of Clean Water Protection the Country Has Ever Seen’: Trump Finalizes Clean Water Rule Replacement 01-23-20

Today, the Trump administration will finalize its replacement for the Obama-era Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in a move that will strip protections from more than half of the nation’s wetlands and allow landowners to dump pesticides into waterways, or build over wetlands, for the first time in decades. Read more at EcoWatch

Republicans’ Climate Change Plan Is Big Oil’s Climate Change Plan 01-21-20

Three GOP legislators have proposed a set of policies that look mighty familiar. Read more at The New Republic

Energy Companies Have a Great Friend At Trump’s Interior Department: Their Former Lobbyist 01-16-20

They’ve spent $30 million lobbying the government since Trump arrived. Read more at Mother Jones

New emails show the Justice Department is helping Big Oil fight climate lawsuits 01-14-20

Three years ago, a first-of-its-kind legal case argued that fossil fuel companies were liable for climate change — and should pay up to help cities adapt. Read more at Grist