Judge rules state violates Clean Air Act
PHOENIX - A federal judge ruled Arizona violated the federal Clean Air Act last year when it eliminated a program that used dogs to sniff out pollution from passing vehicles.
The Legislature ended the state's ''smog dog'' program in spring 2000.
Environmentalists promptly sued, arguing the state couldn't change the program without approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. This week, U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver agreed.
Attorney Joy Herr-Cardillo called Silver's ruling "very satisfying." The Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest will push for the state to quickly comply with the law, created to protect health.
That could mean bringing back the smog dogs, also known as remote-sensing devices, Herr-Cardillo said.
However, the program would cost at least $1 million a year to resume, said Steve Burr, special counsel to the director of the Department of Environmental Quality. The state coffers already are strained.
Both sides are scheduled to meet Sept. 28 to sort out how to meet the Clean Air Act requirements.
NEW AUGUTA, MISS.
Convicted killer and suspect escape Miss. jail
NEW AUGUSTA, Miss. - Authorities across southern Mississippi searched yesterday for two escaped prisoners, including a convicted murderer scheduled for trial today for another killing.
Kenneth Moody, 26, and cellmate Scotty Thomas, 33, escaped from the Perry County Jail late Saturday by using a hacksaw blade to cut a hole through an air conditioning duct, Sheriff Carlos Herring said.
They then climbed onto the jail roof and jumped to the ground. Herring said it was possible someone had been waiting in a car for the two men.
Moody was scheduled to stand trial Monday for the May 1995 stabbing death of Michael Lee, 31, during a fight at a party.
He had been convicted in April of two counts of murder and sentenced to life without parole for killing two other people, also in May 1995.
Thomas was awaiting trial in a separate case involving his uncle's murder, the sheriff said.
Authorities said both men were considered extremely dangerous.
PORT ISABEL, TEXAS
Bridge collapses after being hit by barge; at least two dead and several missing
PORT ISABEL, Texas - Barges rammed the only bridge connecting this fishing community to South Padre Island early Saturday, killing at least two people and leaving several people missing as cars plunged into the water, officials said.
Thirteen people were rescued.
The crash toppled two 80-foot segments of the four-lane bridge, said Randall Dillard of the Texas Department of Transportation.
Authorities were unsure how many vehicles fell into the water of Laguna Madre, said Coast Guard spokesman Joshua Sharkey. Severed telephone lines along the bridge hampered communications, he said.
The search was suspended at about 8 a.m. while crews inspected and worked to reinforce the span, said Texas Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Lorraine Ronquillo. ''One of the columns is very unsafe and the waters are muddy,'' Ronquillo said.
''The structure right now needs to be secure before we make any moves. I've been out there. It looks real bad,'' Sheriff Conrado Cantu said.
Five vehicles and possibly more were still in the water, Ronquillo said.
Several people had been concerned about the possibility of terrorism in light of the attacks on the East Coast, said Vicky Lopez, a clerk at the Break Time convenience store in Port Isabel.
South Padre Island has about 2,000 permanent residents, and island hotels were about 70 percent booked for the weekend. Most tourists on the island came to celebrate Mexico's Diez y Seis de Septiembre Independence Day, which was yesterday.