|Threatened Utah prairie dogs have their day in court...and win - |
Prairie dogs in Utah won a turf battle against property developers on Wednesday when a U.S. appeals court reinstated restrictions on development in areas inhabited by the threatened animals. Environmentalists praised the three-judge appeals court panel's decision overturning an earlier ruling and protecting the foot-long rodents, which property rights activists say threaten farm animals and development with their massive underground colonies. “This is huge, not only for the prairie dog but for the Endangered Species Act,” Michael Harris, legal director for Friends of Animals, a conservation group involved in the case, said in a phone interview Wednesday.
|California would increase fuel taxes under $52 billion road repair plan - |
California would increase gasoline taxes and other transportation-related fees for the first time in decades to fund an ambitious $52 billion plan to repair the state's sagging infrastructure under a deal announced Wednesday. The deal between fiscally moderate Democratic Governor Jerry Brown and leaders of the majority Democrat legislature would increase the excise tax on gasoline by 12 cents per gallon from the current $0.28, and on diesel fuel by 20 cents per gallon, among other fees, over 10 years to pay for repairs to roads and bridges as well as for anti-congestion projects. "Let's be clear - our roads suck," said Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, who represents blue-collar suburbs south of Los Angeles at a news conference announcing the deal.
|Kellogg evacuates headquarters in Michigan after Freon leak - |
Fire officials shut off the Freon, a refrigerant used for cooling, and the building was declared clear by the fire department at around 1:40 p.m. All employees have been released from the hospital and the building is now safe, Kellogg said.
|Four dead, power cut after storms hit Texas and neighboring states - |
By Jon Herskovitz AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Four people were killed and nearly 70,000 customers were without electricity on Wednesday after storms pounded Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana with tornadoes, torrential rain and hail. Three storm chasers trying to track tornadoes in the Texas Panhandle region died when two cars they were in slammed into each other near Spur on Tuesday night, police said. In Oklahoma, a truck driver was killed near El Reno in a roll-over crash likely caused by high winds, police said.
|U.S. judge to consider objection to Trump University settlement - |
A U.S. judge will hear arguments on Thursday over whether to grant final approval to a $25 million settlement of fraud lawsuits against President Donald Trump over his Trump University real estate investment seminars, with at least one former student objecting to the deal. Sherri Simpson of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who paid $19,000 to learn Trump's investing "secrets," filed court papers earlier this month arguing the class action settlement should not have contained a provision barring her and other students from opting out and suing Trump on their own. The objection raises the possibility the litigation could continue to dog Trump's presidency.