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Texas Judge Changes Course, Allows Keystone XL Construction to Move Forward
In a blow to landowner’s rights, Texas communities’ waterways and the climate, a county judge in Texas this morning ruled to allow construction of the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to continue on a landowner’s property until a hearing on Dec. 19. Nacogdoches County Court at Law Judge Jack Sinz reversed the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) he granted to landowner Michael Bishop from Douglass, TX earlier this week by dissolving the TRO at the behest of TransCanada.
Representing himself pro se, Bishop contends that TransCanada defrauded him and other local landowners in the path of the pipeline about the contents of Keystone XL before threatening to employ eminent domain and other intimidation tactics to seize their land. Bishop will seek an injunction on construction at the Dec. 19 hearing.
Unlike conventional crude oil, tar sands is a heavy, corrosive substance that must be diluted with toxic cancer-causing chemicals and pressurized before being transported through pipelines like Keystone XL. Tar sands extraction alone produces three to five times more carbon pollution than conventional oil.
Bishop and grassroots community groups had the following statements in response to Judge Sinz’s ruling:
Michael Bishop, a retired chemist, Marine Corps veteran and landowner whose land would be crossed by Keystone XL, said: “TransCanada executives may be smirking over Judge Sinz’s ruling today, but they’ve got another thing coming if they think I’ll just roll over for its dirty pipeline. I didn’t pick this fight, but I refuse to sit idly by while a multinational corporation tramples my rights and that of other landowners all along Keystone XL’s path in the name of deepening its profits.”
Vicki Baggett, a member of Nacogdoches County S.T.O.P. (Stop Tar sands Oil Permanently), said: “Today’s court ruling is a strike against our rights to clean water and a safe, healthy future but we remain undeterred. Tar sands isn’t your grandfather’s oil. It’s toxic and dangerous. I refuse to allow my community to become a sacrifice zone for the dirtiest fuel on Earth.”
Ron Seifert, a spokesperson for Tar Sands Blockade, said: “From the streets to the courts, we will not rest until Keystone XL is stopped for good. Michael Bishop’s case is a textbook example of TransCanada bullying and bankrupting any landowner or community member brave enough to say ‘no’ to this monstrous project. We’ll continue to stand with landowners like Mr. Bishop in this David versus Goliath fight to defend our homes and climate from toxic tar sands.”
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‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.
"There was a lot of devastation throughout the state," Governor Mike Parson said at a Thursday morning press conference, as NPR reported. "We were very fortunate last night that we didn't have more injuries than what we had, and we didn't have more fatalities across the state. But three is too many."