Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced a $300 million California drought aid bill that counters legislation passed by House Republicans to weaken federal conservation efforts in a bid to get more water to farmers, The Wall Street Journal reports.
BEIJING (AP) — Villagers in southwestern China infuriated by a factory that was polluting the environment smashed its offices and equipment, and later clashed with police, underscoring the potential for such concerns to trigger violent unrest.
Residents of Baha, a village in Yunnan province, said Wednesday that police were arresting people involved in Friday's clash at the local police station. The official Xinhua News Agency said police had identified 16 suspects.
Three villagers reached by phone said they had grown increasingly angry over a local metalwork factory that had been coughing up black smoke and discharging polluted wastewater into the rural area.
Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, "Extreme Weather Events: The Costs of Not Being Prepared." Homeland Security Department Asst. Secretary for Policy David F. Heyman, Asst. Secretary for Infrastructure Protection Caitlin A. Durkovich to testify.
PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) — A factory explosion that blew out windows and injured more than a dozen people likely originated in a room where acid is used to treat the surface of ball bearings, but it could be weeks before the exact cause is determined, investigators said Tuesday.
The Monday afternoon blast at New Hampshire Ball Bearings Inc. shattered glass, dislodged ceiling tiles and damaged walls, though the building was stable enough for investigators to work inside Tuesday. Deputy Fire Marshal Max Schultz said the on-site investigation was expected to end later in the day, and the building would then be turned over to company officials for cleanup and repairs.
The plant makes parts for the aerospace industry and employs 700 people. Company spokeswoman Kathy Gerrity said there would have been about 450 working at the time of the blast, which happened just after a 3:30 p.m. shift change. No one was in close proximity to the blast, Schultz said.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States is cracking down on the sale and purchase of ivory in hopes of curbing a surge in illicit poaching that's threatening to wipe out elephants and other species in Africa.
The ivory ban is a key component of a new, national strategy for combating wildlife trafficking, unveiled Tuesday by the White House, seven months after President Barack Obama issued a call to action during a visit to Tanzania. In addition, the U.S. will seek to strengthen global enforcement and international cooperation to fight an illicit trade estimated to total about $10 billion per year.
"We're seeing record-high demand for wildlife products," said Grant Harris, who heads Africa policy for the White House's National Security Council. "The result is an explosion of illicit trade and wildlife trafficking in recent years."
ATLANTA (AP) — Emergency management workers in the Atlanta area were preparing to spring into action as rain — and temperatures — were falling early Wednesday, potentially leading to "catastrophic" ice conditions across the region.
Already, Georgia Power was reporting thousands of power outages around the state. And forecasters and officials said the number of outages would probably grow throughout the day. In north Georgia, morning snow was falling. Other areas of the South, from Louisiana to South Carolina, and the mid-Atlantic also are expected to get socked with a wintry mix of ice, snow and freezing rain.
Atlanta and the surrounding region dodged the first punch of a dangerous winter storm Tuesday, but forecasters warned that the second punch would likely bring a thick layer of ice and heavy winds that could knock out power to thousands and leave people stranded in their cold, dark homes for days. National Weather Service forecasters used unusual dire language in warnings and memos early Wednesday, and they said that while a foot of snow could fall in some parts of Georgia, "it is the ice that will have the catastrophic impacts."
California's ongoing drought has resulted in 487 wildfires so far this year, up from just two in the same period last year, causing concern among state officials that the drought could help fuel a more sustained, intense wildfire season, Bloomberg reports.
PETERBOROUGH, N.H. (AP) — First responders are working to determine what caused an explosion at a ball bearings plant that shattered windows, shook walls and sent at least 15 people to the hospital.
Monday afternoon's blast at the New Hampshire Ball Bearings Inc. plant in Peterborough is being investigated but all indications were that it was an industrial-related incident, said Peterborough Fire Department spokesman Eric Bowman. There didn't appear to be any environmental damage.
Plant machine operator Paul Clark said he was outside in the parking lot when he heard the explosion.
Proposals to tighten safety standards for crude carried by rail were published in the Federal Register Friday by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, kicking off a period for public comment that will run for 60 days, The Hill reports.
Environmental groups have submitted a petition to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, charging an Environmental Protection Agency rule that sets a new deadline for states to submit plans to reduce fine particle pollution violates the Clean Air Act and asking for a review, E&E reports.
With a glut in the Atlantic basin and weaker demand, crude oil Friday dropped to its lowest settlements in months in New York and London despite continued crises in the Middle East and Ukraine. U.S. benchmark crude for September delivery finished the week more than 4 percent lower, falling 29 cents to close at $97.88 a barrel on the Nymex, its lowest settlement since February, while Brent crude tumbled $1.18 to $104.84, Reuters reports.
Although Libyan ports and oilfields have been reopening, sending oil prices tumbling globally, analysts warn that the worst violence to wrack the country since its 2011 civil war shows little sign of abating and the oil industry there remains at risk, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The three West Coast governors, all Democrats -- Jerry Brown of California, Jay Inslee of Washington and John Kitzhaber of Oregon -- have sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, expressing their opposition to including any oil or gas lease sales from their area in her department’s updated plan for the Outer Continental Shelf, The Associated Press reports.
Opening up more areas to offshore drilling -- including parts of the Pacific -- would generate around $160 billion over a period of less than 20 years, according to more than 160 Republican Congressmen who sent a letter to Interior Secretary Sally Jewell about her department’s updated plan for the Outer Continental Shelf, The Hill reports.
The latest round of sanctions against Russia over its policy in Ukraine, which would require permits for exporting oil technology to Moscow, poses a problem for Exxon Mobil, which has plans to drill for oil in partnership with state-owned Rosneft in the Arctic and elsewhere, National Journal reports.
The cost of battery technology will have to come down by more than half, but Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk – speaking to investors during a week when he announced partnership with Panasonic to build a battery gigafactory -- is confident that will happen and electric vehicles will achieve price parity with those running on gasoline within 10 years, E&E reports.
Kinder Morgan affiliate El Paso Natural Gas Co. has already begun engineering work on $529 million worth of upgrades to its pipeline system in the Southwest which will enable it to deliver promised natural gas to Mexico, agreed in a 21-year deal signed with the country’s electricity commission, FuelFix reports.
The BNSF Railway is some 811,000 short tons behind on coal deliveries to the Sherco power plant northwest of Minneapolis, Xcel Energy has told the Surface Transportation Board, warning that if the plant runs out of coal it will stop producing electricity, Platts reports.