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Biden wind farm sale opens path to turbines on nearly all coasts

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Wednesday outlined plans to expand offshore wind development across almost all U.S. coasts, raising the prospect that turbines could be installed from the Carolinas to California.

“We have big goals to achieve a clean energy economy,” Interior Secretary Deb Haaland said during a speech at American Clean Power’s Offshore WINDPOWER Conference in Boston on Wednesday. Haaland called the administration’s plan a road map to show “exactly where we’re headed and how we plan to achieve a clean energy future by 2030.”

The government will consider selling development rights in waters along the Carolinas, California, Oregon and New York, as well as the central Atlantic and the gulfs of Maine and Mexico, potentially leaving just the U.S. Arctic coast untouched by turbines. All told, the Interior Department envisions as many as seven offshore wind lease sales by 2025.

Most of the wind leasing plans described Wednesday have previously been proposed or telegraphed, including an effort to get the first-ever wind farms floating off the California coast. But with her remarks, Haaland offered the clearest vision yet of what a new surge in offshore wind development could look like.

Two small wind farms operate in waters off the U.S. East Coast today, but the country is still trying to catch up with China, Germany, the U.K. and other countries in generating power from the strong, steady gusts at sea.

—Bloomberg News

Justices hint at death penalty reinstatement for Boston Marathon bomber

WASHINGTON — U.S. Supreme Court justices indicated they are likely to reinstate the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the man convicted of setting off one of the bombs that killed three people at the 2013 Boston Marathon.

Hearing arguments in Washington on Wednesday, the court’s conservatives voiced skepticism about a federal appeals court decision that threw out Tsarnaev’s death sentence. The appeals court ruled that a federal trial judge improperly limited questioning of prospective jurors about pretrial media coverage they consumed. The panel also said the judge should have allowed evidence involving a previous crime that Tsarnaev says showed he was acting under the influence of his older brother, Tamerlan.

Justice Clarence Thomas said the Supreme Court has previously given federal trial judges “quite a bit of discretion at the jury-selection stage.” And Justice Samuel Alito questioned the usefulness of the evidence about the other crime, suggesting that judges shouldn’t be required to hold “mini-trials” about extraneous matters in death penalty proceedings.

President Joe Biden’s administration is urging the court to reinstate Tsarnaev’s death sentence even though Biden has said he is opposed to capital punishment. Attorney General Merrick Garland placed a moratorium on federal executions in July.

Tsarnaev, who was 19 at the time of the bombing, didn’t contest his guilt at trial. He instead sought to persuade jurors to sentence him to life in prison, arguing he was acting under the radicalizing leadership of his brother. Tamerlan, who set off the other bomb at the marathon’s finish line, died when he was run over by a car driven by his brother during a shootout with police.

—Bloomberg News

Georgia ballot inspection case dismissed after no fraud found

ATLANTA — A judge dismissed a lawsuit Wednesday by Donald Trump supporters who sought to inspect absentee ballots from last year’s presidential election, a decision that came a day after Georgia investigators told the court they were unable to find any counterfeit ballots.


Superior Court Judge Brian Amero’s ruling ended the last remaining major lawsuit over Georgia’s 2020 election and prevented an outside review of Fulton County’s 147,000 original absentee ballots.

The judge’s order is the latest in a series of decisions against supporters of the former Republican president who have asked the courts to help them pursue suspicions of fraud or reverse the results of the election.

State election officials have said there’s no indication of fraud after three ballot counts and multiple investigations. Democrat Joe Biden defeated Trump in Georgia’s presidential election by about 12,000 votes.

Though Amero’s decision was based on the legal principle of standing — the plaintiffs hadn’t suffered a specific injury that would give them a right to sue — he reviewed the evidence before making his ruling.

State election investigators couldn’t find any fraudulent or counterfeit ballots within ballot batches cited by Republican vote-counters who participated in a statewide audit last November, according to a court filing on behalf of Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger on Tuesday.

—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

5 killed and 2 injured in attack in Norway, police say

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Five people were killed and two injured during a violent armed attack in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg, police said late Wednesday.

The two injured people, which included an off-duty police officer, were undergoing treatment at a hospital, police said.

The male suspect, thought to have been carrying a bow and arrow, has been detained. He appeared have been acting alone and police were not searching for further suspects.

The attack occurred at around 6:30 p.m. in Kongsberg, located some 50 miles southwest of Oslo. The first reports came in at around 6:13 p.m., the police chief on duty, Oyvind Aas, said in a news conference.

The perpetrator was said to have struck in several parts of the city, including a grocery store.

The suspect's motives were initially unclear. It was too early to say whether the act was motivated by terrorism, police said.

Details of the attacker's identity have not been released. The police chief also did not divulge details about the victims.