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12 people missing in Texas floods, authorities say

Texas floodsAuthorities say a dozen people are missing after flash flooding along the Blanco River in Central Texas that damaged hundreds of homes.

Kristi Wyatt, a spokeswoman for the city of San Marcos, said Monday that 12 people are now missing after the flooding Sunday, when three people were reported missing. Wyatt says she didn’t immediately have more information.

Former Nueces County Commissioner Joe McComb says his son’s wife and their two children are among the missing.

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Woman chains herself to Shell ship in protest at Arctic oil exploration

Portesting shell oil rigThe coast guard says it has no plans to remove a woman who has chained herself to the Arctic Challenger, a support ship for Royal Dutch Shell’s exploratory oil drilling plans.

The activist attached herself to the ship anchored in Bellingham Bay, north of Seattle, on Friday evening.

The coast guard cutter Osprey spent the night monitoring the protester but took no action, Petty Officer Third Class Katelyn Shearer said Saturday morning. “We’re really most concerned for her safety and the safety of everyone involved,” Shearer said.

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Texas, Oklahoma Hit By Severe Flooding, At Least 1 Dead

Texas, Oklahoma floodingA mandatory evacuation has been issued for residents in an area north of Houston because authorities are concerned heavy rains may cause a dam to fail.

The evacuation area is between Lake Conroe and nearby Lake Lewis, about 50 miles north of Houston. The Montgomery County Emergency Management office said in a statement Sunday that the dam on Lake Lewis remains intact.

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Pipeline that leaked wasn't equipped with auto shut-off

Pipeline had no shut-offThe pipeline that leaked thousands of gallons of oil on the California coast was the only pipe of its kind in the county not required to have an automatic shut-off valve because of a court fight nearly three decades ago, a county official said.

The original owner of the pipeline skirted the Santa Barbara County requirement by successfully arguing in court in the late 1980s that it should be subject to federal oversight because the pipeline is part of an interstate network, said Kevin Drude, deputy director of the county's Energy and Minerals Division. Auto shut-off valves are not required by federal regulators.

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California Oil Spill Prosecutors Eye Criminal Charges For Company

California oil spillGovernment prosecutors are investigating the company at the center of the California oil spill for possible criminal sanctions, according to the district attorney of Santa Barbara - a city that helped spawn the modern environmental movement.

Perhaps one of the worst places on Earth for a crude oil leak, Santa Barbara is a beautiful sun-kissed coastal city rich with wildlife, environmental lawyers and wealthy liberal activists.

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U.S. oil platform catches fire in Gulf of Mexico

oil rig fireA small offshore oil platform caught fire in shallow water near the coast of Louisiana on Friday and an oil sheen was seen in the sea after workers were evacuated, officials said.

The fire was still burning at midday Friday with response vessels on site. It was unclear how much oil had leaked, but the Coast Guard said it had seen a 1.4 nautical mile "rainbow sheen" drifting southwest of the platform.

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All Las Vegas freeway ramps reopen after 5.3-magnitude earthquake

Las Vegas earthquakeAll Las Vegas freeway ramps have reopened after a 5.3 magnitude earthquake hit about 125 miles north near Caliente, where the temblor rattled windows and dishes.

The quake, which struck at 11:47 a.m. today, was centered about 24 miles south-southwest of Caliente in Lincoln County but was felt across the Las Vegas Valley.

The freeway transition ramp from southbound U.S. 95 to southbound Interstate 15 near downtown Las Vegas was closed after the quake, as was the ramp from U.S. 95 southbound to I-15 northbound and the Martin Luther King on-ramp to southbound I-15, according to the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada. Officials announced at about 5 p.m. that all the ramps were open.

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