Tag Archives: Environment

Under Cover of Thanksgiving, Trump Administration Pushes to Relax Rules Protecting Birds

The proposal—which the administration admits would likely lead to more avian deaths—would let energy and other companies off the hook for “incidentally” killing birds.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-27-2020

A Bohemian waxwing spotted in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on December 27, 2012. (Photo: Keith Williams/Flickr/cc)

Despite acknowledging that the move would lead to an increase in the 500 million to one billion birds that die each year in the United States due to human activity, the Trump administration on Friday published a proposed industry-friendly relaxation of a century-old treaty that protects more than 1,000 avian species.

As part of the administration’s race to rush through as many regulatory rollbacks as possible before President-elect Joe Biden enters office on January 20, the U.S. Department of the Interior released an analysis that sets the stage for modification of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s interpretation of the 1918 Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA). Continue reading

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Victory for Tribes, Waterways, and Planet as Pebble Mine Denied Permit

“Sometimes a project is so bad, so indefensible, that the politics fall to the wayside and we get the right decision.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-25-2020

Photo: Brandon Hill/NRDC

Environmental campaigners stressed the need for the incoming Biden White House to put in place permanent protections for Alaska’s Bristol Bay after the Trump administration on Wednesday denied a permit for the proposed Pebble Mine that threatened “lasting harm to this phenomenally productive ecosystem” and death to the area’s Indigenous culture.

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Firing a “Vindictive, Illegal Parting Shot,” Trump’s Interior Proposes Sabotage of Conservation Program

“The administration’s proposal is unneeded, unwanted, and unacceptable.”

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-14-2020

The night sky and entrance sign at Joshua Tree National Park. (Photo: NPS/Lian Law/flickr/cc)

The Trump administration was accused of firing a “vindictive, illegal parting shot” following Interior Secretary Bernhardt’s Friday executive order sabotaging funding of a key conservation program.

At issue is the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). Established in 1964, it has been hailed as the nation’s most important conservation program. The Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA), bipartisan legislation President Donald Trump signed into law in August, was to permanently and fully fund the LWCF. Continue reading

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Humans May Have Passed the ‘Point of No Return’ in Climate Crisis, Says Study—But That Doesn’t Mean All Hope Is Lost

In order to roll back catastrophic carbon emissions, humans must “start developing the technologies for large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere,” says one of the study’s lead authors.

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2020

Melting permafrost in Canada’s Northwest Territories sends carbon-rich sediment into the Mackenzie Delta. (Photo: Charles Tarnocai/Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada)

Humanity may have passed the “point of no return” in the climate crisis—even if everyone on the planet stopped emitting all greenhouse gases at this very moment, according to a study published Thursday.

The study, published in the peer-reviewed British publication Scientific Journals, alarmingly asserts that “the world is already past a point of no return for global warming” and that the only way to halt the catastrophic damage caused by greenhouse emissions is to extract “enormous amounts of carbon dioxide… from the atmosphere.” Continue reading

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‘This Is Nightmarish’: Indigenous and Climate Leaders Outraged Over Minnesota Permits for Line 3 Pipeline

“Gov. Walz has apparently decided that if Washington won’t lead on climate, Minnesota won’t either.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-12-2020

Climate campaigners and Indigenous groups in Minnesota continue to fight against Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline. (Photo: Honor the Earth/Facebook)

Environmental and Indigenous leaders on Thursday responded with alarm after Minnesota regulators approved key permits for Enbridge Energy’s planned Line 3 Pipeline replacement, and called on Democratic Gov. Tim Walz to block any construction for the Canadian company’s long-delayed multibillion-dollar project.

“Gov. Walz has apparently decided that if Washington won’t lead on climate, Minnesota won’t either,” said Andy Pearson, MN350’s Midwest tar sands coordinator, in a statement about the permits. “Make no mistake. “This decision is a sharp escalation against water protectors and climate science.” Continue reading

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A Memo to the GOP, Wall Street, Joe Biden, and All Democrats: ‘No, Mitch McConnell Is Not the 46th President’

“President Biden will be under no obligation to hand Mitch McConnell the keys to his Cabinet,” progressive groups argue.

By Jon Queally, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 11-8-2020

Mitch McConnell. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

A pair of progressive advocacy groups is pushing back hard against an emerging narrative that President-elect Joe Biden—declared the projected winner of the 2020 presidential race on Saturday—should submit in any way to the authority of Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, assuming Republicans retain control of the Senate, when it comes to picking a cabinet or setting legislative priorities heading into 2021.

In a detailed joint memo (pdf) issued Friday that followed reporting from news outlets, including Axios, that suggested that Biden will be forced to accommodate McConnell as he selects top appointments during the transition period and upon taking office in January, government watchdog groups Demand Progress and the Revolving Door Project argued that this would be a deeply misguided direction to go—one that would have disastrous consequences for the new administration and the Democratic Party as a whole. Continue reading

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The Next Challenge: Keeping the Nation Together

By Chris Winters. Published 11-4-2020 by YES! Magazine

Joe Biden and Kamala Harris after their victory speeches. Photo: Amit Heerawan/Twitter

So here we are the day after Election Day—can we just call it Election Week from now on? Or Decision Month if this stretches into December?—and the presidential race again remains undecided.

For the left, this feels all too familiar, the ghost pains of 2016 throbbing in the hole where our souls used to be.

Outcome aside, the fact that this race is even close is a shocking wake-up call for those of us—myself included—who believed that, with the scales off their eyes, Americans would choose decency over crude savagery, compassion over cruelty, professionalism over abject incompetence, honesty over absolute corruption. Continue reading

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‘We Will See Them in Court’: Howls of Protest and Lawsuit Promised as Trump Takes Wolves Off Endangered Species List

“Let’s learn from history: Removing legal protections is a disaster for gray wolves.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-29-2020

“The largest canine native to North America, gray wolves were once common throughout more than two-thirds of the lower 48 states,” before being “nearly wiped out in the mid-20th century due to habitat loss and deliberate eradication efforts,” Environment America explained in a statement released on Thursday, October 29, 2020. Photo: Spinus Nature Photography/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Immediately following the Trump administration’s decision to remove endangered species protections for gray wolves in the lower 48 states—a move that wolf recovery and biodiversity advocates condemned as unlawful as well as “premature and reckless“—a coalition of conservation groups on Thursday promised to mount a legal challenge to the delisting effort.

“Let’s learn from history,” said Alex Peterson, a conservation advocate for Environment America, in a statement. “Removing legal protections is a disaster for gray wolves.” Continue reading

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‘One Word for This: Vandalism’: Six Days Before Election, Trump Finalizes Plan for ‘Catastrophic’ Attack on Largest National Forest

“Destructive development in the country’s largest national forest—such as extractive logging and expansive road building—will be catastrophic for generations to come,” warned Greenpeace.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-28-2020

Tongass National Forest. Photo: joshy_in_juneau/flickr/CC

Cue the chainsaws and bulldozers.

The Trump administration on Wednesday announced its finalized plan to gut protections for the nation’s largest national forest, Alaska’s Tongass, opening the carbon sink to clear-cut logging and irreparable ecological destruction.

The change—at total odds with public opinion—means 9.3 million acres of the wild public lands, home to the planet’s largest intact temperate rainforest, are exempted from the Clinton-era Roadless Rule, which prevented industrial activity. Continue reading

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Quietly Signed Trump Order Denounced as ‘Declaration of War’ Against Federal Employees

The order sets up Trump’s “cronies to burrow into permanent jobs in the U.S. government,” said one critic.

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-23-2020

Photo: AFGE

After years of complaining that career federal employees are part of the “deep state” and aim to undermine his administration, President Donald Trump this week took a major step toward remaking the federal government as one without nonpartisan civil servants—signing a little-noticed executive order that would strip potentially hundreds of thousands of government employees of their job security.

Under the order, signed late Wednesday, career federal employees could be fired with little or no cause, lose their right to due process, and potentially lose union representation. Continue reading

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