NRDC pushes back on attempts to slow or stop environmental lawsuits

The Justice Department has asked the courts to hold EPA two court cases, including the case related to the Clean Power Plan, in abeyance. The request is a result of Trump’s recent Executive Order seeking to weaken or undermine EPA rules and regulations. The DOJ is asking for an abeyance until 30 days after the EPA determines whether to change or revoke the rules.

However, NRDC, one of many intervenors in the cases, will file motions in the courts next week asking them to deny the DOJ request.

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Several Groups file lawsuit against the Keystone XL Pipeline decision

Trump’s administration recently reversed the Obama administration’s decision to deny a permit to TransCanada for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Both the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Center for Biological Diversity announced today that several organizations have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for this decision. Among the plaintiffs are:

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Tracking the many lawsuits against Trump’s Immigration Ban

One of the first actions Trump took when he entered office was to issue an Executive Order (EO) instituting a travel ban that generated confusion and caused havoc at border entry points across the country. Dozens of lawsuits were filed against the ban, and its implementation was quickly halted in federal court.

In response, Trump issued another EO in March, which, while not as destructive or as blatantly discriminatory as the first, still generated concerns about its Constitutionality.

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Digging for coal on public land? Not on our watch

This week, Trump signed executive orders that, among other things, rescinded a moratorium on new coal permits on public land. Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke quickly followed with an order rolling back the moratorium.

The Obama administrations had placed the moratorium on permits because the fees collected hadn’t been adjusted in decades, and the American taxpayers were not getting good value for their money. Zinke ostensibly gives a nod to this concern by chartering a committee to look into the fees but sees no reason not to give out permits in the meantime.

A lawsuit was immediately filed by a coalition of environmental and citizen groups and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe. The groups are Earth Justice, Sierra Club, Citizens for Clean Energy, Montana Environmental Information Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, and Wildlife Guardians.

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Groups Challenge Trump’s Terminator two-fer order

Donald Trump at rally

NRDC, The Communication Workers of America, and Public Citizen just filed a lawsuit against Trump’s infamous “two-fer” rule. This is the rule I’ve designated the Terminator Rule.

From the lawsuit:

To repeal two regulations for the purpose of adopting one new one, based solely on a directive to impose zero net costs and without any consideration of benefits, is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, and not in accordance with law, for at least three reasons.

First, no governing statute authorizes any agency to withhold a regulation intended to address identified harms to public safety, health, or other statutory objectives on the basis of an arbitrary upper limit on total costs (for fiscal year 2017, a limit of $0) that regulations may impose on regulated entities or the economy. Second, the Executive Order forces agencies to repeal regulations that they have already determined, through notice-and-comment rulemaking, advance the purposes of the underlying statutes, and forces the agencies to do so for the sole purpose of eliminating costs that the underlying statutes do not direct be eliminated. Third, no governing statute authorizes an agency to base its actions on a decisionmaking criterion of zero net cost across multiple regulations.

The Terminator rule is nonsensical in the extreme and violates all administrative procedure and law when it comes to forming regulations and rules. To instruct agencies to only include costs, not benefits, virtually cripples the federal government.

I have to wonder at this time if Trump even has access to lawyers. If so, where did they get their law degrees? Trump University?

I’ll be following this case on PACER.

Photo by Gage Skidmore CC BY-SA 2.0