2 million express opposition to Keystone pipeline

March 7
ENVIRONMENT
2 million express opposition to pipeline

Opponents of the Keystone XL pipeline delivered more than 2 million comments Friday urging the Obama administration to deny the project, about twice the number that supporters submitted.

The disparity between the two camps, which came on the final day the State Department was accepting public comments on whether the pipeline serves the national interest, underscores the complex nature of the administration’s upcoming decision. While Americans back approval of the pipeline by a nearly 3 to 1 margin, according to a new Washington Post/ABC News poll, many young people and liberal Democrats intensely oppose it on the grounds that it would accelerate climate change and could lead to dangerous spills.

But more than 500,000 advocates organized by the American Petroleum Institute have submitted comments in favor of the project, in addition to an additional half a million Americans organized by industry groups such as the Consumer Energy Alliance and the National Association of Manufacturers.

— Juliet Eilperin

NATIONAL SECURITY
Border Patrol limits shooting by agents

The head of the U.S. Border Patrol announced new rules Friday to limit agents from shooting at moving vehicles or people throwing rocks or other objects at agents, reversing a controversial policy that has led to at least 19 deaths.

Border Patrol Chief Michael J. Fisher ordered customs and border agents not to step directly in front of a moving vehicle, or use their body to block it, in order to open fire on the driver. He also barred shooting at vehicles whose occupants are fleeing from agents.

Fisher also ordered agents to seek cover or move away from rock-throwers if possible and not to shoot at them unless the rock or other object “poses an imminent danger of death or serious injury.”

— Los Angeles Times

KANSAS
Court: More must be spent on state schools

Kansas must spend more money on its public schools, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday in a decision that could jeopardize Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) desire to make his state a tax-cutting template for the nation.

The high court’s ruling, which found that Kansas’ school funding isn’t constitutional, came in a 2010 lawsuit filed by parents and school districts. Instead of balking, Brownback and other leaders of the state’s GOP-dominated government said they were pleased because the decision stopped short of telling legislators exactly how much the state must spend on its schools overall, leaving that responsibility to a lower court.

Republican leaders also say that the court left the legislature substantial leeway in providing adequate aid to poor school districts and pledged to get it done before the session adjourns in late April or early May.

— Associated Press

Massachusetts updates law on ‘upskirting’: Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a bill on Friday updating the state’s voyeurism laws, just two days after the state’s highest court ruled that a man who took cellphone photos up the skirts of female subway passengers in Boston wasn’t violating the law as written. The new law, which takes effect immediately, bans “upskirting” by making it illegal to photograph or videotape the “sexual or other intimate parts” of women or children in public. The law also applies to male victims.

— Associated Press

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