Brexit hits speed bump as court rules lawmakers must get say LONDON – Britain’s plans to leave the European Union hit a large speed bump Thursday, as the High Court ruled that the government can’t start exit negotiations without a vote in Parliament.The judgment deepened Britain’s divide over Europe, raising hopes among pro-EU politicians that they can soften the terms of the U.K.’s withdrawal from the bloc. “Leave” campaigners say any attempt to do that would be a betrayal of voters’ decision.The government immediately said it would ask the Supreme Court to overturn the ruling. The Court has set aside time in early December to hear the case.Thursday’s ruling could delay government plans to start talks on Britain’s EU exit, or Brexit, within weeks, and opens a major constitutional battle over the balance of power between Parliament and the government.Brexit Secretary David Davis said Britain’s June 23 vote to leave the EU “must be respected.”“The people want us to get on with it, and that is what we are going to do,” he said.Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will use centuries-old powers known as royal prerogative to invoke Article 50 of the EU treaty, which launches two years of exit negotiations, by the end of March.The powers — traditionally held by the monarch but now used by politicians — enable decisions about international treaties and other issues to be made without a vote of Parliament.Several claimants, including a hairdresser and a financial entrepreneur, challenged May’s right to act. They argued that leaving the EU will remove rights, including free movement within the bloc, and that it couldn’t be done without Parliament’s approval.Three senior judges agreed, ruling that “the government does not have the power under the Crown’s prerogative to give notice pursuant to Article 50 for the U.K. to withdraw from the European Union.”The judges backed the claimants’ argument that the government could not remove Britons’ legal rights “unless Parliament had conferred upon the Crown authority to do so.”The ruling infuriated pro-Brexit campaigners, who see the lawsuit as an attempt to block or delay Britain’s EU exit.U.K. Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who helped lead the campaign to leave the EU, tweeted: “I worry that a betrayal may be near at hand.”“I now fear that every attempt will be made to block or delay the triggering of Article 50,” Farage said. “If this is so, they have no idea of the level of public anger they will provoke.”It’s unlikely the ruling will stop Britain leaving the EU eventually. Most lawmakers accept that voters’ decision must be respected — but they differ widely on what form Brexit should take and how close a relationship Britain should keep with the EU.A majority of members of Parliament backed the “remain” side in the referendum, but could be willing to support the start of exit talks if it’s clear that the government won’t seek a “hard Brexit,” in which Britain leaves the EU’s single market.Pro-EU legislators hope the ruling will force the government to set out its plans for exit negotiations before triggering Article 50, something May has previously ruled out.“Of course there is a mandate for leaving the EU, and we have to accept and respect the result of the referendum,” the opposition Labour Party’s Brexit spokesman, Keir Starmer, told the BBC. “But the terms, and how we leave the EU, are vitally important.”Financial entrepreneur Gina Miller, a lead claimant in the case, said the lawsuit wasn’t an attempt to stop Brexit — just to ensure that Parliament is sovereign.“I hope the MPs (members of Parliament) will do their job and debate this in a sober, grown up way,” she said.David Greene, lawyer for hairdresser Deir Santos, another claimant, said “democracy has been reaffirmed and now very much needs to show it is alive and kicking.”The pound, which has lost about a fifth of its value since the June 23 decision to leave the EU, shot back up on the verdict, rising about 1.5 per cent to $1.2493. The ruling boosted the hopes of the financial sector, which is largely opposed to Brexit, that its effects may be mitigated by Parliament.The case is considered the most important constitutional matter in a generation, pitting the rights of Parliament against those of the executive.Nick Barber, associate professor of constitutional law at Oxford University, said the court had ruled decisively that “you can’t use executive power to overturn statutory rights.”Jeff King, professor of law at University College London, said the government’s Supreme Court appeal “would be unlikely to succeed under the circumstances.”He said the High Court judges “gave a comprehensive ruling on many points, many of which could cause the government’s argument to fail.”If the government loses, it will be forced to let the House of Commons and the House of Lords have a vote. It’s unclear whether that would be done with a simple motion to trigger Article 50, or would need a full Act of Parliament.Passing legislation can take months of debate, argument and amendment, so that might see the government’s timetable for Brexit slipping even further.There is a chance the Supreme Court could refer the case to the European Court of Justice, the EU’s highest court, if it thinks a legal principle needs clarification.That would be an ironic outcome given Britain’s vote to leave the EU, but Barber said it’s extremely unlikely.“I think all sides would agree that would be a mess,” he said.___Associated Press writers Pan Pylas and Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this report. Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May leaves Downing Street to attend the weekly Prime Ministers’ Questions session, in parliament in London, Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016. Theresa May has condemned international soccer organization FIFA for its ban on players wearing the Britain’s remembrance poppy. She told Parliament on Wednesday that the FIFA decision was “utterly outrageous.” (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth) by Jill Lawless And Danica Kirka, The Associated Press Posted Nov 3, 2016 4:03 am MDT Last Updated Nov 3, 2016 at 12:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
The House Energy and Commerce Committee issued the latest in a series of white papers examining the impacts of the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The latest white paper, issued April 19, outlines and seeks comment on the impact of the RFS on the agricultural sector.Following the release of the white paper on agricultural sector impacts, ASA provided extensive comments highlighting the importance of the RFS to the soybean and biodiesel industries and reinforcing the fact that the RFS does not drive higher commodity or food prices.”Soybean farmers have played a major role in the development of the U.S. biodiesel industry and biodiesel has provided a significant market opportunity for U.S. soybean producers,” wrote ASA in its comments. “However, first and foremost, policymakers must understand that markets and prices for soybeans are driven by demand for soy meal as a protein feed source for livestock. The portion of the soybean used in biodiesel production is the oil, not the meal.””Additionally, in considering the use of soybean oil for biodiesel production, it must be understood that demand for U.S. soybean oil for food use began to decline significantly following the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) action in 2003 to require food manufacturers to include trans fats on nutrition labels beginning in 2006,” added ASA. “The increase in the use of soybean oil for the biodiesel market has essentially taken up the reduced demand for soybean oil in the food sector associated with trans fat labeling as the food industry shifted away from the use of partially hydrogentated soybean oil to various oil blends and the increased use of palm oil.For a full transcript of ASA’s comments, please click here, and for a copy of the committee’s whitepaper, please click here. ASA encourages all members to utilize the comments and urge their Members of Congress to support the RFS and support biodiesel.
Our transportation system — the way we move around, whether on foot or bike, via car, bus, truck, or train — in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region of the United States is broken. We spend hours in traffic jams, ride overcrowded and delayed buses and trains, are forced to walk and bike on unsafe streets, and suffer from vehicle-related soot and smog, leading to asthma attacks, respiratory diseases, and lost school and work days. To top it off, motor vehicles are the number-one source of carbon pollution driving climate change, contributing to more intense storms, more severe heat waves, and other dangerous conditions. The good news is that states in the region are gearing up to do something about our shared transportation woes, a big thing that could improve the lives of millions. A new report from twelve Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states and Washington, D.C., shows that residents are clamoring for clean and modern transportation solutions to solve these problems, create healthier communities, and produce real benefit for people across the region.RELATED ARTICLESAre Traffic-Clogged Cities Ready for Congestion Pricing?Why Is the U.S. Unwilling to Pay for Good Public Transportation?Getting Around Without Fossil FuelsStranded In Our Own CommunitiesWhere You Build May Matter More Than What You Build The report summarizes feedback that officials from Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and D.C. received from hundreds of business leaders, community members, municipal officials, advocates, and policy experts at a series of public listening sessions held this year. As NRDC and several other organizations that participated in these listening sessions noted in a press release, these listening sessions provide strong momentum for the states to move forward together with a regional strategy to clean up and modernize transportation. Among the key takeaways are support from a broad cross section of citizens for: Better public transit systems, better planning to enable more walkable and bikeable communities, and cleaner vehicle choices that reduce harmful pollution and better meet all residents’ transportation needs, regardless of income levels and across our urban, suburban, and rural communities. Coordination between Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to develop a regional policy solution to our interconnected transportation system and challenges. Sustainable and dedicated funding to improve transportation, with broad support for policies that would price carbon pollution from transportation and use the proceeds to invest in modern, clean, and equitable transportation solutions. With robust support for modernizing transportation, it’s time for governors in Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to step up and develop policies that will solve our transportation challenges and build the 21st century transportation system that residents in the region want and need. They should get busy as soon as the calendar flips to 2019. We have solutions Over the last decade, carbon pricing and other policies in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic have helped dramatically cut pollution, saved money through improved energy efficiency, improved air quality and public health, and created thousands of jobs along with billions of dollars in economic growth. But while we’ve made significant progress in cleaning up power plants, we haven’t seen the same progress in transportation. We haven’t really tried and with many of our transportation challenges continuing to get worse, the time for action is now. NRDC’s Transportation Reimagined report, released earlier this year, shows that we have a robust set of solutions for transportation that policymakers could look to to deliver real and meaningful benefits to people living in the region’s rural, suburban, and urban communities. Solutions like walkable and bikeable cities and towns, fast and efficient public transit, and clean electric vehicles — including electric buses, cars, trucks and trains — are proven measures to improve transportation options, increase jobs and economic growth, and clean up our air. Participants in the states’ listening sessions offered many of these same ideas, and others, including by calling on Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states to adopt policies that: Make zero emission vehicles more readily available and affordable, such as by ensuring access to clean, renewable-energy-powered charging stations for electric vehicles. Ensure affordable clean transportation options are available for low-income individuals, families, the elderly, individuals with disabilities, and frontline communities affected by disproportionate levels of pollution and the effects of climate change. Help transition vehicle fleets, including public transit and school buses, to clean vehicle alternatives. Provide incentives for pursuing low-carbon transportation options and discourage polluting behavior. Promote smart growth, couple affordable housing with transit-oriented development, and develop complete streets that serve all residents, including those traveling on foot and by bike. Create new job opportunities, encourage commerce, and drive economic growth. As they look to modernize transportation, states should learn from this citizen input, from their successes in cutting power plant pollution, and from the numerous real-world, successful examples of efforts to deploy modern and equitable transportation solutions as detailed in NRDC’s report. In so doing, states can solve our region’s many transportation challenges, and do so in an equitable manner that provides clean air while filling gaps in transportation networks that disadvantage many underserved communities. Next steps With proven policy frameworks, strong public support, and a clear set of solutions in hand, it’s time for Northeast and Mid-Atlantic governors to start taking action to secure the clean and modern transportation system that residents want and need. Governors can do so by committing to a concrete plan and schedule over the next year to develop a regional policy for clean and modern transportation. With input from stakeholders across the region, such a policy should set clear and ambitious pollution reduction targets — consistent with protecting our health and avoiding dangerous climate change — while establishing the sustainable funding mechanisms and sources we need to invest in and build a 21st century transportation system that works better for all and improves the quality of life for all. Bruce Ho is senior advocate, climate & clean energy program, at the Natural Resources Defense Council. This post originally appeared at the NRDC Expert Blog and is reprinted here with permission.