EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson resigning
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administration Lisa Jackson says she’s stepping down after nearly four years on the job.
Jackson announced her departure in a statement Thursday. She gave no particular reason for leaving but said she was ready for new challenges, time with her family and new opportunities to make a difference.
Her tenure was marked by high-profile brawls with industry and Congressional Republicans over such issues a global warming pollution, the Keystone XL oil pipeline and new controls on coal-fired plants. She said she’s leaving the agency, in her words, “confident the ship is sailing in the right direction.”
Jackson is expected to leave after the State of the Union address in late January. Cabinet members looking to move on often leave at the beginning of a president’s second term.
Federal judge upholds Ohio’s new exotic-animal law
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Seven people who sued Ohio over its new law cracking down on exotic animals said they’re disappointed a federal judge has upheld it. Their attorney, Robert Owens, said they plan to appeal.
State lawmakers passed the tougher restrictions after a suicidal man released dozens of his animals including bears, lions and tigers from his farm in Zanesville in 2011. The people who sued say the new law forces them to join private associations with which they disagree, and possibly give up their animals without compensation.
They challenged a requirement animals be implanted with microchips for identification in case they get lost or escape. The Columbus judge ruled Dec. 20 the animal owners failed to prove their constitutional rights were violated.
Ohio officials have defended the law as a common-sense measure to address a public safety problem.
Argentina farmers halt sales of livestock
BUENOS AIRES (AP) — Argentina’s top farming groups halted the sale of livestock for 24 hours last week to protest the government’s planned expropriation of the Argentine Rural Society’s exposition center.
The country’s biggest farm show, called La Rural, is held here each year as a showcase for the industry. President Cristina Fernandez’s government and farmers have been at odds since 2008 when wide protests against soy export taxes disrupted grain exports.
Argentina is the world’s No. 3 soybean exporter and major supplier of beef. The country’s leading farming groups were threatening to extend the strike to the grains trade if their demands to stop what they call an illegal seizure are not met. The government said the expo center must be under the hands of the state because it is of “public use.”
Iowa authorities looking for killer of pigs
ROCK VALLEY, Iowa (AP) — Sioux County authorities are looking for the person or people who tampered with a hog facility’s thermostat, killing 475 pigs.
The Sioux City Journal reported at least one person entered the hog confinement facility five miles south of Rock Valley on Dec. 19 and tampered with the climate control system. That led to the death of the pigs, each weighing about 280 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office at 712-737-2280.
Amtrak train hits tractor in Michigan; no injuries
PARMA, Mich. (AP) — Officials say a Chicago-bound Amtrak train collided with a farm tractor in southern Michigan, delaying the train for 95 minutes while authorities investigated the crash.
No injuries were reported following the 2 p.m. Dec. 21 collision at a private crossing in the Parma area, about 80 miles west of Detroit. Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told The Associated Press the train was traveling from Pontiac and carrying 258 passengers and four crew members.
Jackson County Undersheriff Chris Kuhl told MLive.com the tractor was damaged, but the driver wasn’t injured in the collision. The train stopped just west of the crash scene.
Tractor case bound over to Graves County grand jury
MAYFIELD, Ky. (AP) — A judge in Mayfield has sent a grand jury the case against a man charged with trying to run down state troopers with a farm tractor.
According to The Paducah Sun, the court found probable cause Dec. 19 in the case against 45-year-old Michael Rose. He is charged with criminal attempt to murder police officers.
Police were called Dec. 11 by a woman who said Rose was threatening to destroy vehicles at her home with a tractor. Troopers pursued the tractor into a field where they said Rose came at their cars, and then lowered the front end loader and drove toward them when they got out of their vehicles to arrest him. They shot out a tire on the tractor and arrested Rose.