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The Rundown

After Dangerous Pipeline Leaks, Activists Get a Win in Court

Your daily guide to what’s working, what’s not and what you can do about it.
Photo via Pixabay.

Leaking Pipeline leads to court victory for activists: The Sabal Trail pipeline is supposed to bring affordable natural gas to residents throughout its 515-mile path through Alabama, Georgia and all the way down to central Florida. Instead, environmental activists warned the $3.2 billion project would be an ecological and environmental screw up -- and it was.

Within weeks of the pipeline becoming operational it started leaking, and the Sierra Club stepped in to take legal action on behalf of the residents. In a federal appeals case the court ruled in favor of the Sierra Club two-to-one, noting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should have taken the pipelines greenhouse gas emissions into consideration.


Issa party: New York City is known for being one of the nightlife capitals of the world, but the after hours scene is crumbling due to outdated legal infrastructure. In May, City Council member Rafael Espinal, who represents parts of Brooklyn, announced a plan to draft a bill to give the New Yorkers a night mayor.

Part of the proposed legislation included creating an Office of Nightlife and a Nightlife Advisory Board, and repealing the prohibition-era cabaret law. Several nightlife groups such as the NYC Artist Coalition, the Dance Liberation Network and more supported Espinal's endeavor. The latest version of Espinal's bill passed on August 24, and now Mayor Bill de Blasio has 30 days to sign it into a law. If you want a night mayor, let De Blasio know now.

DOJ gets partial win on protester data: The Justice Department initially backed down on its request for the IP logs of the 1.3 million people who visited, a site meant to organize protests against President Trump's inauguration on January 20. But a Superior Court judge on Thursday ordered data from internet hosting company DreamHost to be handed over based on a narrowed warrant.

The DOJ won't get as much information as it originally sought, but it will still have access to emailssent through the domain name. DreamHost sees the move as a serious violation of First Amendment rights, and could have an adverse effect on political free speech, and willingness of individual citizens to voice dissent, which is a core American value. Word to the wise: be careful online, whether it's through social media posts or online petitions.

Climate change denial escalates: The National Institute of Health (NIH) is a part of the US Health and Human Services Department, which is headed by Donald Trump appointee Tom Price. On August 20, the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative reported that mentions of climate change have been erased from parts -- but not all -- of the NIH's website. A previous page that once read, "Climate Change and Children's Health" now reads "Climate and Children's Health."

It's a slight change, but it undermines the importance of effects of climate change. This isn't the first instance of the "term climate change" being selectively expunged from government sites since President Trump was inaugurated, and shows a clear distinction from the past administration's views on the issues.

Throwing down the gauntlet: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has issued a warning to the president to disband the administration's voter fraud commission. In May, President Trump created the Election Integrity Commission (EIC) as an Executive Order to look into cases of voter fraud in the 2016 US presidential election despite any reputable evidence.

Critics say It's a way for the president to justify losing the popular vote and winning the Electoral College. Democrats, and a few Republicans, have voiced their opposition to the president's commission. On Twitter, Sen. Schumer announced that if the president won't disband the EIC that Democrats will try do it on a must-pass bill to end it in September.