New Jersey eyes water-distribution aid

NEWARK, N.J. — The governor of New Jersey and the mayor of Newark have vowed to provide bottled water to city residents with lead service lines after tests indicated filters might not be protecting them against elevated lead levels.

Gov. Phil Murphy and Mayor Ras Baraka said, however, in a statement Sunday evening that the city and state “will need support and assistance from the federal government” to provide and distribute water to affected residents. And the Democratic leaders said long-term water distribution could affect the city’s corrosion control treatment launched in May, since for the system to work properly residents must keep city water flowing through their pipes.

The joint statement came after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said recent tests had shown that drinking water in a few locations was still testing high for lead despite filters, and “out of an abundance of caution” residents should use bottled water for drinking and cooking. An EPA letter to city and state leaders said bottled water should be provided “as soon as possible” and warned that the agency was prepared to take action to ensure protection of public health should the state and city not act.

Military identifies Marine killed in Iraq

WASHINGTON — U.S. military officials have identified a Marine who died Saturday in Iraq as 35-year-old Gunnery Sgt. Scott A. Koppenhafer, of Mancos, Colo.

In a statement Sunday, the Pentagon said Koppenhafer died after being engaged by enemy small-arms fire while conducting combat operations.

Survey: Average price of gas drops

CAMARILLO, Calif. — The average U.S. price of regular-grade gasoline has dropped 6 cents per gallon over the past two weeks to $2.74.

Industry analyst Trilby Lundberg of the Lundberg Survey said Sunday that the highest average price in the nation is $3.63 per gallon in the San Francisco Bay Area. The lowest average is $2.16 in Baton Rouge, La.

The average price of diesel is down 2 cents, to $3.03 per gallon.

O’Rourke backs plan for gun licensing

TH Caucus coverageEL PASO, Texas — Beto O’Rourke is joining a number of his Democratic presidential rivals in support of a national gun licensing program.

The former Texas congressman said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” that states that require gun licensing, mandate universal background checks or stop the sales of assault-style weapons are saving lives. He said it makes sense to “adopt these solutions nationally.”

Pelosi again urges immigration reform

MCALLEN, Texas — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday that she sees comprehensive immigration reform not only as Congress’ official work but also as its moral responsibility as she finishes up a tour of Central America.

Pelosi traveled with a congressional delegation to explore the causes of immigration and possible solutions.

The group visited Guatemala and El Salvador, along with migrant detention facilities in McAllen, Texas.

Scientists: Polar bear encounters increase

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Alaska scientists say the chances of a polar bear encounter have increased after research reveals the bears are arriving on shore earlier and staying on land longer, a report said.

Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey found changes in sea ice habitat have coincided with evidence that polar bears’ use of land is increasing.

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