Oregon governor calls for breaching 4 Snake River dams
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s governor is in favor of removing four hydroelectric dams on the Snake River in Washington state. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, sent a letter to Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee this week, saying she believes it is the best way to increase endangered salmon runs. The Tri-City Herald reported the letter outraged Washington state’s three Republican U.S. House members, who want to keep the dams. The dams generate electricity, provide some irrigation and flood control and allow barges to operate all the way to Lewiston, Idaho. But they are also blamed for killing salmon and steelhead that are migrating to the ocean or back to their spawning grounds.
US agency to pay for 11,000 miles of fuel breaks in 6 states
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management has announced plans to fund 11,000 miles of strategic fuel breaks in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah in an effort to help control wildfires. Fuel breaks are intended to create breaks in vegetation that slow a blaze’s progress and help protect firefighters, communities and natural resources. The Oregonian reported Saturday that wildfires are becoming bigger and more frequent across the Great Basin states. Between 2009 and 2018, more than 13.5 million acres of BLM land burned in the project area. Some scientists debate the effectiveness of fuel breaks, raising questions about whether these efforts are worth funding.
Trump appointees weigh plan to build pipeline in Oregon
SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A three-member federal commission, all appointed by President Donald Trump, has on its agenda a controversial proposed natural gas pipeline and marine export terminal in Oregon. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission had been expected to make a decision Thursday on the project but instead put it on its agenda for Feb. 20. If the commission approves, it could be litigated by the state and residents opposed to the mega-project. The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality has already denied a water quality certification for the Jordan Cove natural gas export project proposed by Pembina, a Canadian energy company.
Michael Avenatti is convicted of trying to extort Nike
NEW YORK (AP) — A lawyer who gained fame by representing porn star Stormy Daniels in lawsuits against President Donald Trump has been convicted of trying to extort sportswear giant Nike. The verdict against Michael Avenatti was returned Friday by a Manhattan federal jury. It followed a three-week trial in which prosecutors claimed Avenatti made threats to use his media access to hurt Nike’s reputation unless the company paid him up to $25 million. Avenatti did not testify, but his lawyers said he was following the wishes of an amateur youth basketball league director who wanted him to force Nike to fix its culture. Sentencing was scheduled for June. Avenatti’s lawyer says his client was disappointed by the outcome.
Police: Vancouver homeowner shoots kills burglar
VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a man was shot and killed while breaking into a home in Vancouver, Washington.KOIN reports that police responded about 10:20 p.m. Thursday. Police said they got reports that an unknown man broke into a family’s home while they were inside. The homeowner confronted the suspected burglar with a gun — eventually shooting and killing him. The suspected burglar was pronounced dead at the scene. The homeowner and his family were not injured. An investigation continues.
Sports gambling bill passes Washington state House
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — A bill allowing sports gambling in Washington’s tribal casinos was approved by the state House. The 83-14 Thursday night vote on House Bill 2638 came just two days after a House Appropriations Committee agreed to forward it onward. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Strom Peterson, D-Edmonds, said Tuesday he’d hoped to get a floor vote as early as next week so a similar vote on a companion Senate bill could occur before a March 13 deadline.
Oregon landfill took 2M pounds of radioactive fracking waste
ARLINGTON, Ore. (AP) — Authorities say a chemical waste landfill in Oregon near the Columbia River has been accepting hundreds of tons of radioactive fracking waste from North Dakota in violation of Oregon regulations. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that Oregon Department of Energy officials a violation notice to Chemical Waste Management for its landfill near the small town of Arlington on Thursday for accepting 2 million pounds of Bakken oil field waste delivered by rail in 2016, 2017 and 2019. Arlington is about 140 miles east of Portland. News about the waste has alarmed environmental advocates but state officials say the company won’t be fined because they believe operators misunderstood state guidelines.
BORDER PATROL-BUS CHECKS
AP Exclusive: Agency memo contradicts Greyhound on bus raids
SEATTLE (AP) — A Customs and Border Protection memo obtained by The Associated Press confirms that bus companies such as Greyhound do not have to allow Border Patrol agents on board to conduct routine checks for immigrants living in the country illegally. That’s contrary to Greyhound’s long insistence that it has no choice but to let the agents on board. Immigrant rights activists say the memo gives them additional leverage as they pressure Greyhound to stop allowing sweeps. Greyhound told the AP it appreciated the Border Patrol “clarifying” its policy. It declined to say whether it would prohibit agents from boarding its buses.