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Obama bars oil and gas drilling in Alaska’s Bristol Bay wildlife haven

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US President Barack Obama speaks at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey, December 15, 2014 (AFP Photo/Saul Loeb)

President Barack Obama declared Alaska’s ecologically rich Bristol Bay off-limits for oil and gas exploration on Tuesday, saying the move was necessary to safeguard the region’s fishing and tourism industries.

The area was being withdrawn from consideration for all future oil and gas leasing, extending indefinitely a temporary ban issued by Obama in 2010, a White House statement said.

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“I took action to make sure that one of America’s greatest natural resources and a massive economic engine for not only Alaska but for America, Bristol Bay, is preserved for future generations,” Obama said in a video.

“It is something that is too precious for us to put out to the highest bidder.”

The decision protects millions of acres of pristine coastline and terrain from drilling.

The administration of former president George W. Bush had originally planned a lease sale for the area in 2011.

Bristol Bay forms part of one of the world’s most valuable fisheries, helping to provide 40 percent of America’s wild-caught seafood and supporting a $2 billion annual fishing industry, the White House said.

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The area also generates around $100 million each year from tourism and recreational fishing.

It is home to the world’s largest runs of wild sockeye salmon while also providing a haven for many species including the threatened Steller’s eider, sea otters, seals, walruses, Beluga and Killer whales, and the endangered North Pacific Right Whale.


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2020 Election

Trump-Biden race could hinge on how this one Florida county swings

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Betty Jones voted for President Donald Trump in 2016, but the lifelong Republican has her doubts she will do it again this year.

The federal response to the coronavirus pandemic that has killed about 200,000 Americans and forced older adults to restrict their activities has her contemplating a leadership change.

It “makes me unsure,” said Jones, 78, of Largo, in Pinellas County, Florida. Before COVID-19, she said, she would have definitely voted for Trump.

Polls show that many people will have the pandemic and its public health and economic consequences on their minds when they cast their votes — whether by mail or in person — this fall. Early in-person voting starts Oct. 19 in most Florida counties, including Pinellas.

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Muckraker’s fight to unseal FBI files on Jeffrey Epstein kept alive by judge

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WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Tuesday kept alive a citizen muckraker’s quest to pry loose for the public’s benefit tens of thousands of FBI documents about disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, including his time as a government informant.Self-styled public information crusader Angela Clemente sued in May, seeking to force the FBI to release the documents on the grounds that Epstein is now dead, albeit under mysterious circumstances, and that there is an overarching public interest in releasing documents. The Justice Department, representing the FBI, is fighting the effort.In a status hearing... (more…)

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Mark David Chapman says he was seeking ‘glory’ when he murdered John Lennon

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ALBANY, N.Y. — John Lennon’s killer said he was seeking “glory” when he shot the Beatles star in cold blood 40 years ago but now thinks he deserved the death penalty for his “despicable act,” according to a transcript of his most recent parole hearing obtained by the Daily News.Mark David Chapman, who shot Lennon four times outside of his Upper West Side apartment building on Dec. 8, 1980, was denied parole for the 11th time last month.During his appearance before the State Parole Board, Chapman expressed remorse for his actions that night, saying he killed the famed songwriter because he was ... (more…)

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