Obama land giveaway is trumped
A notice published in the Federal Register is a formal death certificate for the Obama administration’s efforts to transfer ownership of a national wildlife refuge to an Indian tribe, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility said. The Trump administration’s notice also reverses the government’s position in a lawsuit that seeks to block the transfer of the 18,800-acre National Bison Range in Montana to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes.
Renewable energy beats the desert tortoise
In a lawsuit that split animal preservationists and renewable energy advocates, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Bureau of Land Management did not violate the Endangered Species Act or the Administrative Procedures Act by issuing an opinion that led to a solar energy project on federal land that abuts the California-Nevada state line at Primm, Nev. Defenders of Wildlife accused BLM of ignoring the desert tortoise, but the government prevailed by arguing that the 2,900-acre Silver State South solar project will serve the electricity needs of millions of Southern Californians.
Statehouses hold key to electoral college future
The Congressional Research Service, in a report that is a primer on the electoral college, noted a provision in the U.S. Constitution that authorizes each state to appoint their electors “in such Manner as the legislature thereof may direct.” That, CRS said, explains why Maine and Nebraska are allowed to divide their electoral votes in contrast to the “winner take all” rules in the other 48 states.
U.S. puts NAFTA on the negotiating table
U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer notified the congressional leaders that the Trump administration is seeking to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. In his letter, Lighthizer said NAFTA was negotiated 25 years ago and “while our economy and businesses have changed considerably over that period, NAFTA has not.” Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the letter will notify all U.S. trading partners “that free and fair trade is the new standard for U.S. trade deals.”
Federal guards sentenced for underage sex and porn
Lee Moore, 38, of Church Hill, Md., was given a 20-year prison sentence for enticing a minor into sexual activity, and attempting to send obscene images to a teenager, the Department of Justice said. At the time he was arrested, Moore was employed by the U.S. Secret Service—Uniform Division and was assigned to White House guard duties. Also, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said that Michael Rivera, 30, of Bismarck, N.D., was given a seven-year sentence for receiving images depicting sexual exploitation of minors. At the time of his arrest, Rivera was a deputy U.S. Marshal assigned to the federal courthouse in Bismarck.
13 state AG’s decry ProFlowers settlement
When a $39 million settlement was divvied up, the attorneys in a class action lawsuit collected $9 million, fewer than 1% of the class members shared $200,000 and the remaining 1.3 million class members got a discount coupon. Now, the attorneys general of 13 states have joined to challenge the settlement which is being appealed to the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s Center for Class Action Fairness said.
Robocallers try regulatory end-run
A coalition of national and state consumer groups urged the Federal Communications Commission to deny a robocaller’s request to use a new telemarketing technology that leaves a voice message without ringing. Led by Consumers Union and the Consumer Federation of America, the coalition said voice messages “are just as invasive, expensive, and annoying as calls and texts to cell phones” and, if the technology is allowed, “telemarketing and debt collection messages could easily overwhelm the voicemail boxes of consumers.”
Rip ‘n Read is a daily compilation of press releases found on hundreds of websites that are maintained by the federal government, think tanks, watchdog groups and national advocacy organizations. Press releases selected for this feature are, in the opinion of the editor, exceptionally newsworthy, interesting or just plain curious.
The press releases and documents linked to this report were posted on their websites on Thursday, May 18