Virginia governor announces Environmental Justice Council

Virginia governor Ralph Northam has issued Executive Order 29, which reestablishes the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice. The council will be responsible for issuing recommendations focused on engaging minority, low-income, and underserved communities; public health; best practices for local governments; climate change and resilience; transportation systems; clean energy transition; and outdoor access. In a statement, Kendyl Crawford, Director of Virginia Interfaith Power & Light said that re-establishing the Council is one step towards making the state a more environmentally just place. “The recent treatment of environmental justice communities has made it clear that we have a long way to go,” said Crawford. “Environmental justice has been ignored in Virginia for too long.”

Blue Macaw from “Rio” movie now extinct in the wild

The Spix’s macaw gained attention as a parrot named Blu in the movie ‘Rio’ who flew thousands of miles in an attempt to save his species. But a recently released study found that the Brazilian bird is now extinct in the wild. According to a report from BirdLife International, deforestation is the leading cause for the bird’s extinction. The report says the Spix’s macaw is one of eight bird species recently confirmed extinct or expected extinct. About 60 to 80 Spix’s macaws still live in captivity.

 

Judge blocks Atlantic seismic oil permitting during government shutdown

A federal court judge in South Carolina has ruled that the federal government cannot process seismic testing permits for offshore drilling while the government is shut down. The decision was issued in response to a motion filed by coastal cities and conservation and business groups opposed to the Trump administration’s effort to expand offshore drilling. Despite the shutdown, the Interior Department has recalled employees to continue working on permitting for both onshore and offshore drilling and testing, drawing widespread criticism from opponents of drilling. A spokesperson for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) says that the agency will comply with the judge’s orders.