Oil firms want to go slower on cleanup plan

SEATTLE – State regulators are pushing for more oil spill cleanup ships, but petroleum companies want more time to study the proposal, an industry official says.

In a statement issued Wednesday, state Ecology Department director Jay Manning said a new study found a shortage of ships available to clean up a hypothetical 420,000-gallon oil spill in the San Juan Islands.

The agency pointed to the study as it called on the oil industry to immediately start building a larger oil spill fleet in Puget Sound and along the coast.

Manning said oil handlers should not wait for the state to issue new rules requiring more ships. Those rules could go into effect in June 2006, he added.

Industry leaders are not likely to jump at the Ecology Department’s suggestion, said David Sawicki, who has represented the Western States Petroleum Association on state oil spill panels.

“If we need to respond, we will – but not in a knee-jerk way,” Sawicki said.

Associated Press

Man turns himself in after 20 years on the run

A man wanted for two decades on charges he helped import tons of marijuana called the FBI, said he was tired of living on the run and turned himself in at the U.S.-Canadian border, federal prosecutors said Thursday.

Michael Lerner, 62, had been in Canada, but exactly where and for how long were unclear. He appeared gaunt and tired as he shuffled into U.S. District Court here for his initial appearance Thursday, a day after turning himself in.

A federal grand jury in the Northern District of California named Lerner and 17 others in a 195-count indictment in 1986. Most of his co-defendants received sentences of two to three years.

Associated Press

Spokane: West asks court to block recall

Mayor Jim West on Thursday asked the state Supreme Court to reject a recall effort seeking to remove him from office over a sex scandal.

Lawyers for West argued that a Superior Court judge erred in allowing a recall proposal to go forward, and by rewriting the proposal after it was originally submitted by a Spokane woman, Shannon Sullivan, who is leading the recall effort.

Also, the head of Spokane County elections said Thursday there is almost no chance that the recall election could be on November’s ballot, as supporters had hoped.

The elections office will not have enough time and staff to verify the more than 12,000 petition signatures required to get a recall on the ballot, while at the same time preparing for September’s regularly scheduled primary election, Paul Brandt said.

Associated Press

Wenatchee: 2,000-acre wildfire is contained

A 2,000-acre wildfire east of town has been contained, and visiting fire crews have been sent home, fire officials said Thursday.

State crews on the Badger Road fire, about five miles east this central Washington community, were demobilized at 6 p.m. Wednesday evening. Mop-up has been turned over to Douglas County Fire District 2, said State Patrol trooper Greg Pressel, a spokesman for the state Fire Marshal’s Office.

Another fire, about four miles north of Roosevelt, also was fully contained Wednesday, and visiting crews were sent home.

Associated Press

Oregon: Ranger shoots man wielding a club

A domestic disturbance at Crater Lake National Park’s most popular campground ended with a park ranger fatally shooting a man armed with a club, authorities said Thursday.

Two rangers were called to the Mazama Campground near the southwest entrance to the park about 10 p.m. Wednesday to quell a domestic disturbance, and they were immediately confronted by an angry man with a large club, park spokesman Mac Brock said.

“One ranger attempted to subdue the individual with pepper spray when he approached within 10 feet of the ranger,” Brock said. “The individual was unaffected by the pepper spray and was shot twice by the second ranger on the scene.”

Associated Press

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