Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nation Briefs - Officials: Drought Kills 102 Million Trees in California

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Nation Briefs - Officials: Drought Kills 102 Million Trees in California

Article excerpt

California drought kills over 100 million trees

The California drought has killed more than 102 million trees in a die-off of forests that increases the risk of catastrophic wildfires and other threats to humans, officials said Friday.

The latest aerial survey by the U.S. Forest Service shows there are 36 million more dead trees since May in the state and there has been a 100 percent increase since 2015.

"These dead and dying trees continue to elevate the risk of wildfire, complicate our efforts to respond safely and effectively to fires when they do occur and pose a host of threats to life and property," U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a statement.

Company won't reroute pipeline * The head of the company building the Dakota Access oil pipeline said Friday that it won't be rerouted but that he'd like to meet with the head of an American Indian tribe to try to ease the tribe's concerns about the project.

Kelcy Warren, the CEO of Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, told The Associated Press that the company has no alternative than to stick to its plan for the $3.8 billion pipeline, which would ship oil from North Dakota to Illinois and which is nearly completed.

"There's not another way. We're building at that location," Warren said. Warren said he would welcome the chance to meet with Dave Archambault, the chairman of the Standing Rock Sioux, to address the tribe's concern that the pipeline skirting its reservation would endanger drinking water and cultural sites.

Gay veteran, 91, wants 'undesirable' discharge changed * A 91- year-old veteran who was dismissed from the Air Force as "undesirable" in 1948 because he's gay is suing in Connecticut to have his discharge status upgraded.

The federal lawsuit was filed Friday by H. Edward Spires of Norwalk, Conn., against the secretary of the Air Force and asks for his discharge status to be changed to "honorable." Spires said that after the repeal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy in 2010 he applied for an upgrade but was rejected by the Air Force Board for Corrections of Military Records, which noted personnel records were lost in a 1973 fire. …

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