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  • iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Thirty-one of the country’s most contaminated sites are likely to be available for building new housing, business or other development soon after they are cleaned up, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said today, a step that’s part of Administrator Scott Pruitt's push to accelerate the cleanup and make the land available for community use.Some of the so-called Superfund sites on the list have been considered too contaminated for use for decades and while today’s announcement signals no immediate changes, it opens the door for companies that want to use the land in the future to start that process.No development could happen until the areas are considered safe and removed from the EPA's list of contaminated sites.There are nearly 1,200 sites on that list -- known as the Superfund National Priorities List, across the country -- that are managed by the EPA. The agency works with the companies considered responsible for the pollution and local governments to create a plan to clean up the sites and, in some cases, collect settlements used to pay for the cleanup.Sites included on the list released today are considered good options for redevelopment in the foreseeable future based on location, access to transportation and interest from potential developers, according to the EPA news release.At least one of the sites has been of particular interest to Pruitt, a former Oklahoma attorney general and state senator. The site of a former lead smelter in East Chicago, Indiana, was the first Superfund site Pruitt visited as administrator before the EPA announced in December it was a site targeted for "intense, immediate cleanup action" to be overseen by the administrator directly.Multiple areas in East Chicago were added to the Superfund list in 2009 after testing showed high levels of arsenic and lead in residential areas. Residents had to evacuate a housing complex in the area in 2016 because of the contamination and the complex is now set to be demolished, according to the Chicago Tribune.The governor of Indiana issued a disaster declaration for the city to increase resources for the area and the mayor of East Chicago said the city would need more than $56 million to deal with the contamination, the newspaper also reported."The City of East Chicago continues to have dialogue with the US EPA, and it believes that the Superfund site is quite viable for redevelopment given the continuing interest by companies to locate in East Chicago," Mayor Anthony Copeland said in a statement. "The city looks forward to continued work with the EPA in completing the remediation, which we feel should be completed to residential standards - the highest level of remediation, and promoting the development of the site.”The EPA lists reusing a former elementary school building on the site as one of the possibilities for the site.Another example on the list is a Superfund site on the coast of Lake Washington and close to the practice facility for the Seattle Seahawks. It was contaminated by coal tar and creosote from manufacturing until 1969 and a cleanup plan is expected to be finalized in 2019.The owner of the land wants to redevelop it for 10 buildings with retail and residential units, according to an EPA fact sheet.The full list of sites will be available on the EPA's website.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The entire Gulf Coast region was paralyzed on Wednesday morning with hundreds of schools and flights cancelled and interstates shut down.A state of emergency has already been declared in North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama due to the winter weather moving through the region. Schools in at least 10 states, including major cities like Houston, Philadelphia and Boston were either cancelled or delayed.Alabama went to the extreme step of cancelling classes for every public school in the state -- about 727,000 students -- on Wednesday.Hundreds of accidents were reported Tuesday in the Houston area as the storm began to move through.Storm alerts have been issued from the Gulf Coast to the Northeast, with even a freeze watch for usually warm central Florida.The storm system is moving east Wednesday morning and stretches hundreds of miles from the Gulf Coast to northern New England. Snow will continue for the inland Northeast and the rain will change to snow from New York City to Boston.By early afternoon, the snow will move into Raleigh, North Carolina, where a winter storm warning has been issued for 3 to 6 inches of snow.Snow will continue in the Northeast Wednesday afternoon, with the heaviest snow falling just east of Boston and north of New York City.During the evening rush hour, major delays are expected in the Carolinas from Columbia to Raleigh.Snow will be falling around Norfolk and Richmond, Virginia, where slick roads are also expected.When all is said and done, the heaviest snow will fall in western Massachusetts and into northern New England where locally 9 inches of snow is possible in the highest elevations.Also, locally, half a foot of snow is possible in North Carolina.Cold air follows behindThe cold air follows the storm all the way into the Gulf Coast and Florida for the next couple of days.Wind chills on Wednesday morning all the way to the Gulf Coast are in the single digits and teens.Thursday morning will be the coldest in the Southeast and into Florida, where a freeze watch has been issued for Tampa and a wind chill advisory issued for Fort Myers. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • iStock/Thinkstock(TALLAHASSEE, Fla.) -- Police in Florida issued arrest warrants for nine men on Tuesday in connection with the November hazing death of a 20-year-old Florida State University student, authorities said.The suspects, all between the ages of 20 and 22 years old, face charges of college hazing causing injury or death in the case of Andrew Coffey, a FSU fraternity pledge who died of alcohol poisoning on Nov. 3, the Tallahassee Police Department said in a statement Tuesday.Police said the arrest warrants were issued for Luke E. Kluttz and Clayton M. Muehlstein, both 22; Brett A. Birmingham and Anthony Petagine, both 20; and Conner R. Ravelo, Christopher M. Hamlin, Anthony Oppenheimer, John B. Ray and Kyle J. Bauer, all 21.It was not immediately known if any of the suspects has an attorney.The department said detectives in its Violent Crimes Unit had “employed hours of investigative research, combed through several pieces of physical evidence, and conducted dozens of interviews” before announcing the charges.“This collaborative investigation was critical to finding answers for Andrew Coffey’s family and our community,” Tallahassee Police Chief Michael J. DeLeo said in the statement. “Hopefully, this investigation and its outcome will prevent another tragedy from occurring.”Coffey, a junior, was found unresponsive after attending "Big Brother Night" with the Pi Kappa Phi fraternity, where he was a pledge. An autopsy found his blood alcohol level was .447, more than five times the legal limit to drive, according to The Associated Press.According to grand jury testimony, a fellow pledge found Coffey unresponsive, but called other frat members instead of 911. Authorities weren't contacted for another 11 minutes, which experts told the grand jury could have cost Coffey his life.Florida State University, a school of more than 41,000 students, suspended all Greek activities on campus in the wake of the death and Pi Kappa Phi's national office said it would close its FSU chapter.Coffey's family, which described him as a kind person who loved to laugh, issued a statement shortly after the suspension praising the university’s president, John Thrasher, "for his immediate action in the suspension of all Greek life in the wake of Andrew’s death, and for his genuine desire and dedication to find a solution to this pervasive problem.""As our family grieves, it is our every hope that Andrew’s memory never fades away and that his unnecessary passing will be the catalyst for communication and positive change in a practice that is obviously broken," the statement added. Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.
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  • ABC News(NEW HAVEN, Mich.) -- Residents of southeast Michigan were left a bit shaken Tuesday night after a big bright flash lit up the sky and the ground beneath them shook.A flying saucer? No. A shooting star? Not quite.The National Weather Service eventually solved the mystery, tweeting "USGS confirms meteor occurred around 810 pm, causing a magnitude 2.0 earthquake."According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake was centered about five miles west-southwest of New Haven, Michigan, located about 40 miles northeast of Detroit.Initially though, as curious residents took to social media by droves to share videos of the dazzling display, the National Weather Service wasn't so sure what these star-gazers had seen."After reviewing several observational datasets, the NWS can confirm the flash and boom was NOT thunder or lightning, but instead a likely meteor. We continue to monitor feeds from astronomical agencies for official confirmation of a meteor," read a tweet posted nearly two hours before the NWS confirmed it was a meteor.The American Meteor Society's report map illustrated that the meteor was visible in six states and in Canada.The sparkling display sent social media users into a frenzy, making "#meteor" a top 5 trending topic in the U.S. on Twitter. One Twitter user captured the entire display in a 10-second dashcam video.
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  • Pasco County Sheriff(PASCO COUNTY, Fla.) -- A Florida man wanted for attempted murder thought he could evade authorities by leaping from his second-story balcony. He was wrong.When Pasco County sheriff's officers knocked on his door, Rashad Walker allegedly exited through his rear sliding-glass door and jumped to the floor below, where he was greeted by deputies waiting to arrest him.Walker was apprehended Jan. 12 in New Port Richey, Fla.Bodycam video released by the sheriff's office shows several officers waiting on the lower level, whispering so as not to tip off their location.Walker was booked on warrants from another county for second-degree attempted murder and aggravated battery with great bodily harm.He remains at Pasco County jail. A court date hasn't been set, and the suspect hasn't yet entered a plea to the charges against him.
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