New Fuel Standards for SUVs Sought

Senators representing both parties announced they will renew efforts this year to raise fuel economy standards for sport-utility vehicles to a level well above what the Bush administration has proposed.

Sens. Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Thursday introduced legislation that would require automakers to achieve 27.5 miles per gallon for SUVs by 2011. The current requirement is 20.7 miles to the gallon, and the administration has suggested raising that to 22.2 miles per gallon by 2007.

For the Record

* The number of immigrants living illegally in the United States jumped by 1 million in under four years, the government reported yesterday. The Immigration and Naturalization Service reported that about 7 million immigrants, mostly Mexicans, were living illegally in the United States as of January 2000. That's an increase over the 5.8 million the INS said lived in the country in October 1996.

* Hospitals throughout Georgia were warned to temporarily halt the use of some blood from the American Red Cross because it was feared to be contaminated with unidentified white particles. The Red Cross reported that the particles are not infectious agents and that no harmful effects in patients have been reported.

* Federal health officials say a compound used as the artist's pigment Prussian blue could be an important antidote to a "dirty bomb" attack, and they are calling for drug companies to quickly seek permission to manufacture some. The Food and Drug Administration action yesterday marks a big step toward radiation specialists' call for a stockpile of the antidote.

* The Bush administration's plan to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling suffered a major blow when six Republican senators -- John McCain, (Ariz.); Olympia J. Snowe and Susan Collins (Maine), Lincoln D. Chafee (R.I.), Peter Fitzgerald (Ill.). and Mike DeWine (Ohio) -- said they opposed inserting language into a must-pass budget bill that would give oil companies access to the refuge.

* Congress has agreed to give federal judges the same cost-of-living increase that virtually every other federal employee received earlier this month. The Senate agreed to give the judges a 3.1 percent pay raise late Thursday night. The House had agreed to the increase earlier this month.

-- From News Services and Staff Reports