GREENS ANGRY OVER TRUMP’S BORDER WALL DECLARATION: Environmental groups are hammering President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to TurkeyTrump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdownCNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imageryMORE‘s plans to use a national emergency declaration to build a wall on the southern border, warning it will have negative effects on the region’s ecosystem and wildlife.
“A wall that divides communities, blocks wildlife migration, disrupts water flow and destroys delicate park ecosystems is not the solution to border security and immigration challenges,” said Theresa Pierno, president and CEO for the National Parks Conservation Association in a statement.
Trump on Friday said he would declare a national emergency to redirect funds to the construction of a border wall. His decision came after lawmakers agreed on a border security funding package that fell far short of the $5.7 billion Trump had sought. Trump has agreed to sign the deal to avoid a government shutdown but intends to use the national emergency to find potentially $8 billion for a wall.
During the recent 35-day shutdown, national parks across the U.S. experienced maintenance delays, construction stalls and in some cases vandalism. The bill Trump will sign will fund those parks through September.
Green groups are now shifting their worries to what a border wall could mean for the environment, including concerns it could disrupt natural wildlife migration corridors, species habitats, waterways and terrain. And those groups also expressed worries about other elements of the border security deal.
“While we are glad Congress rejected some of Trump’s extreme anti-immigrant proposals along with drastic cuts to environmental agencies and new anti-environmental riders in the compromise spending bill, we are troubled both by the increases in immigration enforcement that can rip apart families, as well as funding for border barriers that can harm wildlife,” Jennifer Allen Aroz, senior vice president for community and civic engagement at the League of Conservation Voters, said in a statement Friday.
Read more here.
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COURT DISMISSES DAKOTA ACCESS RICO CASE: A federal court late Thursday dismissed a lawsuit in which the company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline accused environmentalists of improperly trying to block the line’s construction.
The District Court for the District of North Dakota ruled that Energy Transfer Partners hadn’t sufficiently proven its claims that the actions of Greenpeace and individual activists constituted violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act.
The company filed the lawsuit in 2017, after months of high-profile protests by indigenous rights and environmental activists trying to block the oil pipeline’s construction in North Dakota, near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation. The protests attracted international attention.
While then-President Obama delayed approving the final piece of Dakota Access, President Trump cleared it soon after taking office in January 2017.
Read more on the court ruling here.
LYFT SEEKS TO JOIN CAR EMISSIONS LEGAL CHALLENGE: Lyft is backing a legal challenge against a key part of the Trump administration’s plan to weaken fuel emissions standards for the auto industry.
The ride-hailing company filed a brief in federal appeals court Thursday in support of a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for concluding that standards set during the Obama administration for the years 2021 through 2026 should be weakened.
“Lyft relies on EPA’s greenhouse gas standards both to reduce fuel costs for drivers and to help make its rides carbon-neutral,” the company wrote in its brief. “Drivers that use Lyft need fuel-efficient cars to make the service more economic, and both Lyft and its riders count on that fuel efficiency to reduce costs and protect the environment.”
Lyft announced last year that it was investing in offsetting the emissions of its worldwide fleet of cars in order to become carbon neutral.
It’s joining a coalition of green groups and Democratic states led by California in challenging the initial step of the Trump administration’s weakening of the Obama-era standards. The Trump EPA has not yet finalized its new standards.
OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY:
Electric truck start-up Rivian announced a $700 million investment round, led by Amazon, CNBC reports.
The United Nations has picked Inger Andersen, a Danish economist, to lead its Environment Program, Agence France-Presse reports.
Prices for oil futures rose more than 5 percent this week, MarketWatch reports.
FROM THE HILL’S OPINION SECTION:
Jason Hayes of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and Isaac Orr of the Center of the American Experiment say the polar vortex shows the dangers of the Green New Deal.
Mike Carr of New Energy America argues that air travel is compatible with the Green New Deal.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
Check out Friday’s stories:
-Green groups hammer Trump over emergency declaration
-Lyft backs legal challenge to Trump rollback of fuel standards
-Court dismisses Dakota Access company’s lawsuit against greens
-Thousands of youth activists skip school for UK-wide climate protest
-California officials propose insurance to cover wildfire costs