California drought cutbacks may include water at restaurants

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California residents may have to ask for water at restaurants and for fresh towels and sheets at hotels as the drought drags on.

These are among the new restrictions mulled by the State Water Resources Control Board at an informational hearing Tuesday as the board considers extending and expanding mandatory water-use rules.

What winter? Northwest enjoys high temperatures

SEATTLE (AP) — Flowers are blossoming. Bees are buzzing. The sky is blue. Sunsets have been stunning. Temperatures have crept north of 60 degrees, and joggers are going shirtless.

This isn't a typical February in the Pacific Northwest.

Interior Secretary Jewell visits eroding Alaska village

KOTZEBUE, Alaska (AP) — In temperatures slightly higher than Washington, D.C.'s, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell got a firsthand look Monday at the effect of climate change on an Alaska coastal community.

Jewell visited Kivalina, a village of 370 on a barrier island just off Alaska's northwest coast, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

‘Sky rivers’ drew close scientific scrutiny in California

Los Angeles Times

The atmospheric rivers that brought welcome rain to California last week were the subject of intensive scientific examination, both in the air and on the ground, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Federal offices in DC to close due to winter storm

WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal government says its Washington-area offices will be closed Tuesday due to a winter storm moving into the Mid-Atlantic states.

The U.S. Office of Personnel Management says nonemergency personnel in and around Washington are granted excused absences for the day. Emergency employees and telework-ready employees are expected to follow their agencies' policies.

Oregon minnow first fish to be removed from US endangered species list

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — It's official. A tiny minnow that lives only in backwaters in Oregon's Willamette Valley is the first fish to be formally removed from Endangered Species Act protection because it is no longer in danger of extinction.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Director Dan Ashe was to make the announcement Tuesday afternoon at a wildlife refuge outside Corvallis.

Environmental groups sue predator control agency in Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Five conservation groups that contend federal officials in Idaho are violating environmental laws by killing wolves, coyotes and other wildlife to protect livestock and crops have filed a federal lawsuit.

The Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project and four other groups filed the 40-page lawsuit Wednesday in U.S. District Court against the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife Services and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Study: Oklahoma's daily small quakes raise risk of big ones

SAN JOSE, California (AP) — Small earthquakes shaking Oklahoma and southern Kansas daily and linked to energy drilling are dramatically increasing the chance of bigger and dangerous quakes, federal research indicates.

This once stable region is now just as likely to see serious damaging and potentially harmful earthquakes as the highest risk places east of the Rockies such as New Madrid, Missouri, and Charleston, South Carolina, which had major quakes in the past two centuries.

Associated Press

Murkowski freezes out feds in ANWR drill bill

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, has again introduced legislation to open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge coastal plain to oil and gas drilling, but this year she's in no mood to give the federal government more revenue than allowed under the Alaska Statehood Act.

Her latest bill to authorize drilling on the plain, made public on Friday, makes no mention of the 50-50 royalty proceeds split between the state and the federal government she proposed in an ANWR drilling measure last year.

Instead, Washington would get just 10 percent, as provided in the statehood law, a jab at the Obama administration over its recent proposal to put more than 12 million ANWR acres permanently off limits to development.

Nearly 200 pilot whales stranded on New Zealand beach

SYDNEY (AP) — Nearly 200 pilot whales stranded themselves on New Zealand's South Island on Friday, and hordes of rescuers rushed to the remote area in a bid to guide them back to sea.

Two dozen of the 198 whales had already died despite efforts to save the creatures, which were found stranded on Farewell Spit, a famous spot for whale beachings, Department of Conservation area manager Andrew Lamason said.


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