March 17, 2009 in City

EPA’s ‘green club’ closed for repairs

 

The Environmental Protection Agency is closing a program that drew complaints from environmentalists for cutting back on company inspections and regulations as a reward for voluntary controls on pollution.

The National Environmental Performance Track Program, established in 2000, enrolled hundreds of corporations in its “green club” if they agreed to undertake initiatives to save energy and reduce pollution. However, investigations of the program questioned its effectiveness.

The agency said Monday that it would evaluate and refine the program’s concepts “in order to develop a stronger system to protect human health and the environment.”

PHILADELPHIA

Ex-senator guilty of 137 counts

Democrat Vincent Fumo played by his own rules as he voraciously amassed power and supplicants over three decades in the state Senate.

A federal jury reminded him on Monday that even brilliant, wealthy lawmakers must sometimes answer to the rule of law, finding the much-loved and feared powerbroker guilty of all 137 corruption counts in a $3.5 million fraud and obstruction case.

The 65-year-old South Philadelphia native earned millions of dollars as a lawyer and banking heir but insisted on using what he called OPM – other people’s money – to run his four homes, pay for annual yacht trips and even buy his preferred brand of hairspray, witnesses said.

Prosecutors will seek a sentence of up to 20 years in prison for Fumo, along with millions of dollars in restitution.

LUBBOCK, Texas

Man pleads guilty to mailing powder

A New Mexico man pleaded guilty Monday to mailing threatening letters containing suspicious powder to dozens of banks and federal offices across the country, federal prosecutors said.

Richard Leon Goyette, 47, of Albuquerque, accepted a plea agreement with prosecutors and pleaded guilty in federal court in Amarillo to one count of issuing threats and false information and one count of making threats and hoaxes, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Texas said in a statement.

He had faced 64 counts of making threats and hoaxes after mailing letters from Amarillo to 52 offices and banks in 11 states and the District of Columbia in October. No one was injured and the powder was found to be calcium carbonate, a major component of blackboard chalk.

Goyette faces up to 15 years in prison, a $500,000 fine and other penalties at his May 25 sentencing in U.S. district court.

WASHINGTON

Obama to appear on ‘Tonight Show’

President Barack Obama has landed a spot on Jay Leno’s late-night talk show, a chance for the president to add a light touch to his effort to get the economy back on track.

NBC says it will be the first time a sitting president has appeared on such a program.

The White House said Monday that Obama will visit “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” during his trip to Los Angeles on Thursday. NBC will tape the program and then air it that night, after Obama has returned to Washington.

From wire reports


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