Saturday snippets: Oglalas legalize pot; Va. going 100% clean; slave graves complicate plastics plan

387961 03: Low emission coal is collected and moved on a conveyer belt April 15, 2001 at the Black Butte Coal mine near Rawlins, WY. The value of Wyoming coal has doubled since December and local producers hope prices hold until the summer and fall when long-term contracts are negotiated. (Photo by Michael Smith/Newsmakers)

Saturday snippets is a regular weekend feature at Daily Kos. 

• The plunge in the economic viability of coal means investors stand to lose more than half a trillion dollars of the money they put into new projects: Coal investments are for the long haul, with projectssd built to last 40-50 years, with the capital recovery period usually being 15 to 20 years. According to Carbon Tracker, there are currently 499 gigawatts worth of coal-power capacity “announced, permitted, pre-permitted, and under-construction throughout the world.” That would boost the current coal-fired electricity capacity by 25% if all projects were completed. If an analysis by Carbon Tracker is right, all those new plants will be money losers the minute they start burning coal or soon afterward. All told, predicts Carbon Tracker, that would be $638 billion in “stranded assets.”

• In a referendum, the enrolled members of the Ogala Sioux Tribe approved legal marijuana but not alcohol: One of seven Sioux tribes, the Oglalas are based on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Unofficial results of the referendum showed 82% of voters approved legalizing medicinal pot and 73% okayed it for recreational purposes while rejecting the sale of alcohol at gaming establishments on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Voters opposed selling liquor at two Oglala casinos by a 64% margin. That was a reversal from the referendum vote of 2014 in which alcohol sales at the casinos were approved. “When our people vote on whether to allow alcohol onto our homelands, my vote will be NO,” President Julian Bear Runner said in a post on social media ahead of the referendum. Under federal law, marijuana is still illegal, and South Dakota outlaws it in all its forms. Because of the tangle of tribal, state, and federal laws, it’s uncertain how authorities will deal with the Oglalas’ decision. The Trump regime has chosen to respect state laws that have legalized some or all forms of marijuana. In the District of Columbia and 10 states, including the four on the West Coast, marijuana is now fully legal, while it’s fully illegal in 11 other states, with the remainder having legalized medicinal marijuana and/or having decriminalized but not fully legalized use of pot.

• Under Democratic control, Virginia becomes first state in the South and the eighth in the nation to mandate 100% clean energy: The deadline is 2050. The other seven states? Maine (2050), Nevada (2050) New York (2040), New Mexico (2045), Washington (2045), California (2045) and Hawai’i (2045). Puerto Rico also has set a 2050 deadline for 100% clean energy and the District of Columbia wants to get there by 2032. Backers in 13 additional states are pushing for their own 100% mandate.

MIDDAY TWEET

�Kissing of the world-famous Blarney Stone in Cork, one of Ireland�s top visitor attractions, has been suspended for the first time in its history.� https://t.co/WgdZAoqCRX

— Ed O’Keefe (@edokeefe) March 13, 2020

• Report says land for factory complex may contain as many as seven slave cemeteries: The 146-page report from Coastal Environments Inc. concludes that the 2,500-acre Louisiana site bought by a Taiwanese company to build a $9.4 billion plastics factory complex holds five previously unknown areas that archaeologists believe hold the last resting place of slaves. Two other areas with slave graves were mapped in the late 1800s. A community group called Rise St. James sent a letter about the report Tuesday to St. James Parish Council members in hopes of convincing them to revoke permits for the Formosa Plastics Group. The grassroots organization’s founder Sharon Lavigne said at a news conference, “We sent a letter to the parish … because the parish don’t try to find anything for themselves, so Rise St. James has to do the job for the council.”

• California DMV is being sued for rejecting “OG” and “QUEER” and other choices for vanity license plates: Five Californians represented by the libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation are seeking to reverse the department’s decisions in five instances. One was “OG”—Old Gangster. It’s a term of respect for longtime gang members—but that wasn’t the reason disabled veteran Paul Oglivie chose OGWOOLF for his license; it’s his military nickname. Other rejections: “QUEER” from a gay man; “SLAAYRR,” from a fan of the band Slayer; “DUK N A” from a woman who owns two Ducati motorcycles; and “BO11LUX” from an immigrant Englishman who owns a pub with the slogan “real beer, proper food, no bollucks.” The DMV rejected that one for having “a discernible sexual connotation or may be construed to be of a sexual nature.”

• EPA brass won’t release a photo of disgraced administrator Scott Pruitt’s $43,000 “privacy booth.” 

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