Chicago – In a major victory for gun rights advocates, a federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down a ban on carrying concealed weapons in Illinois – the only remaining state where carrying concealed weapons is entirely illegal – and gave lawmakers 180 days to write a law that legalizes it.
In overturning a lower court decision, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the ban was unconstitutional and suggested a law legalizing concealed carry is long overdue in a state where gun advocates had vowed to challenge the ban on every front.
Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whose office is responsible for defending the state’s laws in court, will review the ruling before deciding whether to appeal or take other action, said spokeswoman Maura Possley.
Texas judge puts hold on Keystone pipeline
Houston – A Texas judge has temporarily stopped oil company TransCanada from building a pipeline designed to carry tar sands oil from Canada through eastern portions of the state to the Gulf Coast.
The decision came after Michael Bishop, 64, a retired paramedic and chemist in East Texas, filed a lawsuit arguing that TransCanada lied to him and other landowners, promising that the Keystone XL pipeline would transport crude oil, not tar sands oil.
“What they’re calling tar sands oil is not oil by anyone’s definition,” Bishop told the Los Angeles Times, adding that he’s worried the pipeline’s proposed contents might contaminate his land.
Texas County Court at Law Judge Jack Sinz signed the temporary restraining order and injunction against TransCanada on Friday, finding sufficient cause to stop work on the pipeline for two weeks. The injunction went into effect Tuesday, and the next hearing in the case is set for Thursday.
Northeastern states plan to sue EPA
Pittsburgh – Seven Northeastern and mid-Atlantic states announced plans Tuesday to sue the Environmental Protection Agency, saying it is violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address methane emissions from oil and gas drilling, which has boomed in nearby states such as Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a news release Tuesday that the EPA is violating the Clean Air Act by failing to address the emissions. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, and the oil and gas industry is the largest source of emissions in this country.
The EPA said in an email that it plans to review and respond to the notice from the states.