Progressive Briefing for Wednesday, October 10

Judge throws out felony charges against climate deniers, the top immigrant-friendly cities in the United States, Nikki Haley resigns as UN ambassador, and more.


Judge throws out felony charges against climate defenders

District Court Judge Robert Tiffany acquitted defendants of all charges today in the Clearwater County case of two “Valve Turners,” Annette Klapstein and Emily Johnston, and support person Ben Joldersma. Judge Tiffany ruled that the prosecution failed to demonstrate any evidence of damage to two Enbridge pipelines. Klapstein and Johnston faced state felony charges for their part in the “Shut It Down” climate direct action two years ago, in which climate activists successfully disrupted all five pipelines carrying Canadian tar sands crude oil into the United States.

The acquittal came a week after the climate activists were preparing to present a “climate necessity defense,” with expert testimony in areas including pipeline safety, climate science, climate policy and the efficacy of civil disobedience. The expert witnesses would have corroborated the defendants’ testimony that their actions were justified by the need to avert imminent climate catastrophe. However, in a stunning about-face last week, the court forbade all expert testimony related to climate change and civil disobedience, while still allowing safety testimony, and possibly testimony to direct, non-climate impacts of tar sands extraction and pipelines.

Nikki Haley gives her resignation as UN ambassador

Nikki Haley announced her resignation as the United States ambassador to the United Nations come the end of the year. After appearing with Donald Trump on Tuesday morning in the Oval Office, Haley called the position an “honor of a lifetime.”

Haley, who was the former governor of South Carolina, didn’t comment on her next move, but did say that she will be campaigning for Trump in 2020. According to NPR, Haley “has been a fierce advocate for Trump’s policies at the U.N.”

10 worst plastic polluting companies found by global cleanups

Coca-ColaPepsiCo and Nestlé were identified as the world’s biggest producers of plastic trash in global cleanups and brand audits, a new report from Greenpeace and the Break Free From Plastic movement reveals.

Over the span of nine months, an international team of volunteers sorted through 187,000 pieces of plastic trash collected from 239 cleanups in 42 countries around the world.

The results, released Tuesday, shows that these multinational food and beverage giants were the top 10 offenders.

Indigenous women’s delegation takes fossil fuel divestment demands to New York City and Washington DC

A fourth Indigenous Women’s Divestment Delegation will travel to New York City and Washington D.C. from October 15-17th, to take part in high-level meetings engaging the Equator Principle Association banks (EP banks) and the credit rating agency MSCI, regarding fossil fuel developments; Indigenous and human rights violations; dangers to increasing climate chaos; and demands for institutional action to change the harmful financing practices supporting extractive industries.

On October 15th, the delegation will meet with MSCI rating company in New York City. MSCI ESG Research is one of the largest independent providers of ESG (environmental, social and governance) ratings, providing through MSCI Group, ratings for over 6,000 global companies and more than 400,000 equity and fixed income securities. These ratings affect how a company is perceived by investors, and thus the types of credit and loans that will be extended to project or groups, ultimately helping to determine the viability and completion of a given project.

Exploring the top immigrant-friendly cities in the United States

The term “sanctuary city” is defined by The term refers to a municipality that may limit its cooperation with the federal government’s efforts to enforce immigration law. The movement for sanctuary cities in the United States arose during the 1980s when the federal government was refusing to grant asylum to refugees arriving from certain Central American countries, which were politically unstable at the time.

The following are examples of the more popular sanctuary cities in the United States, including what makes them a more viable option for immigrant communities. You can find also visit the NAE Cities Index, a ranking of how welcoming the biggest 100 cities in the U.S. are to immigrant communities, brought to you by the New American Economy organization.

The Supreme Court just imperiled an at-risk Senate Democrat’s re-election — here’s what you should know

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court denied an emergency request to reverse an Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that reinstated a set of draconian North Dakota voter ID restrictions – restrictions which disproportionately impact Native Americans living on tribal lands, and which could threaten the re-election of Democratic incument Sen. Heidi Heitkamp.

The denial, issued by Neil Gorsuch, was 6-2, with Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan dissenting, and Brett Kavanaugh – who was only just sworn into office after a bitter confirmation fight – not taking part.


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