Less than a week after President Donald Trump moved to open protected coastal waters to offshore oil drilling, environmental groups are pushing back with a federal lawsuit.


The suit, filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Alaska, claims Trump has no legal authority to undo protections adopted by President Barack Obama.


Obama in 2015 and 2016 withdrew waters in the Arctic Ocean and off the Atlantic Coast from future oil and gas leasing.


Trump’s April 28 executive order calls for the Interior Department to “give full consideration” to revising oil and gas leasing schedules to includes those areas. Although the order does not mention California, it also opened the door to more offshore drilling on the West Coast.


California officials immediately condemned the order and vowed to use their powers to fight any new oil development off the state’s shores.


In the federal lawsuit, attorneys for Earthjustice and the Natural Resources Defense Council argue that the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act gives presidents the authority to withdraw undeveloped waters from leasing — but does not authorize them to withdraw the protections.


—Los Angeles Times


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Seattle husband and wife plead not guilty in shooting during Milo Yiannopoulos speech


SEATTLE — A Seattle couple pleaded not guilty Wednesday to assault charges in the Jan. 20 shooting of a protester outside a speech at the University of Washington by former Breitbart editor and right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos.


Appearing at the King County Courthouse, Elizabeth Hokoana pleaded not guilty to one count of first-degree assault, with a firearm enhancement, stemming from the shooting.


Her husband, Marc Hokoana, pleaded not guilty to one count of third-degree assault over his alleged use of pepper spray.


Attorneys for the couple entered the pleas on their behalf.


Bail was set at $10,000 for each defendant by King County Superior Court Judge Sean P. O’Donnell, who gave them 48 hours to remain free and make bail arrangements.


Prosecutors allege the two, both 29, had armed themselves — him with pepper spray and her with a Glock semi-automatic handgun in a holster under her coat — and went to the protest intending to goad demonstrators they knew would be there.


The charges allege Elizabeth Hokoana fired a single round from the handgun into the stomach of Joshua Dukes, 34, a member of the Industrial Workers of the World, as Dukes confronted Marc Hokoana for using pepper spray in the crowd.


Dukes, an opponent of Yiannopoulos’ appearance, was critically wounded in the shooting.


If convicted as charged, Elizabeth Hokoana could face up to 10 years in prison.


—The Seattle Times


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UNICEF: Thousands of refugee children ‘in limbo’


NEW YORK — An estimated 24,600 refugee children are “living in limbo” waiting to join family in Western Europe, UNICEF said Thursday.


Single mothers and children are among nearly 75,000 refugees and migrants stranded in Greece, Bulgaria, Hungary and the Western Balkans as they wait to find out when and whether they can join male relatives who have gone on ahead to EU countries, the organization said in a statement.


“We are seeing single mothers and children stranded in Greece, Serbia and Bulgaria who have not seen their husbands and fathers for months or even years,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe.


“The family reunification process is slow, and its outcome uncertain, and it is this uncertainty which can cause significant emotional distress and anxiety for children and families, setting them back for years to come.”


According to UNICEF, reunification requests can take between 10 months and two years to be processed and EU countries have varying policies on whether to allow asylum seekers to join family.


—dpa


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