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Officials in Mississippi’s capital city are scheduled to vote Thursday on a proposed agreement with the federal government for how to fix the city’s water system, which came dangerously close to collapsing more than two months ago.

Details of the proposal had not been revealed Wednesday. EPA Administrator Michael Regan said Tuesday in Jackson that if the Jackson City Council approves the agreement, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba would sign it. The Justice Department would then file a case in federal court in Jackson and ask a judge to approve the proposed path forward.

Regan’s appearance was his fourth visit to Jackson during the past year and his third since the city’s latest water crisis began in late August. Jackson has had water problems for years.

“The EPA and the United States Department of Justice want to develop a judicially enforceable solution — one that is approved by and overseen by a federal court, that will deliver safe and reliable drinking water for Jackson,” Regan said during a meeting a Jackson State University. “That’s something that we’ve been working hard on since September, and I’m optimistic about the progress that we’re making.”

Regan said he would return to Jackson and meet with the mayor and representatives from the state for a discussion about longer-term solutions that would include an opportunity for more public engagement. Officials will also look at funding sources available to assist the city and work with state agencies to help the city access federal money through the bipartisan infrastructure law and the American Rescue Plan, he said.

Jackson is set to receive $71.3 million to upgrade its water system with funds from the American Rescue Plan and a state dollar-for-dollar match program. Lumumba has said that it could cost as much as $1 billion to fix the water system. State leaders say the system needs far less.

“I’m confident, working with the state and the city, that we can continue to identify resources currently and in the future to help stabilize Jackson’s water system,” Regan said. He said the EPA, Mississippi and Jackson have a confidential agreement that prohibits him from talking in-depth about the plan.


Federal judges have ordered a 9-year-old lawsuit against oil and gas companies over damage to Louisiana’s wetlands to be returned to state court for trial, potentially clearing the way for at least 41 similar lawsuits to move forward.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday upheld a January decision by the late U.S. District Judge Martin L.C. Feldman of New Orleans, The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate reported.

The ruling returns the suit filed by Plaquemines Parish against Chevron USA, Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips Co., BP America and Shell to state court in Plaquemines Parish, the newspaper said.

Feldman correctly found that just because oil and gas exploration and production operations during World War II were conducted on behalf of the war effort, the companies were not acting under the orders of federal agents in a way that required the suit to be heard in federal court, the panel ruled.

“Today’s decision will make the history books,” John Carmouche, an attorney representing the parish and the state, told the newspaper. “Finally, Louisiana can be made whole for everything it has given to our nation in resources.”

Carmouche said the decision would apply to all 42 cases in which he is lead attorney, and should result in early trial dates.


Maine lobster fishermen have hired a former high-ranking U.S. Department of Justice official to represent them in their case against new laws intended to protect whales.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association is appealing its case against the new rules to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The group said Tuesday it has hired Paul Clement, who served as U.S. solicitor general from 2004 to 2008, to represent it in the case.

The solicitor general supervises all Supreme Court litigation for the U.S., and Clement has argued dozens of cases in front of the high court. That’s where the lobstermen’s case could ultimately be headed, he said Tuesday.

The new fishing restrictions have pushed the industry to the brink of collapse, Clement said.

“You have administrative overreach. The implications are easy to understand,” he said. “It directly threatens really one of the most iconic American industries. Everyone who has ever enjoyed a lobster can appreciate this.”

The lobster fishermen sued the National Marine Fisheries Service, and in September a judge denied their request to stop the regulators from placing the new restrictions on fishing. The restrictions are designed to protect the North Atlantic right whale, which numbers less than 340 and is vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear.

The fisheries service has declined to comment on the lawsuit. The Maine Lobstermen’s Association also said it planned to file court papers on Tuesday asking for its appeal to be expedited because of the jeopardy posed to the fishery by the new rules.

Environmental groups have long pushed for stronger protections for the right whales, which were devastated generations ago during the commercial whaling era. The groups have made their own case in court that the federal government should be doing more to protect the whales.

The American lobster fishery is based mostly in Maine, though lobsters also come to the docks elsewhere in New England and in New York and New Jersey. U.S. lobsters were worth a record figure of more than $900 million at the docks last year.


A federal judge has denied a request from fishing groups that sought to challenge new fishing rules designed to protect rare whales.

The lobster fishing groups wanted a federal judge to stop regulators from placing new restrictions on the harvest of the crustaceans. The rules are intended to protect North Atlantic right whales, which number less than 340 and are vulnerable to entanglement in fishing gear.

U.S. District Court Judge James Boasberg denied the request in a Thursday ruling. It’s the latest in a string of legal setbacks for lobster fishermen who are coping with increasingly strict fishing rules meant to save the whales.

The Maine Lobstermen’s Association said in a statement that it was disappointed by the ruling, which it said “puts the future of Maine’s lobstering heritage at great risk, and along with it, the livelihoods of thousands of hard-working men and women.”

Conservation groups have long pushed for stricter protections for the vanishing whales. Kristen Monsell, oceans legal director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement the ruling affirms “right whales can’t wait any longer for stronger protections from deadly entanglements in fishing gear.”


A lobster fishing union in Maine has decided to drop part of its lawsuit against the federal government over new restrictions meant to protect rare whales.

The Maine Lobstering Union sued the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration after the government instated a seasonal ban on lobster fishing gear in a nearly 1,000-square-mile area off New England to try to protect North Atlantic right whales. The whales are vulnerable to entanglement in the gear.

Lawyers for the lobster fishing union told WCSH-TV the union wants instead to focus on other ongoing litigation about new rules intended to protect whales. New fishing rules meant to protect the whales are the subject of other lawsuits that are still under consideration by federal court.

A federal court ruling last month came down in favor of stronger protections for the animals. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg ruled in July that the federal government hasn’t done enough to protect the whales, and must craft new rules. The lobstering union and other fishing groups have pledged to follow that process closely with an eye to protecting the industry.


Opposition from friends, not foes, is creating potential roadblocks to President Joe Biden’s green energy agenda on federal lands in the blue-leaning, Western swing state of Nevada.

Two lithium mines and a geothermal power plant in the works in the biggest U.S. gold-mining state are under attack from conservationists, tribes and others who otherwise generally support Biden’s efforts to expedite the transition from fossil fuels to renewables.

The conflicts put a spotlight on an emerging reality as the Biden administration tries to meet its goal of having the U.S. power grid run on clean energy by 2035.

Renewable or not, the actual mining of the resources faces many of the same regulatory and environmental hurdles the government has encountered for decades when digging for coal or drilling for oil.

Whether it’s tapping hot underground water to generate electricity with steam-powered turbines or extracting lithium to make electric car batteries, the operations still must comply with laws designed to protect wildlife habitat, cultural and historical values, and guard against pollution or other degradation of federal lands.

During a recent failed attempt to overturn a Nevada water permit for a mine near the Oregon line above the biggest known lithium deposit in the nation, opponents raised some of the same concerns leveled four decades ago about some of the largest gold mines in the world.



President Joe Biden is promising “strong executive action” to combat climate change, despite dual setbacks in recent weeks that have restricted his ability to regulate carbon emissions and boost clean energy such as wind and solar power.

The Supreme Court last month limited how the nation’s main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. Then late Thursday, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he wants to delay sweeping environmental legislation that Democrats have pushed as central to achieving Biden’s ambitious climate goals.

Biden, who has pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030, compared with 2005 levels, said Friday that “action on climate change and clean energy remains more urgent than ever.″

If the Senate will not act to address climate change and boost clean energy, “I will take strong executive action to meet this moment,″ Biden said in a statement from Saudi Arabia, where he met Friday with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Biden did not specify what actions he will take on climate, but said they will create jobs, improve energy security, bolster domestic manufacturing and protect consumers from oil and gas price increases. “I will not back down,″ he promised.

Some advocates urged Biden to use the moment to declare a national climate emergency and reinstate a ban on crude oil exports, among other steps. Declaring a climate emergency would allow Biden to redirect spending to accelerate renewable energy such as wind and solar and speed the nation’s transition away from fossil fuels such as coal, oil and natural gas.

Climate advocates, including some of Manchin’s Democratic colleagues in the Senate, slammed his opposition — noting that it was the second time he has torpedoed climate change legislation.

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