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Westlake Legal Group > News Media (Page 96)

Trump Administration Weakens Protections for Endangered Species

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.

The changes could clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live. The new rules will make it harder to consider the effects of climate change on wildlife when deciding whether a given species warrants protection. They would most likely shrink critical habitats and, for the first time, allow economic factors to be taken into account when making determinations.

“The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal — recovery of our rarest species,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement Monday. “The Act’s effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement the finalized revisions “fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals.”

The regulation is expected to appear in the Federal Register this week and will go into effect 30 days after that.

Environmental groups denounced the changes as a disaster for imperiled wildlife at a time when the United Nations has warned that human pressures are poised to drive one million species into extinction and that protecting land and biodiversity is critical to keep greenhouse gas emissions in check.

Climate change, a lack of environmental stewardship and mass industrialization have all contributed to the enormous expected global nature loss, the report said.

Want climate news in your inbox? Sign up here for Climate Fwd:, our email newsletter.

Mr. Bernhardt wrote in an op-ed last summer that the 1973 Endangered Species Act places an “unnecessary regulatory burden” on companies.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_154532004_14b4009c-704c-4211-82f6-b6cbfc348a54-articleLarge Trump Administration Weakens Protections for Endangered Species United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Interior Department Global Warming environment Endangered and Extinct Species Conservation of Resources Bernhardt, David L

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Capitol Hill in May. CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

Ever since President Richard M. Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law, it has been the most essential piece of United States legislation for protecting fish, plants and wildlife, and acted as a safety net for species on the brink of extinction. The peregrine falcon, the humpback whale, the Tennessee purple coneflower and the Florida manatee all likely would have disappeared without it, scientists say.

Republicans have long sought to narrow the scope of the law, saying that it burdens landowners, hampers industry and hinders economic growth. They also make the case that the law is not reasonable because species are rarely removed from the list. Since the law was passed, more than 1,650 have been listed as threatened or endangered, while just 47 have been delisted because their populations rebounded.

Over the past two years Republicans made a major legislative push to overhaul the law. Despite holding a majority in both houses of Congress, though, the proposals were never taken up in the Senate. With Democrats now in control of the House, there is little chance of those bills passing.

The Trump administration’s revisions to the regulations that guide the implementation of the law, however, mean opponents of the Endangered Species Act are still poised to claim their biggest victory in decades.

A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.CreditJosh Haner/The New York Times

One of the most controversial changes removes longstanding language that prohibits the consideration of economic factors when deciding whether a species should be protected.

Under the current law, such determinations must be made solely based on science, “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of determination.”

Gary Frazer, the assistant director for endangered species with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, said the phrase had been removed for reasons of “transparency.” He said the change leaves open the possibility of conducting economic analyses for informational purposes, but that decisions about listing species would still be based exclusively on science.

Environmental groups saw a danger in that. “There can be economic costs to protecting endangered species,” said Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation for lands, wildlife and oceans at Earthjustice, an environmental law organization. But, he said, “If we make decisions based on short-term economic costs, we’re going to have a whole lot more extinct species.”

The rules also make it easier to remove a species from the endangered species list and weaken protections for threatened species — a designation that means they are at risk of becoming endangered.

They also give the government new discretion in deciding what is meant by the term “foreseeable future.” That’s a semantic change with far-reaching implications, because it enables regulators to ignore the effects of extreme heat, drought, rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change that may occur several decades from now.

When questioned about that change and its implications in the era of climate change, Mr. Frazer said the agency wanted to avoid making “speculative” decisions far into the future.

Among the animals at risk from this change, Mr. Caputo listed a few: Polar bears and seals that are losing crucial sea ice; whooping cranes whose migration patterns are shifting because of temperature changes; and beluga whales that will have to dive deeper and longer to find food in a warmer Arctic.

Jonathan Wood, a lawyer at the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative group that has represented landowners in opposing endangered species designations, said he believed the changes would improve the law by simplifying the regulatory process and making the law less punitive.

“It’s a shift away from conflict in favor of more collaboration and cooperation,” he said.

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Saudi Aramco Says It’s ‘Ready’ for I.P.O. as It Reports Half-Year Earnings

Westlake Legal Group 12saudiaramco-1sub-facebookJumbo Saudi Aramco Says It’s ‘Ready’ for I.P.O. as It Reports Half-Year Earnings Saudi Aramco Saudi Arabia Oil (Petroleum) and Gasoline Initial Public Offerings

The oil giant Saudi Aramco is prepared for an initial public offering, its chief financial officer said on Monday, reviving the prospects for a long-awaited listing that could be a major step toward diversifying Saudi Arabia’s economy.

The state-owned company has been moving toward greater financial transparency as it courts international investors, and the suggestion that it was ready for a public offering came during its first-ever earnings call. The call came after the company, the world’s largest oil producer, said that it had generated net income of $46.9 billion in the first half of the year.

Khalid al-Dabbagh, Saudi Aramco’s senior vice president for finance, strategy and development, said the timing of a public offering would be up to the “shareholder” — the Saudi government — and offered scant insight into when such a listing would happen.

“The company is ready for the I.P.O.,” Mr. al-Dabbagh told analysts on the call, adding that Saudi officials would “announce it depending on their perception of what will be the optimum market conditions.”

He also discussed a newly signed memorandum of agreement with Reliance Industries of India, saying it would enable Aramco to examine Reliance’s book and that a potential deal between the two companies was “at the very, very early stages.”

“India is a large country with large demand and it’s a growing demand,” Mr. al-Dabbagh added.

Reliance announced earlier in the day that Aramco was set to buy a 20 percent stake in its refining and petrochemical business. The stake in Reliance, estimated to be worth $15 billion, would create a partnership between the Saudi kingdom and India’s powerful Ambani family.

Mr. al-Dabbagh’s comments about the public offering appeared to confirm that Saudi leaders are eager to move ahead with it, although key decisions still remain. Earlier preparations for a share sale were set aside last year as the price of oil fell and the Saudis struggled with questions of valuation and which exchange the company would be listed on. 

But after a bond issue this year attracted significant interest from investors,  Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince and the kingdom’s key policymaker, appears to have decided that officials should resume their preparations for a public offering.

The Saudis also seem to be calculating that international outrage is fading after the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Turkey last year by Saudi operatives associated with the crown prince. 

In the financial disclosure it released on Monday, Aramco said its net income had fallen 12 percent, from $53 billion in the same period a year earlier, when oil prices were higher. The company also said it earned $66 a barrel for its oil, 4 percent less than a year earlier.

The results indicated that, even with the decline, Aramco was much more profitable than its oil-producing peers. Exxon Mobil, the largest American oil company, brought in $5.5 billion in the first half of 2019; Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil company, reported net income of $9 billion for the first six months of the year.

“Despite lower oil prices during the first half of 2019, we continued to deliver solid earnings,” Aramco’s chief executive, Amin H. Nasser, said in a statement. Disclosing the financial results, he said, was “a significant milestone in Saudi Aramco’s history.”

The company had long declined to disclose key metrics, including how much oil it produces and how much money it brings in. In April, though, it broke precedent and accompanied its well-received bond offering with a detailed prospectus that provided investors a wealth of financial and oil statistics.

Because the bonds are publicly traded, Aramco is now required to publish financial results.

The company also said Monday that it had paid dividends of $46.4 billion, an amount almost equal to its net income figure, to the Saudi government in the first half of the year. Analysts had told investors that the state-owned company did not have a clear policy on dividends.

“So far there is little clarity on how dividends are determined,” analysts at the market research firm Energy Intelligence, wrote in a note to clients last week.

On Monday, analysts at Bernstein, another market research firm, questioned whether Aramco could continue to pay such large dividends. Noting that the company had reported a measure called “free cash flow” of $38 billion for the first half of the year, the Bernstein analysts wrote, “This implies that Aramco is borrowing to pay the dividend, which is unlikely to be sustainable over the long run.”

Aramco said the dividends included an “ordinary” payment of $26.4 billion and a “special” dividend of $20 billion that “reflected the exceptionally strong” performance by the company last year, when it took in $111 billion.

Aramco’s move toward disclosing more information coincides with the company’s becoming increasingly acquisitive, especially outside Saudi Arabia, in ways that could add to its need for more financing. The bonds issued in April were meant to help finance Aramco’s $69 billion acquisition of a government-held stake in Sabic, a Saudi petrochemical company.

The stake in Reliance’s refining, petrochemical and fuel business would help meet Aramco’s goal of locking up markets for its crude oil. With the United States having sharply reduced its imports from the Persian Gulf region thanks to increases domestic production, suppliers like Kuwait, Iraq and the Saudis are battling over fast-growing Asian markets like India.

The deal between Aramco and Reliance calls for the Saudi company to supply 500,000 barrels a day in crude to the Indian company’s Jamnagar refinery on a long-term basis. Reliance termed the deal a “nonbinding letter of intent,” and said it valued the overall business at $75 billion.

Aramco appears to be filling holes in its portfolio in hopes of more closely resembling companies like Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, which have large natural gas and refining businesses to complement their production of crude oil.

Aramco recently reached an understanding with Sempra Energy, a major American natural gas distributor, to buy liquefied natural gas for 20 years and to take a stake of up to 25 percent in a gas-exporting facility Sempra plans to build at Port Arthur, Tex.

Although rich in crude oil, Saudi Arabia has struggled to produce sufficient natural gas to fuel electric power and other industrial businesses. The Saudis wind up burning large volumes of crude during the peak summer season, when demand for electricity for cooling purposes runs at full tilt.

The disclosures by the Saudi company give traders, analysts and competitors greater insight into the workings of a company whose sole shareholder, the Saudi government, influences the oil markets through its de facto leadership of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its coordination of oil policy with producers like Russia.

Aramco said on Monday that it had produced an average of 10 million barrels of oil a day in the first half of the year. That is believed to be much less than it would produce if it had not reined in production in an effort to bolster oil prices, which are now at about $58 a barrel for Brent crude, the international benchmark.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Former Missouri Dem lawmaker, retired officer blasts Warren for tweet claiming Michael Brown was murdered

Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Warren Former Missouri Dem lawmaker, retired officer blasts Warren for tweet claiming Michael Brown was murdered Joshua Nelson fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc ff9de917-99ab-5ec2-98ac-6bd6c3d4b2ce article

A former Missouri police officer and Democratic state lawmaker pushed back Monday on Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., after the top presidential contender tweeted that Michael Brown had been “murdered by a white police officer” five years ago in the city of Ferguson.

Roorda, who now heads the St. Louis Police Officers Association, called Warren’s comments “offensive to every police officer in America.”

“Senator Warren is clinging to this false narrative. There’s no reason to do that other than that it pays electoral dividends,” former State Rep. Jeff Roorda told “Fox & Friends.”

Warren commemorated the five-year anniversary of Brown’s death by writing on Twitter: “5 years ago Michael Brown was murdered by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Michael was unarmed yet he was shot 6 times. I stand with activists and organizers who continue the fight for justice for Michael. We must confront systemic racism and police violence head on.”

The fatal shooting of Brown, 18, by police officer Darren Wilson sparked mass protests in Ferguson and the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement. Both a Missouri grand jury and the Obama Justice Department later declined to bring charges against Wilson, who had testified that he acted in self-defense.

The DOJ report stated that there was “no credible evidence that Wilson willfully shot Brown as he was attempting to surrender or was otherwise not posing a threat.” Roorda said that Warren is “pandering” to her supporters by continuing to claim Brown was murdered.

MOTHER OF MICHAEL BROWN LOSES BID FOR PUBLIC OFFICE IN FERGUSON, MO.

He went on to say, “I don’t know what good purpose is served by extending this narrative that the Justice Department, the grand jury rejected flatly. Darren Wilson was acting in self-defense.”

“It’s really exhausting. I mean, we keep dealing, addressing the fantasy of this situation instead of the reality and we just can’t make any progress under those circumstances,” he said.

Roorda said that “villainizing” law enforcement is used by Democrats to get votes from minority communities. He argued that they’re only listening to protesters and excluding communities that want safety.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

He added: “Hillary Clinton lost the election to President Trump the minute that she paraded the mothers of the movement out of the stage at the Democratic National Convention. And if folks in my party don’t figure out that this tired false narrative turns off voters then they’re never going to get the White House back.”

Eight mothers associated with the Black Lives Matter movement were invited to the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Warren Former Missouri Dem lawmaker, retired officer blasts Warren for tweet claiming Michael Brown was murdered Joshua Nelson fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc ff9de917-99ab-5ec2-98ac-6bd6c3d4b2ce article   Westlake Legal Group Elizabeth-Warren Former Missouri Dem lawmaker, retired officer blasts Warren for tweet claiming Michael Brown was murdered Joshua Nelson fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/missouri fox-news/shows/fox-friends fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/elizabeth-warren fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox news fnc/media fnc ff9de917-99ab-5ec2-98ac-6bd6c3d4b2ce article

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An L.A. driver may have invented the best traffic hack ever

A driver in Los Angeles has turned to a unique type of sign language to deal with the city’s notorious traffic.

The unidentified Lexus driver was spotted last week in Culver City holding a sign out of the window that said “Please let me in,” as the turn signal indicated a lane change.

The unique method was caught on camera and posted to YouTube by the driver of the car behind him, who wrote, “Saw this man with a 300000 IQ switching lanes.”

After being let over, the Lexus driver then stepped things up a notch by holding a “Thanks” sign out the window.

Apparently, a turn signal just isn’t effective or polite enough these days, but none of this may be needed in the future.

MOST-FREQUENTLY STOLEN VEHICLES STUDY FINDS CROOKS LIKE MUSCLE CARS … A LOT

An important element in bringing autonomous cars to fruition on a mass scale is the development of a vehicle-to-vehicle communication system, where all of the self-driving vehicles will be able to talk to each other wirelessly to better coordinate maneuvers without running into each other.

Westlake Legal Group mercedes An L.A. driver may have invented the best traffic hack ever Gary Gastelu fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox news fnc/auto fnc f1c15f08-0b30-5c10-b648-a5c2ae56667b article

(Mercedes-Benz)

In fact, some of the latest Mercedes-Benz models are already equipped with a simple version of this system that can monitor the traffic and road conditions and transmit the information to other cars in the area, alerting their drivers thorough the infotainment system.

It currently only works among compatible Mercedes-Benz vehicles, however, so you may not want to throw out the Sharpie and cardboard just yet.

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Westlake Legal Group traffic An L.A. driver may have invented the best traffic hack ever Gary Gastelu fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox news fnc/auto fnc f1c15f08-0b30-5c10-b648-a5c2ae56667b article   Westlake Legal Group traffic An L.A. driver may have invented the best traffic hack ever Gary Gastelu fox-news/us/us-regions/west/california fox-news/auto/attributes/safety fox-news/auto/attributes/innovations fox news fnc/auto fnc f1c15f08-0b30-5c10-b648-a5c2ae56667b article

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Anger at being labeled racist is the new ‘cultural anxiety’ for Trump supporters

Westlake Legal Group IW4jwIRPYhm3PrWc2RnHx_fH9xAy8_Sq0f3H6p4fTCE Anger at being labeled racist is the new ‘cultural anxiety’ for Trump supporters r/politics

Because what they’re all finding out is that the protection extended to Trump by congressional Republicans does not extend to his idiot supporters. Trump gets to be insulated through money and a legion of sycophants editing and curating the media he sees to constantly protect his exceedingly fragile ego. He gets a legion of congressional Republicans that know he’s a complete and utter imbecile, but in the interest of preserving their power eagerly and publicly defend his imbecility, his hate and stupidity. Trump lives in a painstakingly crafted bubble whose entire purpose is protecting him from the glaring reality that he’s racist loser with no mental capacity to do the job he never deserved in the first place.

But the Trump supporter out in the streets has no such protection. He feels the disgust and loathing of his fellow countrymen. And that’s powerful.

One of the single greatest forces acting on people in a society is the consensus and norms of their peers.

That is why you cannot let up. Do not let Trump and Republicans normalize his racism, xenophobia, and hate.

These norms can spread like a virus. We, the majority, are the herd immunity. We rebuff and make them ashamed to speak their viral hatred in person. And that is good. We cannot let them normalize this. We cannot let them be comfortable in their vile, horrid hate and racism.

I don’t know you, but you – whoever you are – you have much more power than you think. When you interact in real life with a Trump supporter, when you shame them for espousing hate, it may seem as though you get nowhere. That Trump supporter may be boisterous and prideful in his hate and anger, may seem unrepentant, but the disgust on the face of a peer does have a strong effect on them. They will remember it, and it will erode their resolve.

I can’t tell you who the best candidate for President is. But the one thing I can assure you – what we have on our side – is that Trump and the rhetoric and ideology of the Republicans is wrong. It is wrong for society, bad for humanity. It will lead to a culture that is poorer, sicker, more deprived of love and happiness and joy. It is a cancer in the body politic.

Look at the stories we see. Trump throws tantrums every other day when met with the resistance to his revolting ideas. Trump supporters are afraid to speak their hate aloud and in public. The administration is seeking an executive order just to suppress the overwhelming majority opinion on line that their ideas are vile and sick.

The illusion provided by their occupation of power can seem omnipotent, but Trump and the Republicans are far, far weaker than they seem, and they know it. And it terrifies them.

Trump has allowed these disgusting ideas to wriggle out of the rotted logs on the floor of our country. But now they’re finding they burn in the light. They thought their Imbecile Jesus had blanketed the sky in darkness for them to thrive, but he did not. We are not going anywhere, and there are a hell of a lot more of us than there are of them. They have cheated and lied and waited in the dark and in patience to scrabble together the power they have now, but do not confuse that with legitimacy. The government is nothing but the consensus of the people and they do not have our consensus merely because they can steal seats through hostile foreign interference and gerrymandering. We do not have to respect them and we do not have to allow them to exist through another election cycle. We choose.

So don’t stop. Don’t let up. Do not let trolls or loud jackasses in pickup trucks waving confederate flags get one moment of peace from our vocal condemnation of their ideas.

This is our society. Our culture. It is one of freedom for all men – an ideal that may not ever be achieved but must always be striven towards. One of the freedom for every person to pursue happiness. And at the core of the ideology of Republicans is the antithesis of that. Their ideology is one of a hierarchy of men, and not even one built on merit, but built on inheritance – the inheritance of money, the inheritance of privelege, the inheritance of a better skin color and better ancestry, the inheritance of entitlement merely from being born one place and not another. Like most of what they do, their fixation on “merit” is projection – they don’t want to have to earn or work for anything. They want respect for their gender, privilege for their race and birthplace, and most importantly, they want respect and acceptance.

That is their sickness. That is at the core of everything they think and everything they do. Reject them. Reject them everywhere you see them, everywhere you meet them. No one whose ideology is based upon denying another human being their fundamental humanity merely because they were born with blacker skin or to poorer people in a poorer country deserves any respect, and they deserve no peaceful night’s sleep without seeing and hearing the revulsion and condemnation of our many voices.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics

This gives new meaning to the phrase, “This one’s for the birds.”

An amateur photographer from Scotland has captured incredible pictures of two jaybirds fighting over food.

Phil Clark, a 40-year-old bus driver from Inverness, said he waited seven hours to capture the remarkable photos at a bird hide in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway, SWNS reports.

Westlake Legal Group jays-fighting-1 Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 4abcdd17-c466-5d73-b14d-209b73d86750

Phil Clark, 40, snapped the colorful and noisy animals at a bird hide in Kirkcudbright, Dumfries and Galloway. (Credit: SWNS)

ADORABLE ORPHANED BABY KOALA GETS ARM CAST AFTER FALLING FROM TREE

“You don’t always see jays there because they are very intelligent and shy,” Clark said of the pictures taken on Aug. 3. “To see two of them fighting for food was extremely uncommon. They are quite territorial. They are vocal and they shout once they see another bird coming.”

Clark added that he thinks the squabble was one of the birds telling the other it should not go near its food.

Westlake Legal Group jays-fighting-2 Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 4abcdd17-c466-5d73-b14d-209b73d86750

Clark, a bus driver, from Inverness, Scottish Highlands, was at the lookout spot from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m., patiently waiting to photograph wildlife. (Credit: SWNS)

According to Animal Diversity, Eurasian jays (which reside in Western Europe, Northeast Africa and parts of Asia) have a diet that largely consists of acorns. It’s also supplemented with fruit, grains and some insects.

“It was amazing to see them fighting,” Clark said, noting he had seen the birds before but had not been able to snap an image. “To get an action shot of them fighting was just something else.”

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Westlake Legal Group jays-fighting-1 Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 4abcdd17-c466-5d73-b14d-209b73d86750   Westlake Legal Group jays-fighting-1 Jaybirds caught fighting over lunch in stunning pics fox-news/science/wild-nature/birds fox news fnc/science fnc Chris Ciaccia article 4abcdd17-c466-5d73-b14d-209b73d86750

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Trump Administration Weakens Protections for Endangered Species

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday announced that it would change the way the Endangered Species Act is applied, significantly weakening the nation’s bedrock conservation law credited with rescuing the bald eagle, the grizzly bear and the American alligator from extinction.

The changes could clear the way for new mining, oil and gas drilling, and development in areas where protected species live. The new rules will make it harder to consider the effects of climate change on wildlife when deciding whether a given species warrants protection. They would most likely shrink critical habitats and, for the first time, allow economic factors to be taken into account when making determinations.

“The best way to uphold the Endangered Species Act is to do everything we can to ensure it remains effective in achieving its ultimate goal — recovery of our rarest species,” Interior Secretary David Bernhardt said in a statement Monday. “The Act’s effectiveness rests on clear, consistent and efficient implementation.”

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said in a statement the finalized revisions “fit squarely within the president’s mandate of easing the regulatory burden on the American public, without sacrificing our species’ protection and recovery goals.”

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_154532004_14b4009c-704c-4211-82f6-b6cbfc348a54-articleLarge Trump Administration Weakens Protections for Endangered Species United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Jr Interior Department Global Warming environment Endangered and Extinct Species Conservation of Resources Bernhardt, David L

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt on Capitol Hill in May. CreditMark Makela for The New York Times

Ever since President Richard M. Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act into law, it has been the most essential piece of United States legislation for protecting fish, plants and wildlife, and acted as a safety net for species on the brink of extinction. The peregrine falcon, the humpback whale, the Tennessee purple coneflower and the Florida manatee all likely would have disappeared without it, scientists say.

Republicans have long sought to narrow the scope of the law, saying that it burdens landowners, hampers industry and hinders economic growth. They also make the case that the law is not reasonable because species are rarely removed from the list. Since the law was passed, more than 1,650 have been listed as threatened or endangered, while just 47 have been delisted because their populations rebounded.

Over the past two years Republicans made a major legislative push to overhaul the law. Despite holding a majority in both houses of Congress, though, the proposals were never taken up in the Senate. With Democrats now in control of the House, there is little chance of those bills passing.

The Trump administration’s revisions to the regulations that guide the implementation of the law, however, mean opponents of the Endangered Species Act are still poised to claim their biggest victory in decades.

A grizzly bear in Yellowstone National Park.CreditJosh Haner/The New York Times

One of the most controversial changes modifies longstanding language that prohibits the consideration of economic factors when deciding whether a species should be protected.

Under the current law, such determinations must be made solely based on science, “without reference to possible economic or other impacts of determination.”

“There can be economic costs to protecting endangered species,” said Drew Caputo, vice president of litigation for lands, wildlife and oceans at Earthjustice, an environmental law organization. But, he said, “If we make decisions based on short-term economic costs, we’re going to have a whole lot more extinct species.”

The rules also make it easier to remove a species from the endangered species list and weaken protections for threatened species — a designation that means they are at risk of becoming endangered. It also gives the government new discretion in deciding what is meant by the term “foreseeable future.”

That’s a semantic change with far-reaching implications, because it enables regulators to ignore the effects of extreme heat, drought, rising sea levels and other consequences of climate change that may occur several decades from now.

Among the animals at risk from this change, Mr. Caputo listed a few: Polar bears and seals that are losing crucial sea ice; whooping cranes whose migration patterns are shifting because of temperature changes; and beluga whales that will have to dive deeper and longer to find food in a warmer Arctic.

Jonathan Wood, a lawyer at the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative group that has represented landowners in opposing endangered species designations, said he believed the changes would improve the law by simplifying the regulatory process and making the law less punitive.

“It’s a shift away from conflict in favor of more collaboration and cooperation,” he said.

For more news on climate and the environment, follow @NYTClimate on Twitter.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80

A Chicago police officer was under investigation Monday after apparently giving former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan an exclusive ride to the airport — in his squad car with sirens on while on duty.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, transported Hogan, 66, his manager and another person, who filmed the incident, in his police vehicle along the tarmac of O’Hare International Airport, according to a video Hogan posted to Facebook Live Aug. 2.

MICHIGAN COP PUT ON LEAVE AFTER KKK APPLICATION ALLEGEDLY FOUND IN HOME

“My Uber’s got sirens!” Hogan is heard saying in the video, as the cameraman says, “We love Chicago PD.”

“Chicago PD for life,” Hogan reiterates, before thanking the officer for their ride. “Don’t get in trouble doing this,” Hogan’s manager, Jimmy Hart, says in the clip.

HULK HOGAN TEAMS UP WITH JAMIE FOXX FOR WWE RETURN

In the video, which has since been deleted but was published by the Chicago Tribune, the officer can be heard saying his sergeant “is all for” giving Hogan a ride — which was apparently inaccurate.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department, told Fox News in a statement Monday that the ride was “not authorized by the department,” and Cmdr. Thomas O’Brien, of airport operations, “had no knowledge that it was taking place.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“The video came to the attention of the superintendents office this week and it is of significant concern. An internal affairs investigation has been opened into the officer and supervisors at the airport,” Guglielmi said. “We are in the process of revoking credentials for the officer to operate a vehicle on airport grounds pending the investigation.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Donald Trump administration wants to deny green cards to migrants on public assistance

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group icon_close Donald Trump administration wants to deny green cards to migrants on public assistance

WASHINGTON – The Donald Trump administration issued a new rule Monday that would enable federal officials to deny green cards to migrants if officials believe the recipients will receive public benefits like food stamps, Medicaid, or housing vouchers.

“To protect benefits for American citizens, immigrants must be financially self-sufficient,” President Donald Trump said in a statement from the White House.

The rule, which would take effect on Oct. 15, would basically allow customs and immigration officers to consider public assistance in deciding whether to grant legal assistance, along with other facts like health, education, and household income.

Critics have accused the Trump administration of seeking to reduce the number of legal immigrants through what the government calls a “public charge” rule. They also accused the administration of targeting poor people and legal immigrants are seeking to gain a foothold in the U.S. economy.

In a tweet, the National Immigration Law Center described the proposal as “a race motivated wealth test on immigrant families seeking a healthy, stable future in the US. If this goes into effect, it would have a devastating impact on millions. We WILL fight back. Stay tuned for updates.”

Ken Cuccinelli, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, said the purpose of the rule is to promote “self-sufficiency” among the immigrant population.

“Through the public charge rule, President Trump’s administration is re-enforcing the ideals of self-sufficiency and personal responsibility, ensuring that immigrants are able to support themselves and become successful here in America,” he said.

Asked about the impact on the poor, Cuccinelli said: “We certainly expect people of any income to be able to stand on their own two feet.”

Earlier this year, the Trump administration instructed agencies to enforce a 23-year-old law that requires sponsors of green card holders to reimburse the government for welfare benefits.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/08/12/donald-trump-team-seeks-deny-green-cards-migrants-food-stamps/1985148001/

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Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80

A Chicago police officer was under investigation Monday after apparently giving former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan an exclusive ride to the airport — in his squad car with sirens on while on duty.

The officer, who has not been publicly identified, transported Hogan, 66, his manager and another person, who filmed the incident, in his police vehicle along the tarmac of O’Hare International Airport, according to a video Hogan posted to Facebook Live Aug. 2.

MICHIGAN COP PUT ON LEAVE AFTER KKK APPLICATION ALLEGEDLY FOUND IN HOME

“My Uber’s got sirens!” Hogan is heard saying in the video, as the cameraman says, “We love Chicago PD.”

“Chicago PD for life,” Hogan reiterates, before thanking the officer for their ride. “Don’t get in trouble doing this,” Hogan’s manager, Jimmy Hart, says in the clip.

HULK HOGAN TEAMS UP WITH JAMIE FOXX FOR WWE RETURN

In the video, which has since been deleted but was published by the Chicago Tribune, the officer can be heard saying his sergeant “is all for” giving Hogan a ride — which was apparently inaccurate.

Anthony Guglielmi, a spokesperson for the Chicago Police Department, told Fox News in a statement Monday that the ride was “not authorized by the department,” and Cmdr. Thomas O’Brien, of airport operations, “had no knowledge that it was taking place.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“The video came to the attention of the superintendents office this week and it is of significant concern. An internal affairs investigation has been opened into the officer and supervisors at the airport,” Guglielmi said. “We are in the process of revoking credentials for the officer to operate a vehicle on airport grounds pending the investigation.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6071888549001_6071879698001-vs Hulk Hogan squad car ride on airport tarmac spurs probe by Chicago police Nicole Darrah fox-news/us/us-regions/midwest/illinois fox-news/us/crime/police-and-law-enforcement fox-news/us/crime fox-news/travel/vacation-destinations/chicago fox-news/travel/general/airports fox-news/organization/wwe fox-news/entertainment/celebrity-news fox-news/entertainment fox news fnc/entertainment fnc article 110bedf8-fe57-5fa6-8405-29997160bd80

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