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The terms of last week's budget agreement between the Obama administration and congress were an achievement, but the fate of environmental "ideological riders" is yet to be determined.

Last week, the Obama administration and Congress announced a budget agreement with great fanfare. While the terms of the agreement were in many ways a great achievement for the White House, Congress still has to pass spending bills by December 11 to implement the agreement and avoid another government shutdown.   

The big issue that was intentionally left out of the recent budget negotiations was the fate of “ideological riders.” 

Solar New Mexico

Faced with declining sales and the rise of local renewable power, many utilities across the country are taking aim at rooftop solar. By proposing unreasonable and discriminatory fees, charges and other rate changes, they are trying to limit the growth of distributed solar, a critical energy resource that can help curb the nation’s fossil-fuel addiction and build our clean energy economy. 

Fracking protest Ohio

On the morning of June 28, 2014, a snapped hydraulic line at an Ohio fracking well began spraying hot chemicals onto nearby trucks. In total, 20 vehicles were engulfed in flames and 30 explosions followed. One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation and 25 families living nearby were evacuated. In the days following, the dangers of fracking and of the lax regulation governing the industry became all too clear.

colorado forest

In less than a month, diplomats and negotiators from the United States and the rest of the world will start work in Paris on an agreement to limit the world’s carbon pollution, the leading cause of climate change.

The U.S. delegation will have the wind at its back, and some leverage to seek a strong international framework for action, following the president’s nixing of the Keystone XL pipeline project last Friday.

Fracking southern Wyoming

Oil and gas production has soared in America as fracking spreads to an increasing number of states. The federal Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook predicts that in 2040, the U.S. will only be importing 20 percent of its oil and natural gas, down from about 60 percent in 2011. However, fracking of oil and gas has left polluted water, damaged land and concerned citizens in its wake.


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unEARTHED is a forum for the voices and stories of the people behind Earthjustice's work. The views and opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent the opinion or position of Earthjustice or its board, clients, or funders. Learn more about Earthjustice.