Tag Archives: Environment and nature

Cambodia, China, problem US over sanctions on Chinese language agency

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Cambodia and China are rejecting U.S. allegations {that a} Chinese language state-owned firm is responsible of human rights abuses and corruption in its acquisition of land in Cambodia

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — Cambodia and China on Wednesday rejected U.S. allegations {that a} Chinese language state-owned firm was responsible of human rights abuses and corruption in its acquisition of land in Cambodia.

The U.S. Treasury Division’s Workplace of Overseas Belongings Management introduced Tuesday that it’s imposing sanctions below U.S. legislation on China’s Union Growth Group Co. Ltd. for its actions in Cambodia.

It charged that the corporate “compelled Cambodians from their land and devastated the setting, hurting the livelihoods of native communities, all below the guise of changing Cambodia right into a regional logistics hub and vacationer vacation spot.”

A spokesman for Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian Individuals’s Social gathering stated Wednesday that whereas the U.S. authorities had the precise to impose sanctions, its allegations have been baseless.

Sok Eysan stated the federal government allowed the challenge to proceed solely after its grasp plan was reviewed and authorised by the state Cambodian Growth Council, and that the Chinese language firm was working in line with that plan.

The U.S. Treasury Division stated in an announcement asserting the sanctions that the Chinese language firm in 2008 acquired a 99-year lease from Cambodia’s authorities for the event of the Dara Sakor challenge overlaying virtually 20% of Cambodia’s shoreline by forming a neighborhood firm to turn out to be the leaseholder. The corporate later reverted to Chinese language possession, the Treasury Division stated.

It charged that Cambodia’s navy used violence to assist clear the land, and that then-armed forces chief of workers Kun Kim benefited financially from the association. Kun Kim and his shut members of the family have already been focused with U.S. sanctions for alleged corruption.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spelled out broader issues in a separate assertion Tuesday.

“There are credible stories that the coastal growth challenge at Dara Sakor could possibly be used to host PRC (China’s) navy property, and in that case would go towards Cambodia’s Structure and will threaten Indo-Pacific stability, probably impacting Cambodia’s sovereignty and the safety of our allies,” he stated.

U.S. officers have beforehand recommended a Cambodian naval base on the coast was being ready to be used by China, and an airport being constructed on the Chinese language firm’s land gave the impression to be designed to accommodate navy plane in addition to civilian planes.

Hun Sen has denied repeatedly that he would enable any overseas energy to make use of Cambodian territory for a base.

Chinese language overseas ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated Wednesday that Washington “has repeatedly used unwarranted allegations that China’s related challenge in different nations could possibly be reworked into navy bases to discredit and assault our regular cooperation with related nations.”

“Nevertheless, the US itself has tons of of navy bases in additional than 150 nations world wide. This hypocritical and double-standard follow by the US is despicable,” Wang stated.

The U.S. sanctions, imposed below the Magnitsky Act, block the Chinese language firm’s entry to any property it has in the US, and U.S. residents and firms are barred from conducting any monetary or different transactions with it.

Distinguished Cambodian environmentalist Ouch Leng stated the U.S. motion got here too late, after a land rights protest chief died, forest and different pure assets have been exhausted and other people’s livelihoods suffered, leaving them fearful and with out first rate jobs.

He charged that different Chinese language corporations are finishing up actions dangerous to the setting and hurting individuals’s livelihoods.

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Related Press author Grant Peck in Bangkok contributed to this story

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Relocated Isle Royale wolves kind teams, scale back moose herd

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Scientists say grey wolves that have been taken to Michigan’s Isle Royale Nationwide Park to rebuild its almost extinct inhabitants are forming social teams, staking out territory and apparently mating

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Grey wolves that have been taken to Michigan’s Isle Royale Nationwide Park to rebuild its almost extinct inhabitants are forming social teams, staking out territory and apparently mating — promising indicators regardless of heavy losses from pure causes and lethal fights, scientists mentioned Monday.

They’ve additionally achieved a main purpose of the reintroduction initiative by decreasing the park’s moose herd, which has develop into too large for its personal good, researchers with Michigan Technological College mentioned.

“They’re having no bother discovering and preying on moose, and that is actually important,” mentioned wildlife ecologist Rolf Peterson, who has spent many years finding out the connection between the 2 species on the Lake Superior island chain. “The indicators are all optimistic, I believe.”

Knowledge from radio-transmission collars worn by transplanted wolves and pictures from distant cameras counsel pups have been born the previous two years, though the quantity is unsure, researchers with the park and State College of New York mentioned.

Wolves are believed to have made their solution to Isle Royale by crossing ice bridges from Minnesota or the Canadian province of Ontario within the mid-20th century. After turning into established, their numbers averaged within the 20s earlier than declining sharply up to now decade, primarily on account of inbreeding.

The Nationwide Park Service introduced plans in 2018 to restore the inhabitants, which had fallen to 2. Crews took 19 wolves from Minnesota, Ontario and Michigan’s Higher Peninsula to the island in a sequence of airlifts. Some have died and not less than one wandered again to the mainland.

A report launched Monday by the Michigan Tech analysis workforce, which tallied dwell wolves throughout low-altitude flights final winter, mentioned 12 had been noticed. Two others that had been seen beforehand have been unaccounted for, that means the inhabitants might be as excessive as 14.

Researchers counted 15 dwell wolves in 2019, when the primary pup was believed to have been born to the brand new arrivals. It might have been conceived earlier than its mom was taken to the island, Peterson mentioned.

In a separate report, the park service and SUNY scientists mentioned photos from distant cameras on Isle Royale in 2019 indicated a feminine wolf relocated from Michipicoten Island, Ontario, had probably given start to not less than two pups. Pup-sized scats have been collected from two websites this summer season, and pup-sized tracks have been noticed. Genetic evaluation of the scats could assist decide what number of have been born on the island.

4 social teams seemed to be taking form, displaying indicators of courtship and willingness to mate, though they weren’t sufficiently structured to be thought of packs, the Michigan Tech report mentioned.

Two have staked out territories on reverse halves of the 45-mile-long (70-kilometer-long) park’s foremost island, whereas the others have been making an attempt to determine safe areas to wander and hunt, spending appreciable time on smaller islands.

“The wolf scenario on Isle Royale stays dynamic as these wolves proceed to work out their relationships with each other,” mentioned Mark Romanski, a park service biologist coordinating the introduction program. “It’s anticipated that social group must cool down, however then once more, wolves do not at all times abide by human expectations.”

The plan requires 20 to 30 wolves to be taken to Isle Royale over three to 5 years, however the coronavirus pandemic has put extra relocations on maintain, spokeswoman Liz Valencia mentioned.

The Michigan Tech workforce’s moose census, additionally primarily based on aerial observations, estimated the inhabitants at 1,876. That’s 9% smaller than the 2019 rely of two,020 animals, which scientists now say might need been too excessive.

Both means, it seems the wolves’ presence has halted a growth that noticed moose numbers bounce by about 19% yearly from 2012 by way of final 12 months. The wolves have been averaging one moose kill each different day through the winter examine interval.

The moose explosion has broken the park’s vegetation, significantly balsam fir, their meals of alternative throughout lengthy, snowbound winters. They’ve killed off lots of the mature bushes. Final winter, moose munched nearly all the brand new development that had poked above the snow in a single monitored part.

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Winds kick up century previous volcanic ash in Alaska

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Whereas western U.S. states had been affected by hazy purple skies from wildfires, Alaska on Monday was coping with an air high quality downside born a century in the past

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Whereas western U.S. states had been affected by hazy purple skies from wildfires, Alaska was coping with an air high quality downside born a century in the past.

Sturdy southerly winds picked up free ash from a 1912 volcanic eruption, sending an ash cloud about 4,000 ft (1,219 meters) into the sky on Monday.

There have been no studies of ashfall in close by communities close to Katmai Nationwide Park, well-known as the situation the place brown bears stand within the Brooks River and catch salmon, however pilots had been warned in regards to the cloud as a result of the ash can stall engines.

“Mainly these kinds of occasions occur each spring and fall when sturdy winds choose up ash from the 1912 Novarupta eruption,” mentioned Kristi Wallace, a U.S. Geological Survey geologist on the Alaska Volcano Observatory.

The three-day eruption, one of many world’s largest, started June 6, 1912, and despatched ash as excessive as 100,000 ft (30,480 meters) above the Katmai area, positioned about 250 miles (402 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage. The USGS estimates 3.6 cubic miles (15 cubic kilometers) of magma was erupted, about 30 instances what spewed from Mount St. Helens in Washington state 40 years in the past.

The Novarupta eruption was essentially the most highly effective of the 20th century and ranks among the many largest in recorded historical past.

The ash was deposited in what’s now often known as the Valley of Ten Thousand Smokes. “Nearly 600 ft (183 meters) of ash on the market that’s not vegetated,” Wallace mentioned.

Cloudy skies obscured satellite tv for pc imagery on Monday, however a pilot flying at about 20,000 ft (6,096 meters) first reported the ash cloud, Wallace mentioned.

That was confirmed by a pilot flying at about 2,000 ft (610 meters).

The observatory issued a press release alerting those that this was not a brand new eruption from one of many seven volcanos within the Katmai area, however simply excessive winds kicking up the Novarupta ash.

“We all know that what’s getting kicked up isn’t simply glacial mud, mineral mud that you may see just about in all places else in Alaska,” Wallace mentioned. “These sorts of mud storms occur in all places. However once they occur there, we all know that the fabric that’s being picked up is predominantly volcanic ash.”

The winds had been solely about 30 mph (48 kph), mentioned Michael Kutz, a meteorologist on the Nationwide Climate Service workplace in Anchorage. The cloud moved north from the Katmai area, and so they had no studies of ashfall.

Widespread rains Tuesday within the Bristol Bay area prompted the cancellation of ash advisories, Kutz mentioned.

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EU high official proposes new 2030 goal to cut back emissions

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The European Fee president is proposing to cut back Europe’s complete greenhouse emissions by 55% by 2030, a lot larger than the present objective of 40%

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s high official on Wednesday proposed a extra formidable goal for reducing greenhouse emissions in Europe, setting a discount objective of 55% by 2030, considerably larger than the present goal of 40%.

Talking within the European Parliament, EU Fee President Ursula Von der Leyen stated the brand new goal will probably be “an excessive amount of for some and never sufficient for others,” however ought to assist the 27-nation bloc obtain local weather neutrality by 2050.

“Our financial system and business can handle this, they usually need it, too,” Von der Leyen stated as she set out her priorities for the yr forward in her first State of the Union deal with to EU lawmakers.

EU leaders agreed final yr to make the bloc’s financial system carbon impartial by the center of the century.

Von der Leyen added that she needs 37% of the €750 billion coronavirus restoration fund adopted by EU nations this summer time to be spent on environmental aims, and that 30% of the fund ought to be raised by “inexperienced” bonds, whose proceeds are supposed to have a optimistic affect on the setting.

The EU additionally plans to dedicate 1 / 4 of its price range to tackling local weather change and to work to shift 1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) in funding towards making the EU’s financial system extra environmentally pleasant over the following 10 years.

Based on the EU, its greenhouse gasoline emissions already decreased by 23% between 1990 and 2018, with the financial system rising by 61% in that interval.

World leaders agreed 5 years in the past in Paris to maintain world warming beneath 3.6 levels Fahrenheit, ideally not more than 2.7 F by the tip of the century. Scientists say nations will miss each of these targets by a large margin except drastic steps are taken to start reducing greenhouse gasoline emissions.

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LEADING OFF: M’s-Giants shift due to fires, Hamels debut

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The Mariners and Giants play at Oracle Park after their two-game collection in Seattle was postponed due to poor air high quality brought on by the West Coast wildfires

A have a look at what’s occurring across the majors in the present day:

SHIFTED SITE

The Mariners and Giants play at Oracle Park after their two-game collection in Seattle was postponed due to poor air high quality brought on by the West Coast wildfires. The groups will now play twice in San Francisco.

Forecasters are calling for smoke to achieve very unhealthy ranges in Western Washington by a minimum of Thursday. There have been smoky skies within the Bay Space, too, however the air high quality has remained OK.

The Mariners and Oakland break up a doubleheader Monday in Seattle. The smoke stage reached a stage of very unhealthy on the air high quality index, even with the roof closed at T-Cell Park.

“I’m a wholesome 22-year-old. I shouldn’t be gasping for air or lacking oxygen. I’ll go away it at that,” stated Jesús Luzardo, who began the opener for the A’s.

HAMELS TIME

The wait is over for left-hander Cole Hamels, who’s poised to come back off the 45-day injured checklist and pitch for the primary time as a member of the Braves.

After signing a one-year contract with Atlanta in December, Hamels arrived at spring coaching with a sore shoulder. Then, he developed triceps tendinitis throughout summer time camp.

The rehab, in the end, is completed and he’ll begin in opposition to Baltimore at Camden Yards. And at a very good time for a group that is main the NL East regardless of a number of accidents to its pitching employees.

“Now it’s only a matter of being round these guys. That’s the factor you miss probably the most,” Hamels stated. “I used to be capable of watch them play, however you’re not capable of rejoice with them.”

The 36-year-old Hamels has designs of carrying the Braves into the playoffs and deep into the postseason. Pitching is what he does finest, and the four-time All-Star hasn’t carried out it competitively since final September.

“It’s one thing that I do know I like to do,” he stated, “and I’m excited to have the ability to do it in a Braves uniform.”

HELLO AGAIN

NL East foes Jacob deGrom (4-1, 1.67 ERA) and Aaron Nola (5-3, 2.40) are set to face off for the second time in 10 days after hardly ever sharing the mound throughout their careers. In simply their second profession matchup on Sept. 6, the Mets pounded Nola and the Phillies 14-1, though Nola was solely charged with three earned runs.

DeGrom goes into this recreation at Residents Financial institution Park possible get three extra begins this season to cement his case for a 3rd consecutive NL Cy Younger Award. He entered Tuesday with the NL’s finest ERA and tied for second in strikeouts behind the Reds’ Trevor Bauer.

TOO EARLY TO JUDGE

Yankees slugger Aaron Decide may come off the injured checklist and return to the lineup to face the Blue Jays within the Bronx.

Decide missed two weeks in late August with a strained calf, was activated, performed one recreation after which went again on the IL. The All-Star proper fielder was off to a giant begin this season with 9 dwelling runs and 20 RBIs in 18 video games.

Gerrit Cole (5-3) begins for New York and Tanner Roark (2-1) for the Blue Jays within the race for second place within the AL East. At 99-55 lifetime, Cole appears to be like to affix Justin Verlander, Roy Oswalt and Mark Mulder as the one pitchers since 2000 to achieve 100 wins in 203 or fewer appearances.

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Extra AP MLB: https://apnews.com/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP—Sports activities



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Water shortages in US West likelier than beforehand thought

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Fashions launched by the U.S. authorities recommend a future with much less water could arrive before beforehand projected for the seven states that depend on the Colorado River

CARSON CITY, Nev. — There’s an opportunity water ranges within the two largest man-made reservoirs in america might dip to critically low ranges by 2025, jeopardizing the regular circulate of Colorado River water that greater than 40 million folks depend on within the American West.

After a comparatively dry summer season, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation launched fashions on Tuesday suggesting looming shortages in Lake Powell and Lake Mead — the reservoirs the place Colorado River water is saved — are extra possible than beforehand projected.

In contrast with a mean 12 months, solely 55% of Colorado River water is flowing from the Rocky Mountains all the way down to Lake Powell on the Utah-Arizona line. As a result of below-average runoff, authorities scientists say the reservoirs are 12% extra prone to fall to critically low ranges by 2025 than they projected within the spring.

“It is a fairly vital improve over what was projected in April because of the declining runoff this 12 months,” hydrologist Carly Jerla stated.

The forecast might complicate already-fraught negotiations between Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Utah, Wyoming and Mexico over future shares of the river that provides their cities and farms. These talks will draw up new agreements by 2026 over use of the river that is below siege from local weather change and extended drought.

A few of city and agricultural water customers have been compelled to preserve water to safe the river long run, nevertheless it stays overtapped. And as cities like Phoenix and Las Vegas continue to grow, the area is simply getting thirstier.

“We all know that hotter temperatures have contributed to the drought of the final 21 years, and we all know that they’ve exacerbated it,” Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman stated.

Not like the 24-month projections that the company makes use of to allocate water to the seven states and Mexico, the fashions launched Tuesday simulate varied climate and utilization patterns to assist water customers put together for various situations.

Scientists use what’s known as the Colorado River Simulation System to challenge future ranges of the 2 reservoirs. They employed “stress testing” strategies based mostly on river flows since 1988 to find out potential shortages if drought situations persist.

Arizona, Nevada and Mexico agreed to cuts for the primary time below a drought contingency plan signed final 12 months. The water stage in Lake Mead sits at 1,083 toes (330 meters). When projections drop under 1,075 toes (328 meters), Nevada and Arizona will face deeper cuts mandated by the plan.

Stress take a look at fashions recommend a 32% likelihood that Lake Mead will fall under 1,075 toes by 2022 and a 77% likelihood by 2025. The mannequin’s median estimates point out Lake Mead will drop by 35 toes (11 meters) by 2026.

The water stage in Lake Powell is at 3,598 toes (1,097 meters), and estimates recommend it might drop by 50 toes (15 meters) by 2026.

Burman stated the fashions present beneficial data to cities and farms getting ready for the longer term as drought persists and common temperatures pattern upward. She stated drought contingency plans are an efficient mechanism to deal with the projected shortages — for now.

“I believe what the projections are exhibiting us is we have now better uncertainty than we did final 12 months,” she stated.

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Sam Metz is a corps member for the Related Press/Report for America Statehouse Information Initiative. Report for America is a nonprofit nationwide service program that locations journalists in native newsrooms to report on undercovered points.

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Males on bikes accused of harassing Yellowstone bison

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Two brothers accused of driving bikes off-road and harassing bison in Yellowstone Nationwide Park have pleaded not responsible

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. — Two brothers accused of driving bikes off-road and harassing bison in Yellowstone Nationwide Park have pleaded not responsible.

Dallin McAllister, 25, of Provo, Utah, and Tyler McAllister, 36, of Gilbert, Arizona, entered the pleas Monday earlier than U.S. Justice of the Peace Decide Mark Carman in Yellowstone. Every was charged with working a motorized vehicle in prohibited areas and feeding, touching, teasing, scary or deliberately disturbing wildlife.

The 2 drove off-road close to Fountain Flats Drive in western Yellowstone Friday night, park spokeswoman Ashton Hooker stated.

Video posted on-line confirmed motorcyclists driving off-road inside a number of ft (2 meters) of a gaggle of operating bison, together with some calves, the Bozeman Each day Chronicle reported.

Tyler McAllister did not instantly return a cellphone message Tuesday at his solar energy enterprise. Dallin McAllister did not instantly reply to a request for remark Tuesday by means of Fb.

Guests in Yellowstone are required to remain 25 yards (23 meters) from bison and no less than 100 yards (91 meters) from bears and wolves. Guests could not go off street on autos or bicycles.

Yellowstone guests had no less than two different run-ins with bison this 12 months. A bison knocked a girl down close to Previous Devoted in Might.

A bison gored a girl after she approached it to take a photograph close to Yellowstone Lake’s Bridge Bay in June. She was flown by helicopter to a hospital.

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Panasonic scraps solar panels partnership with Tesla

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Panasonic is pulling out of its partnership with Tesla to produce solar panels at a factory in New York state

TOKYO —
Panasonic is pulling out of its partnership with Tesla to produce solar panels at a factory in New York state, the Japanese electronics maker said Wednesday.

Panasonic’s production at the factory in Buffalo will end by May, with an exit by September, it said in a statement. The decision is to streamline the company’s global solar energy operations, it said.

Panasonic will continue making batteries for Tesla’s electric vehicles in another factory in Nevada, it said.

Panasonic also quoted Tesla as saying that the move won’t affect Tesla’s solar business plans.

Panasonic will also continue selling solar panels under its brand in the U.S. through its own distribution channels, it said.

The two companies’ agreement to work on solar energy was announced in 2016.

Panasonic will offer severance packages to employees at the Buffalo plant. Tesla will hire as many as possible of those who wish to keep working there, according to Panasonic.

Tesla did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

“The decision to transition away from U.S. solar manufacturing in Buffalo aligns with our global solar strategy,” said Panasonic executive Shinichiro Nakajima.

Panasonic is a major manufacturer of home appliances, such as washing machines and refrigerators, but its operations include services and products for businesses.

Tesla, based in Palo Alto, California, leads the world in electric vehicle sales.

Competition from cheaper Chinese manufacturing of solar components has posed a problem for Panasonic as it strives to reposition itself for future growth.

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Key Atlantic Coast Pipeline permit heads to Supreme Court

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RICHMOND, Va. —
When plans for the 605-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline were first unveiled in 2014, supporters of the natural gas project brimmed with enthusiasm and promises.

The pipeline would bring natural gas from West Virginia to growing markets in Virginia and North Carolina, and with it, would come economic development, thousands of jobs and reduced energy costs for consumers, supporters said.

A beaming Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe called it a “win-win,”saying it would be good for the environment,too, because it would help speed up the closing of aging coal plants.

Since then, the project hasfaced one setback after another, with legal challenges brought by environmental groups — prompting the dismissal or suspension of eight permits and halting construction for more than a year.

Now,three yearsbehind schedule, with a price tag that has nearly doubled to $8 billion, the project is headed to the U.S. Supreme Court for a hearingMonday on a critical permit.

Backed by the Trump administration, the project developers — Dominion Energy and Duke Energy — will ask the high court to reverse a federal appeals court ruling that threw out a permit needed for the pipeline to cross two national forests, including parts of the Appalachian Trail, the historic footpath that stretches from Georgia to Maine.

In its ruling, a three-judge panel of the Richmond-based 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals sharply criticized the U.S. Forest Service for granting a special-use permit to build the pipeline through parts of the George Washington and Monongahela National Forests, and to cross the Appalachian Trail.

The court found that the Forest Service did not have the statutory authority to approve the trail crossing and said the agency had “abdicated its responsibility to preserve national forest resources.”

The question before the Supreme Court is whether the Forest Service has authority to grant rights-of-way for gas pipelines through lands crossed by the Appalachian Trail within national forests.

The project developers, joined by U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco, say the answer is yes, arguing the Forest Service is the agency that holds jurisdiction over land in the George Washington National Forest. But the environmental groups say the answer is no because the 2,200-mile (3,540-kilometer) scenic trail is considered a unit of the National Park System and only Congress can approve such a crossing.

Under plans for the project, a 0.1-mile segment of the pipeline would cross about 700 feet (213 meters) beneath the Appalachian Trail.

That tiny segmentis a key component of the pipeline project’s route.

“It’s important because Dominion has really bet its project on this crossing point,” said Greg Buppert, a senior attorney with the Southern Environmental Law Center, which sued on behalf of the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.

Dominion spokeswoman Ann Nallo said the company chose that crossing point after consulting with federal agencies to determine the best route for the pipeline.

“Part of the determination involved the impact on the environment,” Nallo said.

In its ruling, the 4th Circuit found that the Forest Service had “serious environmental concerns” about the project that were “suddenly, and mysteriously, assuaged in time to meet a private pipeline company’s deadlines.”

Environmental groups say the pipeline would scar pristine landscapes, put numerous rivers and streams at risk of increased sedimentation and harm sensitive species.

The stakes are high for lead developer, Dominion, a dominant corporate power in Virginia politics and favorite landing spot for government officials. U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr spent a decade on the company’s board before joining the Trump administration.

The company is counting on the project to help balance its books after aggressive purchases of other energy companies in recent years.

“Make no mistake, if that pipe is canceled, it certainly is balance sheet destructive, and it will impact Dominion’s growth rate,” said Shar Pourreza, an analyst who follows Dominion as Guggenheim Partners’ managing director for North American power and utilities.

Dominion has some heavy-hitters on its side, with support from 18 state attorneys general, more than 60 members of Congress, trade associations and labor unions.

A host of environmentalists, land owners and communities along the pipeline route have urged the Supreme Court to uphold the 4th Circuit’s ruling.

Dominion says the pipeline will bring a critical new gas supply to Virginia and North Carolina to support the shift away from coal and toward intermittent natural resources like solar. The company also says greater availability of natural gas will attract manufacturing businesses.

Critics question the assertion that the gas is needed.

In a brief filed with the Supreme Court, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office said recent analyses indicate the demand for natural gas will remain flat or decrease for the foreseeable future.

In an earnings call with investment analysts earlier this month, Dominion CEO Tom Farrell said the company is “optimistic” that the Supreme Court will issue an order reversing the 4th Circuit ruling in May or June. He said Dominion is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a separate permit related to endangered species and then anticipates resuming construction “across major portions of the pipeline.”

But opponents of the project emphasize that six other permits have been revoked or suspended, including a permit to build a gas compressor station in the historic African American community of Union Hill in Virginia.

“The bottom line is, no matter what happens on Monday, there are others issues,” said Lew Freeman, executive director of the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance, a nonprofit coalition of 51 organizations opposing the pipeline.

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Students push universities to stop investing in fossil fuels

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. —
Students alarmed by climate change are stepping up pressure on universities to pull investments from fossil fuel industries, an effort that is gaining traction at prestigious schools like Georgetown, Harvard and Yale.

The push that is underway at hundreds of schools began nearly a decade ago, and student activists increasingly have learned from one another’s tactics and moved to act amid worsening predictions about the effects of climate change on the planet.

Georgetown University’s board of directors announced this month that it will end private investments in coal, oil and gas companies within the next decade, and some faculty at Harvard have called for a similar shift. There were sit-ins and demonstrations last week at dozens of schools, including Gonzaga University, the University of Wisconsin, University of Pittsburgh and Cornell University.

Several dozen schools have stopped investing at least partially in fossil fuels, but there is debate over how much the move slows the effects of climate change or affects the bottom line of companies like Chevron and Exxon Mobil.

Many schools have defended their investments, citing a duty to preserve and grow the income they receive from donations, while touting efforts to use investments as leverage to engage energy companies, find solutions for climate change through research and make campuses carbon neutral by not causing any net increases in heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

For student activists, it’s about taking a moral and political stand.

At Yale University, which has a $30.3 billion endowment, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Senate on Thursday will discuss the university’s ethical obligations regarding fossil fuel investments. It became a big issue partly due to a widely covered student protest that disrupted a November football game between Harvard and Yale.

“Yale has to take it seriously. We forced them to take it seriously. The faculty discussions are evidence of that,” said Ben Levin, a student leader with the Yale Endowment Justice Coalition. “They’re also evidence of the fact that the faculty are incredibly concerned because they don’t want to be working for a university that’s on the wrong side of the most pressing issue of our time.”

Yale says it has supported shareholder resolutions calling for companies to reveal what they’re doing to address climate change and asked endowment managers not to invest in companies that fail to take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but student activists want a clean break.

The campus actions are part of a broader push for insurers, pension funds and governments worldwide to end fossil fuel investments.

Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben, a leader of the movement to stop such investments, said students have played a huge role.

“They’ve kept it up through two generations of undergraduates. Administrators hoped they’d graduate and that would be the end of the pressure, but instead it keeps building,” said McKibben, a scholar in residence at Middlebury College, which announced last year it would divest its $1.1 billion endowment from fossil fuels.

Student government leaders from the Big Ten Conference called last month for their 14 schools to begin divesting from fossil fuels, passing a resolution that cited the conclusion of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that greenhouse gas emissions are driving climate change.

A challenge for institutions is the prevalence of investments in index funds, which makes it difficult to separate out the roughly 4 percent of energy stocks in such funds, said John Jurewitz, a lecturer in economics at Pomona College. Colleges pulling their investments also wouldn’t likely hurt oil companies, which have their own internal cash flows, he said.

“It’s mainly a political statement about what the university is willing to invest in,” Jurewitz said. “It may be a worthwhile statement if you believe it will help get the ball rolling toward getting some realistic, meaningful policy like a carbon tax or cap and trade, something that will put a price on the carbon in some practical way.”

The Independent Petroleum Association of America has pushed back with its own campaign, arguing divestment would cost university endowments millions a year with little impact on carbon emissions.

At Harvard, which has a $40.9 billion endowment, President Lawrence Bacow said he would take a faculty motion to the Harvard Corporation, the university’s executive board. In the past, administrators have outlined steps Harvard is taking to address climate change while arguing that ending fossil fuel investments wouldn’t have a big effect and that it makes little sense to sever ties with energy companies that heat and light the campus.

Connor Chung, a first-year student and organizer for Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, said the group hopes the university will reconsider.

“At the end of the day, our goal is environmental justice,” he said. “Divestment is our tactic for getting there, but it’s not going to work unless we have a broader movement around the country and around the world of students demanding that their institutions end their complicity in the climate crisis.”

A group of Harvard students also want to stop investments in prisons and companies that contract with them. They sued Wednesday, arguing the school is violating state law by investing in an industry they describe as “present-day slavery.” Harvard officials didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

At George Washington University, sophomore Izy Carney said a student campaign has taken inspiration from the activism of students elsewhere, including in the University of California system, which announced a plan to end fossil fuel investments in 2019.

After hearing from student activists, George Washington’s board of trustees announced a task force this month on managing environmental responsibility. But it did not mention divestment as a possibility.

Carney, a member of Sunrise GW, a student group dedicated to fighting climate change, said they would keep up the pressure.

“Right now, it sounds like profits is what our university is after,” Carney said. “We just want to make sure our school is doing everything it can to make sure it is not contributing to the climate crisis.”

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Associated Press writer Alanna Durkin Richer in Boston contributed to this report.

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