06-05-2020  7:04 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Thousands March Peacefully for 7th Night in Portland

NBA Portland Trail Blazer star Damian Lillard walked at the front of the crowd arm-in-arm with young demonstrators

Districts Jettison School Police Officers Amid Protests

Mayor Ted Wheeler: “Leaders must listen and respond to community. We must disrupt the patterns of racism and injustice.”

Two De La Salle North Grads Forge Thrilling Paths

A med student and a Fulbright scholar reflect on their time at the school.

OHSU Resident Uses TikTok, Student Outreach, to Show Representation in Medicine

A group of high school students weighing careers in health care were recently greeted on Google Meet by a physician whose social media star is on the rise.

NEWS BRIEFS

Resources for Supporting Racial Justice in Oregon

Learn about how to get involved with local organizations that have been fighting for decades for racial justice. ...

Business Donates Profits

On Sunday, June 7, the owners of Pine State Biscuits are donating all of their profits to the NAACP and ACLU from all five of their...

NAMC-Oregon Statement on Racism, Inequity & Violence Against Black People

All of us at NAMC-Oregon are angered and deeply saddened by the police murder of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and the...

Civil Rights and Social Justice Organizations Call for a National Day of Mourning Today

At 12:45 p.m. PT today, the NAACP is asking for everyone to take a moment of silence for 8 minutes and 46 seconds. ...

ACLU Files Class Action Lawsuit Against Minneapolis Police for Attacking Journalists at Protests

The lawsuit’s lead plaintiff, Jared Goyette, a journalist covering the demonstrations, was shot in the face with a rubber bullet ...

Seattle mayor bans 1 type of tear gas amid protests

SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle mayor has banned the police use of one form of tear gas as protests continue in the city and nationally over the killing of George Floyd. Mayor Jenny Durkan said in a news conference Friday afternoon that the ban on CS gas would continue for 30 days. The move came...

Multnomah County applies to ease coronavirus restrictions

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Multnomah County officials submitted reopening framework to Gov. Kate Brown’s office Friday in the hope of beginning phase 1 of the state’s plan to ease COVID-19 restrictions.If approved, restaurants in Multnomah County on June 12 could once again offer...

Kansas, Missouri renew Border War with 4-game football set

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas and Missouri are resuming their bitter Border War in football after the former Big 12 rivals agreed to a four-game series in which each school will play two home games beginning in September 2025.The fourth-longest rivalry in college football dates to 1891, but...

OPINION

Responding to Challenging Questions in a Nation Still in Upheaval

Nate McCoy attempts to answer tough questions in a letter to his sons ...

Mayor Ted Wheeler: Portland and the Path Forward

Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler invites Portlanders, as public servants, to join him "in insisting that we never return to business as usual." ...

Local Business Leaders Share Messages of Hope

President, CEO of SAIF says each of us must move forward in "our understanding of the problem, in holding ourselves accountable for our own attitudes and biases, and in coming together, not apart." ...

Time to Stop Messing Around and Strike at the Root of Police Violence

Thomas Knapp says the root of police violence is the creation of "police forces" as state institutions separate from the populace and dedicated to suppressing that populace on command ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Citing jobs, Trump claims victory over virus, econ collapse

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump effectively claimed victory over the economic crisis and COVID-19 on Friday as well as major progress against racial inequality, heartily embracing a better-than-expected jobs report in hopes of convincing a discouraged nation he deserves another four...

The Latest: Minneapolis and St. Paul no longer under curfew

TOP OF THE HOUR:— Minneapolis-St. Paul curfew over as troopers, National Guard to be sent home— Seattle mayor bans police use of tear gas for 30 days.— Phoenix woman says her brother's death three years ago was similar to Floyd's.— California governor orders end to holds...

Shouts of solidarity for black reporter pulled from protests

A black reporter from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette was told she could not cover the city’s protests over the death of George Floyd because of a tweet, and now dozens of her colleagues, fellow journalists, her union and even the city’s mayor are speaking out in support of her. On Friday...

ENTERTAINMENT

CMT special focuses on good news work of everyday heroes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Country stars highlighted the heroic work of citizens and communities around the country who were coming together to help each other in the middle of the coronavirus epidemic during the "CMT Celebrates Our Heroes" TV special.But Wednesday's show largely didn't address...

Ill-considered posts lead to lost jobs amid protests, crisis

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A writer from a “Law & Order" spin-off and the play-by-play broadcaster for the NBA’s Sacramento Kings found themselves out of jobs after making social media posts this week that their bosses found too incendiary or insensitive, highlighting an apparent...

Luminaries Lost: A look at some of the artists lost to virus

A fashion designer who made it to the runways of Paris and New York but never left her Dominican home. An Oklahoma boy who became the toast of 1990s Nashville. A comedian whose off-the-wall trio helped create a golden age in British comedy. In the fourth installment in a series, The Associated...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Buffalo officers suspended in shoving of 75-year-old man

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — Dozens of Buffalo police officers stepped down from the department's crowd control...

AP PHOTOS: Images of calm emerge after days of protests

Amid the anger, violence and grief evident in the massive protests shaking the country after the death of George...

AP Explains: Key takeaways from a surprising jobs report

BALTIMORE (AP) — No one saw it coming — 2.5 million job gains in May and a lower unemployment...

The Latest: NM high court suspends consumer debt collection

SANTA FE, N.M. — The New Mexico Supreme Court is temporarily suspending consumer debt collection such as...

UN health agency: Wear mask if you can't keep your distance

The World Health Organization is broadening its recommendations for the use of masks during the coronavirus...

Pandemic accelerates Mormon missionaries' transition online

BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (AP) — Wearing dress shirts, ties and name tags, three missionaries with The Church of...

McMenamins
Julie Pace and Dina Cappiello the Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In a dramatic reversal, President Barack Obama on Friday scrubbed a clean-air regulation that aimed to reduce health-threatening smog, yielding to bitterly protesting businesses and congressional Republicans who complained the rule would kill jobs in America's ailing economy.

Withdrawal of the proposed regulation marked the latest in a string of retreats by the president in the face of GOP opposition, and it drew quick criticism from liberals. Environmentalists, a key Obama constituency, accused him of caving to corporate polluters, and the American Lung Association threatened to restart the legal action it had begun against rules proposed by President George W. Bush.

The White House has been under heavy pressure from GOP lawmakers and major industries, which have slammed the stricter standard as an unnecessary jobs killer. The Environmental Protection Agency, whose scientific advisers favored the tighter limits, had predicted the proposed change would cost up to $90 billion a year, making it one of the most expensive environmental regulations ever imposed in the U.S.

However, the Clean Air Act bars the EPA from considering the costs of complying when setting public health standards.

Obama said his decision was made in part to reduce regulatory burdens and uncertainty at a time of rampant questions about the strength of the U.S. economy.

Underscoring the economic concerns: a new report Friday that showed the economy essentially adding no jobs in August and the unemployment rate stubbornly stuck at 9.1 percent.

The regulation would have reduced concentrations of ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog, a powerful lung irritant that can cause asthma and other lung ailments. Smog is created when emissions from cars, power and chemical plants, refineries and other factories mix in sunlight and heat.

Republican lawmakers, already emboldened by Obama's concessions on extending Bush-era tax cuts and his agreement to more than $1 trillion in spending reductions as the price for raising the nation's debt ceiling, had pledged to try to block the stricter smog standards as well as other EPA regulations when they returned to Washington after Labor Day.

A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, had muted praise for the White House Friday, saying that withdrawal of the smog regulation was a good first step toward removing obstacles that are blocking business growth.

"But it is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to stopping Washington Democrats' agenda of tax hikes, more government `stimulus' spending and increased regulations, which are all making it harder to create more American jobs," said Boehner spokesman Michael Steel.

Thomas Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said the move was "an enormous victory for America's job creators, the right decision by the president and one that will help reduce the uncertainty facing businesses."

White House officials said the president's decision was not the product of industry pressure, and they said the administration would continue to fight other efforts by Republicans to dismantle the EPA's authority.

But that was little consolation for many of the president's supporters. The group MoveOn.org issued a scathing statement, saying Obama's decision was one it would have expected from his Republican predecessor.

"Many MoveOn members are wondering today how they can ever work for President Obama's re-election, or make the case for him to their neighbors, when he does something like this, after extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich and giving in to tea party demands on the debt deal," said Justin Ruben, the group's executive director.

The American Lung Association, which had sued the EPA over Bush's smog standards, said it would resume its legal fight now that Obama was essentially endorsing the weaker limit. The group had suspended its lawsuit after the Obama administration pledged to change it.

Obama's decision, in fact, mirrors one made by Bush in 2008. After EPA scientists recommended a stricter standard to better protect public health, Bush personally intervened after hearing complaints from electric utilities and other affected industries. His EPA set a standard of 75 parts per billion, stricter than one adopted in 1997, but not as strong as federal scientists said was needed to protect public health.

In March, the EPA's independent panel of scientific advisers sent a letter to the agency's director, Lisa Jackson, saying it was its unanimous recommendation to make the smog standards stronger and that the evidence was "sufficiently certain" that the range proposed in January 2010 under Obama would benefit public health.

But the White House, which has pledged to base decisions on science, said Friday the science behind its initial decision needed to be updated, a process already under way at EPA. The smog standard now is to be revised until 2013.

Whether Obama still occupies the White House at that point depends on the outcome of next year's presidential election.

Cass Sunstein, the head of the White House regulatory office, said changing the smog regulation now, only to have it be reconsidered again in two years, would create unnecessary uncertainty for the private sector and local governments.

The stricter limits initially proposed by Obama would have doubled the number of counties in violation. Smoggy cities such as Los Angeles and Houston would have been joined by counties in California's Napa Valley and one in Kansas with a population of 3,000. They would have had up to 20 years to meet the new limits, once EPA settled on a final number, or would have faced federal penalties.

In his statement, the president said scrapping the stronger smog standards did not reflect a weakening of his commitment to protecting public health and the environment.

"I will continue to stand with the hardworking men and women at the EPA as they strive every day to hold polluters accountable and protect our families from harmful pollution," Obama said.

Even before Friday's decision - announced as many Americans were paying more attention to their Labor Day weekend plans than the news - the White House has faced some criticism for its record on the environment. Obama abandoned a campaign pledge to set the first-ever limits on the pollution blamed for global warming, and he announced an expansion of offshore drilling before the Gulf oil spill sidelined those plans.

However, he has successfully taken other steps to reduce air pollution, such as doubling fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks, clamping down on pollution from power plants that blows downwind and setting the first national standard for mercury, a toxic metal, from power plants, all in the face of Republican and industry opposition.

The ground-level ozone standard is closely associated with public health - something the president said he wouldn't compromise in his regulatory review.

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