Following up on his campaign promise to improve the lives of working families, Mayor de Blasio presented a bill that requires businesses with five or more employees (down from 15) to offer five days of paid sick leave. This bill, if passed, will expand coverage to an additional 360,000 workers above the previously included 1.2 million people.
Continuing a trend since the mid-2000s, the U.S. coal industry had nothing but bad news in 2013--from falling production and closures of existing coal-fired plants to impending, new carbon pollution regulations. As American coal seeks a larger share of the global fossil fuel market, the threat of significant new U.S. coal export capacity looms large. RFF's National Coal Program, working in conjunction with its partners, has responded by strategically supporting regional coalitions of advocates who have already defeated five proposed coal export facilities. Since the beginning of the coal rush in 2005, RFF has been at the center of leading efforts to keep coal--and its carbon-intense emissions--in the ground.
More than half-a-million people have signed on to 350.org's listserv and 76,000 are willing to be arrested in an act of civil disobedience if the State Department's analysis of the Keystone pipeline plays down the environmental impact and the Administration approves the project. Dr. James Hansen says if the pipeline, which will bring tar sand oil from Canada to the Gulf, is approved, then it's "game over"--not only for stopping a new source of carbon emissions, but as an indication of the failed federal response to climate action. As more and more people are willing to take to the streets, the movement continues to grow.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is refiling its petition with the Supreme Court, challenging the legal authority of the secret court, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, that approved the NSA's metadata collection of phone records. EPIC's case has been vastly strengthened by the findings of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board which concluded that the program was illegal and should be shut down--far eclipsing President Obama's announcement that he will direct the NSA to limit some surveillance practices. Meanwhile, federal courts in New York and in Washington, DC have issued conflicting rulings on the legality of NSA's massive phone snooping--guaranteeing a future court battle.
Rarely does an organization chart new territory for the advocacy community and provide resources and expertise where none existed before. Such is the history of RFF's recently spun-off project, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. The Institute's reports and analyses have been game-changers in the hard look at coal investment risk, first in the U.S. and now internationally.