Big Oil Overturns Portland’s Landmark Fossil Fuel Ban

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By Nick Caleb for The Real News Network – Sharmini Peries: It’s The Real News Network. I’m Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. Back in December last year, we all hailed the city of Portland for taking a remarkable step by banning new fossil fuel infrastructure projects within city limits. With this move, it became the first city in the US to take such a bold step forward. Portland mayor, Charlie Hales at the time, said this is the first stone in a green wall across the West Coast. Then the zoning ordinance drew a challenge from the oil industry and the Portland Business Alliance. This week, the fossil fuel expansion ban got overturned by the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals. With us to discuss the fossil fuel interest behind this and what’s next for the city, we are going to speak with Nicholas Caleb. He is from Portland, Oregon. He is an attorney with the Center for Sustainable Economy, the organization that intervened in the recent appeals case. Thanks for joining us, Nick. Nicholas Caleb: Nice to be here. Sharmini Peries: Nick, the city of Portland had already decided what was good for the city and its citizens, so who was behind overturning the decision and will the decision stand?

U.S., UK And France Denounce Nuclear Ban Treaty

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By David Krieger for Counter Punch – The U.S., UK and France have never shown enthusiasm for banning and eliminating nuclear weapons. It is not surprising, therefore, that they did not participate in the United Nations negotiations leading to the recent adoption of the nuclear ban treaty, or that they joined together in expressing their outright defiance of the newly-adopted treaty. In a joint press statement, issued on July 7, 2017, the day the treaty was adopted, the U.S., UK and France stated, “We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.” Seriously? Rather than supporting the countries that came together and hammered out the treaty, the three countries argued: “This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment.” Rather than taking a leadership role in the negotiations, they protested the talks and the resulting treaty banning nuclear weapons. They chose hubris over wisdom, might over right. They based their opposition on their belief that the treaty is “incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years.”

The United Nations Prohibits Nuclear Weapons

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By Staff of ICAN – On 7 July 2017, the United Nations adopted a landmark agreement to ban nuclear weapons, known officially as the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Here we answer some frequently asked questions about how the treaty will operate. + What activities does the treaty prohibit? The treaty prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of those activities. In addition, nations must not allow nuclear weapons to be stationed or deployed on their territory. + Is the treaty legally binding? Yes. The treaty is legally binding on those nations that join it. + How many nations must join before it enters into force? Fifty nations must sign and ratify the treaty before it can enter into legal force. Signing is a relatively simple act performed by the executive branch of a government. Ratifying typically involves a legislative process. Once the treaty has entered force, further nations can join it at any stage.

Federal Judge In Hawaii Extends Court Order Blocking Trump Travel Ban

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By Staff of Reuters – “The Court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has.” “Where the ‘historical context and “the specific sequence of events leading up to”‘ the adoption of the challenged Executive Order are as full of religious animus, invective, and obvious pretext as is the record here, it is no wonder that the Government urges the Court to altogether ignore that history and context. The Court, however, declines to do so. … The Court will not crawl into a corner, pull the shutters closed, and pretend it has not seen what it has.” “The Court recognizes that it is not the case that the Administration’s past conduct must forever taint any effort by it to address the security concerns of the nation.

Fracking Banned In Maryland

Beyond Extreme Energy protests Fracking at FERC in 2015 with an 80 foot banner. Photo: John Zangas

By John Zangas for DC Media Group – Annapolis, MD–The Maryland Senate voted 35-10 for a state-wide fracking ban late Monday. The state legislation marks a turning point against oil and gas industry plans to build fracking wells and feeder pipelines across Maryland. The vote came ten days after Republican Governor Larry Hogan came out opposed to the fossil energy extraction process. The Maryland Legislature had enacted a three-year moratorium on fracking in 2014. But tonight’s vote enshrined the ban as a permanent major environmental victory. Maryland is the first state to legislatively ban the process. It joins New York which banned fracking by executive order in 2015, and Vermont which banned it in 2012.

Trump Travel Ban: US States Launch Legal Challenges

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By Staff of BBC News – Several US states have launched legal challenges against President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban. Mr Trump signed an executive order placing a 90-day ban on people from six mainly Muslim countries on Monday. New York maintains the new directive is a ban on Muslims while Washington says it is harmful to the state. Oregon and Massachusetts later also joined. The ban begins on 16 March, with the White House saying it is “very confident” of winning in court. Mr Trump’s original order was more expansive but it was defeated after a legal challenge initially mounted by Washington and Minnesota. Lawyers for those states say their original complaint applies to the revised order and are pursuing their cases.

The New Travel Ban You Didn’t Hear About Is Against U.S. Citizens

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By Shaun Bradley for Activist Post – As emotions intensify over Trump’s recent immigration ban, the State Department and IRS have quietly used it as a smokescreen to roll out a new policy that targets U.S. citizens for unpaid taxes. The passports of these individuals can now be revoked and their citizenship status undermined at the behest of one of the government’s most corrupt agencies. By granting the Internal Revenue Service control over passports, due process has been significantly undermined. The shield of protection that U.S. citizenship used to represent has transformed into an inescapable brand of ownership. The desperate financial condition of the federal government will only worsen in the future…

Trump Immigration Ban Still In Place Despite Court Ruling, Says DHS

Protesters occupy part of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, to demonstrate against President Trump's executive order restricting immigration refugees. Associated Press / Associated Press

By Mark Hanrahan for NBC News – Hours after a federal judge issued a stay on President Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily restricting entry to the U.S. from seven Muslim-majority countries, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and a senior White House adviser issued robust responses, emphasizing that the order remains in force. In a statement issued in the early hours of Sunday, the Department said: “President Trump’s Executive Orders remain in place — prohibited travel will remain prohibited, and the U.S. government retains its right to revoke visas at any time if required for national security or public safety.”

Obama Bans New Oil, Gas Drilling Off Alaska, Part Of Atlantic Coast

U.S. President Barack Obama waves as he leaves the podium after speaking to journalists during his last news conference of the year at the White House in Washington, U.S., December 16, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

By Valerie Volcovici and Timothy Gardner for Reuters – U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday banned new oil and gas drilling in federal waters in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans, in a push to leave his stamp on the environment before Republican Donald Trump takes office next month. Obama used a 1950s-era law called the Outer Continental Shelf Act that allows presidents to limit areas from mineral leasing and drilling. Environmental groups said that meant Trump’s incoming administration would have to go court if it sought to reverse the move. The ban affects 115 million acres (46.5 million hectares) of federal waters off Alaska in the Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea and 3.8 million acres (1.5 million hectares) in the Atlantic from New England to Chesapeake Bay.

Local Bans On Fracking Hang In The Balance In Colorado Ballot Fight

Colorado anti-fracking activists rally in Denver earlier this year, but now face an industry-backed ballot initiative they feel is aimed at stopping citizen drives to oppose fracking. Credit: Wild Earth Guardians, via Flickr

By Marrianne Lavelle for Inside Climate News – In the wake of helping defeat two recent ballot measures that could have reined in fracking in Colorado, the state’s oil and gas industry is leading a campaign to sharply limit future citizen initiatives. A so-called Raise the Bar question will be asked on the Colorado ballot on Nov. 8. It is being promoted as a way to make the controversial process of amending the state constitution more fair. But as the proponents’ motto implies

Public Outcry Forces DEA To Withdraw Ban On Kratom

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By Christopher Ingraham for The Washington Post – The Drug Enforcement Administration is reversing a widely criticized decision that would have banned the use of kratom, a plant that researchers say could help mitigate the effects of the opioid epidemic. Citing the public outcry and a need to obtain more research, the DEA is withdrawing its notice of intent to ban the drug, according to a preliminary document that will be posted to the Federal Register Thursday.

‘Won’t Accept Destruction’: Global Communities Line Up To Ban Fracking

Protesters march against fracking. (Photo: Garry Knight/flickr/cc)

By Nadia Prupis for Common Dreams – Around the world, resistance is growing to hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, as more and more communities line up to ban the controversial fossil fuel extraction method from their lands. On Tuesday, Victoria, Australia’s Premier Daniel Andrews announced that the state is set to introduce a permanent ban on all onshore unconventional gas exploration, including fracking and other methods like gas mining, making it the first state in the nation to do so.

New DoD Policy Bans Spying Used Against Peace Activists

Police at 2007 anti-war protest in Olympia, WA. Photo: Jason Taellious

By Kris Hermes for BORDC DDF – Seattle, WA — Antiwar activists filed a brief today inPanagacos v. Towery, a widely watched military spying lawsuit from the Pacific Northwest currently on appeal before the Ninth Circuit. The brief draws attention to a recent policy change by the Department of Defense (DOD) prohibiting intelligence officials from engaging in the same type of questionable surveillance the Army has admitted to conducting for years against antiwar groups and other political organizations.

Obama Bans Solitary Confinement For Juveniles

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By Brendan O’Connor for Gawker – Writing in the Washington Post, President Obama has announced a ban on the use of solitary confinement for juveniles and as a punishment for low-level infractions. Last summer, the president ordered Attorney General Loretta Lynch to conduct a review of solitary confinement’s overuse in U.S. prisons. The report is now complete and has been released to the public. The president writes that he will adopt its recommendations.

France Becomes First Country To Ban Pro-Palestine Demonstrations

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France’s socialist government provoked outrage today by becoming the first in the world to ban protests against Israeli action in Palestine. In what is viewed as an outrageous attack on democracy, Socialist Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said mass demonstrations planned for the weekend should be halted. Cazeneuve said there was a “threat to public order”, while opponents said he was “criminalising” popular support of the Palestinian people. Thousands were set to march against the ongoing slaughter in Gaza, calling for an immediate end to hostilities in which civilians, including many children, have been killed, but Cazeneuve fears there might be a repeat of the fights between ultra-Jewish vigilantes and pro-Palestinians which happened after a demonstration last Sunday. Referring to the main Paris march, Cazeneuve said: “I consider that the conditions are not right to guarantee security.” He welcomed a legal procedure instigated by the Paris police prefecture to ban the march, despite it already being widely advertised. Cazeneuve also advised other prefects across France to examine planned marches on a “case-by-case” basis, and to ban them “if appropriate”. Michele Sibony, of the Jewish Union for Peace, said: “By outlawing free speech by pro-Palestinian demonstrators, France puts itself in a unique position in the world and Europe.”