Policy

France to reinstate border controls for UN climate meeting

PARIS (AP) — France will reinstate controls on its borders — normally open to other countries in Europe's free-travel zone — for the period around a major U.N. climate conference in Paris, the interior minister said Friday.

Authorities are on alert for violent protesters as well as potential terror attacks around the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 conference. Some 80 heads of state including President Barack Obama, and tens of thousands of other people, are expected in Paris for the conference opening.

Official: NY probes Exxon, Peabody climate statements

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York's attorney general is examining statements by Exxon Mobil and Peabody Energy to determine whether they deceived investors about the causes and impacts of climate change, an official familiar with the investigations said Thursday.

A subpoena was sent Wednesday to Dallas-based Exxon after a yearlong review of shareholder disclosures, said the official, who wasn't authorized to publicly discuss the probes and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

No one from Upper Big Branch attended safety training: Ross

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A key government witness says no one from a Massey Energy mine in southern West Virginia that exploded in 2010 had attended safety training sessions he conducted for the company.

Former Massey Energy safety official William Ross testified on Thursday for a third day in the trial of ex-CEO Don Blankenship in Charleston federal court.

Nicaragua approves environmental study of canal project

MANAGUA, Nicaragua (AP) — The Nicaraguan government's canal commission formally approved an environmental impact study Thursday that opens the way for a Chinese company's $50 billion inter-ocean project to procede.

Environmentalist Jaime Incer Barquero said the lack of transparency and the government's refusal to submit the project to independent, outside review makes Thursday's decision suspect. Incer Barquero said "there will always be doubts about its validity."

Change-of-plea hearing for ex-BP engineer in oil spill case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former BP engineer is set for a change-of-plea hearing Friday in federal court in New Orleans, where he has been fighting a charge that he obstructed an investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.

Kurt Mix was indicted in early 2012 on two criminal counts arising from allegations that he deleted text messages about the amount of oil that spewed into the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon offshore rig explosion. He has been in an up-and-down legal battle ever since.

High toxin level delays California recreational crab season

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Wildlife authorities delayed the recreational Dungeness crab season and closed the rock crab fishery for most of California on Thursday, just days after warning of dangerous levels of a neurotoxin linked to a massive algae bloom off the West Coast.

The state Fish and Game Commission voted 3-0 on the Dungeness delay and the rock crab closure north of the Santa Barbara-Ventura county line. The panel said crabbing would resume when toxin levels dropped, but it did not estimate when that might be.

EnergyGuardian Photo

Administration bullish on Paris after UN agrees to act on HFCs

Members of the United Nations announced late Thursday they will develop a plan next year to phase down production and use of hydrofluorocarbons worldwide, a move that top Obama administration officials said would pave the way for a strong climate agreement in Paris.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, who led the U.S. delegation to Dubai’s Montreal Protocol meeting this week, said parties to the agreement will draft an amendment in 2016 to reduce the potent greenhouse gases. The accord is the only environmental agreement all 197 members of the UN have signed on to.

“Reaching agreement on this decision by the Parties will pave the way to help all countries transition to alternatives and away from HFCs,” McCarthy said.

US regulators: Still heavy risk in big bank loans

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal regulators say they're still seeing a heavy dose of risk in large loans made by banks and other financial institutions, despite the recovering U.S. economy.

The Federal Reserve and other agencies cite ongoing loose lending standards and an increase in loans made for financing takeovers of companies. Those loans are risky because they can greatly exceed the amount of a firm's earnings.

Democrats propose mining fees to help pay for cleanups

DENVER (AP) — Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Thursday proposed new fees for mines on federal land to help pay for cleaning up sites such as Colorado's inactive Gold King Mine, where 3 million gallons of wastewater spilled into rivers that run through three states.

The senators want to revise an 1872 federal law to include a reclamation fee on all hard rock mines, new and existing. Hard rock mining general includes gold, silver, copper and other minerals.

40-country survey: Majority support for cutting emissions

PARIS (AP) — A survey across 40 countries around the world found most people see global warming as a serious problem, and most of them want their governments to limit emissions as part of a global agreement being negotiated in Paris in a month.

Respondents in the United States and China — the two biggest emitters of the gases that heat the planet — were least likely to be worried about climate change, according to the study by the Washington-based Pew Research Center released Thursday.

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