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Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:18pm
Tue Apr 19, 2016

Pending U.S. Trade Deals Could Gut Environmental Policies, Report Argues

A leading environmental group is sounding the alarm over climate threats posed by pending trade agreements, including the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

TPP is a free trade agreement among the United States and 11 other countries, including Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam. The agreement was signed in February and still needs ratification from the U.S. Congress.

In a recent report, the Sierra Club says the TPP and another proposed trade agreement under negotiation between the United States and the European Union, called the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), "threaten efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground."

"Like NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement], the TPP and TTIP would give foreign corporations broad rights, including the right to challenge new fossil fuel restrictions that thwart their 'expectations' for a stable business environment," the report explains. "The trade deals would empower the corporations to bypass U.S. courts and take such challenges to tribunals of three private lawyers, unaccountable to any domestic legal system, under a process known as 'investor-state dispute settlement' (ISDS)."

PI Original
by Ellyn Fortino
4:31pm
Fri Apr 15, 2016

SCOTUS To Hear Oral Arguments Monday In Major Immigration Case

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Monday in a major case challenging the Obama administration's executive actions on immigration. Ahead of oral arguments, Democratic congressmen and advocates are detailing what the case's potential outcomes could mean for the immigrant community.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:08pm
Thu Feb 4, 2016

Advocates: U.S. Immigration Authorities Must Reverse Decision To Deport DACA Recipient

An undocumented 32-year-old mother of three living in Valparaiso, Indiana who was deported to Mexico earlier this week will soon return to the United States after immigration officials reversed their decision to deport her, immigrant advocates said Thursday.

Lesly Sophia Cortez-Martinez's case is far from settled, however, as she is expected to face deportation proceedings when she returns to the United States.

"Thankfully for Lesly she can reunite with her family, even though she could face a long court battle," Cortez-Martinez's attorney Mony Ruiz-Velasco said on a Thursday morning conference call with reporters.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
4:58pm
Thu Jan 14, 2016

EPA Climate Regs To Be 'Big Fight' In State Legislatures This Year

As 2016 state legislative sessions gear up across the country, including in Illinois, expect new environmental regulations outlined under the Obama administration's Clean Power Plan to be a key issue debated in the nation's state houses this year.

The Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan, finalized in August, looks to slash carbon emissions from existing U.S. power plants. The goal is to reduce carbon emissions from the power sector to 32 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.

States, which are given flexibility to meet the plan's carbon pollution standards, have to submit an implementation plan or request an extension by September.

"There's a range of actions that states will be considering to address the rule, including cap and trade, carbon taxes, renewable portfolio standards, scaling up solar energy use, amongst other things," said Nick Rathod, executive director of the State Innovation Exchange (SiX), a group working with state legislators to advance progressive policies across the country.

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