Unknown Amount of Wealth Extracted from Public Land
Published May 17, 2013 - 10:50:18 AM
The U.S. government controls an enormous amount of land, particularly in the western half of the country. The Department of Interior's Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages an estimated 700 million acres of public lands, with much of it open for development by oil, gas, mining, and renewable energy development. When these various industries come into conflict, hardrock mining interests – gold, silver, copper, and other minerals – have traditionally won out due to laws favoring them, which date back to the 19th century.
Political Non-Profits Shouldn't Be Allowed To Hide Behind Tax Laws
Published May 17, 2013 - 10:40:29 AM
While pursuing investigations of the Internal Revenue Service's targeted handling of certain groups seeking tax exempt status, Congress, the White House and the IRS must address the larger problem of political groups masquerading as tax-exempt social welfare groups to hide donors' identities, Common Cause said today.
Once Again, White Nationalists Sully Immigration Debate
Published May 17, 2013 - 9:29:54 AM
Opponents of immigration reform legislation have been trying to steer clear of white nationalists lately, hoping to keep their opposition to citizenship for undocumented Latino immigrants free from the taint of racism.
Report: Solar Energy Reduces Military Costs, Boosts Security, Saves Lives
Published May 17, 2013 - 8:37:01 AM
In celebration of Armed Services Day, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) today released a first-of-its-kind report detailing how innovative solar technologies are helping the U.S. military meet many of its critical functions – from security and battlefield readiness to cost savings and efficiency.
Advocates Call On BLM To Change Policy Consistent with Court Order
Published May 17, 2013 - 8:21:53 AM
Just over three months ago, in a momentous victory for the public's right to know and government transparency, U.S. District Court Senior Judge Richard P. Matsch ruled on February 13, 2013 that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the public's right to know when it concealed the identity of the entities that nominate public lands for gas drilling leases. Specifically, the Court held that BLM's asserted justification for withholding the requested information "runs directly contrary to the purpose of the public sale process."
Lawmakers move to limit domestic drones
Full story: CBS News
Obama War Powers Under 2001 Law 'Astoundingly Disturbing,' Senators Say
Full story: Huffington Post
Brady Center Files Lawsuit Challenging Georgia City Ordinance Mandating Gun Ownership
Published May 16, 2013 - 12:07:01 PM
The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit today against the City of Nelson, Georgia, alleging that its ordinance requiring residents to own an operable firearm and ammunition is unconstitutional. In the complaint, filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, the Brady Center, joined by the firms of Covington & Burling LLP and Dow Lohnes PLLC, argues that the Nelson city ordinance, adopted April 1, 2013, violates citizens' First, Second, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The suit was filed on behalf of membership of the Brady Center who face a $1,000 fine for non-compliance.
High Seas Harassment of Fisheries Observers More Than Doubles
Published May 16, 2013 - 9:57:33 AM
Attacks against independent monitors of U.S. fishing fleets more than doubled between 2007 and 2011, according to official figures posted today by the Association for Professional Observers (APO) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). In the vast majority of cases, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) took no enforcement action, and when it did, a warning was the most frequent sanction.
Big Oil's spin gets a much-needed reality check
Published May 16, 2013 - 7:35:06 AM
Launching today in Canada, Europe and the United States, TarSandsRealityCheck.com presents up to date, accurate facts about Alberta's tar sands to counter the high-level pro-oil sands lobbying ongoing in Canada, the United States and Europe around the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, and Europe on the Fuel Quality Directive.
British firm moves to end supply of execution drugs to US
Published May 15, 2013 - 9:34:40 AM
A UK pharmaceutical firm has announced that it is "putting in place concrete steps" to stop the use of its drugs in executions.
Hikma PLC, which is headquartered in London, made the announcement after it emerged that executioners at Arkansas Department of Corrections (DoC) had acquired drugs from the firm's subsidiary, West-Ward, which they intended to use to kill prisoners.
Report: U.S. Agriculture Industry Deeply Depends on Foreign Agriculture Workers Who Fill Jobs That Americans Will Not
Published May 15, 2013 - 9:30:55 AM
The Partnership for a New American Economy and the Center for Global Development (CGD) today released a new report, "International Harvest: A Case Study of How Foreign Workers Help American Farms Grow Crops – and the Economy." The report, which examines North Carolina as a case study, analyzes data from local farms and finds that immigrant agriculture workers not only fill farm jobs that U.S. workers will not – they also benefit the state's economy and create American jobs by doing so. According to the report: In 2011, despite nearly 500,000 unemployed American workers in North Carolina, extensive advertising, and wages required by law to match local wage rates, only seven American workers completed the growing season in the entire state; in 2012, the 7,000 foreign-born seasonal agriculture workers who filled North Carolina farm jobs added an estimated $248 million to $371 million to the state economy that year; and every 3-5 foreign farm workers the U.S. brings in creates an additional American job. The report was authored by Michael Clemens, a CGD senior fellow and a leading expert on the economic impacts of temporary work visas.
Massive Clearcuts Planned for Northwestern Montana Threaten Imperiled Canada Lynx and Grizzly Bears
Published May 15, 2013 - 7:09:44 AM
Located in the far Northwest corner of Montana, the Cabinet-Yaak region of the Kootenai National Forest provides essential habitat for imperiled grizzly bears and critical habitat for Canada lynx, two species protected under the Endangered Species Act as threatened with extinction.
NTSB Unveils Interventions to Reach Zero Alcohol-Impaired Crashes
Published May 15, 2013 - 7:08:45 AM
Today that National Transportation Safety Board released a bold set of targeted interventions to put the country on a course to eliminate alcohol-impaired driving crashes. The 19 recommendations call for stronger laws, swifter enforcement and expanded use of technology.
Many Farmers Seeking Conservation Help Get Turned Away
Published May 15, 2013 - 6:23:06 AM
Two out of every five farmers who seek assistance in reducing water pollution from their fields or the amount of pesticides and antibiotics they use are being turned away because USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service lacks sufficient funding.
Federal Government Spent More Taxpayer Money on 2012 Extreme Weather Cleanup than on Schools and Roads
Published May 14, 2013 - 1:51:39 PM
U.S. taxpayers paid nearly $100 billion responding to damages caused by last year's extreme weather events associated with climate change, about $1,100 per taxpayer, according to an analysis by the Natural Resources Defense Council released today.
Senator Warren to Federal Reserve, DOJ, SEC: Have You Researched Costs to the Public of Settlement without Admission of Guilt?
Published May 14, 2013 - 1:47:50 PM
Following up on an exchange with Comptroller Thomas J. Curry, United States Senator Elizabeth Warren today sent a letter to Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission Mary Jo White to request the disclosure of any research and analysis done on the costs to the public of settling an enforcement action without requiring an admission of guilt.
US State Dept's role in promoting biotech seed industry
Published May 14, 2013 - 11:40:20 AM
Today Food & Water Watch and its European project Food & Water Europe released the first comprehensive analysis of the U.S. government's strategy, tactics and foreign policy objectives to promote pro-agricultural biotechnology policies worldwide. Biotech Ambassadors: How the U.S. State Department Promotes the Seed Industry's Global Agenda examines more than 900 State Department diplomatic cables from 2005 to 2009 and details how the U.S. State Department lobbies foreign governments to adopt pro-agricultural biotechnology policies and laws, operates a rigorous public relations campaign to improve the image of biotechnology and challenges commonsense biotechnology safeguards and rules — including opposing genetically engineered (GE) food labeling laws.
Congressmen Pocan and Ellison Introduce "Right to Vote" Constitutional Amendment
Published May 14, 2013 - 10:28:49 AM
"The right of voting for representatives is the primary right by which other rights are protected," wrote Thomas Paine in 1795.
Yet contrary to popular belief, there is no affirmative right to vote in the U.S. Constitution. This gap in our founding document has provided an opening for the wave of voter suppression measures that swept the country in recent years, and before that, the poll taxes and Jim Crow restrictions that disenfranchised millions. This week, two Congressmen -- both from states at the epicenter of today's voting rights struggles -- are seeking to fix that.
National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund Announced
Published May 14, 2013 - 9:11:13 AM
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) today announced the public launch of the Gulf Environmental Benefit Fund through which NFWF will administer and monitor $2.544 billion from plea agreements resolving certain criminal cases arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Fisheries Violation Reporting Reforms Overdue
Published May 14, 2013 - 7:59:50 AM
Responding to complaints from independent monitors of U.S. fishing fleets that they are discouraged from reporting violations, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has agreed to improve how those offenses are handled, according to an agency document posted by the Association for Professional Observers (APO) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). NMFS concedes that current protocols for violations such as shark-finning, illegal by-catch and marine pollution offenses are "inadequate" and will develop a new "uniform, transparent and consistent procedure for collecting and reporting all potential marine resource violations" to law enforcement by this fall.
Voluntary reduction has failed as processed and fast food salt levels remain high as ever
Published May 14, 2013 - 7:32:12 AM
The dangerously high salt levels in processed food and fast food remain essentially unchanged, despite numerous calls from public and private health agencies for the food industry to voluntarily reduce sodium levels, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study conducted with the Center for Science in the Public Interest.
America's first climate refugees: Newtok, Alaska is losing ground to the sea at a dangerous rate, exile inevitable
Full story: The Guardian UK
Anchorage Marine rapist walks without prison time
Full story: Anchorage Daily News
Minnesota Makes Three: Marriage Equality Passes North Star State
Published May 13, 2013 - 2:22:34 PM
Just six months after voters in Minnesota voted to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the state legislature today passed legislation providing equal access to civil marriages for gay and lesbian couples. Once Gov. Mark Dayton signs the bill into law, Minnesota becomes the twelfth state with marriage equality and the third state this month to pass marriage equality legislation, following Rhode Island and Delaware.
Common Cause Calls for House, Senate Hearings on IRS Controversy
Published May 13, 2013 - 1:45:30 PM
Common Cause called Monday for hearings in the US House and Senate to explore the Internal Revenue Service's admission that it targeted certain groups for review, as well as the broader problem of the agency's lax enforcement of political groups masquerading as tax-exempt social welfare groups.
U.S. News Media Help Koch Brothers and ExxonMobil Spread Climate Disinformation, UCS Investigation Finds
Published May 13, 2013 - 1:15:01 PM
The U.S. news media routinely fail to inform the public about the fossil fuel industry funders behind climate change contrarian think tanks, according to an investigation by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The first installment of a six-part series on the investigation is available today in the Huffington Post.
PPP Poll: Voters trust Clinton over GOP on Benghazi
Published May 13, 2013 - 1:05:37 PM
PPP's newest national poll finds that Republicans aren't getting much traction with their focus on Benghazi over the last week. Voters trust Hillary Clinton over Congressional Republicans on the issue of Benghazi by a 49/39 margin and Clinton's +8 net favorability rating at 52/44 is identical to what it was on our last national poll in late March. Meanwhile Congressional Republicans remain very unpopular with a 36/57 favorability rating.
Food & Water Watch Sues FDA for Concealing Records on Arsenic in Poultry Feed
Published May 13, 2013 - 10:45:12 AM
Today the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch announced that it sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), saying that the agency has unlawfully ignored a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records related to arsenic-based drugs known as "arsenicals" that are added to poultry feed.
TransCanada files lawsuit to block Keystone XL protests
Full story: News OK