#Environmental Justice
In the Environmental Movement, Black Voters Matter

In the Environmental Movement, Black Voters Matter

As Black History Month draws to a close today, it is important to take stock of the environmental movement’s progress when it comes to environmental justice.  Suffice it to say that today may be the best of times in terms of recognition of the problem, but also the worst of times as well.  Environmental and climate injustice in this country are as bad as they have ever been given the Trump administration’s policies favoring corporate polluters and particularly fossil fuel companies.

 

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Democrats Debate Climate Change Issues in Las Vegas — Finally

Democrats Debate Climate Change Issues in Las Vegas — Finally

At the Democratic Debate in Las Vegas last night, the moderators asked a series of questions on climate change and environmental issues, and the candidates had a chance to both explain their plans and to talk about their priorities.

Why This Matters:   The MSNBC moderators recognized that climate change is one of the most important issues to the Democratic voters and gave it at least 15 minutes — it got one of the longest time blocks of the debate, albeit in the second hour.

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Mike Bloomberg: Now on the Debate Stage, But Where Does He Stand?

Mike Bloomberg has a very strong record of environmental accomplishments as Mayor of New York and since he left office, and he has detailed proposals on climate change, but fewer plans for what to do about other environmental problems like clean water and toxic waste, endangered species and other natural resource issues. 

Why This Matters:  Bloomberg has the means to develop detailed policy plans on the full range of conservation and environmental issues and the ads to go with them, but the “green” plans on his web site are not as broad as the other candidates’ — at least not yet.

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UN Rules on New Protections for Climate Refugees

UN Rules on New Protections for Climate Refugees

Human rights advocates are cheering a landmark decision by the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) mandating that governments must take into account the human rights violations caused by the climate crisis when considering the deportation of asylum seekers. In the decision, the UNHRC outlined that countries could violate people’s international rights if they force them […]

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Urban Heat Islands Disproportionately Affect Black Neighborhoods

Urban Heat Islands Disproportionately Affect Black Neighborhoods

A new study conducted by Portland State University and the Science Museum of Virginia has revealed that a history of redlining in America has forced African Americans to live in neighborhoods that are much more affected by urban heat waves. As the authors explained, “Vulnerable communities—especially those within urban areas in the United States—are disproportionately […]

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In A Major Step Forward For Environmental Justice, Court Rejects Pipeline Permit

In A Major Step Forward For Environmental Justice, Court Rejects Pipeline Permit

In a case we have been following, there was good news yesterday when a three-judge federal Federal Appeals Court panel in Virginia invalidated a state air pollution permit for a natural gas compressor station planned as part of a 600-mile natural gas pipeline project because the state permitting board failed to consider the disproportionate health effects on Union Hill, a predominantly African American community nearby.

Why This Matters:  This is not the end of the line for the pipeline — the Court threw out the permit but the state will now get a do-over.  Still, the fact that the Court specifically decided the case on environmental justice grounds is a huge step forward. 

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Democratic Debate Finally Elevates Climate Change to Top Tier Issue

Democratic Debate Finally Elevates Climate Change to Top Tier Issue

Tim Albert, Politico’s Chief Political correspondent, broke the climate barrier and asked a climate question in the first hour. Interestingly, none of the candidates — not even Bernie Sanders — said the words Green New Deal.

Why This Matters:  It would have been debate malpractice for PBS and Politico to ignore climate change in California, where its impacts have hit the state hard.  All the candidates recognized that climate is an existential crisis, they were optimistic about the ability of the U.S. to innovate its way out of the crisis, and all of them emphasized the job-growth potential of transitioning away from carbon.

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The European Union Moving Forward on a “Green Deal”

The European Union Moving Forward on a “Green Deal”

Last week, as the UN Climate Meeting lurched and sputtered, the European Commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen of Germany,  proposed the European “Green Deal” — a blueprint for how Europe will cut their carbon emissions in half by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, aiming to be a first-mover on creating climate-friendly industries and building clean technologies.  

Why This Matters:  Countries that seize the moment to transition to a fossil-fuel-free economy will win this century, and those that do not will be left behind.

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Supreme Court Hears Superfund Case — Seems To Lean Toward Limiting Polluter’s Liability

Supreme Court Hears Superfund Case — Seems To Lean Toward Limiting Polluter’s Liability

The Supreme Court heard oral argument yesterday in a case brought by a group of Montana landowners who want to force ARCO (which is owned by oil giant BP) to comply with state law and reduce arsenic levels in the soil throughout their community to pre-contamination levels.  The Justices — even the liberal ones — appeared to side with the Company.

Why This Matters:  When the EPA cares more about protecting a polluting company and limiting its liability than protecting the innocent victims of that toxic pollution from harm, federal “pre-emption” of state law claims can actually frustrate the intent of the statute — which was to make the polluters pay for the clean up of their toxic contamination.

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Trump Administration Approves Four New LNG Terminals for South Texas

Trump Administration Approves Four New LNG Terminals for South Texas

Moving full speed ahead on new fossil fuel infrastructure, the Trump Administration’s federal regulators approved permits for three new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals in the Rio Grande Valley and the expansion of another in Corpus Christi, according to the Houston Chronicle.  They do not have financing and final approvals yet, and a coalition of environmentalists, Native Americans, shrimpers, fishers, and communities working under the banner Save RGV From LNG are fighting the  Brownsville projects due to safety and environmental concerns.

Why This Matters:  The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with President Trump’s appointees at the helm have sped through 11 LNG projects in the last 9 months alone.

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Remembering Elijah Cummings, Continuing His Fight for Environmental Justice

Remembering Elijah Cummings, Continuing His Fight for Environmental Justice

by Miro Korenha, co-founder and publisher, Our Daily Planet    These days the tone in Washington is ominous. For those of us who are unnerved by what we perceive to be the unraveling of our democratic institutions, some of our only comfort has come from the voices that remind us of what we’re fighting for. […]

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Lawmakers Begin to Value Indigenous Knowledge of Ecosystems

Lawmakers Begin to Value Indigenous Knowledge of Ecosystems

The risk of wildfires in California and across much of the West is an escalating problem during the summers and dry fall season. Unfortunately, measures to prevent these fires (like the PG&E blackout fiasco last week) haven’t been very effective and have left officials scrambling for solutions. Although we’ve known that Native tribes have managed […]

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