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WEEKEND HEADLINES, 2/13 & 2/14/16 *** Democratic lawmakers have introduced new legislation that would ban new coal, oil and gas extraction leases on U.S. public land. The introduction of the so-called Keep It in the Ground Act into Congress comes after a coalition of more than 400 organizations have called on the White House to stop issuing new fossil fuel leases on public lands and oceans. A similar version of the bill has already been introduced in the Senate by presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Thursday's introduction of the bill, which has 16 Democratic co-sponsors, is largely seen as a symbolic gesture, as the House is controlled by Republican lawmakers *** After 41 days, the occupation at the Oregon wildlife refuge has ended, after the remaining four antigovernment militia members surrendered to the FBI. On January 2, the militia members took over the wildlife refuge in support of two ranchers sentenced to prison for setting fires that burned federal land. The ranchers later turned themselves in to authorities. But the militia members continued their occupation. For weeks, local residents and the Paiute Tribe—which has treaty rights to the land—have called on the militia to leave. On January 27, the FBI arrested militia leaders Ammon and Ryan Bundy in a traffic stop that left group spokesperson Robert "LaVoy" Finicum dead. This week, the FBI also arrested Cliven Bundy at the Portland International Airport on charges of conspiracy and assault on a federal law enforcement officer. In total, more than a dozen people are now facing federal charges related to the Oregon occupation *** More later...

Happy birthday Danielle Em!

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