National News

Newark residents still aren't convinced their water is safe to drink after lead water crisis

Newark residents still aren't convinced their water is safe to drink after lead water crisis

ABC

(NEWARK, N.J.) -- Five years after high levels of lead were detected in the water of 30 public schools in Newark, New Jersey, the city faces a new challenge of convincing residents affected by the crisis that the water is now safe to drink.

Newark resident Marcellis Counts said he grew up feeling neglected by the city and that's caused public distrust to run deeply.

"The water is just a clear example of how things are able to be neglected," Counts said. "Many people already knew that a lot of our water was bad anyway. So I always grew up not even drinking from water fountains when I went to school and stuff like that. So it was like that distrust."

After major signs of contaminated water appeared in 2016, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection required Newark to monitor lead levels. The city reported lead levels above the federal action level, which they said were due to corrosion of old lead water pipes throughout the city, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Two years later, Newark reported one of the highest amounts of lead in any major U.S. city by 2018.

"We are now in panic mode in this city because the feds had to come in to tell us to stop drinking the water," said Newark resident Donna Jackson in 2019.

Newark city leaders responded by providing water filters and water bottles to more than 40,000 households.

Shakima Thomas' 7-year-old son, Bryce, tested positive for lead in 2018, even though she said the pipes in her home were made of copper.

"We haven't got another test since that first test because it was such a traumatizing experience for him … So I have no idea what his level is at this point," Thomas told ABC News.

In 2019, New Jersey officials announced a $120 million loan from the Essex County Improvement Agency, and a city ordinance, to expedite the city's efforts to replace the lead pipes - at no cost to any resident.

Since then, Newark has replaced more than 22,000 lead service lines.

Yet, in March of 2021, Thomas paid a private lab to test the lead in her water. According to the results, the lead from her kitchen sink far exceeded what the Environmental Protection Agency says is an acceptable level.

"I felt bad, I felt terrible. I think any parent will feel that way. Here we're supposed to protect our kids, and that's the situation that was completely out of my control," Thomas said.

The EPA also states there is no safe limit for lead in drinking water and that low levels of lead exposure in children have been linked to various conditions, including learning disabilities and impaired hearing.

Thomas said she also got a water test from the city of Newark in April, but the city said it had lost her results, according to emails shared with ABC News.

The city of Newark told ABC News that there are resources available to help children who have been affected by lead, but Thomas said those services were denied to her son.

"I took that as, 'Yeah, [your child] has lead in his system, but he's not poisoned enough for us to help.' So that's how I took it," Thomas said.

According to a 2018 report by the National Institute of Health, low-income populations are disproportionately affected by lead exposure.

As of 2021, a little more than 27% of Newark's population lives in poverty, which is more than double the national average, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Just a few weeks ago, 4-year-old Anailah tested positive for lead. Her mother, Crystal McMillian, said that she noticed her daughter was having trouble focusing.

"I received a phone call from the doctor's office stating that my daughter had lead levels [that are] high," McMillian said. "It's hard for her at times to sit down. She acts out at times and it's just her attention span."

McMillian said she had an inspector come to her home to test paint, which is another potential source of lead, but she says no one has come to test the water.

"They didn't even offer to test my water to see if the water is causing the issue … They're not concerned if the lead is coming from the water or the paint or something else that's causing this problem," McMillian said. "I want to know what's causing my baby to have and her levels to be really high."

For now, McMillian said she goes to the Newark Water Coalition Distribution site twice a week and fills jugs of water so that she can have drinking water at her home.

The Newark Water Coalition told ABC News there has not been a drop in demand for people coming to get water, despite the city replacing nearly all lead service lines.

Kareem Adeem is the Director of the Newark Department of Water and Utilities. He said that he understands that trust doesn't come easily, but residents need to work with the city.

"Yes, we'll be able to get someone to our house to test the water. We're testing thousands, thousands of water samples… and one may get lost or mixed up, but we're here to help you," Adeem told ABC News. "Don't get frustrated. Work with us. We'll get it done."

Thomas said that she's all but done working with the city after several unsuccessful attempts to have city officials test her water.

"I don't think I can trust my elected officials because they've shown that they're unreliable consistently," Thomas said. "The only thing I can do is buy bottled water and bank on the fact that that's safe, but I'd rather drink that than knowing I'm drinking lead."

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Investigation continues after oil spill off California coast

Investigation continues after oil spill off California coast

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(LOS ANGELES) -- Officials are continuing their investigation into what caused a pipeline in the Pacific Ocean to leak hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil, with cleanup efforts continuing along California's southern coast.

Up to 350 people were participating in cleanups on a 30-mile stretch of beaches and marsh from from Huntington Beach to Dana Point, officials from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife told reporters at a news conference Wednesday.

Crews in the air were identifying affected locations and alerting cleanup teams, said Captain Rebecca Ore of the Coast Guard's Long Beach branch. "Everybody here is absolutely committed to cleaning up our much-loved California beaches."

Michael Ziccardi, director of California's Oiled Wildlife Care Network, said the organization has collected 13 live birds and two dead birds affected by the oil. Four live snowy Plovers, an endangered species, also were found in Huntington Beach.

An estimated 5,000 gallons of oil has been recovered from the water and beaches, Ziccardi added.

Up to 144,00 gallons of crude oil leaked into the ocean after the pipeline, about 4.5 miles off the California coast, known as Elly, was damaged on Saturday morning.

The pipeline was no longer pumping oil as of approximately 8 a.m. Saturday, and the Coast Guard was notified of the leak at that time, said Amplify Energy Corporation CEO Martyn Willsher.

But officials have alleged that the leak actually was discovered more than eight hours earlier. Orange County supervisor Katrina Foley said over the weekend that the pipeline was likely leaking before the damage was discovered Saturday morning, and officials from a division of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife stated in a report that they were notified of an "observed sheen" off the Huntington Beach coast at 10:22 p.m. Friday, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

The U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration demanded the failed pipeline be repaired in a letter to Amplify Energy Corp. on Tuesday. The letter, addressed by the associate administrator for pipeline safety, said the oil platform's control room received low-pressure alarms on the San Pedro Bay Pipeline around 2:30 a.m. PDT Saturday, indicating a possible failure. But the line was not shut down until 6:01 a.m. -- 3 1/2 hours later.

Robert Bea, co-director of the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management at the University of California, Berkeley cast doubt on Amplify Energy's claim that the pipeline was shut down at 2:30 a.m. Saturday.

Bea hypothesized that if the first sightings of the sheen came Friday night, and a large plume of oil was visible from satellite imagery shortly thereafter, the low-pressure alarms would have sounded in the control rooms soon after the leak began, unless the alarms were faulty.

No abnormalities were found when the pipeline was cleaned last week or during an annual spill drill in 2020, Willsher said, adding that he expected the total loss of oil to be lower, given that the damage to the pipeline was just a 13-inch crack.

"We want to do everything we can to ensure that this situation and this release gets resolved as quickly as possible so that these beautiful areas can be restored, and all of the residents and businesses can get back to normal as quickly as possible," Willsher said.

It's unclear why the company didn't stop pumping sooner, Bea told ABC News.

A class-action lawsuit was filed against the companies that run the oil line on Monday.

ABC News' Matt Gutman and Jenna Harrison contributed to this report.

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Brian Laundrie flew home to Florida in early August, family attorney says: Live updates

Brian Laundrie flew home to Florida in early August, family attorney says: Live updates

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(NEW YORK) -- A massive search is continuing in Florida for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing on a cross-country trip and who authorities confirmed as the body discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

The search for the 23-year-old Laundrie is centered around North Port, Florida, where investigators said Laundrie returned to his home on Sept. 1 without Petito but driving her 2012 Ford Transit.

Laundrie has been named by police as a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance. Laundrie has refused to speak to the police and has not been seen since Tuesday, Sept. 14, according to law enforcement officials.

The search for Laundrie is the latest twist in the case that has grabbed national attention as he and Petito had been traveling across the country since June, documenting the trip on social media.

Petito's parents, who live in Long Island, New York, reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for two weeks.

Here are the latest developments. All times Eastern:

Oct 06, 6:42 pm
Authorities to allow Laundrie's father to assist with search, attorney says

Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family attorney, told ABC News Wednesday that authorities are going to allow Chris Laundrie, Brian Laundrie's father, to assist with the search at the Carlton Reserve.

Investigators don't currently have more details on when he will join the search.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office told ABC News they provided aerial support Wednesday for a search of the area.

-ABC News' Whitney Lloyd and Alondra Valle

Oct 05, 11:11 pm
Brian Laundrie left parents’ home to hike day earlier than parents originally told investigators

Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino confirmed to ABC News Tuesday night that the family now believes Brian Laundrie left to hike the Carlton Reserve on Monday, Sept. 13. Previously, they had told investigators he left on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events. Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday September 13,” Bertolino said.

Oct 05, 4:50 pm
Brian Laundrie flew home to Florida in early August: Family attorney

An attorney for the family of Brian Laundrie confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday that the wanted fugitive flew home to Florida from Salt Lake City on Aug. 17 and flew back to Utah six days later to rejoin his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, on their cross-country road trip.

Steven Bertolino said Laundrie flew home to "obtain some items and empty and close the (couple's) storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip." Bertolino said the couple paid for the flights together as they were sharing expenses.

Laundrie's trip back to the Tampa area came five days after he and Petito were stopped by police in Moab, Utah, when witnesses reported the couple was engaged in a domestic violence incident in Moab.

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COVID-19 live updates: More Americans died of COVID this year than all of 2020

COVID-19 live updates: More Americans died of COVID this year than all of 2020

AlxeyPnferov/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 706,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 65.6% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Latest headlines:
-LA passes vaccine mandate for indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, malls and more
-White House to announce $1 billion purchase of rapid at-home tests
-More Americans died of COVID this year than all of 2020
-Fauci: Caution still needed this holiday season

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Oct 06, 5:59 pm
New rapid test to cost less than $10

The planned retail cost for the newly approved over-the-counter rapid home COVID-19 test, "Flowflex," will be "less than $10 per test," White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said at Wednesday's briefing

ACON, the manufacturers of Flowflex, confirmed with ABC News that the White House's statement is in line with their current estimated pricing.

The company told ABC News their goal when creating the at-home test was to make it, "more accessible and more affordable than the other over-the-counter tests in the market."

By comparison the two rapid test kits currently out on the market --Abbott's BinaxNow and Quidel's Quickvue-- each retail for $23.99.

Both BinaxNow and Quickvue kits come two tests, so that a person can test themselves twice over the course of a couple days. That means each individual test costs around $12 each.

-ABC News' Sasha Pezenik

Oct 06, 2:44 pm
Canada mandating vaccines for travel within the country

Vaccinations will be mandatory for plane and train travel within Canada for people 12 and older at the end of November, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday.

Trudeau also announced that federal workers must be fully vaccinated by Oct. 29.

About 82% of eligible Canadians are fully vaccinated.

ABC News' Christine Theodorou

Oct 06, 1:45 pm
LA passes vaccine mandate for indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, malls and more

Los Angeles' city council passed an ordinance requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours for indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, malls, entertainment venues and personal care establishments. Grocery stores and pharmacies are not included.

The ordinance passed with 11 votes, short of the 12 votes need to pass with an urgency clause allowing it to take effect immediately. The mandate will go into effect Nov. 4

ABC News' Kaylee Hartung

Oct 06, 11:21 am
Nurse Sandra Lindsay, 1st to get vaccine in US, gets booster

New York nurse Sandra Lindsay, the first person in the U.S. to get a COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial, received her Pfizer booster dose Wednesday at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York.

Lindsay was joined by other health care workers who also got their first shots in December.

Oct 06, 10:55 am
White House to announce $1 billion purchase of rapid at-home tests

The Biden administration is set to announce Wednesday that it's buying another $1 billion of rapid at-home tests, on top of the $2 billion investment in September.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients is expected to make the announcement at the afternoon COVID-19 briefing.

With this new purchase, combined with September's investment and the FDA approval of the ACON rapid test money, the White House says the U.S. is now on track to quadruple the number of rapid at-home tests available to Americans in December.

A White House official emphasized that this is not just about more tests on the market, but more affordable tests on the market.

ABC News' Karen Travers

 

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LA passes 1 of the strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandates in US

LA passes 1 of the strictest COVID-19 vaccine mandates in US

PeopleImages/iStock

(LOS ANGELES) -- Los Angeles will soon require that people show proof of full vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter many indoor establishments.

It will be one of the strictest vaccine rules in the country when it goes into effect next month.

The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday approved the ordinance, which will apply to indoor restaurants, bars, gyms, shopping malls, entertainment venues (such as the Staples Center and movie theaters) and personal care establishments (including nail salons, spas and hair salons) starting Nov. 4.

Retail establishments, including grocery stores and pharmacies, are not included.

The ordinance passed with 11 votes -- one vote short of the 12 needed to go into effect immediately.

The ordinance allows for medical and religious exemptions. In lieu of vaccination, patrons must show proof of a negative COVID-29 test taken within 72 hours.

The new law differs from orders previously issued in Los Angeles County. Starting Thursday, the county will require at least one dose or proof of a negative test for customers and staff at "high-risk settings" including indoor bars and nightclubs, with both doses by Nov. 4. The order doesn't apply to indoor dining, though vaccine verification is recommended.

Some council members voiced concerns about the burden on small businesses to enforce the law. Nury Martinez, the City Council president, said the ordinance will help Los Angeles "finally get back on track to normalcy."

"Angelenos deserve to see the other side of this pandemic -- where we can return to walking around without masks, without restrictions, and without fear," Martinez said on Twitter last week, ahead of Wednesday's vote.

In Los Angeles, which is home to some 4 million people, nearly 70% of residents ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to city data.

New York was the first city nationwide to require vaccination for customers and staff at many indoor businesses this summer. For customers ages 12 and up, proof of at least one vaccine dose is required for indoor dining, workouts and entertainment. The city's mandate, which went into effect mid-September, does not include retail or personal care, and does not offer a testing option.

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Body cam footage shows Minneapolis police allegedly 'hunting' anti-police brutality protesters

Body cam footage shows Minneapolis police allegedly 'hunting' anti-police brutality protesters

Minneapolis Police Department

(Minneapolis, MINN.) -- Newly released body camera footage shows Minneapolis police officers allegedly celebrating the "hunting" of anti-police brutality protesters just five days after the murder of George Floyd.

In one video, a protester yells: “We’re unarmed! This is America. We can say what we want!”

In response, an officer appears to shoot at the protester with rubber bullets.

Floyd's death set off months of protests against police violence and racism. The city of Minneapolis, where Floyd was killed by then-MPD officer Derek Chauvin, set a curfew in response to the unrest.

The body cam footage released to the public by the court captures the police department's enforcement of the 8 p.m. curfew: Officers firing rubber bullets at numerous people out on the streets in an attempt to forcefully clear them of demonstrators. Some officers can be seen and heard celebrating and even fist-bumping over their successful hits.

In the recording, one officer can be heard saying: “You guys are out hunting people now. It’s just a nice change of tempo.”

Shortly after, another officer comments: "F--- these people."

In another video, an officer says: “I would love to scatter [the protesters] but it’s time to f------ put 100 people in jail and just prove the mayor wrong about his white supremacist from out of state," referring to Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey's comments about white supremacists and out-of-state instigators.

The officer later adds, “This group is probably predominantly white because there’s not looting and fires."

Due to an ongoing internal investigation into the actions of officers seen in the videos, the Minneapolis Police Department declined ABC News' request for comment.

The footage was introduced as part of the criminal case against Jaleel Stallings, who was accused of trying to kill police officers but has since been acquitted of all charges, according to his attorney Eric Rice.

The 27-year-old faced two counts of attempted second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, one count of second-degree assault and three other charges for firing a gun at an unmarked police van. No officers were injured.

Stallings argued that he fired at the unmarked police van in self-defense. In an affidavit, Stallings said that other people were running from the unmarked van and warned him of people shooting from the vehicle. He said that after being hit by a rubber bullet himself, he used his gun to shoot the vehicle in an attempt to scare the attackers off.

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Texas high school shooting: 4 hurt, 18-year-old suspect in custody

Texas high school shooting: 4 hurt, 18-year-old suspect in custody

iStock/ChiccoDodiFC

(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- Four people were hurt in a shooting at Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, Wednesday morning, authorities said.

The suspect, an 18-year-old student, fled the scene and was taken into custody hours later, authorities said.

Two of the victims suffered gunshot wounds, police said. Three victims were students and one was an older person who may have been a teacher, police said.

Three of the four victims were hospitalized: a 15-year-old boy in critical condition, a 25-year-old man in good condition and a teenage girl in good condition, police said.

Police identified the suspect as 18-year-old Timothy George Simpkins. After announcing a search for him, police said he was taken into custody and charged with multiple counts of aggravated assault with a gun. The teen suspect communicated with his attorney before turning himself in, police said.

Police said this was not a random act of violence and that the suspect allegedly got into a fight before drawing a weapon.

A teacher told ABC News he heard the shooting and barricaded in a classroom with his students.

The "all clear" was given at the school following a lockdown. Students are being escorted to another building to be reunited with their families, the Mansfield Independent School District said.

ATF officials are at the scene in Arlington, located between Fort Worth and Dallas.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

 

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Active shooter situation reported at Texas high school

Active shooter situation reported at Texas high school

iStock/ChiccoDodiFC

(ARLINGTON, Texas) -- Police are investigating an active shooter situation reported at Timberview High School in Arlington, Texas, the school district said.

An unknown suspect apparently shot multiple people before fleeing the scene, according to an internal police briefing. The number of victims was not immediately clear.

First responders gather outside Timberview High School in in Arlington, Texas, after rep...

The school is on lockdown, the Mansfield Independent School District said. The scene is secure, according to the internal briefing.

Arlington police said they are conducting a "methodical search." ATF officials are at the scene.

Arlington is located between Fort Worth and Dallas.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

 

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Amtrak train shooting that left one agent and one suspect dead result of marijuana bust, complaint shows

Amtrak train shooting that left one agent and one suspect dead result of marijuana bust, complaint shows

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(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- One Drug Enforcement Administration agent was killed and two other officers were injured in a shooting on an Amtrak train that was stopped in Tucson, Arizona, authorities said.

Agents boarded the train Monday morning to perform a routine check for illegal guns, money and drugs, after receiving a tip from Amtrak. Prior to boarding, they were given a list of names of the passengers on board -- two of whom were the suspects, Devonte Okeith Mathis and D.T., according to a criminal complaint against Mathis.

Once on the train, officers encountered Mathis and D.T. on the second level of the double-decker Amtrak car, Tucson police said.

The federal complaint filed Tuesday by FBI Special Agent David Neill states that an agent spotted Mathis and D.T. sitting in the same row, but on opposite sides of the aisle. The agent saw Mathis grab a blue backpack, a black drawstring bag and white plastic bag, and move them three or four rows away before returning to his seat. The agent asked Mathis if the bags were his, which he denied, the complaint says. The agent then removed the bags from the train to inspect them and found what he believed to be two packages of bulk marijuana.

The complaint states that agents then spoke to D.T. outside the train and "conducted a consensual K-0 sniff of several bags on the platform" of the Amtrak station, but at some point D.T. got back on the train. Once agents located the bulk marijuana in the bags, they tried to recontact D.T. on the upper level of the train. While attempting to contact D.T., DEA Group Supervisor Michael Garbo was shot and killed, the complaint says. Another agent and an officer were injured and taken to the hospital.

"Immediately upon shots being fired, law enforcement officers detained Mathis," the complaint says. "Additional law enforcement officers, including the TDP responded to the scene, and D.T. was subsequently shot and killed after firing a weapon at additional officers."

Garbo joined DEA in 2005 and "served honorably for more than 16 years as a Special Agent and Group Supervisor combatting criminal drug traffickers from the Nogales corridor to Kabul, Afghanistan," DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement.

"Group Supervisor Garbo's operational expertise, mentorship, and leadership were legendary in the Tucson community," Milgram said. "Across DEA, Group Supervisor Garbo was universally loved and respected for his leadership, and for his unrelenting passion to protect the safety of the American people. Above all else, he was a devoted and loving father and husband. DEA mourns the loss of our beloved colleague."

Another DEA special agent who suffered multiple gunshot wounds during the incident is in stable condition, DEA said Tuesday.

A Tucson police officer who was on the platform heard the gunfire and ran onto the train, at which point he was shot, police said. That officer is also in stable condition, police said.

A search warrant of the various bags taken from the suspects revealed 2.39 kilograms of raw marijuana, 50 packages of Gooberz (marijuana edibles) and other marijuana and cannabis products.

"The FBI reviewed the video surveillance, body camera footage and spoke with agents and TFOs from the DEA and Tucson Police Department," the complaint says.

There were no reports of injuries to the 137 passengers or 11 crew members, Amtrak said.

The train was en route from Los Angeles to New Orleans and arrived in Tucson at 7:40 a.m. local time, Amtrak said.

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Class-action lawsuit filed against energy companies following Huntington Beach oil spill

Class-action lawsuit filed against energy companies following Huntington Beach oil spill

DNY59/iStock

(LOS ANGELES) -- A proposed class-action lawsuit has been filed against the companies who run the oil line that dumped hundreds of thousands of crude oil off the coast of California over the weekend.

The federal lawsuit, filed Monday in the Central District of California Western Division, claimed the companies in charge of operating the rig and connected pipelines caused harm to people, wildlife and the local ecosystem by failing to prevent the spill from the platform about 4.5 miles from shore, known as "Elly."

The lawsuit also accuses the defendants of failing to warn or provide the public with "adequate and timely notice of the hazards and their impacts."

"At the time of this complaint's filing, deceased animals were washing up covered in oil on the shorelines of the Affected Area and a large ecological reserve nearby had suffered tremendous damage," the lawsuit stated, defining the "Affected Area" as the stretch of coast between Huntington Beach and Newport Beach and the defendants as Amplify Energy Corporation its subsidiary, the Beta Operating Company and other affiliates that may also hold responsibility.

A maximum of 144,000 gallons leaked into the Pacific Ocean after a pipe broke Saturday morning, according to officials. By early Sunday morning, the oil had reached the shore, fanning out over an area of about 5.8 nautical miles and entering the Talbert Marshlands and the Santa Ana River Trail, according to the city of Huntington Beach.

As a result, nearby beaches were closed to facilitate the cleanup and prevent residents from inhaling toxic fumes from the crude oil. Dana Point Harbor, about 30 miles south of Huntington Beach, became the latest location to close on Tuesday morning.

About 300 people are currently cleaning up the oil spill and an additional 1,500 people will be working on the effort by Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday afternoon.

The main plaintiff in the lawsuit, Peter Moses Gutierrez, is a disc jockey who frequently performs on Huntington Beach, according to the lawsuit. Gutierrez expects to lose a "substantial amount" of business in the foreseeable future as a result of the spill, the complaint alleges.

Gutierrez and other plaintiffs claim they have also been exposed to toxins from the oil, according to the lawsuit.

The nearly 18-mile Elly pipeline and the facilities that operate it were built in the late 1970s and early 1980s, according to the lawsuit.

The pipeline was likely leaking before the damage was discovered Saturday morning, Orange County supervisor Katrina Foley stated over the weekend. Officials from a division of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife stated in a report that they were notified of an "observed sheen" off the Huntington Beach coast at 10:22. p.m. on Friday, according to documents obtained by ABC News.

The U.S. Coast Guard was notified of the leak on Saturday morning, Amplify CEO Martyn Willsher told reporters.

In a letter to Amplify Energy Corp., the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration demanded corrective actions to the failed pipeline following the leak. In the letter, the associate administrator for pipeline safety said the oil platform's control room received low-pressure alarms on the San Pedro Bay Pipeline at around 2:30 a.m. PDT Saturday, indicating a possible failure. But the line was not shut down until 6:01 a.m. -- 3 and a half hours later.

Then, "over six hours after the initial alarm and three hours after the company shut down the pipeline, Beta Offshore reported the Accident to the National Response Center (NRC) indicating there was a release of crude oil in the vicinity of its pipeline near Platform Elly," the letter states.

The U.S. Coast Guard submitted a second NRC report at 03:41 p.m. ET, on Sunday reporting oiled marine life and dead fish, according to the letter, and the U.S. Coast Guard submitted a third NRC report later that day, at 05:20 p.m., reporting that the failure may have been caused by a crack in the pipeline.

Officials are looking into whether a ship anchor struck the underwater pipeline, damaging it, Willsher told reporters at a news conference Monday.

Newsom met with Orange County officials Tuesday afternoon and said he supports their calls to shift away from using fossil fuels. He said he will not support new offshore drilling in California.

"This tragedy did not need to occur and does not need to persist into the future," he said.

Newsom said more permits were sought in 2020 to abandon oil drilling sites compared to permits establishing new ones. There hasn't been a new offshore lease in half a century, "and there won't be," he said.

The governor added that more volunteers will be allowed to help with the cleanup as long as they take a four-hour course on proper procedure.

The plaintiffs are requesting a jury trial to determine whether the defendants violated state laws and whether the defendants breached a duty and caused harm to the plaintiffs in the class-action lawsuit. The jury will also be asked whether restitution and compensatory or consequential damages should be awarded to the plaintiffs.

Representatives for the Amplify Energy Corporation did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment. Calls to the Beta Operating Company were not answered.

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9-year-old raises money for diverse library books with lemonade stand

9-year-old raises money for diverse library books with lemonade stand

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(NEW YORK) -- One 9-year-old wants to help stop racism by making school libraries more inclusive.

"One day my mom and aunt asked me how I would want to make a difference in the world and I said to help stop racism," Emi Kim, from Provo, Utah, told Good Morning America.

To make that a reality, Emi and her family came up with the idea of bringing more diverse books that feature people of color into school libraries, something Emi said she believes will help people understand one another.

"It matters that everyone is represented," Emi said. "We're afraid of what we don't know and I think that's partly the reason why we treat people badly based on how they look."

Emi initially set out to buy 15 books for just her school, Westridge Elementary, and set up a lemonade and baked goods stand on July 8 to raise the funds. Her mom, Dorie Kim, told GMA that they raised $762, which allowed them to expand their plan to buy five sets of 15 books for five local schools.

"She was hoping for 15 books for her school," Kim, 36, said. "It was really cool to see how people are embracing Emi's little lemonade stand."

After raising the money, Emi said she put together a presentation for her school's principal, Kim Hawkins, on why diverse books need to be in libraries.

"At first I was nervous but after I practiced a little I got the hang of it," Emi said.

The presentation included statistics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Cooperative Children's Book Center, which found that there are more books with main characters that are white or animals than there are books with protagonists that are Black, Indigenous, or a person of color.

Upon receiving Hawkins' approval, Emi purchased the books. She selected books that had main characters from Polynesian, Asian, Native American, Latino, and Black cultures, and also made sure that someone behind the book was from and knowledgeable about that culture.

"Emi made sure every book she donated about diverse characters was actually written or illustrated by someone of that race," Kim said.

Inspired by Emi, the Provo school district took her initiative one step further. According to her family, the district purchased the same 15 books for the rest of the elementary schools in Provo.

"All 13 elementary schools have the books now," Kim said. "I'm speechless. We thought it was a little lemonade stand and we'd buy a few books. We didn't expect it to be this far reaching."

Of the books she picked, Emi said "Eyes that Kiss in the Corners" by Joanna Ho is her favorite. The picture book is about a young Taiwanese girl who takes notice of the fact that her eyes are shaped differently than her friends'.

"I think I relate a lot to it," Emi said. "I just love the story, the illustrations, and how it shows all the wonders of having these eyes."

The desire to bring about change also comes from the values Kim tries to teach her children.

"One of the things that both my husband and I want to instill in our kids is to be proud of who they are," Kim said. "And to be respectful of other people and who they are and their experiences."

Kim noted that her family lives in a predominantly white area and that she and her family have been exposed to racism on multiple occasions. She detailed one particular instance where she said that she and her family were on line at the grocery store and an older white man cut in front of them.

"I was like, 'Excuse me sir, you need to go to the back of the line," Kim said, adding that he initially acted as if he didn't hear her. She said the man then turned around and said "Mexican" to her.

Emi said she experienced racism at school one day after her teacher said the U.S. entered WWII following the Pearl Harbor attack.

"When I said, 'I'm Japanese,' some kid by me started backing away, pointing at me and shouting, 'You're Japanese! You're Japanese!'" she said. "It didn't make me feel good at all."

Emi ran a second lemonade stand on Sept. 25, where she says she raised $3,029 that will go toward buying books about kids with disabilities.

"If kids see kids of color or with disabilities in books and learn that they're good too, that they have feelings and can get sad if they're made fun of, they might not make fun of them," she said.

Emi added that she hopes to run another stand in the winter, but instead of lemonade it'll be themed for the season with items like cocoa, pumpkin spice, apple cider, and candy canes.

"I really just like to help people," she said. "Being treated based on the way you look is not right. We're all people and that's all that really matters."

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Seven injured passengers file lawsuits against Amtrak over Montana train derailment

Seven injured passengers file lawsuits against Amtrak over Montana train derailment

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(NEW YORK) -- Seven of the more than 50 passengers injured in an Amtrak train derailment in Montana last month have filed federal lawsuits accusing the rail line and the operator of the railroad tracks of negligence, saying the crash could have been prevented.

"Trains just don't derail by themselves," Sean Driscoll, a partner at Clifford Law Offices in Chicago and lead counsel for the plaintiffs, told ABC News on Tuesday.

The lawsuits were filed separately on Monday afternoon in U.S. District Court in Chicago on behalf of a Massachusetts couple, a Pennsylvania couple, an Indiana couple and a man from Montana. Driscoll said the plaintiffs are not only recovering from their injuries but also coping with severe emotional and psychological traumas from the carnage they witnessed.

The train that crashed in Montana was carrying 146 passengers and 16 crew members when it derailed. Three passengers were killed.

Amtrak's Empire Builder train headed from Chicago to Seattle derailed near Joplin, Montana, on Sept. 25, sending several cars toppling onto their sides.

The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration are investigating the crash and have yet to publicly announce a cause for the disaster. The NTSB said it plans to release a preliminary report on the crash later this month.

But Driscoll told ABC News that an investigation by his law firm has already collected enough evidence to allege the crash could have been avoided.

"We have assembled a team of experts including former NTSB investigators who are conducting a thorough examination of all aspects of this tragic derailment," Driscoll said. "We will get answers. They (the plaintiffs) will get justice."

The lawsuits also name the BNSF Railway Company, which owns and operates the track the derailment occurred on, as a defendant in the cases.

Neither BNSF nor Amtrak would comment on the lawsuits.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of life and injuries due to the derailment of the Empire Builder train on Sept. 25, near Joplin, Mont., on BNSF railroad. It is inappropriate for us to comment further on pending litigation," Amtrak said in a statement to ABC News on Tuesday.

Driscoll said the lawsuits also seek to challenge an Amtrak policy instituted in January 2019 requiring that legal action against the company be resolved through a mandatory arbitration process. Under the change, customers, upon purchasing a ticket, waive their right to sue Amtrak for any reason.

Amtrak made the change after losing or being forced to settle several large lawsuits stemming from other crashes, including reaching a $57 million settlement related to a 2017 crash in DuPont, Washington, that killed three people and injured more than 60. An NTSB investigation concluded that the DuPont crash was the result of inadequate training by the locomotive engineer, who was traveling too fast to negotiate a hazardous curve.

The Montana derailment lawsuits contend BNSF had issued a slow-down order for the East Buelow switching point section of track where the derailment occurred due to maintenance being performed.

"Upon information and belief, BNSF did not communicate information regarding the true condition of the track at and around the East Buelow switch point," each of the lawsuits states.

The train, according to the lawsuits, was going 78 mph, which is about the normal speed limit for the area. The crash occurred in a gradual curve of the East Buelow switch point, according to the NTSB.

The lawsuits allege Amtrak and BNSF failed to properly inspect the track or "ascertain whether it was in a safe condition for the passage of passenger trains."

Eight of the train's 10 cars and two locomotives derailed, four of them toppling onto their sides, officials said.

Ryan and Hanna Shea of Massachusetts, two of the people who filed suit, said they were in their sleeper car, headed to Seattle to visit family, when they felt a series of jolts that "threw us against the walls of our roomette."

"This was our first train trip, and we were planning on primarily traveling by train for future trips if everything went well," the couple said in a statement released by their lawyers. "We hope that it is through our lawsuits that rail will again be a trusted way to travel and that Amtrak will admit the mistakes it made here and do the right thing. The status quo is obviously not safe enough."

Driscoll said his law firm has been contacted by other passengers injured in the incident and will be filing more lawsuits in the near future.

 

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Parole board asks Texas governor to pardon George Floyd in 2004 drug bust

Parole board asks Texas governor to pardon George Floyd in 2004 drug bust

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(NEW YORK) -- A request to grant George Floyd a full posthumous pardon is headed to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott's desk after a public defender alleged Floyd was framed in a 2004 drug bust by a former Houston police detective now indicted on murder charges.

In a letter sent Monday to Floyd's one-time public defender Allison Mathis, the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles wrote it has "completed their consideration of your client's application requesting a Full Pardon and have voted to recommend clemency."

The board forwarded its recommendation to Abbott for final disposition. Abbott has not said whether he will grant the pardon.

Mathis filed the request in April, writing in the petition that a "pardon is being sought because it is just and right to clear a conviction that is not supported by evidence."

Floyd was arrested on Feb. 5, 2004, by then-Houston undercover narcotics detective Gerald Goines, who alleged Floyd provided a second suspect .03 grams of crack cocaine to sell, according to the petition. The man Floyd allegedly gave the drugs to turned out to be a police informant who sold the drugs to Goines as part of a sting operation and was not arrested or identified, according to the petition.

Floyd eventually pleaded guilty to a drug charge and was sentenced to 10 months in state jail, authorities said.

In August 2019, Goines was charged with two counts of murder related to a botched narcotics raid at a home in southeast Houston. Goines' police colleague, Steven Bryant, pleaded guilty in June to federal charges of falsifying records and interfering with a government investigation in an attempt to help Goines cover up an illegally obtained "no-knock" warrant on the Houston home of Rhogena Nicholas and her husband, Dennis Tuttle.

During the Jan. 28, 2019, raid, a shootout erupted in which Nicholas, Tuttle and their dog were killed and four police officers, including Goines, were shot and wounded.

In announcing the indictments of Goines and Bryant, Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg alleged that Goines made "numerous false statements" in the affidavit presented to the judge who signed the 'no-knock" warrant.

The scandal prompted the Harris County District Attorney to review at least 1,400 criminal cases tied to Goines.

Ogg released a statement on Monday supporting the Board of Pardons and Paroles' recommendation to grant Floyd clemency.

"We lament the loss of former Houstonian George Floyd and hope that his family finds comfort in Monday’s decision by the Texas State Board of Pardons and Paroles to recommend clemency for a 2004 conviction," Ogg's statement reads.

Mathis also praised the board's decision.

"A man was set up by a corrupt police officer intent on securing arrests rather than pursuing justice," Mathis said in a statement. "No matter what your political affiliation is, no matter who that man was in his life or in his death, that is not something we should stand for in the United States or in Texas."

Ben Crump, an attorney for the Floyd family, urged Abbott to grant the full pardon.

"This drug charge, which led to George Floyd’s conviction based on false evidence, helped to unravel his life," Crump said in a statement. "Similarly, tens of thousands of Black lives are ruined by a criminal justice system that uses the war on drugs to target Black people, force them into felony pleas, incarcerate them, take away their voting rights, and destroy their families."

Floyd died on May 25, 2020, as the result of injuries suffered when police in Minneapolis attempted to arrest him on suspicion of using a phony $20 bill to buy cigarettes. Former police officer Derek Chauvin, who pressed his knee into the back of Floyd's neck for more than nine minutes as the 46-year-old Black man lost consciousness after repeatedly claiming of not being able to breathe, was convicted in April of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Chauvin was sentenced to 22 1/2 years in prison. Three other police officers charged with aiding and abetting second-degree murder and aiding and abetting second-degree manslaughter are scheduled to go on trial next year.

 

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Suspicious vehicle near Supreme Court, man in custody: Police

Suspicious vehicle near Supreme Court, man in custody: Police

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(NEW YORK) -- A man is in custody after he was removed from a suspicious SUV near the Supreme Court Tuesday morning, Capitol police said.

The suspect, 55-year-old Dale Paul Melvin of Kimball, Michigan, was removed from the car and placed under arrest around 11 a.m. local time, police said.

Earlier in the morning Melvin had allegedly parked illegally and refused to talk to responding officers, authorities said. Police then brought in crisis negotiation officers.

There's no information on motive and no weapons have been found, police said.

Everyone is safe, police said.

There were no disruptions to operations at the Supreme Court; oral arguments began as planned at 10 a.m.

The Supreme Court building remains closed to the public.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

ABC News' Devin Dwyer contributed to this report.

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COVID-19 live updates: J&J submits booster request to FDA

COVID-19 live updates: J&J submits booster request to FDA

Tomwang112/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 703,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 65.5% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

Oct 05, 8:50 am
J&J submits booster request to FDA

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday submitted its request to the FDA for a booster shot for J&J recipients.

The submission includes data showing that a booster increased protection to 94% against moderate to severe/critical disease in the U.S. (Peak efficacy from one shot is 72% in the U.S.)

The FDA's independent advisory committee is holding a public hearing on J&J boosters on Oct. 15. The FDA may authorize J&J boosters after Oct. 15 and the CDC's recommendation could follow.

Oct 05, 8:15 am
Francis Collins to step down as director of the National Institutes of Health

NIH Director Francis Collins announced that he's stepping down, saying in a statement that no person should serve for too long and it’s time to give space for the next generation of scientists to lead.

He was in the role for 12 years.

Oct 04, 7:56 pm
Pentagon mandates vaccines for civilian employees

The Pentagon announced Monday that all of its civilian employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22.

"Vaccinating (department) civilian employees against COVID-19 will save lives and allow for the defense of our nation," Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks wrote in a memo sent out to Pentagon leadership Monday. "Thank you for your focus on this critical mission."

There is already a vaccine mandate for military members, but each branch of service has its own deadline.

Oct 04, 6:02 pm
Newly approved rapid test will double US capacity, FDA says

The Food and Drug Administration approved a new rapid test Monday that it said will double the at-home testing capacity in the U.S. over the next few weeks.

The the ACON Laboratories Flowflex COVID-19 Home Test will ideally assuage the shortage of over-the-counter, at-home rapid testing that has gone on since schools and other businesses have returned to in-person work.

"By year's end, the manufacturer plans to produce more than 100 million tests per month, and this number will rise to 200 million per month by February 2022," the FDA said in a press release Monday.

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Brian Laundrie's sister urges him to 'come forward' amid nationwide search

Brian Laundrie's sister urges him to 'come forward' amid nationwide search

ABC News

(NORTH PORT, Fla.) -- Cassie Laundrie said she has a message for her missing brother, who has been the center of a nationwide manhunt after the body of his girlfriend, Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito, was found in Wyoming last month.

"I would tell my brother to just come forward and get us out of this horrible mess," Cassie Laundrie told ABC News in an interview that aired Tuesday on Good Morning America.

Brian Laundrie, 23, and Petito, 22, were traveling across the country this summer in Petito's white 2012 Ford Transit and were documenting their road trip on social media. On Sept. 1, Brian Laundrie returned to his parent's home in North Port, Florida, by himself in Petito's van, according to authorities. Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11 by her family in Long Island, New York, authorities said.

Cassie Laundrie, who lives in Florida with her husband and two sons, told ABC News that her brother and parents stopped by for an "ordinary" visit the day he returned.

"I really wish he had come to me first that day with the van," she said, "because I don't think we'd be here."

Brian Laundrie was subsequently named a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance. He has refused to speak to investigators and has not been seen since Sept. 14, authorities said.

On Sept. 16, the Moab City Police Department in Utah released body-camera footage of their officers' interaction with Brian Laundrie and Petito after pulling them over in Petito's van on Aug. 12. The officers were responding to a 911 call that reported an incident between the couple, in which the caller claimed he witnessed Laundrie allegedly "slapping" Petito and chasing her up and down a sidewalk, hitting her.

The officers wrote in a report that Laundrie and Petito admitted to arguing and that Petito had slapped Laundrie. The couple also told the officers that Laundrie did not hit Petito, according to the report.

After speaking to Petito and Laundrie separately, the officers allowed the couple to continue on their way but ordered them to spend the night apart. No charges were filed.

Cassie Laundrie told ABC News that it was "pretty typical of them to argue and try and take space from each other." But she said she never witnessed any signs of domestic violence.

On Sept. 19, the Teton County Coroner's Office in Wyoming announced that a body was recovered in the Bridger-Teton National Park. Two days later, the coroner confirmed the remains were that of Petito and that an initial determination showed she had died as a result of homicide. A federal arrest warrant was later issued for Brian Laundrie in Wyoming, pursuant to a federal grand jury indictment related to his "activities" following Petito's death, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The twist and turns of the case have grabbed national attention, as the search for Brian Laundrie continues.

Cassie Laundrie told ABC News that she does not know where her brother is and if she did, she would "turn him in." She said the last time she saw or heard from him was on Sept. 6, when their family went to Fort De Soto Park in Florida's Pinellas County.

"We just went for a couple of hours and we ate dinner and had s'mores around the campfire and left, and there was nothing peculiar about it," she said. "There was no feeling of grand goodbye. There was no nothing."

"I'm frustrated that, in hindsight, I didn't pick up on anything," she added. "It was jut a regular visit."

She said it's unusual for her brother to disappear for this long.

"I hope he's OK, and then I'm angry and I don't know what to think," she said. "I hope my brother is alive because I want answers just as much as everybody else."

She said she has been cooperating with authorities "since day one," and she called on her parents to do the same.

"I don't know if my parents are involved," she said. "I think if they are, then they should come clean."

While she remains concerned for her brother, Cassie Laundrie said she is also mourning for Petito and wants the Petito family to know that her heart is with them.

"They deserve answers," she said.

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Huntington Beach oil spill: Officials raise potential oil spill amount to 144,00 gallons amid cleanup efforts

Huntington Beach oil spill: Officials raise potential oil spill amount to 144,00 gallons amid cleanup efforts

(File photo) - dehooks/iStock

(HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif.) -- A major oil spill off the coast of Southern California has forced Huntington Beach and activities scheduled to take place in the region to shut down.

On Saturday, Huntington Beach Mayor Kim Carr said a leak from an offshore oil production facility leaked 3,000 barrels of oil, which is about 126,000 gallons, but on Monday night, state and federal officials updated the potential oil spill amount to 144,000 gallons, meaning it was worse than initially believed.

The leak is expected to have occurred about 4.5 miles offshore, officials said.

The U.S. Coast Guard was notified of the spill around 9 a.m. Saturday, Carr said. By early Sunday morning, the oil had reached the shore. It had entered the Talbert Marshlands and the Santa Ana River Trail, fanning out over an area of about 5.8 nautical miles, the city of Huntington Beach announced in a press release Sunday morning.

The size of the spill "demanded prompt and aggressive action," officials said, but the pipeline has been capped and is no longer leaking into the ocean.

Skimming equipment and booms have been deployed to prevent the oil from flowing into the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve and Huntington Beach Wetlands, according to the city.

On Sunday night, Laguna Beach closed all its beaches, asking that "all individuals remain clear of the beach and pay close attention to any beach closure or warning signs," according to a statement released by the city.

"Some bad news for my Laguna Beach constituents (and everyone else). I just learned projections have the #HuntingtonBeachOilSpill reaching Crystal Cove around 10pm tonight. We need more resources deployed ASAP. And then we need to end all offshore oil drilling off the CA coast," California Sen. Dave Min tweeted.

The Coast Guard has recovered 3,150 gallons of oil from the water as of Sunday night, and 5,360 feet of boom have been deployed, they said in a statement.

The shoreside response was conducted by 105 government agency personnel. Fourteen boats conducted oil recovery operations while three Coast Guard boats enforced a safety zone off 1,000 yards around the oil spill boats. Also, four aircrafts were dispatched for overflight assessments.

It is not yet clear what caused the spill.

The final day of the Pacific Airshow was canceled in order to facilitate cleanup operations, city officials announced Sunday morning. In addition, residents were advised not to swim, surf or exercise near the beach due to the potential health hazards, such as toxic fumes.

The oil spill is already affecting wildlife, with dead birds and fish already washing up on the beaches, Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley tweeted.

Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery reported to Foley that he saw dolphins swimming through the slick oil plumes as he headed back to shore from Catalina, Foley tweeted.

Foley told ABC News she believes the spill is "irreversible."

"You can’t get wildlife back that are killed in this process, and some of the habitat the plant species, they’re going to be impacted for years to come," she said.

She added that the damage to the environment isn't the only thing she fears as she has received reports of surfers getting sick.

"It feels like you have a thick coating in your mouth, if you're out there too long. It’s definitely the vapors in the air, and they’re impacting the environment," she said.

Marine animals will be taken to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, where they will be triaged and later sent to Sea World San Diego for rehabilitation, animal rescuers told ABC News.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center is currently in a "holding pattern" as it awaits the arrival of oiled animals in the next hours, days and weeks, Krysta Higuchi, communications representative for the organization, told ABC News.

The center is "preparing for the worst, hoping for the best," Higuchi said.

Ocean conservation nonprofit Oceana urged policymakers to begin a widespread shift to clean energy and to end offshore drilling to prevent future spills.

"This is just the latest tragedy of the oil industry," Jacqueline Savitz, chief policy officer for, told ABC News. "The reality of our reliance on oil and gas is on full display here."

Saturday's spill is just the latest in American waters this past month. After Hurricane Ida tore through the Gulf Coast in early September, it left a trail of oil in its wake, with nearly 350 oil spills reported to the Coast Guard in the days after the storm made landfall.

An analysis by the organization also found that ending new leasing for offshore oil and gas in the U.S. could prevent over 19 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions as well as more than $720 billion in damages to people, property and the environment in the country.

The risk of oil spills may rise a climate change creates stronger offshore disturbances, experts told ABC News.

The California Department of Wildlife has set up a hotline to report wildlife impacted by the oil. Individuals are advised not to handle the wildlife but to report incidents to 877-823-6926.

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Person in California wins record-breaking Powerball jackpot of $699.8 million

Person in California wins record-breaking Powerball jackpot of $699.8 million

LPETTET/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- Someone is taking home a big pot of cash.

One person in California bought the ticket that matched all six numbers drawn Monday night to win the Powerball jackpot worth $699.8 million. It is the fifth largest in Powerball history and the seventh largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history, Powerball said in a statement early Tuesday morning.

"Due to final ticket sales, the jackpot climbed beyond earlier estimates to a staggering $699.8 million at the time of the drawing with a cash option of $496 million," they said. "The winning numbers in the Monday, Oct. 4 drawing were white balls 12, 22, 54, 66, and 69. The Powerball number was 15."

The person -- whose identity was not released -- bought the winning ticket at Albertsons grocery store in Morro Bay, near San Luis Obispo.

The jackpot was last hit on June 5, and since then there have been 40 consecutive drawings without a Grand Prize winner, a new record for the Powerball jackpot, according to officials.

The lottery is available in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In August, it went from two drawings a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays, to three drawings a week, Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

This was the first Powerball jackpot won on a Monday night since the game launched a third weekly drawing on Aug. 23.

"The lucky ticket holder will have the choice between an estimated annuity of $699.8 million, paid in 30 graduated payments over 29 years, or a lump sum payment of $496 million. Both prize options are prior to taxes," Powerball said. "Participating lotteries are reminding players to check their tickets for one of the nine ways to win. In Monday's drawing alone, more than 2.2 million tickets won prizes ranging from $4 to $2 million."

On Monday, five tickets matched all five white balls but missed the red Powerball to win a $1 million prize. The $1 million-winning tickets were sold in Arizona, Florida, Massachusetts and Virginia. A ticket sold in Tennessee matched all five white balls and doubled the prize to $2 million, because it included the Power Play feature for an additional $1, the company said.

Monday's Powerball drawing was the 41st drawing in the jackpot run: a record for the number of consecutive drawings without a Grand Prize winner.

Even though there hadn't been a jackpot winner in months, several Powerball players have earned smaller cash prizes.

"In Saturday's drawing alone, more than 2.8 million tickets won prizes ranging from $4 to $1 million," Powerball officials said in a news release.

The largest Powerball jackpot prize money was $1.586 billion in 2016, which was shared by winners in California, Florida and Tennessee, officials said.

The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, according to Powerball officials.

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COVID-19 live updates: Biden reacts to NIH director stepping down

COVID-19 live updates: Biden reacts to NIH director stepping down

Tomwang112/iStock

NEW YORK) -- The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 703,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 65.5% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Latest headlines:
-Sandra Lindsay, 1st to get vaccine in US, to get booster shot
-Francis Collins to step down as director of the National Institutes of Health
-J&J submits booster request to FDA

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Oct 05, 8:06 pm
2,200 Kaiser Permanente employees on unpaid leave due to vaccine mandate

Over 2,000 Kaiser Permanente employees are on unpaid leave following the health care system's COVID-19 vaccine mandate deadline, the company said Tuesday.

Kaiser Permanente's 240,000 employees had until Sept. 30 to respond to the requirement. As of Monday, 2,200 people -- about 1% of the company's workforce -- had been placed on unpaid leave for not complying, the company said.

That number has more than halved in the days since the deadline. On the morning of Oct. 1, roughly 5,000 employees were on unpaid leave.

MORE: Hundreds of hospital staffers fired or suspended for refusing COVID-19 vaccine mandate
Those on unpaid leave have until Dec. 1 to get the vaccine or secure a qualified medical or religious exemption, at which point they may return to work. If they do neither, they may be eligible for termination, Kaiser Permanente spokesperson Marc Brown told ABC News.

"We hope none of our employees will choose to leave their jobs rather than be vaccinated, but we won't know with certainty until then," Brown said. "We will continue to work with this group of employees to allay concerns and educate them about the vaccines, their benefits, and risks."

-ABC News' Sasha Pezenik

Oct 05, 5:47 pm
FDA could authorize vaccine for young kids soon after Oct. 26 meeting, vaccine chief says

The Food and Drug Administration could issue an emergency use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine for children ages 5 to 11 soon after Oct. 26, when the agency's advisory committee plans to discuss Pfizer's data, the FDA's vaccine chief said Tuesday.

Dr. Peter Marks couldn't give an exact day, but said the FDA has "a track record of trying to move relatively swiftly" after these committee meetings and feels the weight of the world -- and then some -- to get this done.

"When we did the adult approval, we felt the weight of the world," Marks told ABC News during the Q&A portion of a town hall hosted by the COVID-19 Vaccine Education and Equity Project. "Here, we feel like the weight of the world, plus the weight of Mars on top of us, or some other planet as well."

"This is clearly one of the most important issues to get done so we're not going to be wasting any time," he added.

Marks said he's confident that the FDA will would have all necessary data from Pfizer in time for the meeting.

Last month, Pfizer said data shows its vaccine is safe and effective for children ages 5 to 11.

-ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett

Oct 05, 4:16 pm
Fauci: Caution still needed this holiday season

Dr. Anthony Fauci is urging caution this holiday season, particularly if people remain unvaccinated.

On ABC News Live’s “The Breakdown” Tuesday, when pressed on mixing unvaccinated kids with adults during Thanksgiving and Christmas, Fauci said it’s safe to be with your "core" family but "not to mix with people who you don't know what their status is."

The CDC is expected to release more detailed guidance on the holidays “soon.”

Fauci said fatalities will likely start falling soon as cases and hospitalizations decreases. However, Fauci, said, "in order to avoid any subsequent surges, it would be very important to get a lot more people vaccinated."

Fauci added that he predicts more vaccine mandates at the local level.

"I don't think you're going to see a total central mandate from the federal government to everyone but you're going to see -- I'll almost guarantee it -- that the local enterprises, local organizations, local universities and colleges are going to continue to expand this whole process of mandating," Fauci said.

-ABC News' Anne Flaherty

Oct 05, 3:54 pm
More people are getting booster shots than 1st doses

More Americans are now receiving booster shots every day than first doses, according to federal data. About 418,000 Americans receive their third dose on average each day versus nearly 263,000 who get their first dose.

Alaska currently has the country's highest COVID-19 case rate, followed by North Dakota, West Virginia, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming, according to federal data.

Hospitalizations are falling. About 70,000 COVID-19 patients are currently in hospitals across the country, a massive drop from late August when there were more than 104,000 patients.

But four states -- Alabama, Georgia, Idaho and Texas -- still have ICU capacities of about 10% or less, according to the data.

-ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos

Oct 05, 3:24 pm

 

Forecasters predict falling cases, hospitalizations, deaths

 

Forecasts used by the CDC predict falling cases, hospitalizations and deaths in the coming weeks in the U.S.

The COVID-19 Forecast Hub's ensemble forecast predicts 22,686 people in the U.S. will die over the next two weeks. If that happens, it would mark more than 4,400 fewer deaths than in the previous two weeks.

ABC News' Brian Hartman

Oct 05, 2:44 pm
Sandra Lindsay, 1st to get vaccine in US, to get booster shot

New York nurse Sandra Lindsay, the first person in the U.S. to get a COVID-19 vaccine outside a clinical trial, plans to get her Pfizer booster dose Wednesday at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York.

Other health care workers who also got their first shots in December are planning to join her in getting boosters on Wednesday.

Oct 05, 2:24 pm
Extremists likely to target health care sector as vaccine mandates spread

The Department of Homeland Security this week issued an intel notice warning that extremists, including white supremacists and other would-be domestic terrorists, are likely to “threaten violence or plot against healthcare personnel, facilities, and public officials in response to renewed and expanding COVID-19 mitigation measures.”

The document, distributed Monday to U.S. law enforcement and government agencies and obtained by ABC News, noted that anti-vaccine messaging will likely increase as vaccine mandates spread.

The notice warns that some of the misinformation and disinformation now circulating is being pushed and promoted by Russia, China and Iran as a means of sowing anger and discord in the U.S.

ABC News' Josh Margolin

Oct 05, 12:32 pm
76% of 12+ population has at least 1 vaccine dose

Seventy-six percent of Americans ages 12 and above have had at least one vaccine dose, White House COVID-19 data director Cyrus Shahpar said Tuesday.

Now 65% of the total U.S. population has had at least one dose, he said.

 

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COVID-19 live updates: Daily deaths nearly 8 times higher than in July

COVID-19 live updates: Daily deaths nearly 8 times higher than in July

Halfpoint/iStock

(NEW YORK) -- The United States has been facing a COVID-19 surge as the more contagious delta variant continues to spread.

More than 702,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 while over 4.8 million people have died from the disease worldwide, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Just 65.5% of Americans ages 12 and up are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the CDC.

Latest headlines:
-Child hospitalizations fall but kids still make up quarter of all new cases
-Daily deaths nearly 8 times higher than in July
-Myocarditis extremely rare among vaccinated people

Here's how the news is developing. All times Eastern.

Oct 04, 7:56 pm
Pentagon mandates vaccines for civilian employees

The Pentagon announced Monday that all of its civilian employees must be fully vaccinated by Nov. 22.

"Vaccinating (department) civilian employees against COVID-19 will save lives and allow for the defense of our nation," Deputy Defense Secretary Kathleen Hicks wrote in a memo sent out to Pentagon leadership Monday. "Thank you for your focus on this critical mission."

There is already a vaccine mandate for military members, but each branch of service has its own deadline.

ABC News' Luis Martinez

Oct 04, 6:02 pm
Newly approved rapid test will double US capacity, FDA says

The Food and Drug Administration approved a new rapid test Monday that it said will double the at-home testing capacity in the U.S. over the next few weeks.

The ACON Laboratories Flowflex COVID-19 Home Test will ideally assuage the shortage of over-the-counter, at-home rapid testing that has gone on since schools and other businesses have returned to in-person work.

"By year's end, the manufacturer plans to produce more than 100 million tests per month, and this number will rise to 200 million per month by February 2022," the FDA said in a press release Monday.

ABC News' Cheyenne Haslett

Oct 04, 5:48 pm
Judge agrees to hear another request to halt NYC school staff vaccine mandate

A Manhattan federal judge has agreed to hear another request to halt New York City’s vaccine mandate for public school employees.

A group of 10 teachers, educators and administrators filed an emergency motion Monday for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction to prevent the city from further enforcing the mandate.

“This policy is reckless, senseless, and not only violates the fundamental rights of thousands of New Yorkers but will also put over 1 million New York City public school children at risk of imminent harm,” the petition said.

The judge scheduled a hearing for Tuesday morning to consider the request and preliminary injunction.

Earlier Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said 95% of all full-time Department of Education employees are vaccinated, including 96% of all teachers and 99% of all principals.

ABC News' Aaron Katersky

Oct 04, 3:12 pm
Child hospitalizations fall but kids still make up quarter of all new cases

Last week, the U.S. reported more than 173,000 child COVID-19 cases, marking the first week with fewer than 200,000 new cases reported since mid-August, according to a newly released weekly report from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Children’s Hospital Association.

Even with the decline, last week children still accounted for 26.7% of reported weekly cases. (Children make up 22.2% of the population.)

The South is reporting the highest number of pediatric cases followed closely by the Midwest.

The number of children hospitalized with COVID-19 is also declining. About 1,700 children are currently hospitalized across the country, according to AAP and CHA.

Severe illness due to COVID-19 remains "uncommon" among kids, the two organizations wrote in the report. However, AAP and CHA warned that there is an urgent need to collect more data on the long-term consequences of the pandemic on children, "including ways the virus may harm the long-term physical health of infected children, as well as its emotional and mental health effects."

ABC News' Arielle Mitropoulos

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