Wildfire raging north of San Francisco threatens homes

LOWER LAKE, Calif. (AP) — Wildfires blazing in several Western states Sunday chewed up forests and threatened homes but were most numerous in Northern California where dozens are raging and setting off evacuations.

Wildfires are also burning in Washington and Oregon.

Canada PM triggers election with vote in October

TORONTO (AP) — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper triggered an election campaign Sunday and set the vote for Oct. 19, when Harper and his Conservative party hope to earn a fourth term after almost a decade in power.

Analysts say the election is a toss-up and Harper faces an uphill battle to form another majority government. If Harper wins he would become the first prime minister since 1908 to win four consecutive elections.

AP-GfK poll: Americans favor farmers & food during drought

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When water gets scarce and the government slaps restrictions on its use, who should be first in line at the spigot? Farmers, according to an Associated Press-GfK poll.

The national survey provides a glimpse into how Americans think water should be managed at a time when abnormally dry weather has afflicted swaths of the country, and water shortages in some states have led to conflict over who should get water and how much.

Ethics panel clears lawmakers in 2013 Azerbaijan trip

WASHINGTON (AP) — The House Ethics Committee said Friday it found no evidence of wrongdoing by a bipartisan group of lawmakers who went on a 2013 trip to Azerbaijan paid for by that country's government.

Lawmakers obtained prior approval for the trip from the ethics panel "in good faith" and did not know that two groups that claimed to sponsor the trip had apparently lied about the true source of their funding, the ethics panel said.

"When a House member ...seeks and receives advance written permission to accept a gift" such as travel, "that permission acts a shield to protect the individual from future action by this committee," the ethics panel said in a 28-page report.

Mexico state: Indians approve embattled wind power project

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Residents of a heavily Indian area have approved the installation of a huge wind power project in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec in southern Mexico, the Oaxaca state government said Friday.

The proposed construction of 132 giant wind turbines is meant to generate 396 megawatts of power, but the project has raised concerns over vibrations, bird deaths and invasion of Indian lands.

Democrats happy with Obama outreach as they weigh Iran deal

WASHINGTON (AP) — Determined to secure support for the Iran nuclear deal, President Barack Obama is making inroads with a tough constituency — his fellow Democrats in Congress.

A handful of key Democrats stepped forward to support the accord within hours of Obama's personal lobbying at the White House last week, part of the administration's all-out campaign since the pact was announced July 14. Other Democrats have signaled they are leaning in favor and still others have remained undeclared, awaiting a vote in September.

Michael Bonfigli/The Christian Science Monitor

Obama to unveil final Clean Power Plan as regulatory opponents dig in

Looking to cement its climate change legacy, the Obama administration's final Clean Power Plan will require steeper emissions cuts from existing power plants, boost incentives for renewable energy development and extend the timeline for compliance.

The White House and Environmental Protection Agency detailed key changes to the rule Sunday, a day ahead of its formal release. While changes were made as a result of 4.3 million public comments submitted, giving states more time and options to comply, critics said they wouldn’t be enough to ensure secure energy supplies and affordable power rates.

President Obama unveils final Clean Power Plan

Washington, August 3, 2015, 2:15 pm

President Barack Obama and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to unveil the final Clean Power Plan at a White House ceremony

Final carbon rule: Stricter goals but more options for states

The Environmental Protection Agency on Monday is set to finalize its long-awaited Clean Power Plan to slash emissions from power plants, setting a more ambitious target for reductions, but giving states more time—and options—to comply.

The final rule for existing plants would require total carbon emissions cuts of 32 percent by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, up from 30 percent in the proposal. It also sets a more aggressive goal for renewable power than did the draft, aiming to have 28 percent of the country's power generated from renewable sources by 2030, up from 22 percent in the draft proposal.

White House

Obama to mandate steeper emissions cuts from US power plants

NEW YORK (AP) — President Barack Obama will impose even steeper cuts on greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. power plants than previously expected, senior administration officials said Sunday, in what the president called the most significant step the U.S. has ever taken to fight global warming.

In his initial proposal, Obama had mandated a 30 percent nationwide cut in carbon dioxide emissions by 2030, compared to 2005 levels. The final version will require a 32 percent cut instead, said the officials, who weren't authorized to comment by name and requested anonymity.

The final rule also gives states an additional two years — until 2022 — to comply, officials said, yielding to complaints that the original deadline was too soon. States will also have until 2018 instead of 2017 to submit their plans for how they'll meet their targets.

But the administration will attempt to incentivize states to take action earlier by offering credits to states that boost renewable sources like wind and solar in 2020 and 2021, officials said.

A year after proposing unprecedented carbon dioxide limits, Obama was poised to finalize the rule at a White House event on Monday. In a video posted to Facebook, Obama said the limits were backed up by decades of data showing that without tough action, the world will face more extreme weather and escalating health problems like asthma.

"Climate change is not a problem for another generation," Obama said. "Not anymore."

Opponents vowed to sue immediately, and planned to ask the courts to put the rule on hold while legal challenges play out. Many states have threatened not to comply.



Subscribe to Policy