The Banner, Vol. 6, No. 17 – New York Takes Another Crucial Step

May 19, 2020
It was a helluva week, with wide swings in the fortunes of the struggles to divest fossil fuel industry’s death-grip on the planet’s ecology and climate. But amid that came a few signal moments, demonstrating a growing official resolve to attend to the environment assiduously when considering fossil fuel developement, and the legacy bequeathed to the future generations by officialdom’s decisions.
And that, for another in the historical moments of our struggle, is the news!

Table of Contents

NY & Northeast Activist News

National Activist News

New York Takes Another Crucial Step

Indigenous Peoples News

Youth Leaders News

Science & Climate

Regulatory & Court News

Government & Economics

International News

The Lighter Side of Things


Former Endicott Mayors Speak Out Against Battery Incinerator Plant

 

MayorsOnEndicottIncineratorThe plant would be located behind Logan Field on the Northside of Endicott.

John Bertoni and Michael Colella say they are worried about the health and safety of residents and their children, as well as showing concern over property values plummeting because of the facility.

The former mayors say they are concerned with air quality.

Further reading No Burn Broome | Citizens united for technologies that respect our health and our environment.
Why an Endicott board meeting lasted more than 4 hours | Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin

Paul Connet, a retired chemistry professor, is also concerned about the facility.

“Because this is a valley, those stacks will not disperse the pollutants adequately some people living above the height of the stacks and on top of everything else, there are already people suffering from cancer and that will put out more cancer causing chemicals.” he says.…—”Former Endicott Mayors speak out against battery incinerator plant,” WBNG (Binghamton), 4/29/20

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AG James Sues Trump Administration
for Limiting Enforcement of Federal Environmental
and Public Health Laws

Coalition of AGs Argue the EPA’s Policy Endangers Public Health, Vulnerable Communities

NEW YORK – Attorney General James today led a coalition of nine attorneys general in filing a lawsuit against Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging its new policy to stop enforcing requirements under a wide range of federal environmental laws due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis.

The policy states that the EPA does not intend to take enforcement action against companies that violate provisions of environmental laws such as the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Safe Drinking Water Acts, provided that the companies link COVID-19 to their non-compliance. The coalition argues this policy is overly broad, lacks transparency and accountability, and will result in higher pollution emissions by industry and corresponding impacts on public health and the environment.

“The Trump Administration cannot give industries the green light to ignore critical environmental and public health laws, especially during a public health crisis,” said Attorney General James. “The EPA’s non-enforcement policy puts our already damaged public health in danger by freely allowing pollution from big corporations. There has never been a more important time to prioritize the health of our communities, and we will not stop fighting for the health and safety of all Americans.”…—”AG James Sues Trump Administration for Limiting Enforcement of Federal Environmental and Public Health Laws,” Letitia James, New York State Attorney General, 5/13/20

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Controversy over incinerator-linked PFAS in New York
draws scrutiny from federal lawmakers

Ongoing controversy over toxic chemical contamination linked to an incinerator in Cohoes, New York could spur new lawmaker action. Testing done by David Bond, a Bennington College environmental studies professor, and his students found per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in soil and surface water near a facility run by Norlite Corp., a company that makes a ceramic aggregate material.

Norlite’s incinerator has previously accepted PFAS-laden aqueous film-forming foam (AFFF), sparking concerns that incinerators spread the chemicals, rather than breaking them down. When the findings were presented on April 27, Bond told reporters that “far from destroying AFFF, Norlite’s facility appears to be raining down a witch’s brew” of PFAS onto nearby areas.

Further reading: Lawmakers want to ban PFAS incineration | Times Union

The controversy has drawn the attention of lawmakers on a local and federal level, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who is seeking a federal probe by the U.S. EPA and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That push comes after a bipartisan coalition of more than 80 House of Representatives members called on the House Transportation Committee to restrict industrial discharges of PFAS, a move that could impact incinerators and landfills.…—”Controversy over incinerator-linked PFAS in New York draws scrutiny from federal lawmakers,” E.A. Crunden, Waste Dive, 5/14/20

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The Battle for New York’s Key Voting Blocs
in the Primaries

A look at where the candidates are competing for votes.

For the first time in decades, New York will have two meaningful presidential primaries. With voters heading to the polls on Tuesday in both the Republican and Democratic races, here’s a look at some voting blocs that may determine the outcome. Related Article

Whites with money on the Upper West Side, in Chelsea and in brownstone Brooklyn are the Democrats’ liberal base. They have opened their wallets for Hillary Clinton — she has a 10-to-1 advantage over Bernie Sanders in contributions — and they turn out reliably.…

Black Voters

The voting center of Democratic New York in high-turnout elections is farther east, in black neighborhoods in places like central Brooklyn and southeast Queens. Mrs. Clinton has done well here in the past, even in 2008 against Barack Obama.…

A Sanders Advantage

The most liberal Democrats in New York could be the gentrifiers in hipster Brooklyn, but there aren’t many of them.…

Trump Territory

Donald J. Trump is ahead in polls among all groups of Republican voters, but he may perform best in parts of New York City where white Catholics, once one of the city’s most powerful voting blocs, remain numerous.…

The Republican Establishment

Republican voters on the Upper East Side tend to favor mainstream candidates, and they could be John Kasich’s best hope of scoring any delegates. They haven’t given him much money, however, having squandered millions of dollars on Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio.…

Hope for Cruz in Brooklyn

Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn are Ted Cruz’s best bet in New York. Many are in southern Brooklyn, dispersed among several congressional districts.…

The Rest of the State

Long Island was very good for Mrs. Clinton in her 2008 race against Mr. Obama. Her worst county in the state was Tompkins, home to Cornell University and Ithaca College.

Despite Mrs. Clinton’s success throughout New York in 2008, Mr. Skurnik says Mr. Sanders has a shot in rural upstate districts, where “despite popular belief, Democrats are not farmers, but are instead teachers and government workers.”—”The Battle for New York’s Key Voting Blocs in the Primaries,” Ford Fessenden, Sarah Almukhtar, The New York Times, 4/17/20

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Judge Dismisses Seneca Meadows Lawsuit Challenging Its Permanent Closing
by December 2025

 

SENECA FALLS, May 4, 2020 — A Seneca County judge has dismissed Seneca Meadows Inc.’s three-year-old legal challenge to a local law that requires it to close by December 2025.

In an order dated April 28 and emailed to lawyers today, Supreme County Judge Daniel J. Doyle wrote that three of four main claims by the state’s largest landfill were disqualified by the statute of limitations.

Doyle also decreed that the landfill’s constitutional rights to due process were not infringed by Seneca Falls’ Local Law #3, which was enacted in late 2016.

Meanwhile, on Monday, SMI threatened to terminate its host agreement with the town and to file suit if the town board failed to promptly grant it an updated annual operating permit, according to letters obtained by FingerLakes1.…—”Judge Dismisses Seneca Meadows Lawsuit That Challenged Local Law #3 Mandating Its Permanent Closing by December 2025,” Peter Mantius, Water Front, 5/4/20

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I’m Joining the Sanders-Biden
Task Force on Climate. Here’€™s why.

This week, alongside Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and environmental justice advocate Catherine Flowers, I’ve been nominated by Senator Bernie Sanders to serve on the Sanders-Biden Task Force on the Climate Crisis.

This is one of six task forces on key issues — including the economy, immigration, healthcare, education, and criminal justice, and will help craft the 2020 agenda for the Biden campaign, inform the DNC policy platform, and have a role in Biden’s transition process should he defeat Donald Trump in November.

After much deliberation and consultation with movement leaders and allies, I’ve decided to accept the position. I am grateful for Bernie Sanders believing in me, I trust his political leadership, and believe this is an opportunity for our movement to continue to advance our fight for a Green New Deal.

None of this would have been possible without the organizing and power that youth climate justice movements and allies have built over the last several years. A year and a half ago, our movement was joined by then Representative-elect Ocasio-Cortez in Nancy Pelosi’s office demanding that the Democrats develop a solution at the scale of the climate crisis. Now, together, we’ll be helping to write the Democratic Platform on climate. Our nomination on this task force shows Joe Biden and his campaign are beginning to take seriously that power and the significance of young people within the party if we want to defeat Trump this November.…—”I’m Joining the Sanders-Biden Task force on Climate. Here’s why,” Varshini Prakash, Medium, 5/1/20

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Dr. Goodall’s Call To Action
for Endangered Species Day 2020

GoodallsCallVidWe, as humans, are fortunate to share the Earth with such a magnificent diversity of life forms, but Earth’s biodiversity is dwindling at an alarming rate. In just over 100 years, the population of wild chimpanzees has dropped from an estimated one – two million (probably closer to two million), to as few as 340,000, many of them living in fragmented patches of forest with little hope of long term survival. This is only one example of the decline in the population of a species the same decline is evident in almost every species, of wild animals including many in the United States. Indeed, we are experiencing what science describes as “The Sixth Great Extinction.”

Contact your representatives and let them know you want to protect the laws that protect endangered species especially those protecting our land, air and water.

Further references Endangered Species Day – a photo essay | The Guardian
How to Contact Your Elected Officials

Help join Dr. Goodall to #StopExtinction by protecting the Endangered Species Act for #EndangeredSpeciesDay.—”Dr. Goodall’s Call To Action for Endangered Species Day 2020, Jane Goodall,” YouTube, 5/15/20

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Juice Podcast 12: The Machine | with Naomi Klein

TheMachineNaomiKleinJuice Media Podcast 12: in which I have an epic chat with award-winning author Naomi Klein about the lessons we’re learning during this historic period, the decisions we need to make before the Machine is turned back on, the coming US election, and more.—”Juice Podcast 12: The Machine | with Naomi Klein,” Naomi Klein, Giordano Nanni, TheJuiceMedia|YouTube, 5/21/20

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Safety Can’t Be a ‘Pretext’ for Regulating Unsafe Oil Trains,
Says Trump Admin

The federal agency overseeing the safe transport of hazardous materials released a stunning explanation of its May 11 decision striking down a Washington state effort to regulate trains carrying volatile oil within its borders. A state cannot use “safety as a pretext for inhibiting market growth,” wrote Paul J. Roberti, the chief counsel for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

The statement appeared in the Trump administration’s justification for overruling Washington’s oil train regulation, which was challenged by crude-producing North Dakota and oil industry lobbying groups. The Washington rule seeks to limit oil vapor pressure unloaded from trains to less than 9 pounds per square inch (psi) in an attempt to reduce the likelihood that train derailments lead to the now-familiar fireballs and explosions accompanying trains transporting volatile oil.

Roberti wrote: “Proponents of the law insist Washington State has a legitimate public interest to protect its citizens from oil train fires and explosions, but in the context of the transportation of crude oil by rail, a State cannot use safety as a pretext for inhibiting market growth or instituting a de facto ban on crude oil by rail within its borders.”

With this statement, PHMSA is codifying what has been clear for some time at the regulatory agencies responsible for overseeing the transportation of hazardous materials by rail: that is, profits take priority over safety.

Rail Industry ‘Pre-emption’ and Safety Under Trump

A year ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), PHMSA‘s parent agency, invoked the same legal argument, known as “pre-emption,” to overrule state efforts to require at minimum two-person crews for operating freight trains. As part of the explanation for that decision, the DOT‘s Federal Railroad Administration announced that it was adopting a policy of deregulation.…—”Safety Can’t Be a ‘Pretext’ for Regulating Unsafe Oil Trains, Says Trump Admin,” Justin Mikulka, DeSmog, 5/20/20

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Keystone XL: Police Discussed Stopping Anti-Pipeline Activists
‘by Any Means’

Revealed: records show law enforcement has called demonstrators possible ‘domestic terrorism’ threats

US law enforcement officials preparing for fresh Keystone XL pipeline protests have privately discussed tactics to stop activists “by any means” and have labeled demonstrators potential “domestic terrorism” threats, records reveal.

Internal government documents seen by the Guardian show that police and local authorities in Montana and the surrounding region have been preparing a coordinated response in the event of a new wave of protests opposing the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would carry crude oil from Canada to Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

{Button}Civil rights organizations say the documents raise concerns that law enforcement is preparing to launch an even more brutal and aggressive response than the police tactics utilized during the 2016 Standing Rock movement, which drew thousands of indigenous and environmental activists opposed to the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) to North Dakota.…—”Keystone XL: police discussed stopping anti-pipeline activists ‘by any means’,” Sam Levin, Will Parrish, The Guardian, 11/25/19

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New York Takes Another Crucial Step

New York Rejects Williams Pipeline
Over Water, Climate Concerns

New York state has rejected the controversial Williams pipeline that would have carried fracked natural gas from Pennsylvania through New Jersey, running beneath New York Harbor and the Atlantic Ocean before connecting to an existing pipeline system off Long Island.

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) announced the decision Friday, arguing that pipeline construction would have harmed water quality and threatened marine life.

“New York is not prepared to sacrifice the State’s water quality for a project that is not only environmentally harmful but also unnecessary to meet New York’s energy needs,” DEC spokesperson Erica Ringewald said in a statement reported by POLITICO.

The decision is a victory for grassroots activists who have long campaigned against the pipeline. After Oklahoma-based company Williams submitted its most recent application, New Yorkers sent in more than 25,000 comments opposing the pipeline in two weeks, according to the Stop the Williams Pipeline Coalition.…

Further reading

New Jersey DEP denies permits sought for NESE pipeline project; Williams Company has no plans to refile | Central Jersey

DEC Statement on Water Quality Certification for Proposed Northeast Supply Enhancement Pipeline Project | NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

NESE Monsters

National Grid Asks Customers to Help it Lobby for a New Fracked Gas Pipeline | The American Prospect

NY League of Conservation Directors are Pushing the Williams Pipeline & Other NYS Fossil Fuel Projects | Little Sis | Eyes on the Ties

Doubts About Pipeline Proponents’ Claims of a Gas Shortage | City Limits

Checkmate? Cuomo issues ultimatum to National Grid | Brooklyn Eagle

The rejection comes a little less than a year after New York state passed ambitious climate legislation requiring the state to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. That deadline is one of the reasons that NYSDEC rejected the pipeline, according to POLITICO.

Guardian-Donate.-1“While the Department recognizes that many building assets in the State currently rely on natural gas for heating and other energy uses, the continued long-term use of fossil fuels is inconsistent with the State’s laws and objectives and with the actions necessary to prevent the most severe impacts from climate change,” DEC wrote in a letter explaining its decision. “Without appropriate alternatives or GHG mitigation measures, the Project could extend the amount of time that natural gas may be relied upon to produce energy, which could in turn delay, frustrate, or increase the cost of the necessary transition away from natural gas and other fossil fuels.”…—”New York Rejects Williams Pipeline Over Water, Climate Concerns,” Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch, 5/18/20

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Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund Divests Itself
Of Climate-Destroying Stocks Worth $3 Billion

The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund has sold $3 billion worth of energy stocks and other companies it finds are seriously harming the environment. Most of the stocks it sold in the energy sector are for Canadian companies involved in producing and distributing oil derived from the Alberta tar sands. According to the CBC, Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, announced on Wednesday it would stop investing in Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Suncor Energy, and Imperial Oil after concluding they produce unacceptable levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

The decision was based on recommendations from the Council on Ethics, the fund’s ethics watchdog, because of the companies’ carbon emissions from production of oil, the central bank said. Four years ago, the fund decided to make carbon emissions one of the criterion for exclusion from its investment strategy, which is interesting since the fund itself was set up specifically to preserve the profits from Norwegian oil operations for the benefit of its citizens. In 2017, the Council on Ethics recommended “a small handful” of oil, cement, and steel companies be blacklisted because they producing too many greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the 4 Canadian oil companies, the Sovereign Wealth Fund excluded three other companies because of the severe environmental damage attributable to their operations. — Egypt’s ElSewedy Electric Co, Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA , and Brazilian power holding Eletrobras.

The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund has sold $3 billion worth of energy stocks and other companies it finds are seriously harming the environment. Most of the stocks it sold in the energy sector are for Canadian companies involved in producing and distributing oil derived from the Alberta tar sands. According to the CBC, Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, announced on Wednesday it would stop investing in Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Suncor Energy, and Imperial Oil after concluding they produce unacceptable levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

The decision was based on recommendations from the Council on Ethics, the fund’s ethics watchdog, because of the companies’ carbon emissions from production of oil, the central bank said. Four years ago, the fund decided to make carbon emissions one of the criterion for exclusion from its investment strategy, which is interesting since the fund itself was set up specifically to preserve the profits from Norwegian oil operations for the benefit of its citizens. In 2017, the Council on Ethics recommended “a small handful” of oil, cement, and steel companies be blacklisted because they producing too many greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the 4 Canadian oil companies, the Sovereign Wealth Fund excluded three other companies because of the severe environmental damage attributable to their operations. — Egypt’s ElSewedy Electric Co, Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA , and Brazilian power holding Eletrobras.

Trudeau: We Have To Adjust

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a press conference after the announcement, “We’ve seen investors around the world looking at the risks associated with climate change as an integral part of investment decisions they make. That is why it is so important for Canada to continue to move forward on fighting climate change and reduce our emissions in all sectors. I can highlight that many companies in the energy sector have understood that the investment climate is shifting and there is a need for clear leadership and clear targets to reach on fighting climate change to draw on global capital.” Buying an oil pipeline that Canada doesn’t want and can’t use may not be an example of such clear leadership, but we can’t expect national leaders to be perfect.

The Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund has sold $3 billion worth of energy stocks and other companies it finds are seriously harming the environment. Most of the stocks it sold in the energy sector are for Canadian companies involved in producing and distributing oil derived from the Alberta tar sands. According to the CBC, Norges Bank Investment Management, which manages Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, announced on Wednesday it would stop investing in Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources, Cenovus Energy, Suncor Energy, and Imperial Oil after concluding they produce unacceptable levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

The decision was based on recommendations from the Council on Ethics, the fund’s ethics watchdog, because of the companies’ carbon emissions from production of oil, the central bank said. Four years ago, the fund decided to make carbon emissions one of the criterion for exclusion from its investment strategy, which is interesting since the fund itself was set up specifically to preserve the profits from Norwegian oil operations for the benefit of its citizens. In 2017, the Council on Ethics recommended “a small handful” of oil, cement, and steel companies be blacklisted because they producing too many greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition to the 4 Canadian oil companies, the Sovereign Wealth Fund excluded three other companies because of the severe environmental damage attributable to their operations. — Egypt’s ElSewedy Electric Co, Brazilian iron ore miner Vale SA , and Brazilian power holding Eletrobras.

.…—”Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund Divests Itself Of Climate-Destroying Stocks Worth $3 Billion,” Steve Hanley, CleanTechnica, 5/14/20

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Governor OKs Keystone XL Construction
Despite Coronavirus Threat

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock is allowing Canadian pipeline company TC Energy to begin construction this month of the Keystone XL oil pipeline in Montana, categorizing the pipeline as an “essential” project exempt from his statewide stay-at-home directive, despite the acknowledged threat that hundreds of out-of-state pipeline workers pose to state efforts to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

At press time, there is one recorded case of COVID-19 in remote eastern Montana’s Roosevelt County. The counties Keystone XL is slated to traverse have yet to report any cases. Current U.S. maps of COVID-19 cases show that these counties are currently the largest uninfected area in the Lower 48 states.

Officials in Valley County, where Keystone XL would cross under the Missouri River shortly after entering Montana from Canada, are working hard to keep it that way.

On March 28, Valley County officials ordered that all new arrivals to the county are subject to a 14-day quarantine, retroactively including pipeline workers who arrived as early as March 26. Bullock ordered a similar state-wide quarantine policy for new arrivals to Montana on Wednesday, April 1.

Valley County Health Officer Dr. Anne Millard said during an April 1 live-streamed Q&A that the 14-day quarantine applies to pipeline workers only when they are on personal time.…—”MT OKs KXL despite coronavirus threat,” Hunter Pauli, Montana Free Press, 4/6/20

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In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S.

WASHINGTON — The United States is on track to produce more electricity this year from renewable power than from coal for the first time on record, new government projections show, a transformation partly driven by the coronavirus pandemic, with profound implications in the fight against climate change.

It is a milestone that seemed all but unthinkable a decade ago, when coal was so dominant that it provided nearly half the nation’s electricity. And it comes despite the Trump administration’s three-year push to try to revive the ailing industry by weakening pollution rules on coal-burning power plants.

Those efforts, however, failed to halt the powerful economic forces that have led electric utilities to retire hundreds of aging coal plants since 2010 and run their remaining plants less frequently. The cost of building large wind farms has declined more than 40 percent in that time, while solar costs have dropped more than 80 percent. And the price of natural gas, a cleaner-burning alternative to coal, has fallen to historic lows as a result of the fracking boom.…—”In a First, Renewable Energy Is Poised to Eclipse Coal in U.S.,” Brad Plumer, The New York Times, 5/13/20

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People of Colour Experience Climate Grief
More Deeply Than White People

We are not only disproportionately affected by the climate crisis, but we carry a pain that comes from a long history of racial terror.

When the wildfires hit Australia last year, Bee Cruse was horrified at the sight of the red sky, the black ash falling like snow, and the smoke choking the whole East Coast.

The fires were a direct reminder of the British genocide against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people like her, and the tearing of them from country and their traditional ways of land management.

In an article for Vox, Cruse, a Wiradjuri, Gomeroi, and Monaroo-Yuin storyteller, told me, “We see and feel the spirit of our animals and our land; they are our ancestor spirits. We don’t own country, country owns us; we come from her to protect her. When country hurts, we hurt. When our animals, our spirit cousins, cry, we cry.”

What Cruse was describing was climate grief, a psychological phenomenon that affects Black and Indigenous peoples, and other people of colour, in uniquely devastating ways.…—”People of Colour Experience Climate Grief More Deeply Than White People,” Nylah Burton, VICE, 5/14/20

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Gender-Based Violence Shakes Communities
in the Wake of Forest Loss

Change. That’s what Monica Yongol has seen in her 54 years. In that time, the loggers and then the oil palm companies have moved into the remote corner of Papua New Guinea where she raised her family, altering the contours of the society she knew.

“Things have changed a lot over the years for the women,” Yongol said. “The male members of society or even other males from other clans, they go ahead and make decisions in private spaces, which means women are not included.”

Often, those decisions determine the fate of the forests that the people of Mu, Yongol’s village in the rural local-level government of East Pomio on New Britain Island, have lived next to and subsisted on for generations. In East Pomio, part of Pomio district in East New Britain province, mothers have traditionally passed what they have down to their children. The principle has worked well, Yongol said, because women have a vested interest in ensuring that the land continues to provide for them.

“Women are looking at how they sustain the lives of their children in the future generations,” she said, “whereas men are more looking at short-term benefits.”…—”Gender-Based Violence Shakes Communities in the Wake of Forest Loss,” John C. Cannon, Mongabay|ReaderSupportedNews, 5/18/20

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Indonesian Miners Eyeing Ev Nickel Boom
Seek to Dump Waste Into the Sea

JAKARTA — As Indonesia ramps up its mining sector to feed the world’s hunger for zero-emission vehicles, it is faced with a problem: what to do with all the waste.

Now, companies building the nation’s first factories to produce the elements that power electric vehicles are seeking permission to dump billions of tons of potentially toxic waste into the waters of the Coral Triangle, home to the highest diversity of corals and reef fishes anywhere on the planet.

…In January, two companies presented plans to use the method, known as deep-sea tailings disposal, or DSTD, to Indonesia’s Coordinating Ministry for Maritime and Investment Affairs, according to presentation documents seen by Mongabay.

Neither company appears to have received permission from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, which must approve the practice, though factories pitching to dump waste in the ocean are already under construction.…—”Indonesian miners eyeing EV nickel boom seek to dump waste into the sea,” Ian Morse, Mongabay, 5/18/20

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Indonesia Moves to End Smallholder Guarantee
Meant to Empower Palm Oil Farmers

JAKARTA — Palm oil companies will no longer be required to allocate a fifth of their land for smallholder farmers under a new bill, a move activists and officials call harmful to the livelihoods of these farmers.

These so-called plasma farms were made mandatory in 2007 to ensure rural communities benefited from the large plantations near them, including through training, supplies of seedlings and fertilizer, guaranteed buyers for their oil palm fruit, and eventual title to the land.

But a deregulation bill now making its way through parliament calls for ending the requirement, characterizing it as a hindrance to investment. That, activists say, will leave large palm oil companies with little justification to continue empowering local communities.

“If the 20% minimum requirement is gone, then allocating a single hectare of area for plasma farms can be deemed enough,” Syahrul Fitra, a legal researcher at the environmental NGO Auriga Nusantara, told Mongabay. “What’s needed is to ensure the plasma scheme is carried out, not weakened. If it’s removed, then local people will be further pushed aside.”…—”Indonesia moves to end smallholder guarantee meant to empower palm oil farmers,” Hans Nicholas Jong, Mongabay, 5/12/20

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Beyond the Coronavirus, My Students See a Better World

“Next week, classes will be online, but we’ve got an hour to brainstorm ideas for our environmental education class,” I told my students.

That was March 12, 2020. After a week of monitoring the news, the surreal had happened: The threat of the coronavirus consumed the small campus where I’d taught for 20 years. Seated at a picnic table near the college’s vegetable garden, I looked at my nine seminar students knowing most would soon leave these mountains of North Carolina. Some who were graduating seniors would be leaving for good.

I didn’t mention the deep pit of dread in my stomach: How would I transform a course in which we taught nature awareness, gardening, and cooking in elementary and high schools in our rural valley into one delivered by video-conference? After a half-semester developing lessons on topics such as food security and the climate crisis, we faced another kind of emergency—a global pandemic—and we’d have to continue our learning through a split screen on Zoom.

But my students are resourceful and accustomed to MacGyvering whatever it takes to creatively respond to environmental puzzles.…—”Beyond the Coronavirus, My Students See a Better World,” Mallory McDuff, Yes! Magazine, 5/13/20

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Potentially Deadly Heat and Humidity Levels
Are Already Here and Rising

For years, researchers have warned that the climate crisis could expose people around the world to a potentially deadly combination of heat and humidity later in the century.

Now, a new study published in Science Advances Friday shows that the conditions scientists thought were decades away are already here, and increasing.

“I was astonished by our findings,” study coauthor Radley Horton of Columbia University told CNN. “My previously published study projected that these conditions would not take hold until later in the century. We may be at a closer tipping point than we think.”

At stake is the human body’s ability to withstand a certain combination of heat and humidity. When temperatures rise past 35 degrees Celsius, humans have to sweat to maintain their ideal body temperature, the study explained. But when it gets too humid, this is no longer possible. The combination of heat and humidity is calculated by something called the wet-bulb temperature, measured by wrapping a wet cloth around a thermometer and seeing how much it is cooled by evaporation, as EcoWatch explained previously. When humidity reaches 100 percent, the cloth has no effect. Wet-bulb temperatures of 35 or higher are too much for even healthy humans to survive outside for more than six hours, but wet-bulb temperatures much lower than that can still cause problems for human health. The deadly European and Russian heat waves of 2003 and 2010 respectively saw wet-bulb temperatures of only 28 degrees Celsius.…—”Potentially Deadly Heat and Humidity Levels Are Already Here and Rising,” Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch, 5/11/20

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Siberia experiences hottest spring on record, fueling wildfires

A few hundred miles south of the Arctic Circle, the small town of Boguchany in Siberia, Russia, had its hottest April on record. On April 25, the temperature soared to 31° Celsius (87.8° Fahrenheit), even though it should be much cooler at this time of the year.

Other parts of Siberia, and the greater continent of Asia, also experienced record heat. On April 27, the temperature in Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan, reached 35.1°C (95.2°F), while at Ayding Lake, China, the temperature peaked at 43.5°C (110.3°F). Over the past few months, Europe has also been dealing with abnormal heat during its warmest winter on record.

In Siberia, the high temperatures gave way to wildfires. On April 27, a satellite system operated by NASA captured an image of red flames and smoke blowing through at least nine regions near Kemerovo and Novosibirsk in Siberia.

Anton Beneslavskiy, a forest fire and climate emergency expert with Greenpeace International in Moscow, said it’s very concerning that fires were burning in Siberia this early in the season.…—”Siberia experiences hottest spring on record, fueling wildfires,” Elizabeth Claire Alberts, Mongabay, 5/19/20

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New High Seas Treaty Could Be
a Game-changer for the Ocean

…In 2018, after more than a decade of groundwork at the United Nations, negotiations officially began for a new treaty focused on conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity in the waters beyond national jurisdiction.

The proposed treaty is being developed under the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, which was signed in 1982 and defined nations’ rights and responsibilities for use of the world’s oceans. The Convention itself is a landmark agreement that established many key environmental protections and policies, but over the years it’s become obvious that some gaps in its governance policy have left the ocean’s ecosystems open to ongoing and emerging threats.

The new treaty is intended to help fill those gaps, although, as with any international agreement, that presents challenges. Representatives of world governments gathered in 2018 and 2019 for three rounds of negotiations, but many parts of the key issues remained unresolved. Among them are plans to establish a framework for evaluating and implementing area-based management tools, which include marine protected areas, since no such systems exist now for the high seas.…—”New High Seas Treaty Could Be a Gamechanger for the Ocean,” Tara Lohan, EcoWatch, 5/9/20

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</>There Is No Denying This:
Defusing the Confusion about Atrazine

[Below is an example of a scientist defending research against attacks by industry, in this case, an attack by Syngenta on an investigation of it herbicide Atrazine, widely used in U.S. corn fields, on the chemical castration of frog species. The matter might seem quite recondite and perhaps not rewarding for the ordinary reader —which is exactly how Syngenta and other manufacturers of doubt and illegitimate science would have the reader view it.—Editor]

Abstract

Recent studies from my laboratory, showing the chemical castration (demasculinization) and feminization of amphibians by low but ecologically relevant concentrations of atrazine in the laboratory and in the wild, prompted a critical response from atrazine’s manufacturer, Syngenta Crop Protection, and Syngenta-funded scientists.

A careful analysis of the published data funded by Syngenta, and of several studies submitted to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) by the Syngenta-funded panel for data evaluation, indicates that the data presented in these studies are not in disagreement with my laboratory’s peer-reviewed, published data. Further, the published and unpublished data presented to the EPA by the Syngenta-funded panel (and touted in the popular press) suffer from contaminated laboratory controls; high mortality; inappropriate measurements of hormone levels in stressed, sexually immature animals during nonreproductive seasons; and contaminated reference sites. The confounding factors in the industry-funded studies severely limit any conclusions about the adverse effects of atrazine on amphibians and prevent meaningful comparisons with my laboratory’s published data.

Years have passed since DDT was banned in the United States, but it is unclear how much policymakers and the public have learned from the case of this dangerous pesticide. DDT was banned on the basis of even less scientific evidence than currently exists for the negative impacts of atrazine. Atrazine, an herbicide, is the top-selling product for the largest chemical company in the world. Its primary consumer (the United States) boasts the largest economy in the world, and it is used on corn, the largest crop in the United States. One of the primary targets for atrazine is the weed common groundsel (Senecio vulgaris), the most widespread botanical in the world (Kadereit 1984). As a result of its frequent use, atrazine is the most common contaminant of ground, surface, and drinking water (Aspelin 1994), and its use over the last 40 years has resulted in the evolution of more herbicide-resistant weeds (> 60 species) than any other herbicide (Heap 1997, Gadamski et al. 2003). Given its status, it is no surprise that the results of recent studies from my laboratory—showing that atrazine is an endocrine disruptor that demasculinizes and feminizes male amphibians at low but ecologically relevant doses—sparked debate (Carr and Solomon 2003). Our work potentially linked two of the most debated issues in conservation and environmental biology: the causes of amphibian declines (Green 2003, Schmidt 2003, Storfer 2003) and the potential impact of endocrine disruptors in the environment (Colborn 1994, Ankley et al. 1997, Fenner-Crisp 1997, MRC IEH 1999, Harvey and Johnson 2002).

The controversy emanated from members of the Ecorisk Atrazine Endocrine Ecological Risk Assessment Panel, a group funded by the manufacturer of atrazine, Syngenta Crop Protection, through the consulting company Ecorisk, Inc. Because I was a former member of this panel, my laboratory’s work was the main target of its criticism, but in fact we were not the first to show the effects of atrazine on gonadal development in the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) in the laboratory (Tavera-Mendoza et al. 2002), nor were we the first to show the effects of atrazine on gonadal development in wild amphibians (Reeder et al. 1998).…—”There Is No Denying This: Defusing the Confusion about Atrazine,” Tyrone B. Hayes, BioScience|Oxford Academic, 1/12/04

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Two Giant Icebergs Broke Off Antarctica.
Here’s What That Means for the Continent’s Health.

Antarctica’s Pine Island Glacier is one of the most closely watched pieces of ice on Earth.

For years, scientists have tracked as chunks of the glacier have broken off, an awe-inspiring event known as “calving” that happens naturally. But it’s happening more often at the Pine Island Glacier, also known as PIG, and it’s got glaciologists worried that climate change is to blame.

“The calving events at Pine Island Glacier are coming more frequently than they used to,” said glaciologist Adrian Luckman from Swansea University in the U.K. in an email.

Glaciologists have raised alarm that a massive new iceberg, designated B-49, may be a result of melting caused by relatively warm water eating away at the ice that surrounds the frozen continent.…—”Two giant icebergs broke off Antarctica. Here’s what that means for the continent’s health.” Tom Metcalfe, NBC News, 2/19/20

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Even Ultra-Tough Water Bears
May Be Vulnerable to Climate Change

Tardigrades are known for their ability to survive extreme temperatures. But new research suggests they might be more sensitive than previously thought.

More so than any other animal on Earth, the water bear (aka tardigrade, aka moss piglet) doesn’t particularly appreciate dying. Scientists have exposed the microscopic critters, which look like eight-legged gummy bears, to insane conditions—they’ve boiled them, frozen them, irradiated them, and exposed them to the vacuum of space. (Rocket scientists recently crashed them into the moon, albeit accidentally.) Yet the water bear easily persists. It’s especially tough when its environment dries out and it desiccates into what is known as a tun state, in which it reinforces its body with sugar.

But it turns out the water bear’s almost mythical indestructibility may indeed be somewhat mythical. When they’ve been subjected to extreme heat, for example, it’s only ever been for short periods of time, at most an hour. So a group of researchers—who’ve been studying various aspects of water bear biology, including their morphology and evolutionary history—ran new experiments to show that if you expose them for longer, they’re much less likely to survive. On a rapidly warming planet, that’s troubling news.…—”Even Ultra-Tough Water Bears May Be Vulnerable to Climate Change,” Matt Simon, WIRED, 1/16/20

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Oil and Gas Industry Is 25 to 40% More Responsible
for Global Methane Emissions than Previously Thought

A study published in Nature Wednesday found that methane emissions from fossil fuel extraction have been underestimated by 25 to 40 percent.

“This indicates that the fossil fuel sector has a much more polluting impact beyond being responsible for the overwhelming majority of carbon dioxide emissions,” Dr. Joeri Rogelj, a climate change lecturer at the Grantham Institute who was not involved with the research, told The Guardian. “This is worrying and overall bad news.”

Guardian-Donate.-1While carbon dioxide is the greenhouse gas contributing the most to the climate crisis, methane is now responsible for 25 percent of current global warming, according to CNN.…—”Oil and Gas Industry Is 25 to 40% More Responsible for Global Methane Emissions than Previously Thought,” Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch, 2/20/20

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ProPublica Joins News Organizations
in Suing for Small Business Program Loan Info

The Small Business Administration, which is administering the lending program, has said it will disclose the names of companies that got loans — just not yet. News organizations are suing to stop the delay.

ProPublica, along with The Washington Post, Bloomberg, The New York Times and Dow Jones, the publisher of The Wall Street Journal, sued the Small Business Administration on Tuesday over its refusal to release detailed information for loans provided through the $659 billion Paycheck Protection Program.

The PPP, which provides forgivable loans to small businesses, was launched by the $2.2 trillion CARES Act as one of the central government programs to respond to the coronavirus crisis.

The program has been plagued with problems, and five weeks after it was launched, the SBA has yet to divulge the names of any recipients. The names of a few — Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and the Los Angeles Lakers among them — have come out through other means. Those three returned the loans after an outcry.…—”ProPublica Joins News Organizations in Suing for Small Business Program Loan Info,” Paul Kiel, ProPublica, 5/12/20

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Again Finding US Permit Invalid,
Federal Court Upholds Block on ‘Climate-Busting’
Keystone XL Construction

“Our courts have shown time and time again that the law matters.”

“Bedrock laws that protect our water and the livelihoods of farmers, ranchers, tribal members, and rural communities cannot simply be ignored as the court recognized again today,” said Dena Hoff, a Northern Plains Resource Council member and a farmer in Montana. (Photo: Elvert Barnes/Flickr/cc)

A federal judge on Monday denied the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ request to amend his earlier ruling regarding TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline, reaffirming that a permit issued by the Army Corps was invalid.

“The court rightly ruled that the Trump administration can’t continue to ignore the catastrophic effects of fossil fuel pipelines like Keystone XL.”
—Jared Margolis, Center for Biological Diversity

Chief U.S. District Judge Brian Morris ruled again that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) violated the Endangered Species Act when it issued Nationwide Permit 12, which allows companies to construct energy projects at water crossings.

Climate action and Indigenous rights campaigners have for years fought the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which if built would cross bodies of water hundreds of times along its nearly 1,200-mile route from Alberta to Nebraska. TC Energy plans to send tar sands oil along the route, which opponents say would put Indigenous communities as well as wildlife at risk for dangerous leaks and exposure to toxic waste.…

The USACE had asked Morris to narrow his April 15 ruling, but the judge only changed his decision on Nationwide Permit 12 to allow non-pipeline construction, such as electrical transmission lines, to move forward.…—”Again Finding US Permit Invalid, Federal Court Upholds Block on ‘Climate-Busting’ Keystone XL Construction,” Julia Conley, Common Dreams News, 5/12/20

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Not Just Bad, It’s Pathological’:
While Pushing Big Oil Bailouts,
Trump Slaps Wind and Solar Industry
With $50 Million in Old Rent Bills

Robbing from a clean energy future to prop up the dirty energy past.

While giving fossil fuel companies access to relief funds ostensibly meant for small businesses struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Trump administration on Monday slapped solar and wind power firms with retroactive rent bills dating back two years.

The Interior Department is demanding rent payments from renewable energy companies operating on federal lands, two years after it suspended rent for the operators as it investigated whether the Obama administration had charged too much.

The administration plans to collect $50 million in rent this year from 96 companies operating on federal property—the same amount of money that a recent report showed is going to fossil fuel companies in loans through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). As Common Dreams reported earlier this month, the oil and gas companies may not have to pay those loans back.…—”‘Not Just Bad, It’s Pathological’: While Pushing Big Oil Bailouts, Trump Slaps Wind and Solar Industry With $50 Million in Old Rent Bills,” Julia Conley, Common Dreams News, 5/18/20

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State Opposition to EPA’s COVID-19
Enforcement Discretion Policy Increases as AGs File Suit

On May 13, nine state attorneys general filed a complaint against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) challenging EPA’s COVID-19 enforcement discretion policy, which we discussed in previous articles here and here. The plaintiff states are New York, California, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Oregon, Vermont and Virginia.

Basis of the Complaint

The complaint levies four primary allegations against EPA and its policy: (1) the discretion that EPA allows in the policy exceeds EPA’s legal authority; (2) EPA is abdicating its environmental enforcement responsibility under the law; (3) EPA implemented the policy without first providing opportunity for notice and comment; and (4) the policy is arbitrary and capricious. For relief, the AGs first request a declaratory judgment that the “policy was adopted without observance of procedure required by law; is in excess of EPA’s statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations; is not in accordance with law; and is arbitrary and capricious.” Additionally, the AGs request (1) that the policy be vacated; (2) that EPA be enjoined from applying the policy; (3) lawsuit/attorneys’ fee reimbursement; and (4) any other relief deemed “just and proper.”

To support these allegations and prayers for relief, the AGs outline their grievances along relatively predictable lines. The complaint alleges — numerous times — that the policy does not provide enough transparency to states and citizens alike. EPA’s decision to not include specific reporting requirements appears to be a major sticking point. Instead, the policy requires that entities must report to EPA when it is “reasonably practicable” to do so, but should, in any case, maintain internal documentation of noncompliance, to be made available to EPA on request.

The other major theme of the complaint deals with the general level of allegedly permissive language and compliance relaxation that the policy contains, leading, as the argument goes, to potential adverse public health impacts via increased pollution, as well as increased strain on state enforcement agencies. The AGs point to several specific allowances under the policy, such as the increased storage time allowance for generators of Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) hazardous waste and the allowance for animal feeding operations (AFOs) to avoid designation as a concentrated AFO (CAFO).…—”State Opposition to EPA’s COVID-19 Enforcement Discretion Policy Increases as AGs File Suit,” Randy Brogdon, Environmental Law & Policy Monitor|Troutman Sanders, 5/15/20

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RENEWABLE ENERGY: FERC Order Could Bar
Offshore Wind from U.s. Power Market

A contentious order that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued last year could block offshore wind developers from the nation’s largest capacity market, analysts say.

While the nascent offshore industry is likely to recoup lost revenue from the pricing mechanism, FERC’s move will undermine efforts to slash carbon dioxide emissions by extending a lifeline to fossil fuel generators that would otherwise have retired, according to experts. Now, states with ambitious clean energy goals say they are grappling with how to respond.

“This really matters … because it prevents offshore wind from displacing fossil plants,” said Tom Rutigliano, a senior advocate for the Sustainable FERC Project.…—”FERC order could bar offshore wind from U.S. power market,” Heather Richards, Arianna Skibell, E&E News, 5/13/20

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Enbridge Moves Forward With Line 5 Tunnel
despite coronavirus lockdown

The owners of the aging Line 5 oil and natural gas pipeline want Michigan regulators to declare that they don’t need state permission to construct a replacement pipeline deep beneath the Straits of Mackinac.

The request to the Michigan Public Service Commission is part of a wave of applications that Enbridge, a Canadian conglomerate, has submitted to state and federal regulators in recent weeks to begin construction on the $500 million project next year.

Further reading As Michigan battle rages on Line 5, Enbridge quietly buys land for tunnel | Bridge Magazine
The Problem with Enbridge Line 5 pipelines through the Great Lakes | Oil & Water Don’t Mix.org
Enbridge Submits Key Line 5 Tunnel Construction Permits to State, Feds | Detroit News

But pipeline foes contend permitting should be delayed until Michigan’s coronavirus crisis ends to allow citizens to fully engage in the process.

“Urgent matters relating to health, safety, financial, or security should receive the state’s full attention rather than unrelated new or pending actions requiring robust public engagement and input,” an opposition group, Oil & Water Don’t Mix, wrote on April 8 to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.…—”Enbridge moves forward with Line 5 tunnel despite coronavirus lockdown,” Kelly House, Bridge Magazine, 4/22/20

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Companies Use Covid-19
To Weaken Standards, Secure Subsidies

Companies, with the support of governments, are using the coronavirus pandemic as a chance to secure less stringent regulations governing their impacts on forests and the environment, according to the Washington, D.C.-based NGO Mighty Earth.

“These bad actors are hoping the world won’t notice what they’re up to,” Glenn Hurowitz, Mighty Earth’s CEO, said in a statement. “They’re counting on the shadow of the coronavirus to cloak their misdeeds.”

Hurowitz’s report, published April 14, identifies major corporations representing industries ranging from logging in Indonesia to automakers in the U.S. and outlines their attempts — successful in many cases — to garner subsidies, loosen restrictions, and walk back commitments to climate-related targets amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.… —”Companies use COVID-19 to weaken standards, secure subsidies: Report,” John Cannon, Mongabay, 4/3/24

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Ballot Access Debacle Could Cost Republicans
Arizona’s ‘fourth Branch’ of Government

Republicans looking to preserve their 4-1 majority on Arizona’s powerful Corporation Commission are trying to patch up a gnarly self-inflicted wound as four of the party’s six candidates failed to turn in enough valid signatures to make the November ballot.

The commission is tasked with regulating utilities throughout the state, and its members are elected statewide to four-year terms. The GOP can still field a full slate for the three seats up this year—all of which they hold—if a write-in candidate can win at least 6,663 votes in the August primary, which is the minimum number of petitions needed to make the ballot. But that would only repair part of the damage.

Unfortunately for Team Red, one of the two candidates who did turn in enough signatures is Eric Sloan, whom the Arizona Capitol Times’ Dillon Rosenblatt describes as “a former Democrat who was fired from the Arizona Department of Gaming for singing slavery-related songs when he passed the desk of black co-workers, among other harassment claims.”…—”Morning Digest: Ballot access debacle could cost Republicans Arizona’s ‘fourth branch’ of government,” DailyKos Staff, DailyKos, 5/18/20

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EU’s COVID Recovery Spending Should Be
Guided by Green Finance Plan

LONDON (Reuters) – Planned European Union rules requiring investments to be in line with climate policy should be used to guide economic recovery measures after the coronavirus pandemic, despite not yet being law, the bloc’s expert advisers said on Monday.

With the bloc headed for a steep recession and its executive, the European Commission, drawing up a trillion-euro recovery plan, calls are growing from politicians, companies and campaigners to make sure the money does not prop up environmentally damaging industries.

The Commission had planned to introduce rules on which investments can be called “green” from 2021, forcing providers of financial products to disclose which investments meet the criteria – known as the EU “sustainable finance taxonomy”.

However, the Commission’s Technical Expert Group (TEG), a 35-member panel of investors, business leaders and climate policy experts, said the rules – designed by the TEG, at the Commission’s request – should inform stimulus plans now.

“The opportunity for a resilient, sustainable and fair economic recovery is right before us. We encourage all governments, public institutions and the private sector to use the right tools for the job,” it said in a statement.…—”EU’s COVID Recovery Spending Should Be Guided by Green Finance Plan: Experts,” Kate Abnett, Simon Jessop, US News & World Report, 4/26/20

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‘Pure Chaos’ As Goats Run Wild in San Jose Neighborhood

GoatsBreakFreeSAN JOSE – Apparently no longer content to shelter-in-place, roughly 200 goats busted out of their enclosure and briefly ran loose through a San Jose neighborhood Tuesday evening.

Zach Roelands captured the chaos on camera.

“When I got back from the store all the goats had broken through the fence and were (wreaking) havoc on our street,” Roelands said in a Twitter post that included a video of the goats being rounded up on Trowbridge Way. “This is the craziest thing to happen all quarantine.”

The goats came from an enclosure on a hill in the Silver Creek neighborhood, said Roelands. They are brought in once a year for a few days to clear the hillside brush.

“We had a tractor try to cut all the weeds a few years ago and it hit a rock and set the whole hill on fire,” he said.

The goat jailbreak occurred around 5:30 p.m., Roelands said.…—”‘Pure chaos’ as goats run wild in San Jose neighborhood,” Jason Green, San Jose Mercury, 5/13/20

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Florida’s Long-Lost Blue Bee Has Been Rediscovered

For those who may not be aware, there is a species of bee known as the Osmia calaminthae. This bee is as you’d expect a bit blue in color unlike your average bee and for a while now has been seemingly gone from anyone’s view.

This kind of bee is so rare to spot that many in the scientific world thought it was gone for good, however, in recent times they’ve popped back up. After being so unsure for a long period about whether or not these interesting little creatures still existed, spotting one is a serious feat. According to Weather.com the plant this kind of bee needs to survive is very rare in Florida as well which means it’s hard for this kind of bee to get by.

This species had for the longest only been recorded in four locations of about a 16 square mile area in Wales Ridge and it seems since Spring a Florida Museum of Natural History has gotten lucky in ‘rediscovering’ these little guys. While it might not sound like much to the average person, this find is remarkable. These been were thought to be gone for good and to begin with we did not know much about them. Now that we know they are still out there we have so much to learn.…—”Florida’s Long-Lost Blue Bee Has Been Rediscovered,” Gerald Sinclair, Awareness Act, 5/13/20

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The Liar Tweets Tonight sing-along

VoteHimAwayVid

Presenting ‘The Liar Tweets Tonight,’ a song parody urging Americans to vote Trump out of office

» Subscribe to NowThis: http://go.nowth.is/News_Subscribe
» Sign up for our newsletter KnowThis to get the biggest stories of the day delivered straight to your inbox,–’This Song Parody Tells Americans to ‘Vote Trump Away’,” NowThis}YouTube, 5/4/20

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And That’s A Wrap! Thanks to everyone who sent in news, action announcements and comments this week. Send kudos, rotten tomatoes and your story ideas, your group’s action events, and news of interest to intrepid climate change and environmental justice warriors! Send to editor@thebanner.news.