Previous Legal and Political News 2021

The climate policy effects of Manchin’s “no” on Build Back Better 12-19-21

Sen. Joe Manchin’s (D-W.Va.) decision Sunday to oppose President Biden’s signature climate and social policy legislation imperils the administration’s climate goals. Read more

Indigenous and environmental activists say they were illegally spied on 12-17-21

A lawsuit alleges the Oregon Department of Justice ran a “spy agency.” Read more

A Missouri gas company figured out how to keep its illegal pipeline running 12-14-21

By using 400,000 customers as leverage. Read more

The Supreme Court will hear cases that could undercut Biden’s climate agenda. Here’s what to know. 11-23-21

In our crowded news cycle, it can be easy to miss key developments related to climate policy. Read more

Beyond divestment: Massachusetts’ pension fund may soon be used in the fight against climate change 11-18-21

Legislators and activists have been pushing the state to divest its funds from fossil fuel companies for nearly a decade. Read more

The Supreme Court review that could change the EPA 11-05-21

What the Supreme Court’s review of the EPA’s authority over emissions from power plants really means Read more

Congress is poised to fix the most annoying thing about buying an electric car 11-01-21

The new EV tax credit would be $12,500 — and refundable. Read more

New York rejects two new gas power plants as ‘inconsistent’ with climate law 11-02-21

The decision marks a milestone in an ongoing debate over the role of natural gas in net-zero plans. Read more

Will property owners who lost land to scuttled Atlantic Coast Pipeline get it back? 10-28-21

Advocates cry foul as future of thousands of easements in North Carolina and Virginia remains uncertain. Read more

2021 Election Preview: New York Considers Right to Clean Water 10-26-21

Voters will decide on a constitutional amendment for environmental rights. Read more

The US was on the verge of passing real climate policy. Then Manchin happened. 10-19-21

The Clean Electricity Performance Program would have put America’s utilities on track to producing 100 percent clean electricity by 2035. Read more

Cutting methane emissions is the fastest way to slow warming. Here’s how. 10-11-21

Amid a push for new methane regulations, the IEA points to three relatively cheap ways to tamp down on emissions. Read more

White House Moves to Reverse Trump Assault on the National Environmental Policy Act 10-06-21

On Wednesday, the White House took first steps to reverse a Trump-era assault on the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). The new rules will restore the Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) obligation to take climate change and carbon emissions into account for major projects. Read more

EPA might finally regulate the plastic industry’s favorite kind of ‘recycling’ 10-05-21

A new rule could make it harder to turn plastic into oil and gas to be burned.One of the fossil fuel and plastic industries’ favorite “solutions” to the plastic pollution crisis may finally be coming under greater scrutiny from the federal government. Read more

Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, Disney Among Major Corporations Lying About Supporting Climate Action 10-01-21

“But behind closed doors, they are funding the very industry trade groups that are fighting tooth and nail to stop the biggest climate change bill ever.” Read more

Senate Confirms Biden’s Pick to Lead the Bureau of Land Management 09-30-21

After a party-line vote, Tracy Stone-Manning became the leader of an agency that manages oil and gas drilling on public lands. Read more

Biden may be the first president to take the risks of extreme heat seriously 09-21-21

The White House moves to create first-ever heat standards for workers. Read more

More workers are dying from heat. Texas may make it harder to protect them. 08-19-21

Will the US finally enact national heat standards? Read more

As Biden urges global warming action, courts shape climate policy at home 08-19-21

Legal battles are keeping fossil fuels underground in some places but allowing extraction elsewhere. Read more

Court axes permits for massive Alaska oil project backed by Biden 08-19-21

A federal judge yesterday scrapped key approvals for a major Alaska drilling project that had drawn the support of the Biden administration. Read more 

Health care workers join the fight to stop the Line 3 pipeline 08-18-21

Standing with Indigenous groups, physicians call on Biden to revoke Enbridge’s permit. Read more

House to Investigate Oil Industry’s Efforts to Undermine Climate Science 09-17-21

The House Oversight and Reform Committee has announced an investigation into the fossil fuel industry’s disinformation campaigns on climate change after an undercover video released this summer showed an ExxonMobil lobbyist admitting that the company had fought against climate science. Read more 

Government Declares Unprecedented Colorado River Water Shortage 08-16-21

For the first time in history, the federal government has declared a water shortage on the Colorado River after drought pushed the Lake Mead reservoir to all-time lows. Read more

New Budget Bill Could Cut Emissions by 1 Billion Tons in 2030 09-15-21

The Democrats’ massive budget bill has six major climate provisions that could put a big dent in US emissions — cutting almost one billion tons of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in 2030, according to a new study from Rhodium Group. Read more

House Ways and Means Committee Unveils Clean Energy Tax Credits 09-13-21

The House Ways and Means Committee has released their portion of the reconciliation for the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion spending package. The plan follows through on many promises made by the Biden administration, including clean energy tax credits and credits for electric vehicle owners. Read more

Biden to Visit Northeast Flood Zones as Demand Grows for Climate Action 09-05-21

The president will visit hard-hit areas in New York and New Jersey, as residents call for more serious action on climate change. Read more

The UN report is scaring people. But what if fear isn’t enough? 08-12-21

“If you’re trying to get people to act on climate change, then fear is not going to do it.” Read more

California Panel Backs Solar Mandate for New Buildings 08-11-21

A state agency voted to require many new commercial structures, along with high-rise residential projects, to have solar power and battery storage. Read more

Senate Passes $3.5 Trillion Budget Plan, Advancing Sweeping Safety Net Expansion 08-11-21

The blueprint, which would expand Medicaid, provide free preschool and community college, and fund climate change programs, passed along party lines and faces an arduous path ahead. Read more

With disasters mounting by the day, the U.S. may finally enact real climate policy. But there are some big “ifs.” 07-20-21

It’s the summer of cascading disasters in the United States: Downpours have made rivers of major metropoles’ transit lines, a coastal condo collapsed, flames have engulfed vast swaths of land, and triple-digit heat has roasted typically temperate regions. The catastrophes have brought a mounting death toll and incalculable trauma. Read more

Democrats look to crush states’ highway habit 07-18-21

The proposed changes are riling up opposition from state transportation departments and the road-building lobby. Read more

Biden Reinstates Roadless Rule, Bans Logging in Tongass 07-16-21

It’s official: the Biden administration has announced it will end large-scale logging in the Tongass National Forest and restore the “roadless rule” that was previously rolled back under Trump. Read more 

Report: Corporate giants have been lobbying against their own emissions targets 07-13-21

Almost every S&P 100 company plans to reduce its emissions. But only 40% have lobbied for science-based climate policy. Read more

NC riverkeepers cry foul over state’s farm law 07-07-21

North Carolina’s riverkeepers are starting to return to business as usual now, more than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic slowed their efforts to fly over hog and poultry farms looking for violations of the state’s environmental regulations. Read more

How to sabotage climate legislation? An Exxon lobbyist explains. 07-02-21

Joe Manchin, “shadow groups,” and one really bad job interview. Read more

Biden Raises Firefighter Pay, Plans for Wildfires With Western Governors 06-30-21

On Wednesday, President Biden convened a virtual meeting with governors from Western states to discuss ways to withstand this year’s devastating wildfire season(which is already very much underway in California). Read more

Raised In A Coal Mining Family, Now Working On Biden’s Cleaner Energy Future 06-22-21

Earlier this month, Brian Anderson welcomed some special guests to the Department of Energy research laboratory he leads in Morgantown, West Virginia. Read more 

Miami is the first city in the world with a chief heat officer 06-16-21

It’s about climate change, not basketball. Read more

Progressives draw red line on keeping climate provisions in infrastructure bill 06-08-21

Progressive anxiety about sufficiently strong climate change provisions being left out of forthcoming infrastructure legislation burst into public Wednesday with several Democratic lawmakers warning they would not rubber-stamp eventual legislation. Read more

Biden’s only climate plan is in jeopardy 06-02-21

Congress is pulling apart the president’s mini-Green New Deal Read more

With Trump Gone, Old Fault Lines in the Climate Movement Reopen, Complicating Biden’s Path Forward 06-01-21

The administration favors an approach to emissions reduction that includes technologies like carbon capture. Read more

Biden’s Climate Chops Face A Big Test On Old-Growth Forests 05-19-21

As the administration lays out an aggressive climate and conservation agenda, the Forest Service has primed logging projects in carbon-rich forests. Read more

Biden Admin Invests in Green Infrastructure & Research at HBCUs 05-18-21

The Biden administration is making an effort to fulfill environmental justice promises by expanding electric vehicle infrastructure into Black neighborhoods and investing in renewable energy research at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). Read more

After a Trump-length pause, the EPA is relaunching a major climate change report 05-12-21

Drawing on data from 50 government agencies, the EPA has published 54 indicators of global warming. Read more 

What do voting restrictions and anti-protest laws have in common? 05-11-21

Both have sponsors funded by fossil fuel companies. Read more

This blanket permit makes it easier to build pipelines. Advocates are suing to stop it. 05-07-21

How the legal fight against an arcane permit could throw a snag in major pipeline projects. Read more

EPA Will Ramp Up Environmental Enforcement, Focus on EJ Communities 05-06-21

The Biden administration has said that addressing the environmental issues that disproportionately affect disadvantaged communities is a major priority. Read more

Biden’s infrastructure plan targets lead pipes that threaten public health across the US 05-04-21

President Joe Biden’s infrastructure plan includes a proposal to upgrade the U.S. drinking water distribution system by removing and replacing dangerous lead pipes. Read more

“Long overdue”: The Senate just passed $35 billion for clean drinking water. 05-01-21

America’s water systems are aging and underfunded. This bipartisan bill might change that. Read more

Court Rules That EPA’S Delay “Exposed A Generation of American Children” to Brain-damaging Pesticide Chlorpyrifos 04-29-21

AFTER 14 YEARS of legal battles, a federal court ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to take actions that will likely force the neurotoxic pesticide chlorpyrifos off the market. Read more

The Green Takeaways From Biden’s Address To Congress 04-29-21

Last night President Biden delivered his first joint address to Congress and outlined to the American people his vision for the power of government to improve lives and address urgent threats like the pandemic and the climate crisis. Read more

Opinion: This might be the Senate’s most important climate vote ever 04-27-21

THE SENATE votes Wednesday on what sounds like an arcane regulatory question. In fact, Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) argued Tuesday, “This is the most important climate vote that the Senate has had, maybe ever.” Read more

Basically everyone in Florida is united against these new highways 04-23-21

Florida wants to create 330 new miles of highways called M-CORES. Opponents have dubbed them “roads to ruin.” Read more

Spare Yourself the Guilt Trip This Earth Day—It’s Companies That Need to Clean Up Their Acts 04-16-21

More and more states are looking to pass a new kind of recycling law that asks manufacturers to foot the bill for the waste created by their products. Read more

This new bill wants to bring the Green New Deal to a city near you 04-20-21

Representatives Cori Bush and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have introduced a bill that would distribute $1 trillion to cities, towns, and tribes. Read more

Biden prepares sweeping order on climate-related risks 04-15-21

In a draft executive order, President Joe Biden reaches into all corners of the federal government with plans that would touch every sector. Read more

Lobbying for good? New campaign asks Big Tech to push for bold climate action 04-13-21

The top five U.S. tech firms devote very few resources to lobbying for climate policy, but a new employee-driven campaign could change that. Read more

7 million Californians live near oil and gas wells. This bill could change that. 04-12-21

Despite its green reputation, California has a big fossil fuel problem on its hands: neighborhood oil and gas drilling. Read more

Biden Refuses to Shut Down Dakota Access Pipeline, Despite Campaign Pledges on Tribal Relations and Climate 04-12-21

Indigenous leaders blasted President Biden’s refusal to shut down the Dakota Access Pipeline. Read more

Retreat from coastlines? Politicians don’t want to talk about it. 04-08-21

Why managed retreat is still a political third rail. Read more

Can a Pipeline Firm Defy a Governor’s Orders? Gretchen Whitmer Is About to Find Out. 04-08-21

As governor, Gretchen Whitmer vowed to provide clean and affordable drinking water for the Great Lakes state of Michigan. Read more

Biden Pledges $20 Billion to Dismantle Highways, Racial Justice Activists Cautiously Celebrate 04-05-21

President Biden’s new infrastructure plan contains something surprising — funding for “construction” projects to remove highways. Read more

Biden unveils a ‘once-in-a-generation’ infrastructure plan in Pittsburgh 03-31-21

“The American Jobs Plan will lead to a transformational progress in our effort to tackle climate change with American jobs and American ingenuity,” Biden said. Read more

Congressional Democrats aim to reinstate rules on methane gas emissions from oil and gas works 03-25-21

Democrats on Capitol Hill are aiming to swiftly reinstate Obama-era rules designed to rein in the emission of methane from the nation’s oil and gas industry. Read more at The Washington Post

Big Build Back Better 03-24-21

To make good on its Build Back Better promise, the Biden administration is considering a very big infrastructure bill — spending could be as much as $300 billion a year for 10 years or $3 trillion total. Read more at Our Daily Planet

Green groups launch $10 million ad campaign pressuring Biden, Congress to spend huge on climate 03-16-21

“The Great American Build” campaign aims to set an aggressive starting point for negotiations over the size and scope of the infrastructure package. Read more at NBC News

Federal Courts Help Biden Quickly Dismantle Trump’s Climate and Environmental Legacy 03-09-21

Trump’s success in appointing conservative judges has so far been no match for his team’s own ineptitude, the skill of the environmental bar and industry’s desire to work with the new administration. Read more at Inside Climate News

Florida Republicans are ready to stop rising seas — just not climate change 03-09-21

Before it was pumped, leveed, and paved, south Florida looked like a network of spongy wetlands. Over the course of about a century, those damp lowlands were transformed into a paradise for more than 9 million people. Read more at Grist

This $9 billion plan could bring Biden’s conservation corps to life 02-23-21

Want to get a job planting trees, restoring wetlands, or stopping wildfires before they start? If a new bill in Congress ends up passing, your job hunt might get a lot easier. Read more at Grist

Texas Could Have Kept the Lights On 02-17-21

Republicans are blaming renewable energy, when it’s the state’s powerful utilities that failed to prepare for the worst. Read more at The New York Times

Yellen to Appoint Obama Veteran To Lead Treasury “Climate Hub” 02-16-21

Janet Yellen, who was recently confirmed by the Senate as Treasury Secretary, plans to appoint former deputy Treasury secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin to head up a new Treasury “climate hub.” Read more at Our Daily Planet 

The Presidential Power of Marine National Monuments 02-14-21

Much as our national parks on land are some of our greatest natural treasures, marine national monuments safeguard precious ecosystems and protect them now and for future generations. Read more at Our Daily Planet

Money invested in ESG funds more than doubles in a year 02-11-21

Investors poured record amounts of money last year into funds that aim to help the environment and promote social good, more than doubling the prior’s year’s take. Read more at CNBC 

Biden’s Civilian Climate Corps comes straight out of the New Deal 02-08-21

One of the most popular programs from the New Deal is making a comeback, nearly 90 years later. Read more at Grist

Hawaii’s Beaches Are Disappearing. New Legislation Could Help … if It’s Enforced. 02-07-21

A legal loophole allowed wealthy property owners to protect their real estate at the expense of Hawaii’s coastlines. Now, the state Legislature is considering bills to crack down on the destructive practices, but questions around enforcement remain. Read more at Propublica

Will new US EPA head continue his opposition to burning forests for energy? 02-04-21

Experts say there is no question that Timber Unity has helped lay the groundwork for this new Republican extremism in Oregon. Read more at Mongabay

The ties between the timber industry and extremists 02-02-21

Experts say there is no question that Timber Unity has helped lay the groundwork for this new Republican extremism in Oregon. Read more at Grist

‘Energy’ Is Its Name. But What Can the D.O.E. Actually Do on Climate? 01-27-21

President Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Energy would control powerful levers to promote clean-energy technologies, though that’s not the agency’s only job. Still, here are five possible steps. Read more at The New York Times

Young people can do more than organize. We can also help make climate policy. 01-21-21

Young people’s leadership has elevated the climate crisis so effectively that it is now a priority in the White House. Read more at Grist

Here Are Biden’s Day One Actions on the Climate and Environment 01-21-21

President Joe Biden officially took office Wednesday, and immediately set to work reversing some of former President Donald Trump‘s environmental policies. Read more at EcoWatch

Biden just put the US back in the Paris Agreement. Now the pressure is on. 01-20-21

The United States is rejoining the Paris climate agreement, fulfilling one of President Joe Biden’s earliest campaign promises and generating sighs of relief around the world as governments struggle to keep the planet’s temperature from surging to even more dangerous levels. Read more at Grist

Voters Back Range of Potential Biden Environment Policies by Comfortable Margins 01-19-21

GOP voters are more skeptical than Democrats, but a majority of voters back policies that would reduce emissions, center climate. Read more at Morning Consult

With unshakable faith in government, Biden prepares to be sworn in as the 46th president 01-19-21

When Joe Biden first arrived in Washington, he was deeply worried America was reaching a breaking point amid a failed presidency, and he believed the country already had the tools it needed to fix the mess. Read more at The Boston Globe

The pipeline fights are only beginning for Biden 01-19-21

Joe Biden is about to cancel a big oil pipeline project. It won’t be the last hard choice he has to make about whether to let one be built.  Read more at The Washington Post

Democrats flipped the Senate. So why is a Green New Deal still unlikely? 01-15-21

Last Friday morning, Representative Sean Casten, a Democrat from Illinois, appeared on a Chicago local news channel to talk about the mob of Trump-supporting rioters who had invaded the Capitol building and interrupted congressional proceedings two days earlier. Read more at Grist 

Even With a 50-50 Split, a Biden Administration Senate Could Make Big Strides on Climate 01-13-21

Democrats’ new edge opens the door to policy tools that can push through legislation. And bipartisan action is not out of reach. Read more at Inside Climate News

Is impeaching President Trump ‘pointless revenge’? Not if it sends a message to future presidents 01-13-21

A House majority, including 10 Republicans, voted on Jan. 13 to impeach President Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” Read more at The Conversation

How the Mad King can burn it all down 01-13-21

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right to warn her colleagues and the nation about the dangers of “an unhinged president…” Read more at Responsible Statecraft

Hog farm that spilled 1 million gallons of feces, urine into waterways had been warned of lagoon problems 01-12-21

DC Mills Farm has familial ties to another operation that incurred a record fine Read more at North Carolina Policy Watch

Impeach and Convict Trump. Congress Must Defend Itself. 01-10-21

Trump’s incitement of a riot is a violation of the separation of powers that threatens the foundation of the Republic Read more at The New York Times

Now’s the Time for NOAA 01-09-21

Preparing to take office on January 20, President-elect Joe Biden is building the most qualified and experienced team of experts that any president has assembled to address the climate change crisis. Read more at Our Daily Planet

Read the draft of the Democrats’ new article of impeachment against Trump 01-08-21

Democrats in Congress plan to move forward with impeachment proceedings against President Trump on Monday. Read more at Yahoo News

Judge Garland Will Bring Rare Environmental Experience to Attorney General Role 01-08-21

Judge Merrick Garland is expected to “respect science and the rule of law” if confirmed as Attorney General. Plus he has deep experience, having heard many environmental cases over his twenty-plus years on the bench in Washington, D.C. Read more at Our Daily Planet

Business leaders once allied with Trump now condemn him for stoking violence 01-07-21

A bevy of energy business interests in Washington who once cheered on President Trump’s agenda are now blaming him for stoking rhetoric that led to a pro-Trump mob violent storming the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Read more at The Washington Post

Georgia Live Updates: Democrats Capture the Senate as Ossoff Defeats Perdue 01-06-21

The victories by Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock, both Democrats, solidified Georgia’s political transformation and ensured that President-elect Joe Biden will have an easier time enacting his agenda. Read more at The New York Times

Democrats inch closer to retaking the U.S. Senate as Warnock declared the winner in Georgia runoff and Ossoff pulls ahead 01-06-21

Democrats were on the verge of taking control of the U.S. Senate early Wednesday morning after Raphael Warnock was declared the winner in his Georgia runoff election with GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler, and Jon Ossoff pulled into the lead in his race with Republican Sen. David Perdue. Read more at Yahoo! News

How activists successfully shut down key pipeline projects in New York 01-04-21

If all had gone according to plan, the Constitution pipeline would be carrying fracked gas 124 miles from the shale gas fields of Pennsylvania through streams, wetlands, and backyards across the Southern Tier of New York until west of Albany. Read more at Grist