Stories You Might Have Missed This Week

A Michigan court refuses to recognize transgender women, the acting EPA chief goes before a congressional committee, and one of Trump's golf courses is ruining sand dunes.
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Protesters build a baby wall outside the Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen, Scotland, on July 14th, 2018, during the private part of President Donald Trump's four-day visit to the United Kingdom.

Protesters build a baby wall outside the Trump International Golf Links near Aberdeen, Scotland, on July 14th, 2018, during the private part of President Donald Trump's four-day visit to the United Kingdom.

This week at Pacific Standard, we brought you stories about the increasingly dangerous routes migrants are taking into the United States, how natural burials benefit the planet, and the ways that repealing Roe v. Wade would affect all pregnant women.

Here are a few more stories we've been watching.

A Michigan Court Has Ruled That Transgender Women Aren't Women

Back in 2015, a woman in Midland, Michigan, sued Planet Fitness for damages after she complained about seeing a transgender woman (whom she called a "man") in the local gym's women's locker room. Planet Fitness has a "no-judgment" policy, which allows members to choose a locker room based on their self-reported gender identity. The Michigan Court of Appeals has now found that Planet Fitness violated its contract with the customer who sued. "Plaintiff was already a member of the gym when she learned of the unwritten [self-identification] policy and was thus subject to a financial penalty if she canceled her membership earlier than provided in the membership agreement," the opinion said, according to MLive. Rather than use the term "transgender," the court continually used the phrase "men who self-identity as women," ThinkProgress reports. The case will now go back to the lower court in Midland.

Activists With "Pruitt Puppet" Signs Were Escorted Out of Andrew Wheeler's First Hearing as Acting EPA Administrator

Wheeler, who took charge of the Environmental Protection Agency following the resignation of his scandal-ridden predecessor Scott Pruitt, testified on Wednesday before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. At the hearing, Wheeler said that President Donald Trump had given him three directives, according to the Washington Post: "Clean up the air, clean up the water, and provide regulatory relief to help the economy thrive and create more jobs for American workers." Though questions emerged about Wheeler's past lobbying clients and other industry ties, the hearing largely focused on policy issues, including fuel efficiency standards and the Clean Power Plan.

The Construction of One of Trump's Golf Courses Damaged Sand Dunes in Scotland

Government reports show that the building of Trump International Golf Links in Scotland directly caused the loss of about 168 acres of sand dunes, according to the Associated Press. When the project was first approved, Trump promised to "mitigate the effects of the course on the environment." The area is an important part of the Scottish coastline, and construction of the golf course disrupted its natural processes. "Most of its important geomorphological features have been lost or reduced to fragments," one of the released reports says. This news is unlikely to help Trump's reputation in Scotland, where, during a recent visit, a paragliding protester breached a no-fly zone trailing a banner: "Trump well below par."

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