By Jennifer Chaussee SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Water regulators in California approved tough new conservation measures on Tuesday to limit outdoor water use, including daily fines of up to $500 for using a hose without a shut-off nozzle. "We are facing the worst drought impact that we or our grandparents have ever seen," said State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus. "An emergency requires action, and today’s announcement is a much-needed response to California’s drought emergency," said Ed Osann, senior policy analyst with the Natural Resources Defense Council, which supported the regulations. California is in the third year of a catastrophic drought that has diminished the Sierra Nevada snow pack, which normally feeds the state's rivers and streams with cool water.
By Michael Hirtzer CHICAGO (Reuters) - An ethanol plant in Nebraska corn country is pumping out fuel made from sugar beets, and corn farmers are suing to stop it - a small-town dispute that offers an unusual take on the debate over the market-distorting impact of sugar and corn subsidies. The dispute in Aurora, population about 4,400, brings into conflict two of the largest U.S. farm programs, one promoting sugar production and the other corn-based ethanol. Aventine Renewable Energy Holdings Inc, a privately held Illinois firm, is reaping profits producing ethanol with cheap sugar, thanks to a U.S. Agriculture Department subsidy of beet sugar. Local corn farmers, who benefit from a government rule that forces oil companies to blend ethanol into gasoline, say in court documents that Aventine's action violates an agreement to use their grain exclusively as a feedstock for the firm's recently reopened plant in Aurora.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court late Tuesday refused to halt the execution of a Missouri inmate accused of killing three people in 1995, but defense attorneys said they were continuing to fight in the courts and had requested a stay at the district court level.
(Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a request to stay the execution of a convicted triple murderer who says he suffers from mental incapacity, ruling within hours after an appeals court lifted a stay granted by a federal judge. Missouri prison officials were planning to put John Middleton to death by lethal injection at 12:01 a.m. CDT on Wednesday at the state prison in Bonne Terre. U.S. District Judge Catherine Perry issued a stay of execution on Tuesday morning after Middleton's attorneys argued that he was not competent to be executed. But the 8th U.S. ...
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California water regulators voted Tuesday to approve fines up to $500 a day for residents who waste water on lawns, landscaping and car washing, as a report showed that consumption throughout the state has actually risen amid the worst drought in nearly four decades.
By David Morgan WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A congressional panel probing the mishandling of dangerous pathogens at federal laboratories will try to determine if U.S. officials sought to cover up an incident involving deadly avian flu, its Republican chairman said on Tuesday. Representative Tim Murphy said lawmakers will also look at whether lab workers face adequate "consequences" for failing to follow rules, and consider new legislation if penalties are lacking when actions endanger the public. The panel is due to hear testimony on Wednesday from several witnesses, including Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC has been engulfed in controversy since last month when officials revealed that 84 lab workers had potentially been exposed to live anthrax bacteria at its Atlanta campus.
ST. LOUIS (AP) — A special prosecutor on Tuesday dismissed a first-degree murder charge against a northwest Missouri man facing a third trial in his neighbor's 1990 death — the latest and likely final legal victory in a nearly quarter-century effort to clear his name.