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Good news! Federal Court Rules Trump Border Wall ILLEGAL January 5, 2020

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Here’s a report from the ACLU, an organization I’m proud to support. A federal court has ruled Trump’s abuse of executive power to bully his xenophobic wall into existence is illegal.

This is excellent news, not only for the human people, the US economy and the democratic process, but for all of the wildlife who are, and would be, devastated by this ridiculous wall’s construction and existence.

Here are details about a fraction of the environmental devastation it will bring from The Guardian, Dec.29, 2019: 

Despite the potential for far-reaching long-term consequences, details about the plans are sparse since the government suspended 28 federal laws mandating protections and oversight, relating to clean air and water, endangered species, public lands and the rights of Native Americans, in order to expedite construction.

The waiver includes the 1969 National Environmental Policy Act (Nepa), considered the cornerstone of environmental protection in the US, the Endangered Species Act, National Fish and Wildlife Act and Migratory Bird Conservation Act. These laws require robust scientific, environmental and costs analysis before projects can be sanctioned.

“With his wall obsession, President Trump has created an environmental crisis at the border,” said the Arizona congressman Raúl Grijalva. “Through environmental waivers and stolen funds, he’s building a wall that will deplete precious water resources, desecrate sacred sites and destroy the environmental treasures and biodiversity that make the borderlands unique.”

Jordahl added: “The wall could not be built without the waiver. Nepa requires the government to choose the least invasive, best option for taxpayers … surveillance cameras could be installed every hundred metres at a fraction of the economic and environmental cost. This wall is an unjustifiable project.”

Thirty-seven federally listed endangered and threatened species live around the Arizona-Mexico border, plus innumerable others who currently are in less danger but who would be added to that list in short order were this operation to go. And according to the US army corps of engineers, the wall would cost US taxpayers roughly $14 million dollars per mile. I don’t know about you, but that’s not a priority for something I want to see the government spend my hard-earned money on.

So glad that sanity is beginning to win out!

Here is the full article text about the federal ruling, which came from this ACLU press release:

DECEMBER 11, 2019

OAKLAND — A federal court today ruled that President Trump’s use of emergency powers to divert $3.6 billion in military construction funds for the border wall is unlawful. The ruling came in a lawsuit, Sierra Club v. Trump, filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of the Sierra Club and Southern Border Communities Coalition.

In ruling against the use of emergency funds, U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. stated: “[T]he Court cannot blind itself to the plain reality presented in this case: the border barrier projects Defendants now assert are ‘necessary to support the use of the armed forces’ are the very same projects Defendants sought—and failed—to build under DHS’s civilian authority, because Congress would not appropriate the requested funds.”

The ACLU’s lawsuit on behalf of the Sierra Club and SBCC challenges President Trump’s abuse of emergency powers to build a border wall using funds Congress explicitly denied.

“This ruling confirms that the president has no authority to raid military construction funds for his xenophobic wall,” said Dror Ladin, staff attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project. “By putting an end to the president’s power grab, this ruling protects our democracy’s separation of powers, the environment, and border communities.”

As part of the same lawsuit, the court previously blockedthe administration from beginning construction using $2.5 billion in military pay and pension funds under a separate statute. The ACLU was in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month to defend that victory.

The district court today also permanently blocked construction of the wall using the military construction funds, but has temporarily stayed that block given the ongoing appeals process in the case before the Ninth Circuit.

“We will be back before the Ninth Circuit very soon,” added Ladin.

A court in Texas yesterday blocked imminent construction of the wall using military construction funds. That block remains in effect.

President Trump declared a national emergency on February 15, 2019, to secure border wall funds Congress denied him. While declaring the emergency, President Trump stated that he “didn’t need to do this” but he’d prefer to build the wall “much faster.” He added that he declared a national emergency because he was “not happy” that Congress “skimped” on the wall by denying him the billions he demanded.

Below are additional comments from:

Gloria Smith, Managing Attorney at the Sierra Club: “Today’s decision is another critical step in permanently stopping Trump’s border wall. The court recognized that Trump’s reckless national emergency declaration illegally destroys our borderlands and border communities. By raiding money from the military for this wall, Trump is depriving service members and their families of essential government services like schools and retirement. The Sierra Club will continue to fight to protect border communities as this administration inflicts its relentless agenda to harm the people, places and wildlife along the southern border.”

Vicki B. Gaubeca, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition: “We welcome this decision against Trump’s blatant attempt to sidestep Congress. Trump’s senseless wall is destroying our natural habitats, endangering our communities, and eroding the quality of life of the 15 million people who live in the southern border region. The southern border is and always has been a place of encounter, opportunity and hope. We need a responsible border governance approach that begins with respecting the checks and balances in this country.”

 

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The beautiful painting featured above is by Ron English See his “Welcome Wall” and other art at https://www.vinylpulse.com/2019/05/ron-english-and-friends-build-the-welcome-wall.html

Other full URLs:

 

 

Paris Climate Agreement: We Are Still In June 6, 2017

cleanup on aisle one

I feel proud to be able to tell you that my employer, Naropa University, joins other college and university leaders, mayors, governors, investors and businesses in declaring that regardless of current decisions made by the Republican president, we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

This action thereby continues alliances with other countries, businesses, and systemic thinkers around the globe. More basically, it is a step that helps ensure that large mammalian life on this planet (such as humans) can continue.

This is the only smart move.

Companies like eBay, Netflix and Microsoft are in. And you can add your company’s name to this pledge as well – link below.

You may be as surprised as I to learn that even ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips, two of the world’s largest oil producers, pledge to abide by the Paris Agreement! They recognize that this change to alternative fuels is inevitable, and that being on board is the best choice for their business’ bottom line. From Bloomberg.com:

“President Donald Trump faces some unlikely opposition to the idea of pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris climate accord: Exxon Mobil Corp. and ConocoPhillips, two of the world’s biggest oil producers. 

Both companies reiterated their support Wednesday for the global agreement to cut greenhouse gas pollution amid reports that Trump planned to ditch a pact he says hurts the U.S. economy. Their argument: The U.S. is better off with a seat at the table so it can influence global efforts to curb emissions that are largely produced by the fossil fuels they profit from.

…ConocoPhillips, the world’s largest independent oil and gas producer, also expressed support for the climate agreement on Wednesday. “It gives the U.S. the ability to participate in future climate discussions to safeguard its economic and environmental best interests,” spokesman Daren Beaudo said in an email.

BP Plc CEO Bob Dudley, another oil executive who supports the accord, said that even if the U.S. quits, the nation should find new policies to support the inevitable transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Every one of you, please stand up and act with us – the majority.

climate change rift w world

Here is the formal statement, with signatories visible below:  We Are Still In  Note that you can add your company’s name to this pledge as well – see link at the end.

Open letter to the international community and parties to the Paris Agreement from U.S. state, local, and business leaders

We, the undersigned mayors, governors, college and university leaders, businesses, and investors are joining forces for the first time to declare that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.

In December 2015 in Paris, world leaders signed the first global commitment to fight climate change. The landmark agreement succeeded where past attempts failed because it allowed each country to set its own emission reduction targets and adopt its own strategies for reaching them. In addition, nations – inspired by the actions of local and regional governments, along with businesses – came to recognize that fighting climate change brings significant economic and public health benefits.

The Trump administration’s announcement undermines a key pillar in the fight against climate change and damages the world’s ability to avoid the most dangerous and costly effects of climate change. Importantly, it is also out of step with what is happening in the United States.

In the U.S., it is local and state governments, along with businesses, that are primarily responsible for the dramatic decrease in greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Actions by each group will multiply and accelerate in the years ahead, no matter what policies Washington may adopt.

In the absence of leadership from Washington, states, cities, colleges and universities, businesses and investors, representing a sizeable percentage of the U.S. economy will pursue ambitious climate goals, working together to take forceful action and to ensure that the U.S. remains a global leader in reducing emissions.

It is imperative that the world know that in the U.S., the actors that will provide the leadership necessary to meet our Paris commitment are found in city halls, state capitals, colleges and universities, investors and businesses. Together, we will remain actively engaged with the international community as part of the global effort to hold warming to well below 2℃ and to accelerate the transition to a clean energy economy that will benefit our security, prosperity, and health.

Click here to read full press release.

Companies, investors, mayors and governors wishing to add their name to the statement can do so by registering here. Colleges and universities wishing to add their name can do so by registering here.

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trump baby earth

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ON BEHALF OF THE EARTH AND HER CHILDREN OF ALL SPECIES, THANK YOU ALL.

Thank you for being responsible adults who take care of our home, despite the short-term difficulties we face from the current White House now.

In the wise words of King Solomon, this too shall pass. According to the New York Times, the withdrawal process from the Paris Accord could take four years to complete, by which time the regime will have been changed. So let’s just keep steering our collective boat of systemic wisdom through these jerky rapids until the river flows freely and easily once more.

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The terrific political cartoons in this post are by Dan Wasserman, Monte Wolverton, and Christian Bloom (from Norway).

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