Tag Archives: State governments

Gaps in wildfire smoke warning community depart folks uncovered


Authorities applications to alert the general public when smoke air pollution turns into unhealthy depend on about 950 everlasting monitoring stations and dozens of cell models that may be deployed round main fires.

These stations are closely concentrated round main cities on the West Coast and east of the Mississippi River — a patchwork that leaves some folks unable to find out native dangers from smoke, together with in rural areas the place air high quality can shortly degrade when fires ignite close by. The issue persists far past fireplace traces as a result of wildfire smoke travels for 1000’s of miles and loses its tell-tale odor but stays a hazard to public well being.

The monitoring gaps underscore what officers and public well being consultants say is a obvious scarcity of assets for a sort of air pollution rising worse as local weather change brings more and more lengthy and harmful wildfire seasons to the U.S. West, southern Europe and japanese Russia.

Microscopic particles in wildfire smoke could cause respiration points and extra severe issues for folks with power well being circumstances. Lengthy-term results stay below research however some researchers estimate power smoke publicity causes about 20,000 untimely deaths a yr within the U.S.

“It’s a really irritating place to be the place now we have recurring well being emergencies with out ample technique of responding to them,” stated Sarah Coefield, an air high quality specialist for town of Missoula, Montana. “You will be in your workplace simply respiration smoke and pondering you’re OK since you’re inside, however you’re not.”

Missoula, perched alongside the Clark Fork River with about 75,000 folks, is surrounded by mountains and has change into infamous as a smoke lure. All throughout the area are comparable mountain valleys, many with out air pollution screens, and smoke circumstances can fluctuate significantly from one valley to the following.

Montana has 19 everlasting monitoring stations. That is about one for each 7,700 sq. miles (20,000 sq. kilometers) or an space nearly as huge as New Jersey. New Jersey has 30.

Information on air high quality is especially sparse in japanese Montana, the place smoke from a 266-square-mile (690-square-kilometer) fireplace on the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation received so dangerous this month that officers closed a well being clinic when air filters couldn’t sustain with the air pollution.

The smoke prompted tribal authorities to protect elders and others who had been in danger by extending an evacuation order for Lame Deer, a city of about 2,000 those who sits beneath fire-scarred Badger Peak and is dwelling to the tribal authorities advanced.

However on the identical day, Lame Deer and surrounding areas had been unnoticed of a air pollution alert from state officers, who stated extraordinarily excessive smoke particle ranges made the air unhealthy throughout massive areas of Montana and suggested folks to keep away from extended exertion to guard their lungs. A air pollution sensor on the reservation had burned within the fireplace, and the closest state Division of Environmental High quality monitor, about 30 miles (48 kilometers) away, confirmed an air high quality studying of “good.”

That left tribal officers to evaluate the air pollution hazard based mostly on how far they may see — a crude fallback for areas with out screens. On a scale of 1 to 20, “I might say the smoke was a 19,” tribal spokesperson Angel Becker stated.

“What makes it troublesome is that Lame Deer is sitting in between a few ravines,” she added. “So once you get socked in (with smoke), it simply sits right here and that’s not good for elders or youngsters which have bronchial asthma or any respiration points.”

Doug Kuenzli, who supervises Montana’s air high quality monitoring program, stated regulators acknowledge the necessity for extra knowledge on smoke however high-grade screens will be prohibitively costly — $10,000 to $28,000 every.

Oregon expanded its community over the previous two years with 5 new screens alongside the state’s picturesque shoreline the place smoke solely not too long ago turned a recurring drawback, stated Tom Roick with the Oregon Division of Environmental High quality.

“We’re seeing extra prevalence of wildfire smoke and elevated depth,” Roick stated. “It is not as a result of now we have extra monitoring; it is getting worse.”

All through the West, public well being officers have struggled to get the message about risks of smoke to at-risk communities, reminiscent of migrant staff who spend a lot of time outside, folks in homes with out air filters and the aged. Kids, too, are extra prone to well being issues.

That is no small subset of society: Folks over 65 and youngsters below 18 make up 40% of the inhabitants, stated Kaitlyn Kelly, a wildfire smoke air pollution specialist with the Washington Division of Well being.

Speedy technological developments imply households should buy their very own monitoring gear for round $250. The gear shouldn’t be as dependable as authorities stations, officers stated, however the knowledge from lots of the privately-owned sensors is now displayed on an interactive smoke publicity map by the U.S. Environmental Safety Company and Forest Service.

Though inaccurate readings have been reported for some consumer-grade sensors, officers stated they may help fill blind spots within the authorities’s community. The quantity in use is quick growing — from about 6,000 non-public sensors final yr to greater than 10,000 presently, based on EPA.

“There’s nonetheless gaps,” stated Kelly. “The low-cost sensors are step one in filling within the gaps the place we do not have (authorities) screens.”

In Missoula, a small non-profit group based to convey consideration to world warming goes past warning folks about smoke. It is offering makeshift air filters and transportable air cleaners to the homebound aged and impoverished households.

Vinette Rupp, a 74-year-old Missoula girl who acquired a conveyable air cleaner, stated she “can nearly style it” when the smoke will get thick on the town. Neighbor Maureen Fogarty, 67, who has lung most cancers and suffers from respiration issues, stated her coughing has eased since she received one of many filters.

“Effectively it is a lifesaver as a result of I can breathe simpler now,” Fogarty stated. “The best way it’s, you recognize, you have to come and go and also you’re bringing within the unhealthy air, and it’s gonna have an effect on you.”

Local weather Good Missoula, which supplied the transportable air cleaner, additionally makes and distributes filters by an area meals financial institution. Costing about $30 apiece — versus $150 or extra for a manufactured unit — the do-it-yourself purifiers are endorsed by public well being officers. They’re crafted from field followers with high-efficiency furnace filters duct-taped to the again to lure air pollution particles as air passes by.

Local weather Good Missoula director Amy Cilimburg stated she and a colleague have constructed roughly 200 of them, paid for largely with donations.

“Our methods for coping with wildfire smoke had been pray for rain, or depart city, or endure — and that appeared insufficient,” Cilimburg stated “It is sort of caught up with us, though scientists have advised us it is coming. I felt like we would have liked to get to work.”


Observe Matthew Brown on Twitter: @MatthewBrownAP


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California jobless price falls with assist of short-term jobs


California’s unemployment price fell to 11.4% in August

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A raft of short-term authorities jobs for the U.S. Census boosted California’s financial system in August because the state added 101,900 jobs because the unemployment price fell beneath the high-water mark of the Nice Recession for the primary time since March.

However specialists warned that different indicators — together with new unemployment claims, feeble shopper spending and paltry job postings — nonetheless present the world’s fifth-largest financial system has stalled with no fast restoration in sight.

California misplaced greater than 2.6 million jobs in March and April as the federal government ordered companies to shut and other people to remain dwelling to sluggish the unfold of the coronavirus, which has killed greater than 14,700 Californians.

California, dwelling to almost 40 million individuals and the world’s fifth largest financial system, has now regained almost a 3rd of these jobs misplaced, in response to statistics launched Friday by the Employment Improvement Division.

However the unemployment price, now at 11.4%, fell partly as a result of the labor drive has declined by almost 800,000 individuals since February as mother and father had been compelled to remain dwelling with youngsters and others determined to return to highschool to be taught new expertise in a difficult job market, stated Sung Gained Sohn, professor of finance and economics at Loyola Marymount College.

“The factor about this pandemic, we have a tendency to speak concerning the averages and the jobless price and what number of jobs we’ve created,” he stated. “It is type of like saying the common depth of the Mississippi River is three ft deep. However when you attempt to stroll throughout, you would drown. And plenty of small companies are drowning.”

California has paid greater than $86 billion in unemployment advantages since March. The 13 million claims the state has processed over the previous six months are greater than triple the quantity of claims filed in 2010, the worst full 12 months of the Nice Recession.

However that cash has attracted scammers who’ve fooled the state’s laptop system to get advantages after they weren’t eligible.

Investigators introduced Thursday they’d arrested 44 individuals in Beverly Hills this month for fraud, recovering 129 debit playing cards with a price of $2.5 million. The Employment Improvement Division stated it has taken steps to right the issue.

Of the 101,900 jobs added in March, greater than 64% had been authorities jobs. Most of these had been short-term jobs for the U.S. Census whereas others could be attributed to native authorities hires as college reopened, not less than just about. Not counting the federal government jobs, California’s non-public sector added 35,800 jobs.

California outperformed the nation as a complete, with its unemployment price in August falling 2.1 share factors in comparison with July whereas the nationwide price fell 1.Eight share factors to eight.4%. Six of the state’s 11 business sectors gained jobs final month. However in comparison with August of 2019, California has misplaced almost 1.6 million nonfarm jobs.

“In some methods, it’s troublesome to know what to make of this morning’s numbers,” stated Michael Bernick, former director of the state Employment Improvement Division and an lawyer with Duane Morris. “They don’t seem to be according to the numbers we have seen over the previous month on new unemployment claims in California which have been operating very excessive.”

The most important job losses in California proceed to return from eating places and resorts and different hospitality companies, which misplaced one other 14,600 jobs in August.

Of California’s 58 counties, state officers say the coronavirus is “widespread” in 30 of them, a designation that imposes automated bans on indoor eating and different enterprise restrictions.

The numbers have been enhancing statewide, however outbreaks proceed to pop up, most notably in San Diego County, the fifth-most populous county within the nation. It’s at risk of being moved again to the “widespread” class, which might set off one other spherical of enterprise closings.

In Los Angeles County, the nation’s most populous with greater than 10 million residents, the financial downturn continues to have an outsized affect due to its service and entertainment-heavy financial system and its giant variety of minority-owned small companies.

The county’s unemployment price is 16.6%, greater than 5 share factors increased than the statewide common.

California’s highest county jobless price — 22.9% — is in Imperial County within the southeastern a part of the state, bordering Arizona.


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Hawaii to permit vacationers to skip quarantine with virus check


Hawaii’s governor says that beginning Oct. 15, vacationers arriving from out of state might bypass a 14-day quarantine requirement in the event that they check destructive for COVID-19

HONOLULU — Hawaii Gov. David Ige mentioned Wednesday that beginning Oct. 15, vacationers arriving from out of state might bypass a 14-day quarantine requirement in the event that they check destructive for COVID-19.

Vacationers must take the check inside 72 hours earlier than their flight arrives within the islands. Ige mentioned drug retailer operator CVS and healthcare supplier Kaiser Permanente will conduct the exams as a part of an settlement with the state.

“I wish to emphasize that this pre-travel testing will enable us so as to add a larger ingredient of security for journey into our state,” Ige mentioned at a information convention.

On Wednesday, the state Division of Well being reported Hawaii had a mean of 118 instances per day for the previous seven days. That is down from a seven-day day by day common of 255 on Aug. 28.


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Trump administration moves ahead on shrinking Utah monuments


The U.S. government is implementing final management plans for two national monuments in Utah that President Donald Trump downsized

The U.S. government implemented final management plans Thursday for two national monuments in Utah that President Donald Trump downsized. The plans ensure lands previously off-limits to energy development will be open to mining and drilling despite pending lawsuits by conservation, tribal and paleontology groups challenging the constitutionality of the president’s action.

The lands have generated little interest from energy companies in the two years since Trump cut the size of Bears Ears National Monument by 85% and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument by nearly half, said Casey Hammond, acting Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management with the U. S. Department of the Interior.

Hammond said in a conference call the department had a duty to work on the management plans after Trump signed his proclamations in December 2017, despite the pending lawsuits that seek to return the monuments to their original sizes.

“If we stopped and waited for every piece of litigation to be resolved we would never be able to do much of anything around here,” Hammond said.

Market dynamics have limited interest in a large coal reserve found in the now unprotected lands cut from Grand Staircase and uranium on lands cut from Bears Ears.

But an economic analysis by the U.S. government estimates coal production could lead to $208 million in annual revenues and $16.6 million in royalties on lands cut from Grand Staircase. Oil and gas wells in that area could produce $4.1 million in annual revenues, the analysis says.

If interest comes as energy market forces shift, Hammond said the lands cut remain under federal control and governed by “time-tested laws” and subject to environmental regulations. He rebuffed the oft-repeated claim from conservation groups that there would be a “free-for-all” for mineral development.

“Any suggestion that these lands and resources will be adversely impacted by the mere act of being excluded from the monuments is simply not true,” Hammond said.

Trump cut the size monuments following review of 27 national monuments by then-Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. He recommended shrinking two other monuments as well, but Trump has yet to take action.

Trump said he scaled back the size of the monuments to reverse misuse of the Antiquities Act by previous Democratic presidents that he said led to oversized monuments that hinder energy development, grazing and other uses. The move earned cheers from Republican leaders in Utah including former U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch.

Conservation groups have called Trump’s decision the largest elimination of protected land in American history. They criticized the Trump administration on Thursday for spending time on management plans they believe will become moot when the court sides with their assertion that Trump misused the Antiquities Act to reverse decisions by previous presidents.

A federal judge last year rejected the Trump administration’s bid to dismiss the lawsuits. In a recent court filing, tribal groups said the Bears Ears lands are “a living and vital place where ancestors passed from one world to the next, often leaving their mark in petroglyphs or painted handprints, and where modern day tribal members can still visit them.”

President Bill Clinton created the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996 on lands home to cliffs, canyons, waterfalls and arches in southern Utah. President Barack Obama created Bears Ears National Monument in 2016 on a scenic swath of southern Utah with red rock plateaus, cliffs and canyons on land considered sacred to tribes.

“It’s the height of arrogance for Trump to rush through final decisions on what’s left of Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante while we’re fighting his illegal evisceration of these national monuments in court,” said Randi Spivak, public lands director at the Center for Biological Diversity in a statement. “Trump is eroding vital protections for these spectacular landscapes. We won’t rest until all of these public lands are safeguarded for future generations.”


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News flash from Florida legislators: Telegraph era is over


Florida lawmakers are transmitting a news bulletin: The telegraph era is over

Florida lawmakers are transmitting a news bulletin: The telegraph era is over.

Before there was instant messaging, emails and even corded telephones, there was the reliable telegraph to instantaneously transmit messages far and wide. Now, people turn to the internet, text messaging, Twitter, gifs and emojis to write their long-distance notes.

While thumbing through a volume of Florida laws, state Rep. Tommy Gregory and a colleague came upon old statutes regulating the telegraph industry.

“I wondered if they were now obsolete,” said Gregory, a former lieutenant colonel in the Air Force.

“We probably haven’t sent a telegraph in the state of Florida in more than a decade,” Gregory said in an interview. Indeed, it’s anybody’s guess when that final Florida missive might have been tapped into the ether. Western Union, once a leading telegraph service provider, sent out its last telegram on Jan. 27, 2006.

Gregory considered the statutes useless in today’s era of smartphones and emails, and he moved to rip the laws out of the state’s books.

A state House committee on Wednesday agreed unanimously to repeal Chapter 363 of the Florida Statute in its entirety. One lawmaker cheekily registered his vote by using his fingers to tap into the dais as if using Morse Code.

Back in its day, the telegraph was cutting-edge technology. Until Samuel Morse invented his eponymous code and sent out the first message by telegraph in 1844, the Pony Express was still the speediest way to get a message from coast to coast.

“WHAT HATH GOD WROUGHT?” the first telegraph message asked.

For starters, fax machines, Twitter and Facebook.

Telegram companies were once common. During America’s wars, a telegram arriving at a family’s door was a thing to be dreaded, perhaps containing the news of a beloved service member’s death. Air travel and interstate highways later made mail delivery faster and cheaper. Then the corded telephone became ubiquitous. Fax machines also became common. More recently, email and the Internet allowed for instantaneous messaging.

These days, smartphones have become the go-to communications tool.

The Florida law was adopted more than a century ago and remained mostly unchanged since 1913.

It established penalties against telegraph companies that refused to transmit messages, making them liable for damages for mental anguish and physical suffering because of their failure to promptly and correctly transmit or deliver a telegram.

Based on their research, staffers concluded that “the provisions of chapter 363, F.S., are outdated and no longer applicable.”

Gregory, an anti-red tape Republican, said the matter might not be urgent, but not necessarily a trivial exercise.

“This is not health care. Right. This is not an in-depth and complex legislation,” he said.

“But I think we need to reduce the footprint of government.”



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Alabama gov begins therapy for cancerous spot on her lung


Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey underwent a scheduled outpatient process on Friday as she will get set for specialised radiation therapy for most cancers, her workplace mentioned.

Ivey introduced Thursday that medical doctors had found a malignant spot on her lung. She described the most cancers as having been caught early and mentioned it might not intervene in her capability to meet her duties as governor. She went to the College of Alabama at Birmingham to have the preliminary process completed.

“The governor’s outpatient process immediately at UAB went properly and as deliberate. She is again in Montgomery and appears ahead to returning to her common schedule subsequent week,” Ivey Press Secretary Gina Maiola wrote in a press release.

The governor’s workplace has not disclosed the precise kind of most cancers she was recognized as having. The workplace mentioned the outpatient process will allow her to endure a sequence of radiation remedies.

The 74-year-old Republican governor mentioned the spot was found in a routine examination and was later confirmed to be what she referred to as a tiny, remoted malignancy.

“The excellent news is I’m one of many lucky ones the place this was found early, and it is rather treatable,” Ivey mentioned in a press release.

“Naturally, I welcome your prayers and your help. Simply as so many others who’ve been affected by most cancers, I’m assured of God’s plan and objective for my life and really feel extraordinarily lucky this was caught so early.”

Dr. Suresh S. Ramalingam, deputy director of the Winship Most cancers Institute of Emory College, mentioned the prognosis for lung most cancers varies with the stage of the illness. He mentioned stage one lung cancers have the perfect outcomes, and among the many subtypes of lung most cancers, non-small cell lung cancers sufferers are inclined to have higher outcomes in comparison with small cell lung cancers sufferers.

Ramalingam, who just isn’t treating Ivey, mentioned statements from Ivey’s physician and workplace point out she has an early stage illness.

“The truth that the governor’s most cancers was discovered early goes to place her in an excellent, very excessive proportion of treatment with stage one lung most cancers with this type of radiation remedy. Success charges are extremely excessive,” Ramalingam mentioned.

Ramalingam pressured the necessity for folks to concentrate on the necessity for lung most cancers screening to catch the illness early when remedies could be best. He mentioned many lung cancers should not caught till they’re in superior levels.

The American Most cancers Society and American Most cancers Society Most cancers Motion Community issued a press release of help for Ivey and inspiring folks to debate screening.

“The American Most cancers Society and our volunteers are very involved to be taught Gov. Kay Ivey has been recognized with lung most cancers however are inspired that it was discovered early,” mentioned Ginny Tucker, Alabama govt director of the American Most cancers Society.


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Vacationers might pay tolls to drive San Francisco crooked road


1000’s of vacationers may quickly be pressured to make reservations and pay to drive the famed crooked Lombard Avenue in San Francisco.

California lawmakers accepted a invoice Thursday granting San Francisco the facility to ascertain a toll and reservation system for Lombard Avenue. The invoice nonetheless wants Gov. Gavin Newsom’s signature.

The San Francisco County Transportation Authority has really helpful $5 per automotive weekdays and $10 weekends and holidays.

Residents say the scenic road has develop into extra like an overcrowded amusement park than a neighborhood road.

They’ve been calling for years for officers to handle site visitors jams, trash and trespassing.

Tourism officers estimate that 6,000 folks each day go to the 600-foot-long (183-meter-long) road in the summertime, creating strains of automobiles stretching for blocks.


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The Newest: Juul reviewing NY ban, agrees motion wanted


The Newest on New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo pushing for a ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes (all occasions native):

2:25 p.m.

The most important participant within the e-cigarette market says it is reviewing an announcement from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo that might ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, however agrees there is a want for “aggressive category-wide motion.”

Juul Labs Inc. spokesman Austin Finan says in a press release Sunday the corporate would “absolutely comply” with native legal guidelines and any federal coverage once they’re efficient.

Cuomo, a Democrat, introduced Sunday the state well being commissioner can be making a suggestion this week to the state Public Well being and Well being Planning Council.

The council can situation emergency rules banning the flavored vapored merchandise. Cuomo referenced younger individuals getting hooked on nicotine in introducing the ban.

Juul says it has stopped promoting flavored merchandise in conventional retail shops since November of final yr.


12:48 p.m.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he is directing state well being officers to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes, citing the chance of younger individuals getting hooked on nicotine.

The Democrat introduced Sunday that the state well being commissioner can be making a suggestion this week to the state Public Well being and Well being Planning Council.

The council can situation emergency rules that would go into impact in as quickly as two weeks.

In asserting the motion, Cuomo sharply criticized the flavors which might be on the market, like bubble gum and cotton sweet, as being “clearly focused” to younger individuals.

The ban wouldn’t influence tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes.

Cuomo signed laws earlier this yr elevating the statewide smoking age to 21.


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New York strikes to enact statewide flavored e-cig ban


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is pushing to enact a statewide ban on the sale of flavored e-cigarettes amid rising well being issues linked to vaping, particularly amongst younger folks.

The Democrat introduced Sunday that the state well being commissioner can be making a advice this week to the state Public Well being and Well being Planning Council. The council can challenge emergency laws that might go into impact as quickly as they’re voted on and begin being enforced in as quickly as two weeks, following a brief grace interval for retailers, officers mentioned.

In asserting the motion, Cuomo sharply criticized the flavors which can be on the market, like bubble gum and cotton sweet.

“These are clearly focused to younger folks and extremely efficient at concentrating on younger folks,” he mentioned.

The largest participant within the trade, Juul Labs Inc., mentioned it was reviewing the announcement, however agreed with the necessity for motion.

The ban wouldn’t impression tobacco- and menthol-flavored e-cigarettes, however Cuomo mentioned the Division of Well being would proceed evaluating and that might change.

Cuomo signed laws earlier this 12 months elevating the statewide smoking age to 21, and earlier this month signed a mandate that requires state anti-tobacco campaigns to additionally embrace vaping.

Vaping can also be beneath a federal highlight , as well being authorities look into lots of of respiratory sicknesses reported in individuals who have used e-cigarettes and different vaping units.

In his first public feedback on vaping, President Donald Trump proposed the same federal ban final week.

The FDA has been in a position to ban vaping flavors since 2016, however hasn’t taken the step, with officers wanting into whether or not flavors may assist cigarette people who smoke to give up.

The worldwide market is estimated to have a price of as a lot as $11 billion. The trade has spent some huge cash in states across the nation to foyer towards state-level flavored e-cigarette bans, in states together with Hawaii, California, Maine and Connecticut.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer earlier this month ordered that state’s well being division to come back out with emergency guidelines to ban flavored e-cigarette gross sales.

Juul reiterated Sunday the agreeable stance it had taken following Trump’s proposal.

In an emailed assertion, spokesman Austin Finan mentioned, “We strongly agree with the necessity for aggressive category-wide motion on flavored merchandise,” and “will totally adjust to native legal guidelines and the ultimate FDA coverage when efficient.”


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Popular Texas fishing spot Rollover Pass closing this month


The Rollover Pass manmade channel along the Gulf of Mexico will close this month due to erosion concerns after more than 60 years as a popular Texas fishing and tourism spot.

The Texas General Land Office on Monday announced a $7.4 million contract with Brizo Construction. Fencing should be installed by the end of September and work is expected to be completed by April.

Rollover Pass on Bolivar (BAH’-lee-vur) Peninsula, near Galveston, opened in 1955 as a dredging project to improve water quality and salinity and help with fish migration.

The 2009 Texas Legislature authorized closing Rollover Pass amid erosion and environmental damage. The project was delayed several years following opposition by some sports and fishing groups, plus rising costs.

The updated site is expected to include a park and fishing area.


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