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Stories by Ben Moffat

On second thought: Congress drops talk of staying, takes August recess

Senate leaders, backed by vocal conservatives in the House, vowed at the height of the health care debate to trim the usual month-long August recess and stay until at least the middle of the month to work on pressing legislation.... Read more»0

Despite best efforts, years of drought leave Arizona little room for error

Arizona’s top water official told a congressional committee that even though the state has done a lot right, years of drought still threaten to push the region into a water emergency in the next few years.... Read more»1

GOP, Democrats spar over best way to save Endangered Species Act

Democrats and Republicans agreed last week that everybody wants to prevent extinction of endangered species – but they differ sharply on how to do that. That was the main issue as the House Natural Resources Committee took up five bills, what Rep. Raul Grijalva called a “weird menu” of measures that would modify the Endangered Species Act in ways he called a “waste of time.”... Read more»0

1.4 million weigh in on Trump’s review of nat'l monuments

An Interior Department review of national monuments has drawn more than 1.4 million public comments, a “phenomenal” number. On the list are the Tucson-area Ironwood Forest monument, the Sonoran Desert monument near Gila Bend, and the Grand Canyon - Parashant and Vermillion Cliffs monuments in Arizona, and nearly two dozen others across the U.S.... Read more»0

Arizona official: EPA rule puts ‘extraordinarily high’ burden on mines

Proposed federal rules that would require mining companies to have cash sufficient to clean up any environmental problems they might cause are “duplicative and unnecessary,” an Arizona environmental official told a House panel Thursday.... Read more»0

Firefighters add drone incursions to threats faced in a wildfire

Firefighters battling the Goodwin Fire in central Arizona had to suspend operations twice in one week after drones flew into airspace over the blaze.... Read more»0

Supreme Court may be eyeing Arizona’s appeal on DACA driver’s licenses

The Supreme Court this week moved to take a closer look at Arizona’s bid to deny driver’s licenses to recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, sparking concern among immigration-rights advocates.... Read more»0

Feds remove Hualapai Mexican vole from endangered species list

Federal officials said Friday they will remove the Hualapai Mexican vole from the endangered species list after 30 years, a move that one environmental group criticized as “premature” for an animal it says could still be at risk.... Read more»0

Congress hits pause as members, staff grapple with shooting

Lawmakers and staffers on Capitol Hill were grappling Wednesday with what one member called the “horrifying and concerning” shooting spree in a Washington suburb that left five people injured, including staffers, police officers and a House member.... Read more»0

Appeals court upholds tribes’ claim in dispute over Gila River water

A federal appeals court Tuesday agreed with two tribes who challenged a Freeport Minerals plan to divert water from the Gila River, saying the company had failed to show that its proposal would not affect the tribes.... Read more»1

6 years later, slain Border Patrol agent’s family still seeks answers

Six years later, Josephine Terry still has trouble talking about the murder of her son, Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a Rio Rico shootout where guns were later traced to a botched government investigation.... Read more»0

Tucson, other Az cities buck Trump, pledge to stick to Paris climate goals

Arizona cities this week spurned President Trump’s plan to pull the U.S. out of a global emissions compact, with at least three mayors — including Tucson's Jonathan Rothschild — pledging their cities would hew to the emission goals laid out in the Paris accord.... Read more»0

Trump plan to exit Paris accord riles Arizona Democrats, warms GOP

President Trump said Thursday the U.S. will withdraw from a global agreement on emissions that “handicaps” the economy, a move that Arizona critics charged will end up harming both the economy and the environment.... Read more»0

Flake bill would let U.S. military strike ‘non-state actors’ like ISIS

U.S. Sens. Jeff Flake and Tim Kaine introduced a use-of-force resolution that would let the president take military action against “non-state actors” like al Qaeda, ISIS and other terror groups.... Read more»0

Residents tell Congress about drawbacks, benefits of life on federally owned land

An Arizona rancher and state legislator told Congress that he has been “held hostage” for years by the red tape that accompanies federal ownership of lands in the West. But Kendra Pinto, who lives on the Navajo Nation, testified that she welcomes federal stewardship of the lands around her home.... Read more»0

Court: Reading death-row inmate’s outgoing mail violates his rights

The Arizona Department of Corrections violated a death-row inmate’s rights to an attorney and to free speech when officers read mail the prisoner was sending to his lawyer, a federal appeals court ruled last week.... Read more»0