California, Peter Burnett, Nipah discussed on All Things Considered
Traffic slow from Seal Beach Boulevard case you're doubly traffic is brought to you by Cedars Sinai Medical Center. From NPR news. This is all things considered. I'm Elsa Chang and I'm Sarah McCammon. President Trump has taken one of his most aggressive actions yet to weaken the country's environmental laws. Today, the administration announced changes to speed up construction of big infrastructure projects such as oil pipelines and highways. Critics say that move will sideline concerns about climate change and the effects of pollution on poor and minority communities. NPR's Jeff Brady reports. The president was at a UPS facility in Atlanta to announce dramatic changes to the regulations that govern the National Environmental Policy Act or Nipah. He traveled to Atlanta because his administration wants a local freeway expansion project to be among the first approved under the new regulations for decades, the single biggest obstacle to building a modern transportation system. Has been the mountains and mountains of bureaucratic red tape in Washington, D C Depot was signed into law by President Richard Nixon 50 years ago. It requires federal agencies to consider the environmental effects of proposed projects before they're approved. It also gives the public and interest groups the ability to comment on those evaluations. A new regulation set a time limit of two years on environmental reviews, less than half the time they now take. On average. It limits the number and types of projects that fall under Nipah. It puts new limits on public participation and makes it harder to file legal challenges. While Trump focused on building new highways. The oil industry also sees big benefits. In today's announcement. A series of pipeline projects have recently been dealt setbacks related to nip a reviews. Mike Summers heads the American Petroleum Institute and says the existing Nipah process has become too cumbersome. We feel if we're going to get our economy moving again post pandemic that this kind of permitting reform is going to be necessary. Environmental groups around Lee criticize today's announcement. Attorney Sharon Beauty No with the Natural Resources Defense Council says the new regulations essentially gut Nipah And take power away from the country's most vulnerable people. Nita gives poor and communities of color, a say in the projects that will define their communities for decades to come. Rather than listen. The Trump Administration's plan aims to silence such voices. There's a long history of polluting highways, pipelines and industrial plants being disproportionately located in these neighborhoods. Latino believes the Trump Administration's new regulations for Nipah are illegal. And she says they will be challenged in court, which means November's election could determine whether these new regulations remain in effect. The presumptive Democratic nominee, Joe Biden, has vowed to reverse dozens of environmental rollbacks Trump has made while in office. Jeff Brady NPR news So who gets to be memorialized in California? There are several schools and streets named after the state's first governor. But what about the native Americans and black people he terrorized? Well this week. We're profiling, statues, memorials and buildings that deserve a second look to see who we honor in America and who we have allowed ourselves to forget. Today, Peter Hardiman Burnett As governor of California, he endorsed the genocide of Native Americans. He also tried to pass a law outlawing African Americans in this state. Author Gregory Noakes has researched and written extensively on Burnett. His book is called the troubled Life of Peter Burnett, and he joins us now welcome. Hi. Thank you very much, Ilsa and pleasure to be here. Julius. You mean before Burnett made it out here to California? He was a young man pushing West. Tell us how he came to live in Oregon first. He was a self taught attorney living in Missouri, and he had a fairly distinguished career there. Here's what defense attorney for Joseph Smith after the Mormon War in 18 38. But he will want to be rich, and he made all these investments and went heavily into debt, and he heard there was free land out in Oregon. So we organize his own wagon train, which actually was the first major wagon train in 18 43 to come to Oregon. And he enters politics in Oregon and in his role I understand in the Legislature, they're he uses a law that bans slavery in Oregon to actually allow slavery there. How did he do that? Well, he did. It was a very tricky maneuver, and his party come from the slave owning family brought a couple slaves of his own into Oregon, although one of them drowned on the way and or get it all previously passed a law banning slavery outright. So he passed what became Oregon's first exclusion law banning African Americans coming door again. There's been no such law before, and it's part of the exclusion law. There was a tricky provisions that slave owners would have 23 their slaves after three years. And that was unusual wording, by implication allowed slave owners tohave slaves for three years, right. And so this was changed rather quickly, But it did create a window for some slave owners to bring slaves to Oregon in that period. Well, the gold rush, of course, brings him to California. He helps found the city of Sacramento. He has elected the first governor of California. And he was able to get laws and policies on the books that effectively subject gated Native Americans in this state. What were those policies? One of those was a law passed in 18 50 called the Act for the government and protection of Indians and that word protection underlying Because it provided for apprenticing native Children toe white people where they could obviously be used his servants or slaves, and then for a vagrant Indian so called vagrant Indians to be hired out to the highest bidder. And it pretty much is like slavery in that period and this apparently involved in his 20,000 native Americans who are were used in that way. And there were also massacres that occurred during his tenure as governor as well, right massacres of native Americans. Oh, yes, right because you know, the one that's stuck out in my mind that I wrote about was ability Island Massacre in Lake County. In 18 50. What? As many as 300 promo Indians, innocent Indians, men, women and Children were massacred by the U. S. Calvary. And he had no comment on these air just kind of didn't call out troops to defend them. So in that sense, it was kind of a passive endorsement of extermination. Well, it seems that Burnett has Been reduced to a footnote in California history. I mean, I grew up in California I never learned about him. A lot of people don't know his name despite passing places that bear his name daily. Why do you think that is? He must have made a tremendous first impression because we've only touched on a few of the offices that he held over the years. People followed him, but he didn't deliver on his promises. Now, I should say that probably much of the population in the west of that time the white population were hostile to African Americans. But the idea that they would have a governor who seemed to have that it's his only agenda. Has caused him to be a pretty much for gotten. So you happen you have in California. Had these lists of governors of California and Burnett is always at the top. The very first governor. You'd think that would be a point of distinction, but not much is known about him. Gregory Noakes. His book from 2018 is called the Troubled Life of Peter Burnett. Thank you very much for speaking with us today, but thank you so much as I appreciate the call on appreciate you're interviewing me. This is all things considered from NPR news.