Armenian president suspends electricity hikes behind protest

YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — The president of Armenia on Saturday suspended hikes in household electricity rates in an effort to end the protests that have blocked the capital's main avenue for six straight days. The demonstrators, however, didn't disperse.

President Serzh Sargsyan said the government would bear the burden of the higher electricity costs until an audit of the Russian-owned power company could be completed. At least some of the money appeared to be coming from Moscow, where the protests have caused great concern.


Report: Oil from Santa Barbara spill spread to Redondo Beach

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A petroleum pipeline company says oil from a Santa Barbara, California, spill spread more than 100 miles to Los Angeles County beaches.

Plains All American Pipeline said Friday that oil from its pipeline was found as far away as Redondo Beach.

GOP push to block regs with ESA may have a point, greens say


Conservationists say there may be some merit to the Republican argument that new federal emissions regulations may run afoul of the Endangered Species Act, E&E reports.

Dems push Obama against crude exports

The Hill

A group of 13 Senate Democrats, led by Sen. Ed Markey, Mass., urged President Obama to reject calls to lift or ease the ban on crude oil exports, arguing it would threaten U.S. energy security and raise prices, The Hill reports.


Plains mum on delay in reporting leak

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Plains All American Pipeline would not comment Friday on why it took to long to confirm that its pipeline had cracked and was spilling thousands of gallons of oil onto the sand and water west of Santa Barbara, after documents obtained by The Associated Press revealed that a Plains employee at the scene initially suggested to firefighters that the spill "was too big to be from their pipeline." 

Firefighters investigating the reported petroleum stench at a California beach last month didn't take long to find the spill — oil was spreading across the sand and into the surf. Tracing the source, they found crude gushing from a bluff like a fire hose "without a nozzle," the records show.


Avoiding future freeway congestion could come with a cost

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Fewer of tomorrow's freeways will be free. In exchange, drivers willing and able to pay will avoid the traffic congestion that bedevils everyone else.

Toll lanes are an increasingly common solution in metropolitan regions with limited public space or money to widen highways. One increasingly popular idea is to convert carpool lanes to let solo drivers pay for a faster ride. In the future, non-carpool lanes might also be tolled.

Smithsonian to improve ethics policies on research funding

After revelations that a scientist failed to disclose his funding sources for climate change research, the Smithsonian Institution said Friday it is improving its ethics and disclosure policies to avoid conflicts of interest.

The museum and research complex said it is prepared to take immediate action after a review of its policies by Rita Colwell, the former director of the National Science Foundation. Smithsonian officials initiated the external review after recent allegations that scientist Wei-Hock Soon did not disclose conflicts of interest in his research funding. A Smithsonian team also conducted an internal review.

Deforestation pledge not expected in U.S.-Brazil climate statement


The U.S. and Brazil are set to unveil a joint declaration next week in support of an international climate deal, but analysts tell Reuters that a target date for Brazil to hit zero net deforestation is unlikely to be included in it.

Western wildfires: California fire grows, forces evacuations

Wildfires are charging through several dry Western states, including a blaze in California that showed new life after burning for a week and forced residents of some communities to flee their homes. A look at the latest hotspots and what crews are doing to control them:

Air pollution rules among remaining Supreme Court decisions

The Wall Street Journal

A legal challenge to EPA's Mercury and Air Toxics Standards is one of the final four cases to be decided by the Supreme Court before its current session ends next week, The Wall Street Journal reports.


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