DAPL Approval by Corps of Engineers Illegal, Judge Finds

GR: Government control over environmental decisions leaves nature open to political depredation by greedy politicians and their corporate handlers. Policy backed by science instead of politics backed by greed should regulate all forms of land use including construction, farming, fishing, forestry, grazing, and mining. Though the power of money over reason often controls the courts in the largest cases, small regional cases such as those concerned with a single pipeline are sometimes handled rationally. Since the DAPL pipeline has already leaked, there is a fair chance the court will decide to halt transmission. (Don’t you love it when I make the most obvious comments?)

Court victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe against the Dakota Access Pipeline (Lucas Reynolds).

Court Rules for the Standing Rock Sioux in DAPL Suit

Judge James Boasberg’s 91-page decision says U.S. Army Corps ‘did not adequately consider’ oil spill impacts; no ruling on whether to keep DAPL operational.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law in its fast-tracked approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington D.C. has ruled. Judge James Boasberg said the Corps did not consider key components of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in granting the Lake Oahe easement under the Missouri River when directed to do so by President Donald Trump shortly after his swearing-in.

“The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, with the Cheyenne River Sioux as interveners, had challenged the approval on the grounds that adequate environmental study had not been conducted. Boasberg agreed on many points, though he did not rule on whether the pipeline should remain operational. It has been carrying [and leaking] oil since June 1.

“Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial,” Boasberg said in his 91-page decision. “To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.” –ICMN Staff (DAPL Approval Illegal, Judge Finds – Indian Country Media Network).

Ecological Special Forces

GR.–No guns and bombs.  We need commando units specializing in background investigations and exposure of perpetrators of ecological harm.  Let’s have more hacker gumshoes working for nature.  We need more ecological whistleblowers and we need more support for whistleblowers.  And we need more organized legal representation for nature (the link takes you to a list of organizations and resources for nature protection).

Deep Green Resistance.–

“The planet needs commandos”

“It wasn’t until the 1940’s that what we think of as the “commando” or special forces units were standardized by the British Army. With the goal of disrupting German forces in western France and later in the Mediterranean and North Africa, the first commando units were modeled on small groups of Arab fighters who had great success pinning down much larger British Army units during the uprisings in Palestine in the 1930’s.

“These units proved to be very effective during World War II and have since become a staple of modern warfare. Today, the U.S. empire largely projects military force through targeted special forces operations and bombing campaigns, rather than outright warfare and traditional military maneuvers.

The Case for Ecological Commandos

“Our planet is on the verge of total ecological collapse. Nothing is getting better. Governments and corporations continue business as usual while every day, carbon dioxide levels rise, forests are cut down, and 200 species are driven extinct. Forty percent of all human deaths can be attributed to pollution. Ocean fish may not exist by 2050.

“Even in ecological preserves, life is suffering; there has been an 85% decline in mammals in West Africa’s parks. Major dams continue to be built. Environmentalists are being murdered around the world. African lions are in precipitous decline, as are tigers, leopards, elephants, polar bears, rhino, and countless other species. Most of the species who are driven extinct haven’t even ever been described by western science; they slip into extinction with barely a ripple.” –Deep Green Resistance.  Ecological Special Forces: A Proposal | Deep Green Resistance Blog

Times like these remind us…


Jayden, 12, of Rayne, Louisiana, pictured with her mother, Cherri Foytlin.

Obama Administration Ignores Global Warming

“Ironically and sadly, this past weekend, Jayden, a plaintiff asking the federal government to take real action on climate change, experienced first hand what the National Weather Service has called a 1,000 year flood. At least 13 were killed, and an estimated 20,000 had to be rescued as a result of this climate generated catastrophe. Yesterday, Jayden and her family addressed the damage to their own home, pulling up carpet and throwing away their destroyed belongings.

“Unbelievably, next Wednesday, August 24th, the Obama administration will auction off an area the size of Virginia for offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, further exacerbating the climate crisis. Adding insult to injury, the auction will be held in Jayden’s backyard, at the New Orleans Superdome — the site of one of the most visible and tragic instances of climate injustice in history after Hurricane Katrina.

“Globally, Moscow had its worst rains in more than 100 years on Sunday. On that same day in the Philippines, a tornado ripped through downtown Manila as two landslides took out homes in the hills of San Mateo. The Blue Cut Fire that ignited Tuesday morning in San Bernardino County, California forced the evacuations of over 80,000 residents, just a day after another wildfire in northern California demolished an entire town just north of San Francisco. In Portugal, 286,600 acres of forestland have been charred by wildfires this year alone. In fact, July was by far the hottest month in recorded history.” –Source: Times like these remind us…

Exciting Update in Youth v. U.S. Climate Case

Our Children’s Trust is pleased to report that U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken scheduled oral argument in our youths’ landmark federal climate lawsuit for September 13, at 10 am in Eugene, Oregon. The 21 youth plaintiffs are excited for the opportunity to appear in court again and have their arguments presented to Judge Aiken, who will be reviewing U.S. Magistrate Judge Coffin’s April ruling in their favor.

We will be working hard to prepare for September 13 and we will update you this summer with more hearing details. We encourage you to mark your calendars in the event you are able to join us in Eugene for what will be a truly momentous day!  Source: Exciting Update in Youth v. U.S. Climate Case


#ClimateKids Win Again! 

In a surprise ruling from the bench, King County Superior Court Judge Hollis Hill ordered the Washington Department of Ecology to promulgate an emissions reduction rule by the end of 2016 and, in consultation with the youth petitioners, to make recommendations to the state legislature on science-based greenhouse gas reductions during the 2017 legislative session.

Noting the extraordinary circumstances of the climate crisis, the judge said, “this is an urgent situation…these kids can’t wait,” and referenced catastrophic impacts of climate destabilization. Building on their earlier win in November where this court ruled that the youth have constitutional rights to their public trust resources and a safe climate, this decision takes another substantial step by setting specific dates in the near future for science-based action in the state of Washington.

From: us4.campaign-archive2.com

GR:  This second ruling in favor of the youths is great news.  However, the situation is indeed urgent. The state legislature needs to respond now rather than wait until next year to consider the issue.

Environmentalists sue for more rules to protect sage grouse

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — “Environmental groups sued Thursday to force the Obama administration to impose more restrictions on oil and gas drilling, grazing and other activities blamed for the decline of greater sage grouse across the American West.

“A sweeping sage grouse conservation effort that the government announced last September is riddled with loopholes and will not be enough to protect the bird from extinction, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Idaho.

“It follows several legal challenges against the same rules from the opposite end of the political spectrum. Mining companies, ranchers and officials in Utah, Idaho and Nevada argue that the administration’s actions will impede economic development.

“The ground-dwelling sage grouse, known for their elaborate mating ritual, range across a 257,000-square-mile region spanning 11 states.  From: bigstory.ap.org

GR:  Once again, private funding is required to force a public agency to do its job.  Human land use has already damaged much of the sage grouse habitat.  This lawsuit is particularly important, because protecting the bird’s full range will protect the remnants of habitat needed by it and many other species.

One of the first human land uses that will have to end is cattle grazing.  More lawsuits paid by private citizens will likely be required, but destructive grazing has already diminished the carrying capacity of the land so much that the number of cattle has declined substantially.  Wildlife has declined even more.  The reduced cattle production will dampen the desires of the livestock industry and their public government officials to fight to retain the right to continue the destruction.  One day, sage grouse and other members of its ecosystem might be safe at home on the range.

West Coast US Cities Sue Monsanto over Toxic Chemicals

Last week, Seattle, Washington became the latest addition to the list of cities filing lawsuits against multinational corporation Monsanto, joining San Diego, San Jose, Oakland and Berkeley in California, along with Spokane, Washington. These efforts, led by San Diego-based law firm Gomez Trial Attorneys, aim to extract tens of millions of dollars from the agrochemical company for knowingly promoting the severely hazardous line of polychlorinated biphenyls, more commonly known as PCBs.  www.globalresearch.ca

GR:  Hooray!!  It’s about time.  It always strikes me as a disgrace that our government regulators can’t do their jobs and we have to use other resources to resolve problems.  Monsanto and the other major chemical companies have no concern for the damage they do to all animals including humans.  Please share this news, and add updates to the comments.  Thank you.  Garry

March 9: Most Important Climate Lawsuit Ever | Our Children’s Trust’s Fundraiser

“On March 9, the U.S. District Court will hear arguments on the most important climate case ever to be heard in a court of law against the government most responsible for climate change.

“We need your help to insure that all 21 youth plaintiffs, and Dr. James Hansen as official guardian for all future generations, are in court on that day, when the eyes of the court and of the nation will be upon these young people.

“The March 9 arguments will determine if the court will allow the youth’s claims that they have a fundamental constitutional right to be free from the dangers posed by greenhouse gas pollution, and that the government has a public trust obligation to protect the atmosphere and climate system for the benefit of future generations, to proceed to trial.

“It is critical that all 21 of the youth plaintiffs be present before the federal court on March 9 to . . . .”  www.crowdrise.com

GR:  Do governments have a public trust obligation to protect the atmosphere and climate system for the benefit of future generations?  The outcome of this suit will have global consequences. Please make a contribution to show your support.

Law Suits to Block Climate Change

GR:  Lawsuits claiming governments must protect the environment including climate are gaining ground.  Perhaps they will add force to our concerns, petitions, and protests.  One case is pending at the U. S. Supreme Court. I know of a current case in Holland that will be heard by the district court in The Hague beginning today. Other international cases are listed here.

Here are some things you can do to support the litigation.

Kelsey Juliana and Olivia Chernaik have put the State of Oregon on trial for failing to take action to “protect the atmosphere required for our citizens’ survival.” Filed under the concept of Atmospheric Trust Litigation, Lane County Circuit Court Judge Karsten Rasmussen heard oral argument last week in Chernaik v. Brown after the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled the Circuit Court must decide whether the atmosphere is a public trust resource that the State of Oregon has a duty to protect. Photo credit: Todd Cooper

This federal case was filed by two students at the University of Oregon (Source:  Forbes).

Championed by Professor Mary Christina Wood in the Law School at the U of O, the concept of Atmospheric Trust Litigation reasons that a government elected by the people has a duty to protect the natural systems required for their survival.

“We are a Nation of Laws” has been heard over and over again since 2011, and for over 200 years, courts have affirmed that government is a trustee of the natural resources that we depend on, a doctrine known as public trust.

State appellate courts have allowed Atmospheric Trust Litigation lawsuits and administrative petitions brought by students to go forward in New Mexico, Texas, Alaska, Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania (Amicus briefs). Petitions on Atmospheric Trust Litigation are pending in the Philippines, the Ukraine, Uganda and the Netherlands.

What’s groundbreaking in Wood’s approach are three concepts:

  • – the public trust doctrine which holds that certain resources are owned by and available to all citizens equally
  • – the atmosphere is an asset in that trust because of its importance in the stability of every natural system
  • – the government as trustee has a restorative duty, which means not just preventing future damage, but repairing past harms.