The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
The group of 17 states which backed the Clean Power Plan filed a legal challenge Wednesday urging the DC Circuit Court of Appeals to ignore the Trump administration's request to stay legal proceedings in the Clean Power Plan suit.
The challenge alleges that the federal government has a responsibility to regulate emissions from power plants and that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "vague" plans to review the Clean Power Plan could cause an "indefinite delay" in the process.
"EPA fails to justify its unprecedented request for an open-ended abeyance at this late stage of litigation: more than six months after the en banc court heard a full day of oral argument," the states wrote.
"This case is ripe for decision now, and nothing that EPA has proposed to do obviates the need for this court's review. Indefinitely deferring a decision here, as EPA requests, would waste the substantial resources already expended in this litigation by the parties and this court."
Environmental groups, including the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council, filed a similar brief Wednesday, saying the delay "would have the effect of improperly suspending the rule without review by any court, without any explanation and without mandatory administrative process. The agency cannot be allowed to accomplish through abeyance something it cannot do on its own: an indefinite suspension of a duly promulgated rule without judicial review, without a notice and comment rulemaking and without any reasoned explanation."
The coalition of states include attorneys general from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington—along with the District of Columbia and other smaller localities.
"The law is clear: the EPA must limit carbon pollution from power plants," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said. "In order to repeal Obama-era protections, the Trump administration must replace those protections, as well—and we know how well repeal-and-replace went the first time around. My office will continue to defend the Clean Power Plan and aggressively oppose any effort to stand down from our shared responsibility to protect our environment and our climate."
For a deeper dive:
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.
The last four members of an embattled wolf pack were killed in Washington State Friday, hours before the court order that could have saved them.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
By Randi Spivak
Slashing two national monuments in Utah may have received the most attention, but Trump's Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service have been quietly, systematically ceding control of America's public lands to fossil fuel, mining, timber and livestock interests since the day he took office.
A new report by Greenpeace International pinpointed the world's worst sources of sulfur dioxide pollution, an irritant gas that harms human health. India has seized the top spot from Russia and China, contributing nearly 15 percent of global sulfur dioxide emissions.
By Sue Branford and Thais Borges
Ola Elvestrun, Norway's environment minister, announced Thursday that it is freezing its contributions to the Amazon Fund, and will no longer be transferring €300 million ($33.2 million) to Brazil. In a press release, the Norwegian embassy in Brazil stated:
Gina Lopez, a former Philippine environment secretary, philanthropist and eco-warrior, died on Aug. 19 from brain cancer. She was 65.