Around the Nation

Around the Nation

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Bush Oil-Shale Leases Canceled by Salazar

SALT LAKE CITY -- In his second reversal of a Bush administration decision, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday that he is scrapping leases for oil-shale development on federal land in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.

Salazar rescinded a lease offer made last month for research, development and demonstration projects that could have led to oil-shale exploration on 1.9 million acres in the three states.

It was the second time Salazar has reversed the Bush administration. He also halted the leasing of oil and gas drilling parcels near national parks in Utah this month.

A trade association of independent oil and natural gas producers criticized Salazar's decision. "It's part of a pattern of decisions by the secretary that are detrimental to all sources of domestic energy," said Kathleen Sgamma, government affairs director for the Denver-based Independent Petroleum Association of Mountain States.

Chimp's Owner Was Warned

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The founder of an ape and monkey sanctuary in Kentucky said she pleaded with Sandra Herold in 2003 to put her chimpanzee into such a facility -- more than five years before the animal attacked a friend of the Connecticut woman last week. April Truitt, director of the Primate Rescue Center near Wilmore, Ky., said she called after Travis the chimp escaped from Herold's vehicle in Stamford, Conn. Herold could not be reached for comment.

Napolitano Questions ICE Raid

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has launched a review of a federal immigration raid Tuesday that led to the arrests of 28 people at a small manufacturing company in Bellingham, Wash. Napolitano told the House Homeland Security Committee that she was not informed of the operation against Yamato Engine Specialists, the first raid of a work site by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since President Obama took office. Napolitano said she wants to focus enforcement against employers that knowingly exploit illegal workers, drawing a contrast with the Bush administration, which pursued a strategy that included frequent roundups of employees in the country illegally.

Judge Challenges Justice Dept.

A federal appeals court judge in San Francisco has directed Justice Department officials to offer their view about whether an intelligence-gathering law that Congress passed last year gives the attorney general too much power to bestow retroactive legal immunity on telecommunications firms that helped authorities engage in warrantless surveillance on U.S. citizens. The directive by Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker thrusts the Obama administration into one of the most contentious legal and policy debates of the Bush years. A department spokesman said the 2008 legislation is "the law of the land, and, as such, the Department of Justice defends it in court."

-- From Staff Reports and News Services

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