Democrats skeptical of Iran nuclear deal, GOP mostly hostile

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some of President Barack Obama's fellow Democrats expressed skepticism and Republicans voiced outright hostility Tuesday to the landmark Iranian nuclear deal.

Under the historic accord, Iran's nuclear program would be curtailed in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions. The agreement aims to avert the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran and another U.S. military intervention in the Middle East.

DiCaprio foundation grants $15M to environmental groups

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When it comes to saving the planet, Leonardo DiCaprio is putting his money where his mouth is.

The actor's foundation announced Tuesday it has awarded $15 million in grants to a host of environmental organizations, including Amazon Watch, Save the Elephants, Tree People and the World Wildlife Fund.

Gas industry severance fight fueled by low prices

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Persistently low natural gas prices are fueling the determination of severance tax opponents to keep fighting moves to impose the levy in Pennsylvania, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.

Rooftop solar advocates push for inclusion in California mandate

The Desert Sun

Power generated by rooftop solar panels is not included in California’s current renewable energy mandate, and proposed legislation to changed that is facing strong opposition from big utilities and organized labor, The Desert Sun reports.

House GOP unveils short-term highway funding extension

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans called for a brief extension of highway and mass transit funding Monday night to prevent a reduction in scheduled construction as early as this summer.

The legislation, which is expected to come up for a vote this week, calls for $8 billion to keep the programs funded through Dec. 18.

Where They Stand: Scott Walker on issues of 2016 campaign

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Where two-term Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker stands on various issues that will be debated in the Republican presidential campaign, a race he's joining:

McConnell: Iran deal will be 'hard sell' in Congress

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and other congressional leaders expressed doubts Sunday about a historic agreement with Iran to address that country's nuclear program, predicting President Barack Obama could face hurdles in Congress if negotiators reach a final deal.

McConnell spoke minutes after diplomats said on Sunday that negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks were expected to reach a provisional agreement to curb the country's atomic program in return for tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief. Secretary of State John Kerry has been leading the U.S. delegation in the talks in Vienna, which aims to impose long-term, verifiable limits on Tehran's nuclear programs.

Ballot fight over fracking could be shaping up in Colorado

DENVER (AP) — Environmentalists and the energy industry have fought decisive battles over fracking in New York, Oklahoma and Texas, but the outcome is unclear in Colorado, where the issue could go to a ballot fight in the 2016 election.

A task force convened by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper tried to find a compromise over who should regulate the industry — the state or local government — and to what extent. But fracking critics were bitterly disappointed when the panel suggested leaving regulatory power in state hands and avoided recommending specific health, environmental and safety rules.

GOP senators targeting NRDC over Kirk campaign

The Hill

Complaining that the Natural Resources Defense Council's ad campaign criticizing Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., violates the rules for non-profit groups, the National Republican Senatorial Committee has asked the Internal Revenue Service to revoke NRDC’s tax-exempt status, The Hill reports.

White House

'Legacy' or 'land grab'? Obama names new monuments

President Barack Obama, who had already used executive authority to protect more land than any other president, added more than a million acres across three states Friday. Supporters hailed him for “burnishing his conservation legacy” while one critic raised the specter of a federal invasion to "seize more lands like bandits in the night.”

Using his authority under the 1906 Antiquities Act, Obama designated as national monuments the Berryessa Snow Mountain in California, the Basin and Range in Nevada, and the Waco Mammoth paleontological site in Texas. The California site covers nearly 331,000 acres, and the Nevada site covers approximately 704,000 acres, the White House said.


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