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US states sue EPA, Scott Pruitt for rolling back climate change rule

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A group of U.S. states led by New York sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday, accusing Administrator Scott Pruitt of trying to illegally roll back limits on the use of climate change pollutants known as hydrofluorocarbons.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia said Pruitt violated the federal Clean Air Act on April 27 by issuing “guidance” that they said effectively rescinded regulations adopted in 2015 under the Obama administration.

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New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood accused the EPA under President Donald Trump of trying “to gut critical climate protection rules through the backdoor,” by revoking the 2015 limits rather than going through a public review process.

The states petitioned the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. to throw out Pruitt’s decision.
An EPA spokeswoman said the agency does not discuss pending litigation.

Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are often used in air conditioning, refrigerants, aerosols and foam-blowing.

The EPA had in 2015 estimated that limiting the pollutants’ use could by 2020 reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 26 million to 31 million metric tons.

Underwood said 30 million metric tons was enough to power 3.2 million homes.

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She also noted that the D.C. Circuit last August upheld EPA authority to declare that HFCs were not safe substitutes for ozone-depleting substances, though it refused to require manufacturers that had replaced such substances with HFCs – when HFCs were thought safe – to switch to something else.

In the April 27 guidance, the EPA said revoking the 2015 limits would “dispel confusion and provide regulatory certainty” for users.

Other states joining Wednesday’s lawsuit include California, Delaware, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Washington.

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They and New York are among many Democratic-led or -leaning states that have filed lawsuits challenging a long list of Trump administration policies.

Such lawsuits were a central focus of Eric Schneiderman, who preceded Underwood as New York’s attorney general. Schneiderman resigned last month after women accused him of sexual assault.

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Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Cynthia Osterman


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WATCH: Buffalo cops and firefighters cheer officers charged with assault as they leave the courthouse

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According to a report from both CNN and MSNBC, the two Buffalo police officers who were charged with second-degree assault after shoving a 75-year-old anti-police brutality protester to the ground where he sustained head injuries were greeted with applause after they were arraigned on Saturday morning.

MSNBC's Alex Witt noted that both officers were released without having to post bail.

According to ABC News, "Officers Aaron Torglaski and Robert McCabe were charged with second-degree assault during their video arraignments on Saturday and were released on their own recognizance. They both entered no guilty pleas and are expected back in court on July 20."

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Lindsey Graham leveled by Jim Clyburn for ‘out of touch’ comments on police brutalizing African-Americans

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In response to protests over the police killing of George Floyd, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) had this to say: "I've come to believe that young black men rightly or wrongly perceive the police to be a threat when many times they're not, and we've got to deal with that problem."

On Saturday's edition of MSNBC's "AM Joy," Graham's fellow South Carolina lawmaker, Democratic Rep. Jim Clyburn, laid into Graham for his comments. "He is from Seneca, South Carolina," said Clyburn. "I know the history of Seneca, South Carolina. Where has he been?"

"You know, I've been really interested, we had some foolishness the other day," said Clyburn. "Drew Brees has gotten himself in some difficulty with his teammates, how his grandfather and father thought about anybody kneeling would be disrespecting the flag as if these, his teammates, did not have parents and grandparents who fought for this country and came back to this country with all kinds of indignities. One of which has just been written about in a great book from South Carolina. Isaac Woodard was in his uniform, coming home from the war, when he was stopped by a sheriff, a law enforcement officer who beat him, punched his eyes out with a night stick. That's the thing that led Harry Truman to sign the executive order to integrate the armed services, because of the in indignities charged to a black man by a law enforcement officer, and that black man was in his uniform coming home from a war we had just won."

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Can it happen here? Bill Moyers says it’s happening right before our very eyes

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At 98, historian Bernard Weisberger has seen it all. Born in 1922, he grew up watching newsreels of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler as they rose to power in Europe. He vividly remembers Mussolini posturing to crowds from his balcony in Rome, chin outthrust, right arm extended. Nor has he forgotten Der Fuehrer’s raspy voice on radio, interrupted by cheers of “Heil Hitler,” full of menace even without pictures.

Fascist bullies and threats anger Bernie, and when America went to war to confront them, he interrupted his study of history to help make history by joining the army. He yearned to be an aviator but his eyesight was too poor. So he took a special course in Japanese at Columbia University and was sent as a translator to the China-Burma-India theater where Japanese warlords were out to conquer Asia. Bernie remembers them, too.

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