Previous Legal and Political News

Chemical Industry Ally Faces Critics in Bid for Top E.P.A. Post 9-19-17

The scientist nominated to head the federal government’s chemical regulatory program has spent much of his career helping businesses fight restrictions on the use of potentially toxic compounds in consumer goods. Read more at The Washington Post

North Carolina delays decision on Atlantic Coast Pipeline 09-15-17

At public hearings and through written comments, a significant number of North Carolinians urged state regulators to deny the Atlantic Coast Pipeline a clean water permit this summer.

Faced with a Monday deadline and a lopsided number of public comments opposing the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration has delayed until mid-December its decision on whether to permit the controversial project. Read more at Southeast Energy News

California rewrites the GOP’s climate playbook 09-18-17

For the past decade, Democrats hoping to pass a big climate law have played Charlie Brown to the Republicans’ Lucy. Despite the GOP making it clear it has no intention of holding the ball for a global warming kick, the left routinely convinces itself that their counterparts will kneel into position once it gets a running start. Schwarzenegger, who wrote: “I hope Republicans around the country can learn from the example.” Read more at Grist

Why Environmentalists Can’t Afford to Wait Until 2018 09-10-17

2017 has been a devastating year for the millions of Americans who care about the environment.

Since Donald Trump took office in January, his administration has made fracking easier on public lands, paused regulations that keep power plants from pouring arsenic and mercury into waterways, proposed cutting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent, started planning to strip protections from national monuments, and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord. Read more at EcoWatch

Energy Secretary Perry Requests Federal Rules to Boost Cost Recovery for Coal and Nuclear 09-29-17

The DOE grid reliability study has yielded a policy request that clean energy advocates are decrying as politically motivated and factually unproven. Read more at Green Tech Media

EPA now requires political aide’s sign-off for agency awards, grant applications 9-4-17

The Environmental Protection Agency has taken the unusual step of putting a political operative in charge of vetting the hundreds of millions of dollars in grants the EPA distributes annually, assigning final funding decisions to a former Trump campaign aide with little environmental policy experience.
Read more at The Washington Post

Menominee Tribe seeks stricter federal oversight in Michigan mine fight 08-25-17

The fate of a mine near headwaters of a sacred river hinges on a wetlands permit; the tribe wants tougher federal standards to apply—not looser state ones.

In its continued fight against a mine near sacred waters, the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin want stronger federal regulations to apply as officials weigh the final permit for mine approval. Read more at Environmental Health News

Court Rejects Pipeline Rubber-Stamp, Orders Climate Impact Review 08-22-17

The ruling on the Southeast Market Pipelines Project is the second federal court decision this month to conclude climate impacts must be taken into account.

The court sent the pipeline project back to FERC for a more detailed impact review.

An appeals court rejected federal regulators’ approval of a $3.5 billion natural gas pipeline project on Tuesday over the issue of climate change. Read more at Inside Climate News

Trump’s Interior Department moves to stop mountaintop removal study 08-21-17

Trump administration officials have told the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to halt a review of the increased public health risks faced by Appalachian residents who live near mountaintop removal coal-mining sites, the academies revealed in a statement issued Monday. Read more at Charleston Gazette-Mail

Greenpeace Activists Interrupt Operations at Arctic Oil Drilling Site 08-17-17

Peaceful activists, including one American, from a Greenpeace ship, the Arctic Sunrise, have stalled Statoil’s oil operations in the Barents Sea off the Norwegian coast. The activists entered the exclusion zone of Statoil’s oil rig, Songa Enabler in the Barents Sea with kayaks and inflatable boats, while swimmers protested in the water with banners. Read more at EcoWatch

Scott Pruitt Is Carrying Out His E.P.A. Agenda in Secret, Critics Say 08-11-17

When career employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are summoned to a meeting with the agency’s administrator, Scott Pruitt, at agency headquarters, they no longer can count on easy access to the floor where his office is, according to interviews with employees of the federal agency. Read more at The New York Times

Drilling Opponents Dominate Public Hearing 08-09-17

Gov. Roy Cooper’s message last month to Washington echoed throughout a state-hosted public hearing Monday night on the proposed federal offshore leasing program.

The North Carolina governor’s stern statement “not off our coast” or a variation thereof reverberated throughout the two-hour public hearing attended by about 175 people. Read more at Coastal Review

Massive Crowd Marches to Give ‘KXL the Boot’ 08-07-17

Pipeline Fighters from Nebraska and across the region marched through the streets of Lincoln, Nebraska Sunday—on the eve of a weeklong public hearing on the proposed Keystone XL pipeline before the Nebraska Public Service Commission, where Nebraska farmers and ranchers, the Ponca Tribe of Nebraska, Yankton Sioux Tribe, Bold Alliance and other environmental and citizen advocates will present evidence on why TransCanada’s tar sands export pipeline is unnecessary and not in the public interest. Read more at EcoWatch

Bee Pesticide Ban Debate Could Arise in Next Farm Bill 07-27-17

Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) wants to include a ban on pesticides linked to declining bee health in next year’s farm bill, one of several initiatives he is pushing in the legislation to reauthorize agriculture and nutrition programs.

Thirty-one Democrats are backing a bill—the Saving America’s Pollinators Act of 2017 ( H.R. 3040)—that would suspend the approval of neonicotinoid pesticides, common insect-killers that are said to harm honeybees, aquatic insects, birds, and other insects and animals. Read more at Bloomberg BNA

I’m a scientist. I’m blowing the whistle on the Trump administration 07-19-17

Joel Clement was director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Interior Department until last week. He is now a senior adviser at the department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

I am not a member of the deep state. I am not big government.

I am a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant and a worried citizen. Reluctantly, as of today, I am also a whistleblower on an administration that chooses silence over science. Read more at The Washington Post

Court Rejects Pipeline Rubber-Stamp, Orders Climate Impact Review 08-22-17

The ruling on the Southeast Market Pipelines Project is the second federal court decision this month to conclude climate impacts must be taken into account.

The court sent the pipeline project back to FERC for a more detailed impact review. Read more at Inside Climate News

How Much Should Major Polluters Pay? A Case Against DuPont Provides a Model 08-16-17

It was just another sweltering summer afternoon gathering blood samples from Shenandoah Valley birds when the news came in. The ornithologist Dan Cristol had been conducting a preliminary assessment funded by DuPont to determine to what degree the company’s pollution of the watershed might have affected the avian community. Read more at Audubon

Over 60 Members Of Congress Condemn Trump’s Threat To North Korea 08-10-17

Dozens of members of Congress sent a letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Thursday, urging “utmost caution and restraint” in further dealings with North Korea and condemning President Donald Trump for promising “fire and fury” in response to reports that the Asian nation is escalating its nuclear program. Read more at Huffington Post

Trump’s Top Trade Nominees Have Strong Links to U.S. Beef and Growth Hormone Lobbies 07-31-17

Donald Trump’s nominee to be the U.S. chief agricultural trade negotiator previously called for the U.S. to walk away from trade talks with the EU if it refused to drop its ban on beef reared with antibiotics and growth supplements, Energydesk can reveal. Read more at EcoWatch

EPA Boss Launches Program to ‘Critique’ Scientific Consensus on Climate Change 07-01-17

The ever-prescient John Oliver talked about this back in 2014. In the clip above, the Last Week Tonight host takes aim at climate change deniers who contest the overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is causing the planet to warm.

“You don’t need people’s opinion on a fact,” the British comedian said. “You might as well have a poll asking: ‘Which number is bigger, 15 or 5?’ or ‘Do owls exist?’ or ‘Are there hats?’” Read more at EcoWatch

‘We’ve Made History’: Ireland Joins France, Germany and Bulgaria in Banning Fracking 06-29-17

Ireland is set to ban onshore fracking after its Senate passed legislation on Wednesday that outlawed the controversial drilling technique.The Petroleum and Other Minerals Development (Prohibition of Onshore Hydraulic Fracturing) Bill 2016 now awaits Irish President Michael D. Higgins’ signature. The president is expected to sign it into law “in the coming days.” Read more at EcoWatch

Is Giant Sequoia National Monument Next on the Hit List? 06-27-17

Sequoiadendron giganteum. That’s the scientific name for the giant sequoia: the mammoth trees found in California’s Sierra Nevada that are the largest organisms on Earth, and among the longest-lived. Biologists estimate that about half of all sequoias live in Giant Sequoia National Monument, a 328,000-acre preserve in the Southern Sierra Nevada established by President Clinton in 2000.

Now that national monument is in jeopardy. Read more at EcoWatch

Into the Void 06-23-17

EPA science adviser says clearing board of experts leaves “huge void.”

On Monday, 38 of the EPA’s research advisers found out that their terms, set to end in August, would not be renewed. Read more at Grist

EPA cuts will harm NC’s air and water quality, hurt fishing, says state agency 06-22-17

Planned staff cuts at the Environmental Protection Agency, which employs more than 2,000 people in Research Triangle Park, are seen as the beginning of major cutbacks to scientific research and pollution enforcement in North Carolina. Read more at The News & Observer

How This Energy Company’s Deep Influence Is Tainting Atlantic Coast Pipeline Approval Process 06-08-17

There is a growing political scandal in Virginia regarding the ubiquitous influence of the state’s largest energy company, Dominion Energy, and it’s raising fundamental questions about the integrity of the governor’s office and state regulators who will decide the fate of the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Read more at EcoWatch

Senators Question DeVos on Connection to Heartland Institute’s Mailing to Educators Denying Climate Science 06-08-17

Four Democratic senators sent a letter to Education Sec. Betsy DeVos this week calling out her support of President Trump’s decision to pull out of Paris.

The letter points out that DeVos has not commented “on any administration decisions or policies outside of the purview of the Department of Education” except for Paris, which she praised in a statement last week. Read more at EcoWatch

Defying Trump, Hawaii Becomes First State to Pass Law Committing to Paris Climate Accord 06-07-17

Hawaii on Tuesday became the first state to pass a law committing to the goals and limits of the Paris climate accord, defying President Trump, who announced last week that he would withdraw the United States from the historic agreement. Read more at The New York Times

Regional Officials to Ask Trump Administration to End Uranium Mining Ban Near Grand Canyon 06-05-17

A draft letter backed by officials in Arizona and Utah is urging the Trump administration to review the uranium mining ban near the Grand Canyon. The letter, which is expected to be sent to Interior Sec. Ryan Zinke on Monday, asks the department to completely overturn the Obama-era environmental protections. Read more at EcoWatch

Trump’s ‘drill, baby, drill’ energy policies are being met by ‘sue, baby, sue 07-12-17

President Trump promised to grow jobs by rolling back Obama-era energy and pollution rules. And he’s fulfilling his pledge, but not how he intended. In just six months, Trump’s policies have resulted in a surge in employment — for environmental lawyers. Read more at McClatchy DC Bureau

Rachel Carson Council “Walks the Line” to learn about the negative effects of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline 07-07-17

This summer, RCC Interns have been working with staff to write a comprehensive report on the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. They have been interviewing experts, researching policies, maintaining the RCC social media sites and helping to grow the campus network. Read more at Rachel Carson Council

How to Tell If Your Reps Are Serious About Climate Change 06-26-17

In the wake of Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Agreement, how serious are your elected leaders about fighting back? Read more at Rolling Stone

Michael Mann: If You Believe in Science You Must Now Make Your Voice Heard 05-21-17

“It’s an honor to address this group of distinguished faculty, proud parents, supportive family members and friends.” Read more at EcoWatch

With public lands at stake, outdoors enthusiasts head to D.C. 05-21-17

Professional rock climber Tommy Caldwell admits he feels more comfortable climbing sheer cliff faces thousands of feet in the air than discussing public policy with national lawmakers. Read more at Grist

Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas Has a Problem with Science – and with Voters 05-20-17

For most of his four years as chair of the Science Committee, Republican Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas has served up more spectacle than policy. Read more at The Intercept

Huge Victory: Natural Gas Storage Plan Halted at Seneca Lake 05-11-17

The news broke Wednesday in the most banal of venues: the biweekly environmental compliance report submitted by Arlington Storage Company to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Read more at EcoWatch

Omnibus deal ignores Trump calls for deep energy, enviro cuts 05-01-17

Congressional leaders reached a bipartisan deal last night to fund the government through the rest of the year that avoids steep cuts for U.S. EPA and renewable energy programs sought by the Trump administration. Read more at E&E News

Rick Perry loses his cool when confronted by Sen. Franken on climate science 06-22-17

After a week full of misleading and inaccurate statements, Energy Secretary Rick Perry remained incredulous and defiant when confronted with climate science-related facts in a budget hearing Thursday. Read more on Think Progress

A new take on political science: Training researchers to run for office 06-15-17

They have built careers isolating cells, designing integrated circuits and mastering computer languages. Now they are knocking on doors. Read more at Los Angeles Times

With Trump, A Full-Scale Assault on Protections for U.S. Public Lands 05-31-17

With a series of actions – including proposals to de-authorize recently created national monuments and open environmentally sensitive lands to fossil-fuel development – the Trump administration is moving to overturn long-standing U.S. policies on protecting the nation’s public lands. Read more at Yale Environment 360

Legislators Retreat from Active CAFO Lawsuit Attack 04-26-17

A Senate committee backs a bill to limit financial awards in farm nuisance lawsuits, but steers clear of current cases. Read more at North Carolina Health News

N.C. Bill to Shield CAFOs’ Liability Would Curb Legal Rights for Hundreds of Thousands 04-17-17

North Carolina lawmakers are rushing to pass legislation to fundamentally alter the legal rights of property owners, severely restricting the longstanding right to fair compensation for hundreds of thousands of residents whose air, water, health, quality of life and property values are threatened by the pollution and stench of animal waste from factory farms. Read more at Environmental Working Group

North Carolina is Latest in State CAFO Battles 04-13-17

A bill to restrict damages in active lawsuits in North Carolina against the world’s largest hog grower and pork producer may be one of the more aggressive moves nationally to shield intensive livestock agriculture from court penalties. Read more at North Carolina Health News

House passes limited hog farm liability bill 04-10-17

A proposal to limit the financial payoff from citizen lawsuits against North Carolina’s hog farming operations passed the state House on Monday, but only after lawmakers agreed to exempt lawsuits currently pending. Read more at The News & Observer

California’s cap-and-trade program isn’t a tax, court rules 04-07-17

State judges told the California Chamber of Commerce on Thursday that its members don’t have a right to pollute, rejecting claims by its attorneys that payments required to release greenhouse gases under a marquee climate program are a kind of tax. Read more at Grist

Thoughts from the Science March in Berkeley 04-23-17

At the urging of my STEM-educated husband, I went to the UC Berkeley campus on Saturday for the science march. Despite living six years in Berkeley during my PhD work, this was my first protest at Sproul Plaza, site of the Free Speech Movement of the sixties, and many legendary protests since. Read more at Pop Theology

30-Year EPA Veteran: ‘I Have Never Seen Anything Like It’ 04-04-17

President Trump’s visit to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week to sign an executive order overturning years of work on the Clean Power Plan and other policies is just the latest sign of sinking employee morale at the EPA. Read more on EcoWatch

Bill would weaken neighbors’ ability to be compensated in hog farm lawsuits 04-01-17

The civil justice system in North Carolina exists to protect people and their property from unreasonable actions by others. One of the longest standing causes of action in civil courts is for nuisance claims, which allow you to bring suit when your neighbor creates a condition on their property that interferes with your ability to use and enjoy your property, Read more on The News Observer 04-01-17

The Case for the Politicization of Science 04-28-17

The sorrow of the March for Science did not hit me until I saw a photo from it—an older woman standing next to a homemade sign adorned with Ms. Frizzle.You know Ms. Frizzle, if only from a PBS ad. Read more at The Atlantic

Donald Trump’s Disastrous Plan To Derail U.S. Climate Action 03-29-17

The long-awaited order instructs the Environmental Protection Agency to review the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration’s signature policy for slashing greenhouse gas emissions from the utility sector, by far the country’s biggest emitter. This review marks the first step toward scrapping the regulation. Read more at Huffington Post

Trump to Strike Biggest Blow Against Obama Climate Legacy 03-28-17

President Trump will travel to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today at 2 p.m. to sign a broad executive order that will take aim at key Obama-era climate policies, setting the stage for several extended energy fights in the months and years to come. Read more at EcoWatch

Fracking Ban Nears Approval in Maryland 03-23-17

Maryland is poised to become the third state to outlaw fracking, as the Senate prepares to vote on a statewide ban and with Gov. Larry Hogan saying he will sign it. Read more at Inside Climate News

Scott Pruitt’s office deluged with angry callers after he questions the science of global warming 03-11-17

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt’s phones have been ringing off the hook — literally — since he questioned the link between human activity and climate change. Read more at The Washington Post

Trump’s potential science adviser William Happer: hanging around with conspiracy theorists 02-20-17

The Princeton atomic physicist is no climate scientist – and he’s pushing the same old denier myths. Read more on The Guardian

House Passes NRA-Backed Bill Legalizing the Killing of Bear Cubs in Wildlife Refuges 02-17-17

The House of Representatives approved a controversial bill to overturn an Obama-era rule that protects wolves, bears, coyotes and other animals on more than 76 million acres of national wildlife refuges in Alaska. The measure was passed 225-193 on Thursday on a mostly party-line vote. Read more at EcoWatch

Trump Administration Sued for Suspending Protections for Endangered Bumble Bee 02-16-17

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) sued the Trump administration Tuesday for illegally suspending the rule to put the rusty patched bumble bee on the endangered species list. The rusty patched bumble bee has lost approximately 90 percent of its range in the past 20 years. It is the first bumble bee ever listed under the Endangered Species Act. Read more on EcoWatch

“Dark Forces” Are Coming for Your Organic Food 02-09-17

The Freedom Caucus is a rowdy band of GOP US House members most famous for triggering government shutdowns, pushing to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and driving former GOP Speaker John Boehner from his post on the theory he wasn’t conservative enough. And now they’re coming for your certified-organic food. Read more on Mother Jones

Green groups file sweeping lawsuit accusing Trump of seizing Congress’s powers on regulations 02-08-17

Three advocacy groups filed a sweeping federal lawsuit Wednesday, challenging President Trump’s executive order requiring two federal regulations to be “identified for elimination” for every new one added — arguing that the order fundamentally takes over Congress’s powers to enact laws to protect public health, safety, and the environment. Read more on The Washington Post

Does the Constitution hold the key to climate action? 02-06-17

The day before Donald Trump’s inauguration, a group of environmental lawyers had hoped to depose Rex Tillerson, Trump’s nominee for secretary of State, in Dallas, Texas. Julia Olson wanted to grill the former ExxonMobil CEO and American Petroleum Institute board member about climate change. Read more on High Country News

The Corrupt Politics of Pork 04-07-17

The INDY has previously reported that state Representative Jimmy Dixon—who has received $115,000 in campaign contributions from the pork industry—is the chief sponsor of a controversial hog-farm-protection bill that passed its second reading in the House Thursday under strange circumstances. Read more on Indy Week

How Trump’s Environmental Policy Is a Total Joke, Explained 03-30-17

With the mix of bluster and incompetence that is fast becoming its trademark, the Trump administration recently unveiled its newest executive order, which was intended to slap down the climate-change programs initiated by Barack Obama. Read more on Vanity Fair

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