EPA Moves to Revoke Rules on Oil Industry Leaks of Methane, a Damaging Greenhouse Gas || KTLA
“The Trump administration moved Thursday to revoke regulations on methane leaks from oil facilities, a proposal environmental advocates said would renounce key federal authority to regulate the climate-damaging gas.
The proposed rule follows President Donald Trump’s directions to remove “unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burdens from the oil and gas industry,” Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Andrew Wheeler said in a statement.
Exxon Mobil and some other oil giants — wary of blowback from growing public concern over global warming — joined environmental groups in urging the Trump administration to drop the rollback on methane controls, although several state-level and national industry groups welcomed the easing.
The step would be the latest in a series unwinding the Obama administration’s efforts to cut climate-changing emissions from the oil, gas and coal industries, including a 2016 rule regulating oil-industry methane leaks as a pollutant under the federal Clean Air Act.
Trump has pushed to open vast expanses of U.S. wilderness and coastline to oil and gas drilling, speed construction of petroleum pipelines and ease regulations on the industry, dismissing calls from scientists in and out of government for rapid cuts in oil, gas and coal emissions to stave off the worst of climate change.
…President Barack Obama’s administration had cited legal authority under the Clean Air Act to require companies to detect and stop methane leaks at oil and gas sites. The Trump administration contends that Obama’s EPA skipped required legal steps in making that decision, and its proposal Thursday seeks public comment on the issue.
The Obama-era requirements to find and fix methane leaks imposed “a disproportionate effect on small businesses” in the oil industry, Milito said. “A lot of mom and pops would have their wells shut in, elderly people with wells on their properties that could be shut down” under the rules to be rescinded.
But the rollbacks on emissions from oilfields, storage sites and pipelines have split the oil industry, worrying some in the industry about growing blowback in a world increasingly mindful of climate change.”
Orange, Newport Beach join other Orange County cities opposing California sanctuary law
|| Orange County Register
“Elected officials in Orange and Newport Beach, following hours of emotional testimony from both sides of the sanctuary issue, voted late Tuesday to oppose a new California law that protects people living in the country illegally.
In Newport Beach, the City Council voted unanimously during closed session to support a federal lawsuit filed by the Trump administration against California. The Newport Beach council also voted 7-0 for a resolution that says the city is publicly opposed to the law.
In Orange, the council voted 3-2 for a resolution against the California Values Act, the law that limits cooperation between federal immigration agents and local law enforcement and provides protection to unauthorized immigrants in public schools, libraries and medical centers. The Orange resolution says the city will not comply with state law, but resolutions are largely symbolic and it’s unclear whether it will have any impact on day-to-day operations.
“It’s making our voice heard, and supporting the County of Orange who really is the one dealing with custody and ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) communication issues,” Councilman Fred Whitaker said in an e-mail Wednesday.
Opponents of illegal immigration hailed the latest votes as victories as the anti-sanctuary movement continues to gain momentum in Orange County.
In Orange, Mayor Teresa Smith and Councilman Mike Alvarez voted against it. Smith said the ordinance undermined trust and inclusion in the community. Alvarez said he would prefer to sit out the debate but would be interested in voting on something stronger that states, “We’re not a sanctuary city.”
Councilmen Whitaker and Mark Murphy brought the issue before the council. Councilwoman Kim Nichols joined them in support, saying that the California law is in conflict with federal laws.
Whitaker said Orange is “a welcoming city” but officials need to abide by the rule of law.
Several of the speakers in opposition of the law erroneously said that the California Values Act, known as California’s sanctuary law, prohibits communication between federal immigration agents and local law enforcement, barring cooperation between the agencies upon the release of potential deportable criminals from jail. Actually, the law limits but does not prohibit the two sides from working together.
The Westminster City Council is scheduled to take up the issue on Wednesday, April 11.”
….Continue reading more @ OC Register | Story by Roxana Kopetman
Red California’s revenge on sanctuary laws
|| U-T San Diego
“California is always the familiar Democratic blue in those political maps on TV, but the state still has notable swaths of red, particularly in the south.
And red California is making itself known through a local government rebellion against the sanctuary state.
On Wednesday night, Escondido joined President Donald Trump’s effort to dismantle California’s sanctuary laws, which, among other things, prohibit local law enforcement from telling federal officials when unauthorized immigrants are being released from custody unless they’ve been convicted of one of 800 specific crimes.
Orange County, Los Alamitos, Yorba Linda, Huntington Beach, Fountain Valley, Aliso Viejo and now Escondido have all taken action to support the Trump suit to overturn the state laws.
The West Covina City Council declined to join the movement Tuesday night, even though the city had taken an official position against the key sanctuary law a year ago. Unlike the others, West Covina has a plurality of Democratic voters.
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to discuss taking action against the sanctuary laws in closed session on April 17.
Amid some loud, ugly words and mind-numbingly repetitive rhetoric Wednesday night, one quiet revelation surfaced before the Escondido City Council voted 4-1 to file a “friend of the court” brief supporting the administration’s lawsuit.
City Attorney Michael McGuinness said Friday is the court’s deadline to file an amicus curiae brief. That limits the options available to the supervisors.
They could direct the county to file its own lawsuit like Huntington Beach, which is a much, much larger undertaking than filing a supporting brief. They could pass an ordinance like Los Alamitos to opt out of the sanctuary laws, though that’s a legally questionable move. They could do something else, or do nothing.
Board Chair Kristin Gaspar, who is running for Congress, called the meeting to discuss opposing the sanctuary laws.
“I have been vocal in my support of upholding the law and protecting the 3.5 million people who call San Diego home,” she said in a statement Thursday. “This issue was already decided in 2012 when the Obama-led Department of Justice and Supreme Court determined that local laws can’t override Federal law. I have asked our Counsel to prepare to discuss all of our options . . .”
It’s far from clear what the board will do. Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Gaspar want to support the Trump suit, while Greg Cox and Ron Roberts have indicated they don’t think the board should get involved. Supervisor Bill Horn said through a spokeswoman that he wants to wait until the board discusses the matter before commenting publicly.
There has been little communication between Gaspar and the other supervisors on this, and some where caught off guard when she announced the meeting.
If the county joins the movement, it would be the first jurisdiction with a Democratic plurality, slight as it may be, to do so. In contrast to the county’s political demographics, all five board members are Republican.
The politics on immigration crackdowns often seem to divide along partisan lines, but it’s more complex than that. Democratic presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and Republican presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump all have had versions of get-tough border and immigration policies, though none of the previous three matched Trump’s heated rhetoric on the issue.
Clinton launched the hotly disputed “Operation Gatekeeper” in San Diego in 1994 and deportations ramped up so much under Obama that some immigration advocates called him “deporter in chief.”
Federal Court Rebukes Atty Gen Kamala Harris on Donor Information Decision
– Wall Street Journal
Free Speech 1, Kamala Harris 0
A federal judge blocks an attempt to disclose conservative donors.
Kamala Harris has been a hero of the left’s campaign to use donor disclosure as a tool of political intimidation. Since 2013 the California Attorney General has been demanding that nonprofits provide unredacted donor names if they want to solicit donations in the state. On Thursday a federal court declared her disclosure requirement an unconstitutional burden on First Amendment rights.
Federal Judge Manuel Real granted a permanent injunction against Ms. Harris in a lawsuit brought by the Americans For Prosperity Foundation. The group, which is affiliated with free-market supporters Charles and David Koch, has argued that as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, it should not be forced to supply the Attorney General with the organization’s IRS Form 990 Schedule B, which contains its donor names.
In his 12-page decision, Judge Real notes that while Attorney General Harris argued that she needed donor disclosure to identify lawbreaking like “self-dealing” or “improper loans,” that was a stretch. “[O]ver the course of trial, the Attorney General was hard pressed to find a single witness who could corroborate the necessity of Schedule B forms in conjunction with their office’s investigations,” the judge wrote.
Ms. Harris claimed the donor disclosure was only for internal purposes and not for public use or to precipitate any targeting of the donors, but the judge didn’t buy that either. Americans for Prosperity discovered 1,400 publicly available Schedule Bs on the Attorney General’s website. “[T]he Attorney General has systematically failed to maintain the confidentiality of Schedule B forms,” the court wrote, a fact that should be considered “of serious concern.”
The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech,” and Ms. Harris’s play for donor disclosure would have impermissibly burdened that freedom. During the trial, the judge heard evidence that donors and supporters of Americans for Prosperity have faced harassment and retaliation when their relationship to the group is made public.
The judge is an LBJ appointee who can recall when disclosure was used as a political weapon in the Jim Crow South. “[A]lthough the Attorney General correctly points out that such abuses are not as violent or pervasive as those encountered in NAACP v. Alabama or other cases from that era,” he wrote, “this Court is not prepared to wait until an AFP opponent carries out one of the numerous death threats made against its members.” Amen.”
– The Comments section is especially interesting on this issue. /CJ
Federal Judge Manuel Real Hands down Big Loss for Kamala Harris
“Americans For Prosperity won a huge court victory in California Thursday against that state’s hard-left vindictive attorney general, Kamala Harris. Naturally, the national press is doing what it does when it doesn’t want to cover a story: letting the Politico cover it and then pretending that this suffices.
Harris demanded that AFP provides the section of its not-for-profit Federal Form 990 identifying its donors. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows, despite Harris’s lip service to confidentiality, that her motivation is to have the names leak out so that donors are subject to the kind of public intimidation to which those who supported the pro-traditional marriage Proposition 8 in California were subjected in 2008.
Judge Manuel L. Real in the California District Federal Court forcefully denied that demand (HT Powerline). Deceptive headlines at two of the state’s largest newspapers betrayed clear displeasure with the result.
The San Francisco Chronicle began Bob Egelko’s story with a sore-loser headline:
Koch-run foundation exempt from naming top donors, judge rules
Here is what Judge Real actually wrote:
… After conducting a full bench trial, this Court finds the Attorney General’s Schedule B disclosure requirement unconstitutional as-applied to AFP.
Judge Real didn’t say that AFP is exempt from Harris’s law. He ruled that it is protected by the Constitution, specifically a landmark 1958 Supreme Court ruling which protected donors to the NAACP from having their names disclosed to the State of Alabama. In that ruling, the Court recognized “the vital relationship between freedom to associate and privacy in one’s associations.”
Harris’s goal, again despite denials, is to breach that privacy. Judge Real noted that Harris’s office “has systematically failed to maintain the confidentiality” of such records. Egelko reported AFP’s assertion that “more than 1,400 filings by foundations were publicly available on Harris’ website.”The headline at the story by John Myers at Los Angeles Times was also deceptive:
Nonprofit backed by Koch brothers won’t have to reveal its donors to Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris
Even if Harris were conducting her office honorably, access to donor information would include any number of employees under her command. In this case, given her track record, the headline really should be: “Nonprofit backed by Koch brothers won’t have to reveal its donors to the vast national army of leftist thugs.
“Harris is “the first female, the first African-American, and the first Asian-American attorney general in California.”Her aim is to undo the kinds of protections which ultimately led to the civil-rights progress from which she is now benefitting. Her picture belongs by the word “ingrate” in the dictionary.”
– The real question is why is this story about candidate Kamala Harris being ignored in the middle of a California Senate Primary? This decision and legal rebuke goes to her policies and ultimately to character. /CJ