Nation Briefs

Oregon

High Court to decide how logging roads are regulated

GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to switch gears on more than 30 years of regulating the muddy water running off logging roads into rivers.

At issue: Should the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency keep considering it the same as water running off a farm field, or start looking at it like a pipe coming out of a factory?

The case being heard Monday in Washington, D.C., was originated by a small environmental group in Portland, the Northwest Environmental Defense Center.

It sued the Oregon Department of Forestry over roads on the Tillamook State Forest that drain into salmon streams. The lawsuit argued that the Clean Water Act specifically says water running through the kinds of ditches and culverts built to handle stormwater runoff from logging roads is a point source of pollution when it flows directly into a river, and requires the same sort of permit that a factory needs.

New Jersey

Signal problems on bridge

preceded train derailment

PAULSBORO, N.J. – A signal may have been malfunctioning on a southern New Jersey bridge where a train derailed, causing a hazardous chemical to spew into the air and leading to health problems, evacuations, tricky cleanup decisions and broader questions about the condition of railway infrastructure.

The crew on the train told investigators that when they approached the bridge before 7 a.m. Friday, the signal light was red, telling them not to cross, National Transportation Safety Board chairman Deborah Hersman said Saturday. The crew found it unusual to get a red light at that hour of the day, she said.

They used a radio signal to try to change the signal to green, but it did not work, Hersman said. She said the conductor got off the train and inspected the aging bridge. When it appeared to be OK, she said, the engineer called for – and received – permission from a dispatcher to go through the red light and cross the bridge.

Only the two locomotives and the first five cars on the southbound train got across the bridge before seven cars derailed.

Florida

Two dead after bus crash at airport; three critical

MIAMI – A charter bus carrying 32 members of a church group hit a concrete overpass at Miami International Airport after the driver got lost Saturday, killing two elderly people on board and leaving three others critically injured, officials said.

The large, white bus was too tall for the 8-foot-6-inch entrance to the arrivals area, said airport spokesman Greg Chin. Buses are supposed to go through the departures area, which has a higher ceiling, he said.

New York

West Point chapel hosts its first same-sex wedding

WEST POINT, N.Y. – Cadet Chapel, the landmark Gothic church that is a center for spiritual life at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, hosted its first same-sex wedding Saturday.

Penelope Gnesin and Brenda Sue Fulton, a West Point graduate, exchanged vows in the regal church in an afternoon ceremony, attended by about 250 guests and conducted by a senior Army chaplain.

The two have been together for 17 years. They had a civil commitment ceremony that didn’t carry any legal force in 1999 and had long hoped to formally tie the knot. The way was cleared last year when New York legalized same-sex marriage and President Barack Obama lifted the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting openly gay people from serving in the military.

Associated Press

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