EPA Sues New York

Over Storage Tanks

NEW YORK -- The federal government sued New York yesterday, alleging the city has been violating environmental laws since 1997 in connection with underground storage tanks that hold petroleum and hazardous substances.

The civil complaint, filed in federal court by the Manhattan U.S. attorney on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, alleges, among other things, that New York has failed to upgrade underground storage tank systems in a timely fashion and to maintain and furnish compliance records.

It also alleges that the city has failed to report, investigate and confirm suspected releases of regulated substances.

The complaint seeks unspecified civil penalties and a court order forcing compliance with environmental laws. Fines can include a penalty of as much as $11,000 per tank for each day of violation.

New York owns at least 1,600 underground storage tanks in at least 400 locations across the metropolitan area, including the five boroughs. The tanks are operated by at least 16 city agencies or departments.

Materials contained in underground storage tanks can harm the environment and human health if they are released through leaks, spills or overfills.

Bad Weather Delays

Space Shuttle's Return

CAPE CANAVERAL -- For the second day in a row, bad weather prevented the space shuttle Endeavour from returning from its space station visit.

The delay added a 184th day in orbit for the three former residents of the international space station, whose families anxiously awaited their return at Cape Canaveral.

The forecast for today is far from perfect, but NASA is hoping it would be good enough for Endeavour to land. If the weather still does not cooperate, the shuttle will be guided to a Saturday touchdown on one coast or the other, said flight director Wayne Hale.

NASA is reluctant to divert its space shuttles to Edwards Air Force Base in California because of the expense and time involved in ferrying the spaceships back to their home port in Florida. Endeavour has enough fuel and supplies to remain in orbit until Sunday.

* LAS VEGAS -- Two Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets collided during training on Wednesday and one pilot was killed. The accident over the Nevada Test and Training Range killed Capt. Eric Palaro, a pilot from the 81st Fighter Squadron. Maj. Scott Kniep, an instructor with the A-10 division of the U.S. Air Force Weapons School, ejected from his aircraft and was found in good condition, spokesmen said.

* LAFAYETTE, La. -- A teenager accused of slipping razor blades into hot apple pies at a McDonald's restaurant where he worked will remain jailed until a bond hearing next week. Adam Joseph Fontenot, 18, of Eunice, La., appeared in federal court Wednesday on a charge of tampering with consumer products in interstate commerce. Police said Fontenot slipped single-edge razor blades into the pies on Nov. 24. One was served to a female customer who was cut on the lip.

* HICKAM AIR FORCE BASE, Hawaii -- Remains believed to be those of U.S. servicemen killed in Laos and Vietnam in 1954 -- including an American pilot -- were returned to U.S. soil. One of the five sets of remains may be those of James B. McGovern -- known as "Earthquake McGoon" and famed for his daring exploits in China and Southeast Asia 50 years ago -- or of his co-pilot Wallace A. Buford.

* MIAMI -- A small plane crashed into the Federal Reserve Bank Building here, killing the pilot, authorities said. A holiday party was being held at the time the aircraft hit the building. No one inside was hurt. The bank is a branch of the Federal Reserve in Atlanta. It processes cash and checks from banks and other financial institutions. The crash "appears to be an accident, "said Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Laura Brown in Washington.

-- From News Services