Tag Archives: states

Losing Justice Kennedy puts fundamental environmental protections in peril

In a letter hand-delivered to President Trump on Wednesday, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement after 30 years on the Supreme Court.

Trump has already hinted at a list of potential replacements — all of whom are likely to side with the court’s now clear conservative majority. Kennedy has been the swing vote for decades. And without his moderating influence, advocates of the environment will face a steep challenge in winning over a majority of the justices.

With time quickly running out before the world locks in dangerous levels of climate change, that’s a frightening proposition. A more conservative-leaning court could make broad modifications to U.S. law that could last for decades. With environmental protections weakened, future presidents who want to take action on climate will have a much tougher time making lasting policy decisions.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that, when it comes to climate change and environmental protection, the next Supreme Court justice’s opinions will have consequences that are planetary in scope.

Since the implications of a solidly conservative Supreme Court are so far-reaching, Grist reached out to several environmental law experts to learn which specific rulings and regulations could be most at risk. Responses were lightly edited for clarity.

Massachusetts vs. EPA: Gives the government authority to regulate greenhouse gases as pollutants.

Justice Kennedy was in the majority on Massachusetts v. EPA. It would be quite something if a new court, by a 5-4 decision, opted to reverse such recent precedent. But given what we have seen in the last few days [from the Supreme Court], it’s not impossible to see it happening.

—Michael Burger, Columbia University Law School

The Clean Air Act and climate protections are most at risk. Kennedy was the deciding vote on Massachusetts v. EPA, which reaffirmed the Clean Air Act as the most important mechanism for regulating greenhouse pollution economy-wide. We’re one vote away from losing fundamental protections for our climate.

—Kassie Siegel, Center for Biological Diversity

“Waters of the United States” Rule: Provides protection to some wetlands.

The Trump Administration’s proposal to rescind the Obama-era Waters of the United States Rule — which would curtail the federal government’s authority to limit pollution in wetlands and other smaller bodies of water under the Clean Water Act — may well ultimately end up before the Supreme Court. Justice Kennedy’s replacement will influence how we protect our air and water, as well as how we respond to climate change, for generations to come.

—Augusta Wilson, Climate Science Legal Defense Fund

Clean Power Plan: Limits greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

I’m particularly concerned about the regulations that the Trump administration will introduce to replace Obama-era climate protections — for example the replacement to the Clean Power Plan. The administration will no doubt be gutting some of these rules and potentially violating statutory mandates in the process. It’s much more likely that the Supreme Court will uphold the replacement rules with another Trump nominee replacing Kennedy.

—Jessica Wentz, Columbia University Law School

​There is a good chance that the new justice will go along with the other conservative justices in narrowly reading the regulatory authority that statutes like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act give to EPA and other federal agencies. This could be bad news if the next President tries to revive something like the Clean Power Plan, which was widely portrayed as pushing the envelope of EPA’s authority — an issue the courts still haven’t decided.

—Michael B. Gerrard, Columbia University Law School

Standing: Allows plaintiffs to bring environmental grievances to court more often.

My main concern is how the newly configured court will interpret environmental groups’ standing to sue to enforce federal laws. Justice Kennedy had a nuanced take on standing, and it is likely that Trump’s nominees will have a more blunt approach, one that seeks to significantly curtail the ability of these groups to get into court.

—Burger

The future for environmental laws or standards:

Litigation is often the only option for those seeking to protect air and water and ensure public input on the value of sensitive ecosystems, endangered species, other wildlife species, and for those wanting to preserve important national landscapes. My general thought is that Kennedy was the last bulwark of reasonableness against the Trump Administration’s environmental onslaught. Every environmental lawyer I know is incredibly fearful of what this retirement will mean for the future of environmental protection in the United States.

—Hillary Hoffmann, Vermont Law School

I think just about any environmental rule that makes its way to the Supreme Court after Kennedy’s successor is appointed will be in jeopardy. We already have four hyper-conservative justices who tend to vote along ideological/party lines — and antipathy towards regulation, particularly environmental regulation, is a core part of that ideology. I have no doubt that Trump will nominate another conservative justice who shares his anti-regulation agenda. Through this justice, Trump will be able to continue advancing his deregulatory agenda for years after he his presidency ends.

—Wentz

View article – 

Losing Justice Kennedy puts fundamental environmental protections in peril

Posted in alo, ALPHA, Anchor, Casio, FF, GE, Hoffman, LAI, ONA, Thayer, Ultima, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Losing Justice Kennedy puts fundamental environmental protections in peril

With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, Congress will likely gain a new climate champion

On Tuesday night, 28-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez toppled a 10-term Congressman from New York City in a landslide Democratic primary victory. The shocking result virtually assures that the U.S. Congress will welcome its youngest female member ever next year.

The upset win also essentially guarantees that Ocasio-Cortez will bring with her the boldest climate platform of any representative in history.

Ocasio-Cortez, who was without a Wikipedia page on Monday, unseated Joe Crowley, the 20-year representative of New York’s 14th Congressional District who was vying to become the next Speaker of the House. The New York Times, her hometown newspaper, didn’t even cover the race. CNN called the victory “a real wakeup call for Democrats.”

Ocasio-Cortez said her triumph was “the start of a movement.” As a millennial woman of color, she’s already been referred to as the future of the Democratic Party.

Since her district, which comprises parts of Queens and the Bronx, is among the most strongly Democratic in the country, the general election in November likely will not be competitive. Pending the results of other elections across the country, Ocasio-Cortez seems almost certain to join Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as one of the few socialists ever elected to Congress.

Among her many progressive bona fides, it’s really her plan for tackling climate change that deserves the most attention.

In one of her first campaign tweets on the topic of climate change, more than one year ago, Ocasio-Cortez framed the issue as an “existential threat” — one that young people should be taking the lead on.

Ocasio-Cortez is one of the first American politicians to put forward a climate change plan that would keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

To meet that goal while leaving space for developing countries to move at a slower pace, independent assessments suggest that the United States needs to reduce its emissions by approximately 75 to 125 percent or more — actually drawing carbon dioxide out of the air — by 2035. Ocasio-Cortez hopes to move the entire country to 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. Even Bernie Sanders’ climate plan didn’t set such an ambitious goal.

The crash carbon diet would require “the complete mobilization of the American workforce to combat climate change,” as Ocasio-Cortez told HuffPost reporter Alexander Kaufman.

On her campaign’s website, she summarizes the danger that climate change poses to the planet:

Climate change is the single biggest national security threat for the United States and the single biggest threat to worldwide industrialized civilization, and the effects of warming can be hard to predict and self-reinforcing. We need to avoid a worldwide refugee crisis by waging a war for climate justice through the mobilization of our population and our government. This starts with the United States being a leader on the actions we take both globally and locally.

According to Ocasio-Cortez, such an effort would cost “trillions of dollars,” but would “not only save our planet from the ravages of climate change but would also lift millions of Americans out of poverty.”

It’s an audacious plan that’s easy to dismiss as wishful thinking. But last night’s results just brought Ocasio-Cortez’s vision a step closer to reality.

Read the article: 

With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, Congress will likely gain a new climate champion

Posted in alo, ALPHA, Anchor, Casio, FF, GE, LG, ONA, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s victory, Congress will likely gain a new climate champion

Look! A federal agency is pushing for urgent climate action.

It’s well-understood at this point that the Trump Administration is no friend to science-based governance. But there’s one federal agency bucking that trend.

The Bureau of Reclamation, a division of the Department of Interior, raised fresh alarm in a press release this week about the dire drought in the Southwest.

“We need action and we need it now,” said Trump appointee Brenda Burman, who runs the bureau, in the release. “We can’t afford to wait for a crisis before we implement drought contingency plans.”

Looking at the data that Burman’s agency supplied, though, it’s clear that the crisis is already here. Runoff from the Rocky Mountains into the Colorado River is expected to be just 42 percent of normal this year, which would continue a 19-year dry spell that ranks as the driest on record for the region. Such clear-eyed focus on the urgency of climate action has been almost unheard of for a Trump-era official.

“Dating back to 2000, this current period is one of the worst drought cycles over the past 1,200 plus years,” the bureau’s statement said.

It’s worth emphasizing that last point: There’s a megadrought happening right now in the United States. Over the past decade, according to the bureau’s latest numbers, the risk of reservoirs falling below critical levels has approximately tripled. And there’s “no indication the current low runoff and drought conditions will end anytime soon,” according to the agency. With this winter’s dry weather, the chances of the first official shortage on the Colorado River in U.S. history have risen to 52 percent in 2020.

The Bureau of Reclamation has responsibility for managing much of the water of the western United States, and, so far, it looks like it’s taking that responsibility seriously — using weather and climate forecasts as a primary guide.

As Grist recently reported, tensions are rising along the Colorado River as water levels plummet. The river supplies 40 million people with drinking water, and also nurtures millions of acres of some of the most productive farmland in the country. With booming populations and climate change already strangling water supply, the outlook is increasingly dire.

The way the laws governing the Colorado River are structured, Arizona is first in line for significant cuts should conservation efforts fall short. The state’s water allotment from the Colorado River would be cut by 20 percent starting in 2020, jeopardizing its economic growth. Understandably, folks there are watching what Burman has to say very closely.

The need for quickly coming to consensus on conservation is “vitally important to Arizonans,” said Thomas Buschatzke, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, in the bureau’s statement.

While Burman didn’t actually utter the words climate change in her comments this week, her insistence on the urgent need to ramp up conservation is in line with the overwhelming scientific consensus of how climate change is expected to worsen droughts in the Southwest in coming decades.

In her confirmation hearings last year, she said, “I believe that climate change is not a hoax,” which is about as good as can be expected from anyone tied to the Trump administration these days.

This article is from:

Look! A federal agency is pushing for urgent climate action.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Citizen, FF, G & F, GE, ONA, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Look! A federal agency is pushing for urgent climate action.

Scott Pruitt’s got 99 problems but Trump ain’t one.

Rick Scott, who has served as Florida’s governor since 2011, hasn’t done much to protect his state against the effects of climate change — even though it’s being threatened by sea-level rise.

On Monday, eight youth filed a lawsuit against Scott, a slew of state agencies, and the state of Florida itself. The kids, ages 10 to 19, are trying to get their elected officials to recognize the threat climate change poses to their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

18-year-old Delaney Reynolds, a member of this year’s Grist 50 list, helped launch the lawsuit. She’s been a climate activist since the age of 14, when she started a youth-oriented activism nonprofit called The Sink or Swim Project. “No matter how young you are, even if you don’t have a vote, you have a voice in your government,” she says.

Reynolds and the other seven plaintiffs are asking for a “court-ordered, science-based Climate Recovery Plan” — one that transitions Florida away from a fossil fuel energy system.

This lawsuit is the latest in a wave of youth-led legal actions across the United States. Juliana v. United States, which was filed by 21 young plaintiffs in Oregon in 2015, just got confirmed for a trial date in October this year.

View original post here:

Scott Pruitt’s got 99 problems but Trump ain’t one.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, Jason, LAI, LG, ONA, OXO, Pines, PUR, solar, solar power, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Scott Pruitt’s got 99 problems but Trump ain’t one.

The whole island of Puerto Rico went dark for the first time since Hurricane Maria.

Rick Scott, who has served as Florida’s governor since 2011, hasn’t done much to protect his state against the effects of climate change — even though it’s being threatened by sea-level rise.

On Monday, eight youth filed a lawsuit against Scott, a slew of state agencies, and the state of Florida itself. The kids, ages 10 to 19, are trying to get their elected officials to recognize the threat climate change poses to their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

18-year-old Delaney Reynolds, a member of this year’s Grist 50 list, helped launch the lawsuit. She’s been a climate activist since the age of 14, when she started a youth-oriented activism nonprofit called The Sink or Swim Project. “No matter how young you are, even if you don’t have a vote, you have a voice in your government,” she says.

Reynolds and the other seven plaintiffs are asking for a “court-ordered, science-based Climate Recovery Plan” — one that transitions Florida away from a fossil fuel energy system.

This lawsuit is the latest in a wave of youth-led legal actions across the United States. Juliana v. United States, which was filed by 21 young plaintiffs in Oregon in 2015, just got confirmed for a trial date in October this year.

View post – 

The whole island of Puerto Rico went dark for the first time since Hurricane Maria.

Posted in alo, Anchor, Broadway, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, Jason, LAI, LG, ONA, Pines, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The whole island of Puerto Rico went dark for the first time since Hurricane Maria.

Tensions rise in battle over Canadian pipeline.

Rick Scott, who has served as Florida’s governor since 2011, hasn’t done much to protect his state against the effects of climate change — even though it’s being threatened by sea-level rise.

On Monday, eight youth filed a lawsuit against Scott, a slew of state agencies, and the state of Florida itself. The kids, ages 10 to 19, are trying to get their elected officials to recognize the threat climate change poses to their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

18-year-old Delaney Reynolds, a member of this year’s Grist 50 list, helped launch the lawsuit. She’s been a climate activist since the age of 14, when she started a youth-oriented activism nonprofit called The Sink or Swim Project. “No matter how young you are, even if you don’t have a vote, you have a voice in your government,” she says.

Reynolds and the other seven plaintiffs are asking for a “court-ordered, science-based Climate Recovery Plan” — one that transitions Florida away from a fossil fuel energy system.

This lawsuit is the latest in a wave of youth-led legal actions across the United States. Juliana v. United States, which was filed by 21 young plaintiffs in Oregon in 2015, just got confirmed for a trial date in October this year.

Source:

Tensions rise in battle over Canadian pipeline.

Posted in alo, Anchor, ATTRA, Broadway, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, Jason, LAI, Miele, ONA, oven, Pines, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Tensions rise in battle over Canadian pipeline.

8 kids from Florida are suing their state over climate change.

Rick Scott, who has served as Florida’s governor since 2011, hasn’t done much to protect his state against the effects of climate change — even though it’s being threatened by sea-level rise.

On Monday, eight youth filed a lawsuit against Scott, a slew of state agencies, and the state of Florida itself. The kids, ages 10 to 19, are trying to get their elected officials to recognize the threat climate change poses to their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

18-year-old Delaney Reynolds, a member of this year’s Grist 50 list, helped launch the lawsuit. She’s been a climate activist since the age of 14, when she started a youth-oriented activism nonprofit called The Sink or Swim Project. “No matter how young you are, even if you don’t have a vote, you have a voice in your government,” she says.

Reynolds and the other seven plaintiffs are asking for a “court-ordered, science-based Climate Recovery Plan” — one that transitions Florida away from a fossil fuel energy system.

This lawsuit is the latest in a wave of youth-led legal actions across the United States. Juliana v. United States, which was filed by 21 young plaintiffs in Oregon in 2015, just got confirmed for a trial date in October this year.

Source:

8 kids from Florida are suing their state over climate change.

Posted in alo, Anchor, ATTRA, Broadway, Everyone, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, Miele, ONA, oven, Pines, PUR, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 8 kids from Florida are suing their state over climate change.

Russian trolls shared some truly terrible climate change memes

It should come as no surprise that Russian trolls, known for stoking the flames of America’s cultural divides, turned their attention to climate change during the longest election season of our lives.

A report released Thursday by the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee — chaired by Texas representative Lamar Smith, a notorious climate denier — includes several examples of posts from fake social media accounts created by a Russian propaganda group called the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The report discovered more than 9,000 posts and tweets from the group targeting pipeline fights, fossil fuels, and climate change between 2015 and 2017. IRA’s posts were specifically designed to appeal to either conservatives or liberals, without any middle ground.

United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

The memes, which appeared on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, were part of a “concerted effort to disrupt U.S. energy markets and influence domestic energy policy,” per the committee’s report. (Side note: The report also claims that Russia is funding U.S. environmental groups to undermine the U.S. fracking industry — a longstanding pet notion of Smith’s that lacks any substantial evidence.)

We’ve known for a while that the Kremlin has been poking its nose into environmental activism on the interwebs, thanks to a Buzzfeed story from October that showed how trolls seized on the Standing Rock protests. But the House report offers us some fresh examples of what they’ve been up to. To start with some pro-environment content:

United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

(For the record, no, the state of Iowa has not adopted a 100 percent renewable energy goal, but one of its utilities has.)

And here are two anti-environmental memes that highlight the apparent beauty of tar-sands oil:

United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and TechnologyUnited States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

In addition to their flair for raising hackles, it seems that Russian trolls have an eye for design. After looking at these memes, it’s hard to shake the feeling that you’ve just been yelled at.

Source article:  

Russian trolls shared some truly terrible climate change memes

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, G & F, GE, LAI, ONA, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Russian trolls shared some truly terrible climate change memes

A top scientist ‘felt bullied’ to downplay facts by EPA chief of staff.

The new Museum of Capitalism in Oakland, California, explores “the ideology, history, and legacy of capitalism.” Surprise! One of the most detrimental legacies of capitalism is … climate change.

Bear with us (and the museum’s curators): The fossil fuel production that drives climate change is due to global (read: American) desire for profit and growth.

The museum — funded largely through a grant from the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation — exhibits several works examining how humans despoil the environment in our quest for more things. Some are simple, like a bright blue baseball cap emblazoned with “COAL = JOBS” in white, akin to the ubiquitous MAGA accessory.

“American Domain,” an exhibit curated by Erin Elder (below), explores the ways in which land in the U.S. has been “continually staked and claimed.” Photographs of the Mexican-American border hang alongside images of drilling equipment, suggesting inconsistency in the United States’ attitude toward borders when it comes to fossil fuel access versus immigration.

“American Domain”Brea McAnally/Brea Photography

In another section of the museum, a video by Kota Takeuchi shows a worker undertaking cleanup of the Fukushima disaster. The worker slowly points at the audience through the camera lens, a designation of blame lasting over 20 minutes.

It’s a succinct gesture that gets to the point of the whole museum: We’re all complicit.

See the original article here – 

A top scientist ‘felt bullied’ to downplay facts by EPA chief of staff.

Posted in alo, Anchor, FF, For Dummies, G & F, GE, LAI, ONA, PUR, Ringer, solar, solar panels, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on A top scientist ‘felt bullied’ to downplay facts by EPA chief of staff.

Dear climate visionaries: Resist France’s allure

Back in February, when France’s then-presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron thumbed his nose at President Donald Trump and invited jaded U.S. scientists and inventors to come build a sustainable future in France, I applauded and played along.

“[L]et’s face it,” I wrote. “France is a tough sell. The food is irritatingly fresh, the architecture tends to distract people from their cellphones, and the high-speed rail lines get in the way of SUVs.”

But now that Macron is president and has backed up his words with substance, setting up a program to bring American climate visionaries to France, it’s no longer funny. If you’re an entrepreneur, scientist, or engineer disillusioned with Trump’s America and tempted by this offer, please don’t go. It’s a terrible idea. Do you hear me, Katharine Hayhoe?

Mais porquoi? you say, after thumbing through your French phrasebook. Because the United States, the world’s second-biggest polluter, is a much more pernicious driver of climate change than France, the 18th. We need you here. The world needs you here. The future needs you here.

OK, I’ll cop to getting a little carried away. We should give Macron his due. He’s offering a four-year grant to people from anywhere in the world, so they can come work on climate change projects in France. That’s great! Science, technologies, and companies created in France won’t be constrained by French borders. We’ll all benefit. And it’s just for four years, the nominal length of Trump’s (first) term. But c’mon, be real: Nobody goes to France to live for just four years.

This screenshot from Macron’s new website, titled “Make Our Planet Great Again” seems to confirm my concerns that France wants to keep our smarties forever.

I’m worried about a brain drain. We can’t afford to lose the political heft of scientists as communicators and U.S. citizens. The United States needs people who weigh evidence and allow that evidence to change their minds. We need men and women like this of all political stripes living in American towns, talking to their American friends, going to American churches, and helping to make this country sane again. If we all sort ourselves into like-minded factions, and a chunk of the rational faction moves to France, we’re screwed. We really can’t afford to lose Neil DeGrasse Tyson to the Riviera. James Hansen, Pam Ronald … stay!

Link:

Dear climate visionaries: Resist France’s allure

Posted in alo, Anchor, Citizen, FF, G & F, GE, LG, ONA, Ringer, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Dear climate visionaries: Resist France’s allure