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    The Biden administration has issued a long-awaited study that recommends allowing a major oil development on Alaska’s North Slope. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management's recommendation is not final. It calls for up to three drilling sites initially, fewer than the five pursued by ConocoPhillips Alaska for the Willow project. Still, the agency's recommendation is angering environmentalists, who have nicknamed the proposal a “carbon bomb.” The upcoming decision on the project, which could produce 180,000 barrels of oil daily, is politically perilous for President Joe Biden, who campaigned on pledges to end new drilling on public lands.

      Amid a major drought in the Western U.S., a proposed solution comes up repeatedly: large-scale river diversions, including pumping Mississippi River water to parched states. Just this past summer, the idea caused a firestorm of letters to the editor at a California newspaper. In 2021, the Arizona state legislature passed a measure urging Congress to investigate pumping flood water from the Mississippi River to the Colorado River to bolster its flow. Studies and modern-day engineering have proven that such projects are possible but would require decades of construction and billions of dollars. Politics are an even bigger obstacle to make multi-state pipelines a reality. Yet their persistence in the public sphere illustrates the growing desperation of Western states.

      The South Dakota Senate has sanctioned a member who was accused of harassing a legislative aide. Republican Sen. Julie Frye-Mueller is among a right-wing group of lawmakers who have challenged the GOP establishment. She allegedly harassed the aide because she had vaccinated her young child. But the decision to suspend Frye-Mueller has faced backlash from conservative activists. It underscores how Statehouse politics have become nationalized. In South Dakota, a contrarian brand of Republicans is pushing the Legislature to take hardline stances on social issues.

      A Chicago woman is accused of keeping her mother’s dead body in a freezer for nearly two years while living in a nearby apartment. Eva Bratcher appeared in court Thursday on charges of concealing her 96-year-old mother’s death and possessing a fraudulent identification card. Regina Michalski’s body was discovered this week in a freezer in the garage near the apartment she had shared with her daughter. Investigators believe Michalski died in 2021. The 69-year-old Bratcher has past convictions for forgery, and investigators are trying to determine if she was collecting her late mother’s Social Security benefits. Bratcher was being held on a $20,000 bond.


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