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  • EPA and Florida sucking at Everglades cleanup, says judge

    Florida and the U.S. EPA have been skewered by a federal judge for their Everglades cleanup efforts (or rather, lack thereof). In 2003, Florida pushed back a deadline for reducing phosphorus pollution in the River of Grass from 2006 to 2016. By doing so, the state “violated its fundamental commitment and promise to protect the […]

  • Judge says Calif. salmon in trouble but offers no short-term solution

    The dams and aqueducts that shuttle water from California’s Sacramento River Delta to the rest of the state will “appreciably increase jeopardy” to salmon and steelhead in the coming months, U.S. District Judge Oliver Wanger said Friday. But while Wanger agreed with environmentalists that “the three salmonid species are not viable and are all in […]

  • Groups sue over federal plan for Northwest salmon

    A handful of green groups filed suit Tuesday over the Bush administration’s latest plan to protect salmon in the Northwest’s Columbia Basin. The feds’ proposal “calls for cutting several key salmon protection measures and comes with a price tag of more than half a billion dollars per year,” the groups said in a statement. “While […]

  • Green groups sue feds to protect polar bears from oil-drilling effects

    Two green groups are suing the Interior Department over its refusal to limit the impacts of drilling on polar bears, which were listed as threatened last month. The Bush administration has tried its darnedest to ensure that listing the bears wouldn’t limit oil and gas exploration in their Alaskan habitat, but Pacific Environment and the […]

  • Displaced by development, squatters await justice in Argentina

    Next to a busy train station in Buenos Aires, not far from the chic restaurants and condos getting all the attention these days, lies another world. Behind a gate is a long metal shed, once used to store trains. This is La Casa del Afectado Social y Ambiental — literally, “the house of the enviro-socially […]

  • Alaska will sue over polar-bear listing

    Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) will sue the Interior Department over its decision to list the polar bear as a threatened species. “We believe that the listing was unwarranted and that it’s unprecedented to list a currently healthy population based on uncertain climate models,” says Alaska Assistant Attorney General Steven Daugherty. To green groups, that […]

  • Green groups sue over polar bear listing

    In entirely expected news, green groups have sued over the Interior Department’s listing of the polar bear as a threatened species — or, more accurately, over Interior’s caveats that the listing not be used as a means to fight global warming. The Center for Biological Diversity, Greenpeace, and NRDC say the bears should be listed […]

  • Legal strategies for battling climate change

    This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project.

    When President Bush delivered his much-hyped climate policy speech from the Rose Garden last April (see here), he voiced an interesting concern. He's worried that the courts will do what the other two branches of government have failed to do: take meaningful action to curb the country's carbon emissions.

    Bar wars"We face a growing problem here at home," the president said. "Some courts are taking laws written more than 30 years ago -- to primarily address local and regional environmental effects -- and applying them to global climate change."

    "Decisions with such far-reaching impact should not be left to unelected regulators and judges," he continued. "Such decisions should be opened -- debated openly; such decisions should be made by the elected representatives of the people they affect. The American people deserve an honest assessment of the costs, benefits and feasibility of any proposed solution."

    The White House promised that Bush's Rose Garden remarks would be important and it was correct: The president's call for open debate and an honest assessment of climate action was a major policy shift. His complaint about unelected judges making decisions was specious, however. The elected members of past Congresses and Bush's predecessors signed the 30-year-old laws on which some of the current court decisions are based. Old laws are being applied to global warming because the current Congress and White House have failed to pass new ones.

  • Suing energy companies for global warming damages

    I don’t have strong opinions on suing energy companies over global warming, but the notion does seem somewhat suspect. For starters, they don’t really have enough money to materially compensate the affected class of people — namely, everyone in the world. Legal liability taken with any seriousness at all would quickly bankrupt them. I’m all […]