#Supreme Court
Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines Stymied, BUT SCOTUS Gives Other Projects a Pass

Dakota Access and Keystone XL Pipelines Stymied, BUT SCOTUS Gives Other Projects a Pass

A federal judge in Washington, DC ruled yesterday that the Dakota Access Pipeline must shut down and empty all its oil until the government completes an environmental review of the pipeline’s impacts, giving the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, whose reservation lies downstream, a huge victory.  Similarly, late in the day, the Supreme Court refused to overturn the order of a district judge that shut down construction of parts of the Keystone XL pipeline so it is also blocked for now.

Why It Matters:  The Dakota and Keystone XL news is greatly tempered by the fact that numerous other pipeline projects can go ahead despite their inadequate permit unless they are individually challenged in court and blocked.

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Supreme Court Decisions Provide Opportunities for Wins in Climate and Environment Cases

Supreme Court Decisions Provide Opportunities for Wins in Climate and Environment Cases

This week, the Supreme Court decided important cases favoring the rights of LGBTQ individuals and the policy of allowing the “Dreamers” who were brought to the U.S. by their parents at a young age to remain in the U.S. undocumented.  Both cases provide important legal principles that could be significant in a host of litigation over climate change and the rollback of environmental protections. 

Why This Matters:  The Trump administration has been ruthless and careless in its quest to blunt the impacts of the nation’s environmental laws and rollback related policies and regulations.

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Supreme Court Closes Loophole, Ensures the Integrity of the Clean Water Act

Supreme Court Closes Loophole, Ensures the Integrity of the Clean Water Act

In a huge win for the Clean Water Act, by a 6-3 majority, the Supreme Court held that municipalities and others that discharge pollution are subject to the Act’s restrictions when they discharge the water into groundwater or ditches and it ends up in a water body covered by the law, such as a lake or the ocean.

Why This Matters: Six votes for a pro-conservation interpretation of the Act, including the Chief Justice and Trump-appointee Kavanaugh, has significance beyond this case.

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Trump Fights Green Groups, Appeals to SCOTUS on Border Wall Funding

Trump Fights Green Groups, Appeals to SCOTUS on Border Wall Funding

President Trump is challenging in the Supreme Court two orders from lower federal courts that froze funding for 100 miles of the President’s border wall because the President took the money from other federal programs and projects without Congress’ consent based on his border “emergency” declaration.  On Friday, the Associated Press reported that the Administration […]

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Supreme Court Upholds Virginia’s Uranium Mining Ban

Supreme Court Upholds Virginia’s Uranium Mining Ban

In an unanticipated plot twist, the Supreme Court’s most liberal and conservative Justices joined together and upheld a decades-old Virginia law banning uranium mining, and did so over the objection of the Trump Justice Department and three other Justices who now occupy the ideological center of the Court. 

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The Nuclear Industry is Gaming the System at the Cost of Renewables

The Nuclear Industry is Gaming the System at the Cost of Renewables

As renewable energy technology has grown over the past decades, many states have used procurement mandates to help maximize the percentage of their energy mix that comes from carbon-free energy sources. These mandates have been very effective at reducing the cost of renewable energy but as Travis Kavulla, director of energy policy at the R […]

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Pipeline Court Challenges Continue

Pipeline Court Challenges Continue

On Tuesday, five environmental groups announced their intention to sue the Trump Administration over its decision to allow the Enefit project to go forward and begin constructing three pipelines and two transmission lines across federal land in Utah — these will transport processed oil from a large shale facility to various utilities.  The Hill reported […]

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Supreme Court allows MA investigation of Exxon Mobile to go forward

Supreme Court allows MA investigation of Exxon Mobile to go forward

The Supreme Court on Monday rejected (with no written explanation) an effort by oil giant Exxon Mobile to block an investigation by the State of Massachusetts’ Attorney General, Maura Healey, into whether the company misled the public and investors about how much it knew regarding whether its products increased the threat of climate change.  As a result,  Attorney General Healey can force the company to provide her decades of records about how it has dealt with the threat of climate change to the world and to its businesses.

Why This Matters:  The Supreme Court has twice refused to step in and cut off novel climate change lawsuits in recent months. That they passed up the chance to stop these untested cases is telling.  Even if the cases are ultimately unsuccessful, the public will learn a great deal about the complicity of oil companies in our current climate predicament, which could hasten their desire to shift away from fossil fuels.  Moreover, the negative publicity these cases generate is bad for the oil companies, and for Congress and the Executive Branch as well, which are look anemic in the face of the growing challenges climate change presents the country.  

To Go Deeper:  Inside Climate News has a great summary of the many court challenges challenging the fossil fuel industry right now, both in the U.S. and abroad.  

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