The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, April 01, 2020 1:00 am

Nation/World

Emissions rollback facing legal battles

Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Trump administration's rollback of mileage standards Tuesday guts tougher Obama-era standards that were the U.S. government's single most forceful initiative against climate-changing fossil fuel emissions. But years of legal battles are expected, including from California and other states opposed to the rollback.

Trump's new mileage standards will require automakers to achieve 1.5% annual increases in fuel efficiency. The Obama-era standards called for 5% annual increases. John Bozzella, CEO of the Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade group representing automakers, said the industry still wants middle ground between the two standards, and it supports year-over-year mileage increases.

FBI surveillance program failures cited

The Justice Department inspector general has found additional failures in the FBI's handling of a secretive surveillance program that came under scrutiny after the Russia investigation, identifying problems with dozens of applications for wiretaps in national security investigations.

The audit results, announced Tuesday by Inspector General Michael Horowitz, suggest that FBI errors while eavesdropping on suspected spies and terrorists extend far beyond those made during the investigation into ties between Russia and the 2016 Trump campaign. They come as the FBI has scrambled to repair public confidence in how it uses its surveillance powers and as lawmakers uneasy about potential abuses have allowed certain of its tools to at least temporarily expire.

Trump to lift Venezuela sanctions

The Trump administration is prepared to lift crippling sanctions on Venezuela in support of a new proposal to form a transitional government requiring both Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó to step aside in favor of a five-person governing council, U.S. officials said.

The one-page “Democratic Transition Framework for Venezuela” was presented Tuesday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It echoes a proposal made over the weekend by Guaidó that shows how growing concerns about the coronavirus, which threatens to overwhelm the South American country's already collapsed health system and economy, are reviving U.S. attempts to pull the military apart from Maduro.

Under the plan, both Maduro and Guaidó, who some 60 countries recognize as Venezuela's rightful leader, would step aside and cede power

Keystone XL pipeline work to start

A Canadian company said Tuesday it plans to start construction of the disputed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline through the U.S. Midwest in April, after lining up customers and money for a proposal that is bitterly opposed by environmentalists and some American Indian tribes.

Construction would begin at the pipeline's border crossing in Montana, said TC Energy spokesman Terry Cunha. That would be a milestone for a project first proposed in 2008.


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