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South Dakota High Court Blocks Bid to Halt Keystone XL
The South Dakota Supreme Court disappointed an attempt by Native American tribes and state activists to block the Keystone XL pipeline on Wednesday, ruling that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to hear their appeal, The Associated Press reported.
The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, Yankton Sioux Tribe and conservation and family agriculture group Dakota Rural Action had appealed a decision by a judge last year to uphold the Public Utilities Commission's decision to let the controversial pipeline cross the state.
Dakota Rural Action attorney Robin Martinez called the decision "disappointing" on Thursday but affirmed that "fight is not over," The Associated Press reported further.
Terry Cunha, the spokesperson for TransCanada Corp., the company behind the pipeline, told The Associated Press in an email that the company was pleased with the court's decision.
Its Keystone XL pipeline would transport as many as 830,000 barrels of Canadian crude oil daily through Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska, where it would hook up with pipelines taking oil to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico.
Activists thought they had defeated the pipeline when former president Barack Obama rejected it in 2015, partly over concerns about its contribution to climate change. But President Donald Trump resurrected it with an executive order days into his presidency. TransCanada now hopes to start construction in the beginning of 2019, according to The Associated Press.
The South Dakota appeal wasn't the only play made by pipeline opponents to block Trump's decision. Environmental groups have sued the administration over the decision to approve the pipeline, and Nebraska land owners have also sued over their state's Public Service Commission's decision to sign-off on the pipeline's proposed path, The Associated Press reported.
In an attempt to further frustrate the pipeline's progress, Nebraska land owners Art and Helen Tanderup signed over a 1.6 acre plot of their land to the Ponca Indian Tribe on Sunday, according to The Associated Press.
The piece of land both sits on the pipeline's route and has been used by the tribe to plant sacred corn for the last five years.
"What the impact will be, I don't know," Tanderup told The Associated Press. "But now, they'll have a voice in this issue. They will be a player at the table."
Ponca Tribe of Nebraska attorney Brad Jolly told The Associated Press he was not sure if deeding the land to the tribe would provide a legal avenue to stop the pipeline. He said he was still focused on the ongoing Nebraska suit against the pipeline's approval.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tracy L. Barnett
Sources reviewed this article for accuracy.
For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn't until she'd had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.
Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.