Denver, Aug 17 (AP/UNB) — Colorado tightened its air quality regulations on Friday, requiring that at least 5% of the vehicles sold in the state by 2023 emit zero pollution.
The state Air Quality Control Commission, which passed the rule on an 8-1 vote, said the requirement applies to auto manufacturers, not buyers. It's intended to boost the number of electric vehicles in a state struggling to control ozone pollution in its most heavily populated area.
The minimum rises to 6.23% in 2025.
Colorado is the 11th state to adopt zero-emission standards, according to Green Car Reports, which tracks developments in low-pollution vehicles.
Two auto industry groups, Global Automakers and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, applauded the rule. They said they had been working with Colorado officials on how to structure the requirement.
John Bozzella, president of Global Automakers, said Colorado had adopted an innovative policy by collaborating with manufacturers.
Environmental groups also welcomed the standards, but the Colorado Freedom to Drive Coalition called them costly and ineffective.
"We believe commissioners did a disservice to all Coloradans, but especially Coloradans of modest means," coalition spokeswoman Sara Almerri said.
Regulators said the zero-emission standard is aimed at reducing ozone and greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.
Democratic Gov. Jared Polis directed the Air Quality Control Commission to set a zero-emissions standard shortly after he took office in January. In a statement Friday, he said the new rule was "only the beginning" of the state's work to reduce air pollution.
Excessive ground-level ozone has plagued Colorado's urban areas for years. Ozone is the main component of smog and can aggravate asthma and contribute to early deaths from respiratory disease. It's created from pollution emitted by vehicles, the oil and gas industry and other sources.
Ozone alerts have frequently flashed on signs over Denver freeways this summer, asking drivers to reduce car trips.
Last week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Denver and the northern Colorado urban corridor failed to meet federal ozone standards and said the state must come up with a new plan to clean up the air.
The state is also rewriting air pollution rules for the oil and gas industry.
Bangkok, Aug 17 (AP/UNB) — An 8-month-old dugong nurtured by marine experts after it was found lost near a beach in southern Thailand has died of what biologists believe was a combination of shock and ingesting plastic waste.
The female dugong — a large ocean mammal — was named "Marium" and became a hit in Thailand after images of biologists embracing and feeding her with milk and sea grass spread across social media. Veterinarians and volunteers had set out in canoes to feed Marium for up to 15 times a day while also giving her health checks.
Last week, she was found bruised after being chased and supposedly attacked by a male dugong during the mating season, said Jatuporn Buruspat, the director-general of the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources.
She was brought in for treatment in the artificial sea on Libong Island in Krabi province.
"We assume she wandered off too far from her natural habitat and was chased, and eventually attacked by another male dugong, or dugongs, as they feel attracted to her," he said Saturday.
An autopsy showed a big amount of plastic waste in her intestine, which could also have played a part in her death as it led to gastritis and blood infection, he said.
"She must've thought these plastics were edible,"Jatuporn said.
The dugong is a species of marine mammal similar to the American manatee and can grow to about 3.4 meters (11 feet) in length. Its conservation status is listed as vulnerable.
New York, Aug 17 (AP/UNB) — Paule Marshall, an exuberant and sharpened storyteller who in fiction such as "Daughters" and "Brown Girl, Brownstones" drew upon classic and vernacular literature and her mother's kitchen conversations to narrate the divides between blacks and whites, men and women and modern and traditional cultures, has died at age 90.
Marshall's son, Evan K. Marshall, told The Associated Press that she died Monday in Richmond, Virginia. She had been suffering from dementia in recent years.
First published in the 1950s, Marshall was for years virtually the only major black woman fiction writer in the U.S., a bridge between Zora Neale Hurston and Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and others who emerged in the 1960s and '70s. Calling herself "an unabashed ancestor worshipper," Marshall was the Brooklyn-born daughter of Barbadian immigrants and wrote lovingly, but not uncritically of her family and other upholders of the ways of their country of origin.
"Paule Marshall was a profound and luminous writer, as well as a generous teacher, mentor, and friend," the Haitian-American author Edwidge Danticat wrote in an email to the AP. "Her work delved deeply into what she considered her triangular journey from her ancestral homeland on the African continent, to the Caribbean, then the United States. Reading her novels often felt like reading my own family's history on a global scale. She will be greatly missed."
From the start, Marshall contrasted the values of Americans and other Westerners with those from the Caribbean and tallied the price of assimilation. In "Brown Girl, Brownstones," her autobiographical debut, a young Brooklyn woman seeks her own identity amid the conflicting values of her Barbadian parents — her hardheaded mother and tragically hopeful father. In "The Chosen Place, the Timeless People," idealistic American project workers in the Caribbean encounter the skepticism of the local community. "Praisesong for the Widow" tells of an upscale American black woman's awakening during a Caribbean vacation.
"I like to take people at a time of crisis and questioning in their lives and have them undertake a kind of spiritual and emotional journey and to then leave them once that journey has been completed and has helped them to understand something about themselves," Marshall told The Associated Press in 1991.
Marshall's admirers included Walker, Dorothy Parker and Langston Hughes, an early mentor who sent her encouraging postcards in green ink, brought her on a State Department tour of Europe and urged her to "get busy" when he thought the young writer was working too slowly. Marshall received several honors, among them MacArthur and Guggenheim Fellowships and, in 2009, won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for books "that have made important contributions to our understanding of racism and human diversity." She taught at Virginia Commonwealth University and New York University.
Other fellow writers mourned her passing, which came a week after the death of Morrison. Nicole Dennis-Benn, Ishmael Reed and Jason Reynolds were among those posting tributes on social media. Award-winning playwright Lynn Nottage, Marshall's goddaughter, tweeted that Marshall was the "first champion" of her work and had urged her mother to "Just let her write."
"I wouldn't be here without her," Nottage wrote. "#RIP Another beloved elder has crossed over."
Born Valenza Pauline Burke in Brooklyn, she was an immersive reader who loved old British novels, from "Tom Jones" to "Great Expectations." But she longed for books that included people more like herself and so made an instant and deeper connection to the poetry in dialect of Paul Laurence Dunbar, and later to writings by Hurston and Hughes among others. All along, she had been listening to her mother and various neighborhood women gather in the kitchen and expound in "free-wheeling, wide-ranging" style, voices she fictionalized in "Brown Girl, Brownstones" and other works.
"They were women in whom the need for self-expression was strong, and since language was the only vehicle readily available to them they made of it an art form that — in keeping with the African tradition in which art and life are one — was an integral part of their lives," she wrote in "The Poets of the Kitchen," a 1983 essay.
Marshall graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Brooklyn College and during much of the 1950s worked as a magazine researcher, traveling to Brazil and the West Indies among other places. Since childhood she had been "harboring the dangerous thought" of becoming a writer and in her spare time completed "Brown Girl, Brownstones," published by Random House in 1959 after editor Hiram Haydn suggested she trim her 600-page "sumo-sized manuscript" to the "slender, impressive" novel buried within.
In her early 20s, she had married Kenneth Marshall, with whom she had Evan Marshall, but they divorced when their son was still little. (She later married Nourry Menard, a Haitian businessman.) Raising a child alone weighed down her already deliberate style and she published just five novels, a memoir and two books of short fiction. She disparaged the old expression "As for living, our servants will do that for us" by adding, "Well, I was the servant."
Virtually all of her books not only featured women, but also women who had adventures and influence. One of her favorite characters was Merle Kinbona of "The Chosen Place, the Timeless People," a brave and troubled and conflicted soul torn between the Caribbean, England and Africa, a sage and an eccentric who never stops talking, but somehow keeps those around her listening.
"Traditionally in most fiction men are the wheelers and dealers. They are the ones in whom power is invested," Marshall wrote in Essence magazine in 1979. "I wanted to turn that around. I wanted women to be the centers of power. My feminism takes its expression through my work. Women are central for me. They can as easily embody the power principles as a man."
Flagstaff, Aug 16 (AP/UNB) — Snow piled up in the mountains across the U.S. West last winter, leaving enough to thrill skiers into the summer, swelling rivers and streams when it melted, and largely making wildfire restrictions unnecessary. But the wet weather can be misleading.
Climate change means the region is still getting drier and hotter.
"It only demonstrates the wide swings we have to manage going forward," James Eklund, former director of the Upper Colorado River Commission, an interstate agency that ensures river water is doled out properly, said earlier this year. "You can put an ice cube — even an excellent ice cube — in a cup of hot coffee, but eventually it's going to disappear."
For the seven states relying on the Colorado River, which carries melted snow from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California, that means a future with increasingly less water for farms and cities.
Climate scientists say it's hard to predict how much less. The river supplies 40 million people in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming as well as a $5 billion-a-year agricultural industry.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation said Thursday that Lake Mead, a key reservoir on the Colorado River, has enough water to avoid mandatory cuts to users next year. But it will still be low enough that Nevada, Arizona and Mexico will make voluntary reductions, which they agreed to earlier this year under a drought contingency plan.
Here is a look at the Colorado River amid climate change:
COLORADO RIVER FLOW
Much of the water in the Colorado River and its tributaries originates as snow.
As temperatures rise and demand grows, the water supply declines. Even if more snow and rain fell, it wouldn't necessarily all end up in the river. Plants will suck up more water, and it will evaporate quicker.
Brad Udall, a water and climate research scientist at Colorado State University, said the river's flow could decrease even further to 20% by 2050 and 35% by 2100.
"On any given day, it's hotter, we have more days for a growing season to occur, we have a thirstier atmosphere," he said. "When you put all those things together, you lose flow in the river."
Climate change doesn't mean the American West will be hot and dry all the time. Extreme swings in weather are expected as part of a changing climate — something Udall has called "weather whiplash."
The Southwest got a reprieve this year with average and above-average snowfall following a year that sent many states into extreme drought. Nearly empty reservoirs quickly rose, including Lake Mead and Lake Powell — the largest manmade reservoirs in the country that hold Colorado River water.
The lakes still are far below capacity, steadily declining since 2000 with a bigger spike after winter 2011.
A wet year interrupting years of dryness isn't uncommon.
"We're very thankful for this gain in wet hydrology and storage in the reservoirs that happened this year, but we know we can lose it just as fast," said Carly Jerla with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
Many states declared an end to short-term drought this year, based on the U.S. Drought Monitor, which looks at land conditions.
The map is produced by the National Drought Migration Center, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
But not all agencies use the same indicators for drought.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation uses Lake Mead on the Nevada-Arizona border and Lake Powell on the Arizona-Utah border. The reservoirs were nearly full in 1999 before the agency declared a drought the following year that hasn't let up. As of Monday, Lake Powell was 57% full and Lake Mead was 39% full.
Jerla says the bureau won't say the drought is over until those reservoirs fill completely, which won't happen without consecutive years of wet weather.
PROTECTING THE RIVER
The seven states that rely on the Colorado River signed a plan earlier this year to protect the waterway from climate change and keep Lake Mead and Lake Powell fuller.
The drought contingency plan is meant to keep the reservoirs from dropping so low that they cannot deliver water or produce hydropower amid prolonged drought and climate change.
In a Bureau of Reclamation report released Thursday, Lake Mead was projected to be slightly below 1,090 feet (332 meters) above sea level on Jan. 1. With the lake at that level, the drought contingency plan calls on Mexico to leave 3% of its normal share of water in the reservoir, the agency said.
Arizona agreed to leave 7%, and Nevada 3% under the plan. But Nevada is already using less than its share and likely won't feel much of an effect, said Terry Fulp of the Bureau of Reclamation.
If Lake Mead drops to 1,075 feet (328 meters) above sea level, Arizona and Nevada would face bigger, mandatory cuts.
The drought contingency plan expires in 2026, and the states will begin negotiating new guidelines next year.
Toronto, Aug 16 (AP/UNB) — A wolf attacked campers at Banff National Park and tried to drag an American tourist away before being driven off, the agency overseeing Canada's national parks says.
Parks Canada said this week that the very rare attack by an older wolf in poor health occurred Aug. 9 at the Ramparts Creek campground north of Lake Louise in Alberta.
Jon Stuart-Smith, a wildlife specialist for the agency, said Thursday it was the first time someone has been attacked and injured in a wolf attack at a national park in Canada.
He said the New Jersey man was camping with his wife and two children and heard noises his tent around midnight. Thinking it could be a bear, the man tried to scare the wolf off by making noise, but when that didn't scare it off he poked the side of the tent and the wolf bit him through the tent.
Stuart-Smith said the wolf repeatedly bit the man, ripped the tent open and started to pull him out. A neighboring camper heard the noise and ran over and kicked the wolf, which then fled, he said.
The man suffered hand and arm injuries and was hospitalized. Stuart-Smith said the man and his family have since returned home to New Jersey.
A Facebook post by the man's wife says "it was like something out of a horror movie."
Elisa Rispoli said her husband, Matthew Rispoli, threw himself in front of her and the children and fought the wolf as it tore apart the tent. She called her husband their hero and the man who helped their guardian angel.
"I cannot and don't think I'll ever be able to properly describe the terror," she wrote.
The family could not be reached Thursday, to confirm the posting or provide further comment.
Stuart-Smith said a wildlife officer found the wolf about a mile away the campground and killed the animal after he got out of his vehicle and it started to approach him.
"It's very unusual behavior," he said.
The results of a necropsy confirmed that the wolf was the same one involved in the attack, he said.
"The animal was in very poor health — it was very emaciated, it was only 78 pounds (35 kilograms), whereas an adult male wolf could be 150 pounds (68 kilograms) or more," Stuart-Smith said. "Its teeth were very worn."
A rabies test on the animal was negative, he added.
He said the condition of the wolf could explain why it was aggressive.
"It was unable to take down larger prey and probably struggling to find food, and we think this is why it investigated the tent," Stuart-Smith said.
But he stressed that wolf attacks are extremely rare.
Stuart-Smith said the family did everything right.
"They had no attractants in their tent. They were very bear aware so they were very careful to manage their campsite properly," he said.
"They did follow what our recommendations would be in a ... rare situation where someone is attacked by a wolf: to fight back."
The campground, which was closed immediately following the attack, reopened Monday.