ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — As another year closes with a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York and no timetable for Gov. Andrew Cuomo to decide whether to lift it, drilling interests have all but given up on the state for the near future.
Cuomo has said he wants his health and environmental commissioners to take all the time they need to decide whether fracking can be done safely. Dozens of towns have enacted their own moratoriums in case the state does approve fracking.
Industry and landowners hoping to profit from leases are suing in state courts over town bans and the state's stalled regulations.
But many landowners want Cuomo to ban fracking. Organic dairy farmer Kathie Arnold says the risks of pollution and increased truck traffic outweigh any short-term financial gains.
CHICAGO (AP) — Drivers in St. Louis southern Illinois suburbs will soon see their top speed limit increased to 70 miles per hour.
The Illinois Department of Transportation says about 87 percent of interstate highways and 98 percent of rural interstates under its jurisdiction will be increased to 70 under the new law taking effect January 1st.
IDOT officials say crews will start installing 70 mph signs and removing 65 mph signs in early January.
Transportation officials urge motorists to obey posted speed limits. They say the 70 mile per hour speed limit will be in effect on segments of Illinois interstates that can accommodate the higher speed while maintaining safety.
About 28 percent of the Illinois Tollway's 286-mile system will be increased to 70 miles per hour.
ST. CLAIR, Mo. (AP) — A Franklin County judge has ordered animals seized from a home to be returned to the owner.
The animals — 192 rabbits, 25 goats, 10 cats, 21 chickens, four dogs and a duck — were removed from 75-year-old Velma Muessemeyer's property near St. Clair, Mo., on Nov. 12. It was the second animal seizure there in less than four years.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that so far, the animals have not been returned.
Humane Society officials said at the time of the seizure that the animals lived in dirty and dangerous conditions. Muessemeyer was charged with 21 misdemeanor animal abuse counts.
Franklin County Associate Circuit Judge David Tobben said in a ruling last week that there was no evidence that most of the animals were in danger.
PLATTE WOODS, Mo. (AP) — The Missouri Lottery says a Powerball ticket worth $71.5 million was sold at a Kansas City-area convenience store.
Lottery officials said Friday a ticket sold at the Autobahn BP store in Platte Woods matched all six numbers drawn Christmas night. The store will get a $50,000 bonus for selling the prize. And the winner can either collect the full jackpot in 30 annuity payments, or take the one-lump payment of $39.8 million before taxes.
Lottery spokeswoman Susan Goedde says the winner will be announced in the next few days through a news release or news conference.
The winning numbers are 23, 28, 38, 39, 56 and the Powerball number is 32.