HAVEN’T WE SEEN ENOUGH WALLS ?
Judge Trump Targeted as ‘Mexican’ to Hear Environmental Case on Border Wall
U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge that Donald Trump attacked for his ethnicity, will hear a case on whether the president can waive environmental laws to build his controversial U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The case, scheduled for Feb. 9 in U.S. District Court in San Diego, is a consolidation of three separate lawsuits filed by U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Arizona), conservation groups and the state of California.
McClatchy, which first reported Curiel’s assignment, noted that Trump disparaged the judge during the 2016 presidential campaign over a lawsuit involving Trump University. Trump called the judge a “Mexican”—even though Curiel was born in Indiana—in an attempt to paint the judge as “totally biased” over Conservative immigration policies and the border project.
“Look, he’s proud of his heritage, OK? I’m building a wall,” Trump said of Curiel in a June 2016 interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper. “He’s a Mexican. We’re building a wall between here and Mexico.”
McClatchy further reported:
“Curiel never publicly responded to Trump’s taunts, and colleagues say he has a record of impartiality that will guide his handling of the case. Still, the litigation is sure to put Curiel in the spotlight again and the outcome will be closely watched by border wall opponents and advocates, including the president himself.”
According to the Washington Post, the groups are challenging waivers that were granted back in 1996 and 2005 to allow the federal government to bypass some federal, state and environmental laws over border security issues.
The case is significant because if Curiel sides with the Trump administration, it could allow the government to proceed with building the wall in other border states.
The Center for Biological Diversity, one of the litigants, filed a lawsuit last year challenging the Trump administration’s use of an expired waiver to build replacement walls south of San Diego. The complaint called the move an unconstitutional delegation of power to the Department of Homeland Security, adding that the wall violates the Endangered Species Act.
“The Trump administration is stopping at nothing to ram through this destructive border wall,” said Brian Segee, a senior attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity. “Trump’s divisive border wall is a humanitarian and environmental disaster, and it won’t do anything to stop illegal drug or human smuggling.”
The Center for Biological Diversity added:
“Beyond jeopardizing wildlife, endangered species and public lands, the U.S.-Mexico border wall is part of a larger strategy of ongoing border militarization that damages human rights, civil liberties, native lands, local businesses and international relations. The border wall impedes the natural migrations of people and wildlife that are essential to healthy diversity.”
By John R. Platt
The number of oil and gas rigs in the U.S. has increased an astonishing 38 percent over the past year. That’s according to S&P; Global Platts Analytics, which reported this week that the country had 1,070 rigs at the end of January, up from just 773 a year earlier.
Experts expressed fear that all of this new development does not bode well for the planet. “This will have a very significant climate impact,” said Romany Webb, climate law fellow with the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. “The oil and gas industry is a huge source of methane, which is a really potent greenhouse gas. And then on top of that you also have the carbon dioxide emissions from the combustion of this oil and gas. So this is very concerning from a climate perspective.”
By Josh Goldman
Some of the cleanest cars you can buy today are powered by electricity, though the emissions of an electric vehicle (EV) varies depending on where it is plugged in. Even though parts of the U.S. still partially rely on coal fired power, the average EV sold in the U.S. produces the emissions equivalent of a gas vehicle that gets 73 MPG, and more than 70 percent of Americans live in an area where driving an EV results in fewer emissions than a 50 MPG gas-powered vehicle. Check out how electric vehicles (EVs) fare in your neck of the woods with this interactive tool that will calculate an EV’s emissions via zip code.
By Brian Barth
Synthetic fragrances are out, aromatherapy is in. From beauty products to insect repellent to room diffusers, folks are gravitating toward fragrances made by nature—not the lab. But what exactly are these quasi-mystical substances called essential oils? Are they farmed or foraged? What part of the plant do they come from? Can I produce my own? Here, we answer the seven most common questions we get about essential oils.
According to a study from the Norwegian Polar Institute, “plastic in all sizes” can be found throughout the Norwegian Arctic and in the Svalbard islands, an archipelago between Norway’s mainland and the North Pole that’s also one of Earth’s northernmost inhabited areas.
Ireland’s Dáil Éireann, the country’s lower house of parliament, voted 78-48 Thursday to advance a bill to stop the government from issuing new contracts for both on and offshore oil and gas exploration.
Despite strong opposition from the Irish government, the legislation was backed by thousands of activists, campaigners, parliamentarians as well as a surprising supporter who believes in life after oil: Cher.
By Jeremy Lent
Imagine a newly elected president of the United States calling in his inaugural speech for an “ecological civilization” that ensures “harmony between human and nature.” Now imagine he goes on to declare that “we, as human beings, must respect nature, follow its ways, and protect it” and that his administration will “encourage simple, moderate, green, and low-carbon ways of life, and oppose extravagance and excessive consumption.” Dream on, you might say. Even in the more progressive Western European nations, it’s hard to find a political leader who would make such a stand.
By Warren Mabee
Every couple of years, billions of dollars flow into an Olympic host city and its environs for the construction of enormous stadiums, guest hotels and athlete accommodations.
In the past decade, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has emphasized the measures taken to make these projects—and the games themselves—sustainable.
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