Department of Interior announces e-bike regulations despite lawsuit, conservation concerns

Staff and wire reports

The Department of the Interior on Friday announced that it finalized electric bike (or e-bike) regulations that it says paves the way for land managers to allow more people, especially older Americans and those with physical limitations, to experience bicycling on public lands managed by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Bureau of Reclamation.

“Enhancing access to our public lands and expanding recreational opportunities to all Americans is a priority for the Trump Administration,” U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt said in a release. “The new regulations allow our public land managers to provide e-bike access to bike trails, enhancing the opportunities to utilize our public lands to create life-long memories.”

The final regulations come 13 months after Bernhardt ordered the National Park Service to grant e-bike riders the same access in parks as muscle-powered cyclists.

The policy change toward the end of August 2019 came without public disclosure and without an opportunity for the public to comment on the proposal before it was implemented, moves that appear in conflict with the Code of Federal Regulations. The secretarial order called for the policy to be adopted “unless otherwise prohibited by law or regulation” within two weeks. It also called for public comment, after the fact, some time in the future.

Last December, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) filed a lawsuit to overturn the Interior Department’s move to expand e-bike access in the National Park System.

The 31-page filing, made by PEER with three other conservation groups and two individuals, charged that the decision-making process violated the Administrative Procedures Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. The plaintiffs also argued that an advisory committee comprised of industry-friendly representatives met regularly with Interior officials to lobby for the increased access and helped develop the new policy.

Officials with PEER said Friday that Interior’s announcement would not derail the lawsuit.

Concerns ranging from the risks of high-speed e-bikes to visitors and wildlife, spooking horses on mixed-use trails, and degrading the quality of the backcountry experience have not been addressed, the organization said.

“The Park Service’s undue haste resembles an e-bike whizzing by with an irresponsible teenager on the throttle,” PEER Senior Counsel Peter Jenkins said in a release. “Interior and the Park Service realized they were caught with their legal pants down and are scrambling for cover.

“This rule is the product of industry influence having nothing to do with improving the park experience – a topic on which the Park Service has yet to even do a preliminary assessment. Given the major challenges facing a Park Service in the grip of a pandemic, this is a questionable use of its limited regulatory resources.”

Bicycling is an excellent way to experience America’s rich natural heritage, and innovations in e-bike design have opened the possibilities for a greater number of people, particularly for those with limitations stemming from age, illness, disability or fitness, especially in more challenging

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Trump returns to White House, state GOP files lawsuit against Pritzker tax amendment and the return of Dark Lord imperial stout



a bottle of wine on a table: Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, Ind. will release its coveted Dark Lord imperial stout via touch-free pick up this fall instead of at its usual Dark Lord Day festival in the spring.


© Gregg Gearhart / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Three Floyds Brewing in Munster, Ind. will release its coveted Dark Lord imperial stout via touch-free pick up this fall instead of at its usual Dark Lord Day festival in the spring.

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a man talking on a cell phone: Cubs President Theo Epstein talks with GM Jed Hoyer and manager David Ross before a game against the White Sox on Sept. 25, 2020, at Guaranteed Rate Field.


© John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Cubs President Theo Epstein talks with GM Jed Hoyer and manager David Ross before a game against the White Sox on Sept. 25, 2020, at Guaranteed Rate Field.

Good morning, Chicago. Illinois public health officials reported Monday 1,853 new known coronavirus cases and 14 additional confirmed deaths. In Chicago, the positivity rate has increased over the last three days: it’s now at 4.4%.

Meanwhile, the CDC updated to its COVID-19 guidelines to say the virus can spread more than 6 feet through the air. Some experts said the updated guidance isn’t enough — here’s why.

Also, a Chicago-area study showed that nearly one-third of coronavirus patients experienced some type of altered state. The neurological symptoms identified ranged from confusion to delirium to unresponsiveness.

Here’s more coronavirus news and other top stories you need to know to start your day.

Trump, after receiving unprecedented level of care, downplays COVID-19 threat and returns to White House — without a mask

President Donald Trump staged a dramatic return to the White House Monday night after leaving the military hospital where he was receiving an unprecedented level of care for COVID-19. He immediately ignited a new controversy by declaring that despite his illness the nation should not fear the virus that has killed more than 210,000 Americans — and then he entered the White House without a protective mask.



a man standing next to a tree: Scott Sheridan, a tenured professor of French and Italian at Illinois Wesleyan University, is losing his job as the school eliminates many offerings in the humanities.


© Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Scott Sheridan, a tenured professor of French and Italian at Illinois Wesleyan University, is losing his job as the school eliminates many offerings in the humanities.

Trump’s message alarmed infectious disease experts and suggested the president’s own illness had not caused him to rethink his often-cavalier attitude toward the disease, which has also infected the first lady and several White House aides, including new cases revealed on Monday.

GOP-aligned group files lawsuit challenging ballot language on Pritzker’s graduated-rate income tax amendment

The Illinois Policy Institute, a GOP-aligned group opposed to Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s graduated-rate income tax plan, filed a lawsuit suit Monday contending the explanation of the proposed state constitutional amendment sent to voters was “misleading” and needs court-ordered clarification.



J.B. Pritzker wearing a suit and tie: Gov. J.B. Pritzker holds a news conference at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago on Sept. 22, 2020.


© E. Jason Wambsgans / Chicago Tribune/Chicago Tribune/TNS
Gov. J.B. Pritzker holds a news conference at the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago on Sept. 22, 2020.

The Pritzker-backed Vote Yes for Fairness group backing the proposed amendment called the lawsuit “frivolous” and said it was simply an attempt to gain attention to efforts to

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Appeals court revives House lawsuit against Trump border wall

A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., revived a lawsuit by House Democrats challenging the Trump administration’s authority to use military funds for a border wall on Friday.

In a 3-0 decision, the appeals court reversed a lower court’s dismissal of the case. Friday’s ruling means the House has the right to sue. The case will be sent back to the trial court level.

The House filed its lawsuit last year, claiming President TrumpDonald John TrumpSteele Dossier sub-source was subject of FBI counterintelligence probe Pelosi slams Trump executive order on pre-existing conditions: It ‘isn’t worth the paper it’s signed on’ Trump ‘no longer angry’ at Romney because of Supreme Court stance MORE’s use of a national emergency to divert military funds for border wall construction unconstitutionally bypassed Congress’s authority to appropriate funds.

U.S. District Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, dismissed the case in 2019, ruling that the House lacked standing to sue over the national emergency order that allowed Trump to divert military funds to the border wall.

The appeals court said Friday that the Trump administration “cut the House out of its constitutionally indispensable legislative role” of handling appropriations.

“To put it simply, the Appropriations Clause requires two keys to unlock the Treasury, and the House holds one of those keys. The executive branch has, in a word, snatched the House’s key out of its hands. That is the injury over which the House is suing,” the three-judge panel on the D.C. Circuit wrote.

The judges consisted of one Reagan appointee and two Obama appointees.

A ruling in favor of the administration “would fundamentally alter the separation of powers by allowing the Executive Branch to spend any funds the Senate is on board with, even if the House withheld its authorizations,” they wrote in their opening.

“Expenditures made without the House’s approval—or worse, as alleged here, in the face of its specific disapproval—cause a concrete and particularized constitutional injury that the House experiences, and can seek redress for, independently,” the judges added.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It is unclear what practical effect it would have if Democrats ultimately prevail in their lawsuit.

The Supreme Court has allowed the Trump administration to use defense funds amid litigation in the case, despite a California-based court’s ruling that the scheme is unconstitutional.

Disputes over Trump’s financing tactic arose early last year after he declared a national emergency at the southern border in an effort to free up additional funding for his signature project. Trump’s move came after a congressional spending bill allocated some $1.3 billion for border security, which fell short of the nearly $5 billion Trump said was needed.

Trump then reallocated $2.5 billion in funding that Congress appropriated for defense and military uses, sparking several lawsuits.

A federal district court in California last year temporarily halted the use of the reappropriated funds. But the Supreme Court in July 2019 stayed that order, allowing the administration to use defense funds

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U.S. judge questions Bolton’s political motives as he battles White House lawsuit for book profits

“Isn’t the question whether the information is classified or not?” Lamberth prodded Bolton’s defense. “You’ve engaged in that whole political diatribe, but it really has no place in what we’re arguing today.”

The oral argument came after a lawyer for the career government official who conducted the initial review for classified information in Bolton’s manuscript contended in a letter to the court that Trump aides had “commandeered” the process, then erroneously claimed the memoir contained classified information and failed to propose edits to facilitate publication.

Lamberth refused to halt publication in a June 20 ruling, saying the government acted too late to prevent the sale of already distributed books.

At issue Thursday was Bolton’s motion to toss out the case, and the government’s motion for a summary ruled that the government can seize Bolton’s profits because the book contained classified information.

Bolton attorney Charles J. Cooper argued that the government had failed to allege he knowingly disclosed such information and asserted that the nondisclosure agreements he signed required him to obtain written authorization to release only material he knew to be classified.

If unsure, Cooper argued, he was required only to confirm from “an authorized official” — in this case, he said, Ellen Knight, the National Security Council’s senior director for records access — that the information was unclassified. Cooper claimed that this is what Knight verified by phone and email after the initial review and that Bolton knew of no other classified information remaining in the manuscript he submitted to his publisher April 27.

“The government must be able to allege that Bolton knew or had reason to believe that his manuscript contained SCI, or it contained a description of activity that derived from SCI,” the most sensitive compartmented information, Cooper argued. “They have not alleged that, and we would submit they cannot allege that.”

Arguing for the government, Deputy Associate Attorney General Jennifer B. Dickey denied that the contracts required violations to be known. Dickey said there was no dispute that Bolton gave the manuscript to his publisher without receiving formal written authorization that the pre-publication review he initiated was concluded.

The government earlier produced six samples of what it asserted was classified material, three of which were classified before April 27 and one Gen. Paul M. Nakasone, director of the National Security Agency, said in a declaration “implicates” the most sensitive level of material.

“It would make no sense for the pre-publication review to attach and then say an author could opt out before written authorization that it was completed,” Dickey argued. If he objected with the process, Bolton should have sued instead of walking away.

“What is unprecedented is for the most recent national security adviser, who had been entrusted with classified information on a daily basis, who has a Yale law degree and experienced counsel, would think it’s consistent with his contractual or fiduciary duty to simply sign off to his publisher on April 27 without waiting for written authorization that it did not contain

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L.A. County restrictions on indoor shopping centers are unjust, mall lawsuit alleges

The operator of a sports apparel store in Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance has filed a lawsuit against Los Angeles County in an effort to ease countywide restrictions on operating businesses in indoor malls during the COVID-19 pandemic.



a store inside of a building: The Pro Image Sports store in Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance sells sports apparel. (Daisy Rivas / Pro Image Sports)


© (Daisy Rivas / Pro Image Sports)
The Pro Image Sports store in Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance sells sports apparel. (Daisy Rivas / Pro Image Sports)

Also objecting to the limits is the largest owner of indoor malls in the county, Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, which called the county’s restrictions that are now stricter than state guidelines an “undue hardship” on the company and its store tenants.

In a proposed class-action lawsuit filed last week in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, the owner of Rivas Sports Inc. said it was unfair for the county to shutter “nonessential” businesses like hers that have their front doors inside of an enclosed mall.

Stores in shopping centers that have their own doors to the outside can still operate under safety guidelines issued by the county in May as pandemic-related restrictions on businesses were eased. Interior mall stores were allowed to operate at 50% occupancy until they were closed by the state in July as infections surged.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Aug. 28 unveiled a plan that allowed Los Angeles County to reopen stores and malls at 25% capacity, but county officials opted to keep most stores inside malls closed. Hair and nail salons can reopen countywide with limited service.

Rivas Sports owner Daisy Rivas said she is willing to follow the state rules, which would mean allowing only eight customers at a time inside her Pro Image Sports shop at Del Amo Fashion Center.

“We have operated safely and followed the government guidelines to the letter of the law, and we are prepared to be fully compliant” with Newsom’s guidance, Rivas said. “Yet without a single word of explanation by the county, they continue to shut us down. We and many other small businesses need our stores open in order to survive.”

The lawsuit was filed by Rivas on behalf of other retailers together with the owner and manager of Del Amo Fashion Center, an affiliate of Simon Property Group. Indianapolis-based Simon is one of the largest mall operators in the country.



A handful of people shop at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance on Thursday, Mar. 12, 2020, after officials had cautioned the public to keep a safe distance from other people to avoid infections of COVID-19. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)


© (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
A handful of people shop at the Del Amo Fashion Center in Torrance on Thursday, Mar. 12, 2020, after officials had cautioned the public to keep a safe distance from other people to avoid infections of COVID-19. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

“This blatantly unconstitutional act prevents interior mall stores from operating, crushing their businesses, denying their employees of their livelihoods, and laying waste to their businesses,” the plaintiffs said in their complaint filed with the court.

The county’s public information office said it would not comment on pending litigation, but released this statement:

“From the onset of the pandemic, Los Angeles County has been intensely committed to protecting

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Purcell Julie & Lefkowitz LLP Announces Court Approval of the Settlement in the Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. Stockholder Lawsuit

NEW YORK, NY / ACCESSWIRE / September 15, 2020 / Purcell Julie & Lefkowitz LLP is pleased to announce that the Delaware Court of Chancery has approved the previously announced settlement of the stockholder derivative action brought against James Dolan, the Executive Chairman of Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. (“MSG Sports”) (NYSE:MSGS) and the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman of Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. (“MSG Entertainment”) (NYSE:MSGE).

The settlement requires James Dolan to surrender stock awards, valued at over $30 million, he received as “special” compensation in 2018. The stock awards were originally granted by MSG Sports but were then later split between MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment following the latter’s spin-off from MSG Sports. The settlement further provides that MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment will not reinstate or recompense Mr. Dolan for the cancelled awards, and that future compensation decisions at MSG Sports and MSG Entertainment regarding Mr. Dolan will be made with the assistance of an independent compensation consultant.

“The settlement is an outstanding result for MSG Sports, MSG Entertainment, and their stockholders” said Robert H. Lefkowitz, an attorney at Purcell Julie & Lefkowitz LLP that represented the stockholder plaintiff. “Stockholders want share prices to increase, not executive compensation. The settlement is a big step in that direction.”

The derivative lawsuit, brought by a stockholder of MSG Sports, alleged that James Dolan and various members of the Dolan family breached their fiduciary duties to MSG Sports and its stockholders by granting James Dolan over $75 million in compensation – including the “special” equity awards – between 2016 and 2018. Following the filing of the complaint, MSG Sports formed a special litigation committee to investigate the claims made by the stockholder plaintiff, and the special committee ultimately concluded that it was in the best interests of MSG Sports and its stockholders that James Dolan return the “special” awards. On September 8, 2020, the Delaware Court of Chancery approved the settlement, finding that it was an “excellent” result.

Purcell Julie & Lefkowitz LLP is a law firm exclusively committed to representing shareholders nationwide who are victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty and other types of corporate misconduct. For more information about the firm and its attorneys, please visit https://pjlfirm.com. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.

SOURCE: Purcell Julie & Lefkowitz LLP

View source version on accesswire.com:
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White House asked DOJ to defend Trump in lawsuit from rape accuser

  • In a highly unusual move, the Justice Department on Tuesday attempted to take over President Donald Trump’s legal defense in a defamation lawsuit brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of rape. A claim the president denies.
  • Attorney General William Barr told reporters Wednesday that the DOJ intervened at the request of the White House, according to The New York Times.
  • Barr defended the DOJ’s move, saying it “was a normal application of the law,” The New York Times reported.
  • But legal experts have cast doubt on that reasoning and why the DOJ waited ten months to intervene — just weeks after a court ruled Carroll could seek evidence from Trump such as DNA samples and a deposition.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Attorney General William Barr told reporters Wednesday that the Department of Justice’s surprising decision Tuesday to intervene in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump came at the direct request of the White House.

On Tuesday, the DOJ said in court filings that it intends to replace Trump’s personal lawyers in a defamation case brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who has publicly accused Trump of raping her and sued him in November after he denied the allegations.

While Trump’s personal lawyers have been defending him since then, DOJ lawyers argued Tuesday that Trump was “acting within the scope of his office” when he made the comments, meaning the suit should fall under the Federal Torts Claim Act, which would put the US government on the hook for defending him and taxpayers for covering his legal costs.

The timing and highly unusual nature of the DOJ’s intervention has raised questions about its motivations and drawn scrutiny from legal experts.

Last month, a New York state court ruled that Carroll could proceed with efforts to gather evidence, including DNA samples and a deposition of Trump. But the DOJ’s move, which came on the last day Trump could have appealed the ruling, could stall that discovery process and put Carroll’s case in jeopardy.

Under the FTCA, which is also known as the Westfall Act, federal employees cannot be sued while acting in their official capacity. If the new federal judge assigned to the case, Lewis A. Kaplan, agrees with the DOJ’s rationale for intervening, he could toss the case out.

“This was a normal application of the law,” Barr said in defense of the move, according to The New York Times, adding: “The law is clear. It is done frequently. And the little tempest that is going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live.”

While the government has won several cases involving the Westfall Act, legal experts have cast doubt on the DOJ’s assertion that the law applies to Carroll’s case against Trump.

“The specific facts here raise the question of whether attacking a private citizen and denigrating her appearance — rather than simply denying her allegations — is part of the president’s job. A court might

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The White House asked the Justice Department to handle Trump’s legal defense in a defamation lawsuit brought by his rape accuser



Donald Trump wearing a suit and tie: President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General William Barr during the 38th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci


© AP Photo/Evan Vucci
President Donald Trump stands with Attorney General William Barr during the 38th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service at the U.S. Capitol, Wednesday, May 15, 2019, in Washington. AP Photo/Evan Vucci

  • In a highly unusual move, the Justice Department on Tuesday attempted to take over President Donald Trump’s legal defense in a defamation lawsuit brought by the writer E. Jean Carroll, who has accused him of rape. A claim the president denies.
  • Attorney General William Barr told reporters Wednesday that the DOJ intervened at the request of the White House, according to The New York Times.
  • Barr defended the DOJ’s move, saying it “was a normal application of the law,” The New York Times reported.
  • But legal experts have cast doubt on that reasoning and why the DOJ waited ten months to intervene — just weeks after a court ruled Carroll could seek evidence from Trump such as DNA samples and a deposition.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Attorney General William Barr told reporters Wednesday that the Department of Justice’s surprising decision Tuesday to intervene in a lawsuit against President Donald Trump came at the direct request of the White House.

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On Tuesday, the DOJ said in court filings that it intends to replace Trump’s personal lawyers in a defamation case brought by advice columnist E. Jean Carroll, who has publicly accused Trump of raping her and sued him in November after he denied the allegations.

While Trump’s personal lawyers have been defending him since then, DOJ lawyers argued Tuesday that Trump was “acting within the scope of his office” when he made the comments, meaning the suit should fall under the Federal Torts Claim Act, which would put the US government on the hook for defending him and taxpayers for covering his legal costs.

The timing and highly unusual nature of the DOJ’s intervention has raised questions about its motivations and drawn scrutiny from legal experts.

Last month, a New York state court ruled that Carroll could proceed with efforts to gather evidence, including DNA samples and a deposition of Trump. But the DOJ’s move, which came on the last day Trump could have appealed the ruling, could stall that discovery process and put Carroll’s case in jeopardy.

Under the FTCA, which is also known as the Westfall Act, federal employees cannot be sued while acting in their official capacity. If the new federal judge assigned to the case, Lewis A. Kaplan, agrees with the DOJ’s rationale for intervening, he could toss the case out.

“This was a normal application of the law,” Barr said in defense of the move, according to The New York Times, adding: “The law is clear. It is done frequently. And the little tempest that is going on is largely because of the bizarre political environment in which we live.”

While the government has won several cases involving the Westfall Act, legal experts have cast doubt on the DOJ’s assertion that the law applies to Carroll’s

Read more