U.S. Supreme Court Agrees with Trump Administration to Temporarily Halt Youth Climate Suit and Other News

News in this blog:

  • In a rare move, the U.S. Supreme Court agrees with Trump Administration request, halts trial sought by children and youth to force the United States to act on climate change.
  • PBS starts four-part series Tuesday called “Native America,” which “reaches back 15,000 years to reveal massive cities aligned to the stars, unique systems of science and spirituality, and over 100 million people connected by social networks spanning two continents.”
  • Canadian Court Temporarily Blocks Kinder Morgan Pipeline permit, says National Energy Board failed to consult with First Nations.

Trump Administration Convinces Supreme Court to Halt Youth Climate Suit Before Trial Even Starts

A group of 21 children and youth from around the nation have mounted a legal challenge against the federal government to hold it accountable to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. The U.S. Supreme Court just put the brakes on the case, agreeing with the Trump Administration and a rarely used legal argument.

The Supreme Court’s order is not the final word, just another roadblock thrown up by adults to prevent the youth from getting a hearing, according to a news report in the website Climate Liability News.

The landmark case, Juliana v. United States, was set for trial Oct. 29 in Eugene, Oregon. In legal terms, the Trump administration filed a “writ of mandamus … a rarely used and even more rarely granted appeal in which a higher court overrules a lower court before a verdict has been issued,” according to Climate Liability News story. “The Ninth Circuit has twice turned down the request for mandamus (and a third is pending) and the Supreme Court turned down a previous one as well.”

Author and activist Naomi Klein denounced the decision as “disgraceful and enraging,” according to a Common Dreams story published today.

The writ-of-mandamus request isn’t surprising from the pro-coal, pro-pipeline, pro-extractive industries Trump Administration. It’s disappointing the U.S. Supreme Court gave into this little-used legal maneuver. Click on the links above for more details on the case. Stay tuned for updates.

PBS Series “Native America” Starts Tuesday, Oct. 23, 8 p.m. Central

Here is the PBS link to its upcoming four-part series “Native America,” including a short trailer and additional videos.

Here is a link on the series from the Harvard Divinity School, which is promoting it because Divinity School Professor David Carrasco, director of the Moses Mesoamerican Archive and Research Project, appears in it discussing the religious world views of the original peoples.

The Divinity School published an interview with Prof. Carrasco about the series. He says;

We learn about skilled hunters and horsemen, farmers and canyon peoples and mountain communities, city builders and long distance walkers. The series, under the direction of Gary Glassman, who won the trust of many Native American colleagues, does a magical act by covering the geography of the Americas from far south to north. I want to make it clear that Native American folks are the real informants and interpreters in the series. I was included for my work in the religious world views of pre-Hispanic cultures of central Mexico and the story of the conquest/encuentro of the sixteenth century.

Click on the link above for the full interview.

Canadian Court says National Energy Board Failed to Consult with First Nations about Tar Sands Pipeline Expansion

The Federal Court of Appeals in Vancouver, Canada has found significant errors in the National Energy Board’s (NEB’s) report on the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline. The court found that the NEB failed to consult with First Nations people and failed to consider the environmental impacts of the nearly seven-fold increase in oil tanker traffic the project would create.

Kinder Morgan’s proposal would add 987 kilometers of new pipeline, bringing tar sands oil from Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia for shipping overseas, mostly to the Pacific Rim.

The NEB issued a report in 2016 recommending the government approve the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. That put the project on the path to get needed government permits. First Nations and environmental groups filed court challenges to the NEB report.

The Federal Appeals Court issued its ruling August 30. Regarding First Nations consultation, it said:

… Canada’s efforts fell well short of the mark set by the Supreme Court of Canada. Canada failed in Phase III to engage, dialogue meaningfully and grapple with the real concerns of the Indigenous applicants so as to explore possible accommodation of those concerns. The duty to consult was not adequately discharged

The Kinder Morgan proposal would double the number of crude oil storage tanks at port from 13 to 26 and add new shipping terminals. Oil transportation would have increased from five mid-sized tankers a month to 34 tankers a month.

According to the Court ruling, the NEB “unjustifiably defined” its report to exclude tanker traffic. That meant the government “could not rely on the Board’s report and recommendations when assessing the Project’s environmental effects and the overall public interest.”

The Appeals Court ruling found the NEB report inadequate on these grounds, returning it to the government for “redetermination.”
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