The fierce contest over the Trump border wall has critical environmental implications, both local and regional, per the latest TipSheet. A key suit against the Trump emergency declaration was filed by environmental groups and plans for a border barrier may harm significant wildlife habitat, as well as numerous migrating species, including some that are endangered. Get the back story and why it matters, along with story ideas and reporting resources.
Southwest (AZ NM OK TX)
"Thousands of protests have been lodged with U.S. land managers in opposition of next month’s oil and natural gas lease sale despite a decision to remove from the offering several parcels near a national park in northwestern New Mexico."
"For months, Clovis, New Mexico, dairy farmer Art Schaap has been watching his life go down the drain. Instead of selling milk, he is dumping 15,000 gallons a day – enough to provide a carton at lunch to 240,000 children. Instead of working 24/7 to keep his animals healthy, he’s planning to exterminate all 4,000 of his cows, one of the best herds in his county’s booming dairy industry."
Small market environmental beat reporting can shine a light on serious issues that affect local residents, and Texas Observer’s Christopher Collins does that with a passion. That’s the word from judges for the Society of Environmental Journalists’ annual reporting awards, who recently honored Collins for his work, citing his mix of hard-hitting info and interesting characters. In the latest Inside Story, Collins shares how he gets his story ideas, overcomes challenges and focuses on how issues affect real individuals.
U.S. courts will be a key venue of environmental conflict in 2019, as the Trump administration pushes back against an extensive array of long-standing environmental law. This special edition Issue Backgrounder looks at seven key legal disputes, including cases involving climate change liability, intergenerational equity and policy, as well as conflicts over maintaining national monuments, defining which waters are subject to anti-pollution rules, disposing of coal ash and extending offshore drilling.
Expect the fight to worsen over the Trump Administration’s attempted rollback of auto mileage standards. Not only is California resisting a loss of its waiver to set tighter rules, joining at least 16 other states in a preemptive lawsuit. But carmakers themselves are deviating from the Trump line, worried over a fracturing of the nationwide auto market or seeking an edge in the field for more efficient vehicles. This special edition TipSheet looks at prospects for conflict in the year ahead.
"Up against a federal deadline to approve a Colorado River drought plan — a “generational change” in Arizona water management — four key legislators say they’re optimistic they’ll meet it."
"MOHAVE COUNTY, Ariz. — Breakneck agricultural development by well-heeled out-of-staters has upended conservative orthodoxy in this parched rural county."
The new year will likely mean subpoenas on EPA’s FOIA response policies, as a Democrat takes the chair in the House Oversight Committee amid charges the agency is choking off politically sensitive record requests. And are new laws in a dozen states making coverage of pipeline protests a felony? That, plus air emission exemptions for animal feedlot operators and data on illegal fishing. All in the latest issue of the WatchDog.
"GALVESTON, Texas — The Army Corps of Engineers is urging public input on a sprawling proposal that could help protect Texas' coastal areas but whose details are far from certain."