Obama to sign Russia sanctions legislation

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama will sign legislation slapping new sanctions on Russia and providing weapons and other aid to Ukraine despite White House concerns that military assistance will further escalate the conflict, the White House said Tuesday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama continues to have misgivings about the bill, which cleared Congress with overwhelming support, but believes the legislation still gives him the flexibility he needs.

Rain could spell trouble for Calif. water conservation

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — After California's driest three years on record, there have been few sounds as disturbing to water conservationists as the whisk-whisk-whisk of automatic lawn sprinklers kicking on directly behind TV reporters covering some of the state's first heavy downpours in years.

Recent storms eased the drought somewhat, but there's a long way to go. And state officials are worried that the rain will give people an excuse to abandon the already inconsistent conservation efforts adopted to deal with the dry spell.

EPA regs like Senate torture report: AEA

National Journal

The American Energy Alliance – widely believed to be bankrolled by the Koch brothers – has published a cartoon that draws a comparison between Environmental Protection Agency climate rules and the report from Senate Democrats that detailed allegations about CIA torture techniques, National Journal reports.

House GOP challenges FWS over endangered species science

The Hill

A report issued by the House Committee on Natural Resources charges that the Fish and Wildlife Service isn’t using good procedures in marshalling scientific studies to make its decisions on endangered species, according to The Hill.

NRC falls short in costing rules: GAO

The Hill

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission follows some, but not enough, of best practices when it comes to costing rules it proposes, according to an analysis from the Government Accountability Office which was made public by Sen. David Vitter, R-La. and Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., The Hill reports.

Brown, lawmakers vow California to keep up climate fight

Los Angeles Times

At a conference hosted by activist Tom Steyer Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown and other top officials in California pledged that the state would keep pressing on climate change policy despite opposition from oil companies and other players in the energy industry, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Environmentalists reach out to minorities over police shootings

National Journal

Environmental groups like the Sierra Club and Friends of the Earth have been taking steps on social media to show solidarity with the black community over the deaths of Michael Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, National Journal reports, noting that the green movement is trying to diversify its base of supporters.

U.S. encouraging Noble’s gas deals with Israel’s neighbors

The New York Times

Israel is better able to sell its offshore natural gas to Arab neighbors because the company at the heart of the deals is Houston-based Noble Energy, and the U.S. hopes the sales will help ease tensions in the region, The New York Times reports.

Senate may confirm up to 88 federal judges

WASHINGTON (AP) — Impeded no more by Republican blocking tactics, Democrats are on track to win confirmation of up to 88 of President Barack Obama's top judicial nominations this year, a total that would be the highest for any president in two decades.

Last year, Democrats made it harder for Republicans to derail Obama's nominations by weakening the Senate's rule on filibusters. So far this year, the chamber has approved 76 federal court of appeals and district court judges, all of them lifetime appointments. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is hoping to confirm a dozen more before adjournment later this week — votes he is pushing with the knowledge that the Republicans who control the Senate next year will be less accommodating.

Vietnam tunnel collapses, trapping 12 workers

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — The tunnel of a hydropower plant that is under construction in central Vietnam collapsed Tuesday, trapping 12 workers, state media reported.

The Thanh Nien newspaper quoted Pham Dinh Hieu, a project manager, as saying the incident occurred Tuesday morning in Lam Dong province as the workers were putting concrete on the tunnel's dome. Twenty other workers escaped unhurt.


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