States win suit to stop new EPA regulations

Saturday, March 18, 2006

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A federal appeals court sided with 14 states Friday and blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from going forward with new regulations activists say would lead to more air pollution from the nation's power plants and factories. The new rules would have allowed older power plants, refineries and factories to modernize without having to install the most advanced pollution controls. Fourteen states and a number of cities, including New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., sued to block the change in 2003. The lawsuit was filed by New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wisconsin.

Two more women die after using RU-486 pill

WASHINGTON -- Two more women have died after using the abortion pill RU-486, regulators said Friday in a warning that brought renewed calls for pulling the controversial drug from the market. The organization that provided the pill to the two women said it would immediately stop disregarding the approved instructions for the pill's use. The Food and Drug Administration warned doctors to watch for a rare but deadly infection previously implicated in four deaths of women who had taken the drug. The drug, also called Mifeprex or mifepristone, has not been proved to be the cause in any of those cases. Nor has the FDA confirmed the cause of the latest two deaths.

Third Denny's shooting leaves one man dead

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- A gunman opened fire early Friday at a Denny's restaurant, killing one man and seriously wounding another, police said. It was the third fatal shooting at the restaurant chain in Southern California this week. The 2:45 a.m. shooting happened after a fight between two large groups inside the restaurant, said Sgt. Rick Martinez of the Anaheim Police Department. One victim re-entered the restaurant after being shot and died inside, Martinez said. The other victim was taken to a hospital and was expected to survive. The gunman was being sought by authorities. The shooting did not appear to be gang-related, Martinez said.

Alaska oil spill went undetected for days

ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- For five days or more, crude oil oozed from a pipeline through a corrosion hole about the size of a pencil eraser, silently spreading underneath the snow in what would become the biggest spill ever on Alaska's North Slope. Ultimately it wasn't the pipeline's leak-detection systems that discovered the spill. It was an oilfield worker who caught a whiff of the petroleum. Industry watchdogs say the spill was absolutely preventable and should have been detected more promptly, and they blame cost-pinching practices at BP, which runs the Prudhoe Bay operation. BP has defended its maintenance spending and inspection practices. Nevertheless, state environmental regulators say the spill will lead to fines and possibly stricter pipeline regulations in Alaska, a state that has grown rich on oil since crude began flowing from the North Slope via the 800-mile trans-Alaska pipeline in the 1970s. Up to 267,000 gallons are believed to have spilled.

S.D. gets tourism boycott threats over abortion ban

PIERRE, S.D. -- The superintendent of Mount Rushmore was surprised at first when people from all over the country started calling up to express their opinion about South Dakota's ban on nearly all abortions. Some callers said they were so upset that they would never visit Mount Rushmore, South Dakota's No. 1 tourist attraction. Others said they were so thrilled that they would make a point of coming to see the chiseled faces of four U.S. presidents in the Black Hills. On further reflection, superintendent Gerard Baker decided that the messages from far and wide made sense, because Mount Rushmore is a symbol of freedom. In an uproar that has taken many South Dakotans by surprise, politicians and state agencies have been bombarded in the past few weeks with thousands upon thousands of calls, letters and e-mails -- pro and con -- from across the country and around the world.

-- From wire reports

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