20,000 barrels of oil spills from pipeline

More than 20,000 barrels of crude oil have spewed out of a Tesoro Corp. pipeline in a wheat field in northwestern North Dakota, the state health department said Thursday.

State environmental geologist Kris Roberts said the 20,600-barrel spill, among the largest recorded in the state, was discovered Sept. 29 by a farmer harvesting wheat about nine miles north of Tioga. The release of oil has been stopped, the spill contained and no water sources have been contaminated, he said. The spill is spread out over 7.3 acres.

A Tesoro subsidiary said the affected portion of the pipeline has been shut down.

— Associated Press

Fertilizer company faces fine for blast

The Texas company that operated a fertilizer plant where a thunderous explosion in April killed 15 people is facing $118,300 in federal fines for two dozen serious safety violations, including a failure to have an emergency response plan, officials said Thursday.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which had not inspected the facility since 1982, said West Fertilizer committed violations that included unsafe handling and storage of two fertilizers, anhydrous ammonia and ammonium nitrate, a volatile chemical that investigators believe contributed to the huge blast that leveled swaths of the rural town of West. The company has 15 days to pay the fine or file an administrative appeal with OSHA. The proposed penalties could be reduced.

— Associated Press

Judge refuses delay for same-sex nuptials

A state judge refused Thursday to delay the start of same-sex marriage until a legal appeal can be settled. But the administration of Gov. Chris Christie (R) immediately sought and was granted a request to file an emergency challenge to the decision.

If the administration does not prevail, the state must grant marriage licenses for same-sex couples starting Oct. 21.

“Granting a stay would simply allow the state to continue to violate the equal protection rights of New Jersey same-sex couples, which can hardly be considered a public interest,” Judge Mary Jacobson ruled, refusing to put on hold her order issued last month.

The administration said it was asking the state appeals court to overturn her ruling while it also continues to ask the state Supreme Court to take up the matter on an expedited basis.

—Associated Press

Booker’s father dies: Newark Mayor Cory Booker (D) is canceling Senate campaign events following his father’s death. His campaign said Cary Booker died Thursday in Las Vegas. He was 76.

— Associated Press