FSRN Weekly Edition – September 9, 2016
- North Dakota governor activates National Guard ahead of Dakota Access pipeline court ruling
- Retired miners struggle to retain healthcare coverage as coal companies declare bankruptcy
- Non-profits sue Obama administration over oil and gas leases on public lands
- U.S. and Russia again face off on Syria on heels of reported chlorine gas attack
- East Timor takes Australia to court over oil-tinged maritime boundary dispute
- Zimbabwe’s High Court overturns ban on public protests amid growing unrest
- SWAT team kills unarmed black man in Tampa; protests nightly
- Inmates to mark anniversary of Attica uprising with nationwide prison strike
The US government entered the contentious battle over the Dakota Access pipeline Friday afternoon. In a joint statement from the Department of Justice, Department of the Army and the Department of the Interior, the federal government announced it is halting pipeline construction within 20 miles of Lake Oahe, sacred to the Standing Rock Sioux. The move came after a US District Court turned down a legal bid for an injunction to block construction on the four-state pipeline project designed to connect the Bakken oil fields to infrastructure that runs to the Texas Gulf Coast. FSRN’s Nell Abram has more.
Those who support the pipeline often cite job creation as one argument to shut down not just the Standing Rock Sioux, but environment-based opposition to fossil fuel and mining projects in general. Yet even those who spent decades working in the energy sector don’t always benefit in the long run. In the recent wave of coal industry bankruptcies, companies are trying to renege on long time contractual obligations to provide lifetime health benefits to retirees — even as they pay out multi-million dollar bonuses to CEOs. The United Mine Workers Union of America says a bill in Congress that would protect their members’ health care coverage is critical to their well-being. FSRN’s Melinda Tuhus reports from the coal fields of southern West Virginia.
A recently-enacted moratorium on public land leases for coal mining, has industry interests claiming the government is waging a so-called War on Coal. The White House says the moratorium is a chance to re-evaluate the use of public land by an industry that is a heavy emitter of greenhouse gases… but so far hasn’t held drilling companies to the same standard. Now two non-profits are suing the Obama administration regarding the climate and health effects associated with oil and gas drilling on 380,000 acres of public land in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming. WildEarth Guardians and Physicians for Social Responsibility filed the lawsuit in late August in U.S. District Court in Washington DC. They say the drilling on public lands poses risks to both public health and the environment. The suit alleges that the White House is illegally refusing to research and publish the relevant information.
The U.S. Secretary of State and his Russian counterpart met in Geneva Friday, trying try to work through the latest roadblocks to peace in Syria. The meeting comes on the heels of what has been widely reported as a chemical attack by Russian-supported Syrian regime forces targeting civilians in rebel-held eastern Aleppo. Robert Packard has more.
A case pitting tiny East Timor against Australia is now before The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration. At stake is jurisdiction over a disputed area of the Timor Sea, and the oil riches beneath it. Georgia Clark reports from Sydney, Australia.
Zimbabwe’s High Court declared a recent ban on protests is unconstitutional this week, overturning a Mugabe-led move to stifle dissent in the country. FSRN’s Garikai Chaunza reports from Harare.
Funeral services are set for Saturday for Lavonia Riggins, the unarmed African American man killed last week by a law enforcement officer in Tampa, Florida. Protesters have remained in the streets for more than a week. Nell Abram has the story.
Prisoners across the United States are marking the September 9th anniversary of the Attica uprising with what could be the largest and most widespread prison strike in history. And supporters on the outside are holding solidarity actions to make the strike visible to the world beyond prison walls. Samuel Bouman reports from Portland.