GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) - A woman who spent a decade as a fugitive from the largest ecoterrorism investigation in U.S. history is due in federal court in Oregon on conspiracy and arson charges. Court records show 39-year-old Rebecca Rubin, a Canadian citizen, was to be arraigned Friday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Eugene.
Rubin turned herself in at the Canadian border with Washington last November. A federal indictment accuses her of being a member of an ecoterrorism group known as The Family based in Eugene, which investigators blame for 20 fires across the West from 1996 to 2001 that did $40 million damage. Among the group's targets were a ski resort in Colorado, wild horse corrals in Oregon and Northern California, and lumber mills and U.S. Forest Service offices in Oregon.
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) - Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says he's launching an "expedited, high-level assessment" of the 2012 Arctic Ocean offshore drilling program. Salazar says the 60-day review will focus in part on problems experienced by Royal Dutch Shell PLC with its drilling vessels and spill containment vessel.
One of Shell's drilling vessels, the Kulluk, ran aground New Year's Eve on a remote Alaska island. It was pulled off Sunday night and towed Monday to shelter in a Kodiak Island bay. The Kulluk drilled last year in the Beaufort Sea. Shell's other Arctic drill ship, the Noble Discoverer, was temporarily ordered to remain in port in Seward last month after experiencing problems with crew safety and pollution control equipment. The vessel drilled last year in the Chukchi Sea.
DEKALB, Mississippi (AP) - Each day, as 2,600 construction workers toil away at Plant Ratcliffe in central Mississippi, the big bet becomes more expensive. The project's cost is at least $2.8 billion, almost half a billion dollars above original expectations, and some estimates say it will go higher.
Legal challenges brought by the Sierra Club have led regulators to block Mississippi Power Co. from billing customers for the costs so far, although the Southern Co. subsidiary got closer to that goal with a favorable lower court ruling earlier this month.
Southern CEO Thomas Fanning stands by the plant. He says Southern's own technology will mitigate its environmental impact and the need to exploit coal as a hedge against uncertainties in the future cost of natural gas, which is currently cheap and abundant.
WASHINGTON (AP) - Scott Harrison's organization called Charity: Water has funded nearly 7,000 clean water projects in some of the poorest areas of the world.
Harrison wanted to add sensors to the wells to give donors more assurances about the projects. But raising millions of dollars for the innovation was a problem.
Google stepped in with major funding to create and install sensors on 4,000 wells across Africa that will send back real-time data on the water flow. The $5 million grant is part of the first class of Google's Global Impact Awards totaling $23 million to spur innovation among nonprofits.
Experts say the new annual grants are a part of a growing trend in venture philanthropy from donors who see technology as an instrument for social change.
MOSCOW (AP) - Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered officials to inspect Olympic sites at the 2014 Winter Games' capital, Sochi, which was hit by an earthquake.
The Emergency Situations Ministry reported a 5.5 magnitude earthquake in the area early Wednesday morning. The epicenter was in the Black Sea, more than 150 kilometers (93 miles) from Sochi, and no damage in the city was reported.
Putin, however, on Wednesday asked the local authorities to double-check Olympic sites for damage, the Interfax news agency reported.
The Black Sea resort of Sochi is slightly more than a year away from hosting the Winter Games. It hosted Russia's national figure skating championships at one of the Olympic sites earlier this week.
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