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Conservationists say court settlement orders government to stop fracking off Calif. coast

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A conservation group said the federal government must stop approving offshore fracking from oil platforms in California’s Santa Barbara Channel under the settlement of a lawsuit it filed.

The group, the Center for Biological Diversity, in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, had challenged what it said was the U.S. Department of the Interior’s practice of rubber-stamping fracking off California’s coast without engaging the public or analyzing fracking’s threats to ocean ecosystems, coastal communities and marine life.

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The settlement reached on Friday prohibits officials from authorizing fracking practices in federal waters until the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement complete an environmental review, the Center for Biological Diversity said.

The pause, however, will not likely affect production at large because California has not been producing much offshore oil lately.

Oil companies have fracked at least 200 wells in Long Beach, Seal Beach, Huntington Beach and in the wildlife-rich Santa Barbara Channel, the Center for Biological Diversity said.

The settlement could potentially affect oversight of all federally permitted offshore fracking, including fracking in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the group said.

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The U.S. Department of the Interior could not be reached immediately for comment.

(Reporting by Anet Josline Pinto in Bengaluru; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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Stephen Colbert rips ‘idiot’ GOP senator for defending Trump’s unconstitutional self-dealing

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"Late Show" host Stephen Colbert returned from New Zealand for a new show that aired Monday evening.

"I have been as far from the insatiable black hole of news that is Donald Trump as you can get on this planet.

I've heard there have been some developments over the last 10 days that did not go well for Donnie,"

The host ripped Trump's 71-minute press conference.

"Seventy-one minutes is not a press conference, it's a one man show," he explained. "If you liked 'Fleabag,' you'll love Donald Trump in 'Douchebag,'" he said.

[caption id="attachment_1555275" align="aligncenter" width="800"] ‘The Late Show’ graphic (screengrab)[/caption]

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Texas Republicans are abandoning the state’s GOP Speaker: ‘We no longer support him’

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Some of the most powerful Texas House Republicans said Monday they no longer support GOP Speaker Dennis Bonnen, marking the biggest blow yet to his political future amid the fallout from a secret recording released last week by a hardline conservative activist.

Five Republicans considered senior members of the lower chamber issued a statement withdrawing support for him: State Reps. Four Price of Amarillo, Dan Huberty of Houston, Lyle Larson of San Antonio, Chris Paddie of Marshall and John Frullo of Lubbock.

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Donald Trump is making a mockery of Marco Rubio — and the Florida senator is letting him

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Sen. Marco Rubio was once one of Donald Trump’s most formidable opponents; now, the Florida senator bends over backward to excuse the president’s corruption.

In 2016, Rubio and Trump sparred frequently on the Republican primary debate stage. Trump picked the uninspired nickname “Little Marco” for the senator, which didn’t seem to do much damage on its own, but Rubio never gained the momentum or strength that his backers hoped would prove to be strong enough to take down the reality TV candidate. As Rubio grew desperate, he launched one of his most memorable and pitiful attacks by stooping to his opponent’s level, implying that Trump had a small penis. It was more of an embarrassing moment for Rubio than anyone else, though Trump helped himself with a crude rejoinder.

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